Brandon Moreno surprised pundits and fans when he stood toe-to-toe with Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 256 last December, earning a draw against the flyweight champion. Now, the challenger will try to go one step further when he challenges for Figueiredo’s crown again in the co-main event at UFC 263 on Saturday night.
Figueiredo and Moreno will compete in the first of two championship rematches on Saturday, with Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori fighting in the main event.
Figueiredo Promises Knockout in Rematch
While the UFC hasn’t always heavily promoted its flyweight division, Figueiredo (20-1-1) has proven himself to be a breakout star in the weight class. He earned the championship with two straight wins over Joseph Benavidez – the first of which didn’t count for the title, as he missed the 125-pound weight limit.
He then defended the title by submitting Alex Perez inside two minutes at UFC 255. The quick win allowed Figueiredo to turn around quickly, taking a fight against Moreno just three weeks later.
Moreno and Figueiredo produced the fight of the night, and one of the best battles of 2020. The back-and-forth encounter ended in a majority draw after the referee deducted a point from Figueiredo during the third round due to a groin strike. That was enough for two judges to score the fight 47-47, resulting in a majority draw.
Figueiredo says the quick turnaround – which he agreed to after the UFC lost two headlining bouts for that card – cost him the first fight. He promises a different result on Saturday.
“I reached flyweight twice in 20 days. The night before UFC 256 was a nightmare,” Figueiredo told Sherdog.com. “But now I’m 100 percent. Saturday the fans will see the real Deiveson in the Octagon and it’s time for Moreno to have his nightmare. I’ll beat him in the first round.”
Moreno (18-5-2) has fought five times in the UFC without a loss. After drawing Askar Askarov, he reeled off three straight wins to earn his first title shot against Figueiredo. His strong performance secured the No. 1 contender spot in the flyweight division, and all but guaranteed a rematch with Figueiredo.
Champion Favored Again, But Odds Narrow
Moreno says that he showed he belonged in the first fight, and that Figueiredo is making excuses for the result.
“I was very honest with myself of what I thought of the fight,” Moreno said at the UFC 263 press conference. “The guy tried to knock me out in the first fight, and then he tried to make excuses and that’s fine. There’s no problem. I’m ready.”
|Figueiredo vs. Moreno Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)|
|Deiveson Figueiredo: -210||Brandon Moreno: +165|
|Method of Victory|
|Figueiredo by KO/TKO: +165||Moreno by KO/TKO: +900|
|Figueiredo by Submission: +700||Moreno by Submission: +1200|
|Figueiredo by Decision: +240||Moreno by Decision: +300|
Figueiredo enters the bout as a -210 favorite over Moreno (+165), according to DraftKings Sportsbook. That’s a tighter line than the -355 the champion fetched in the first encounter.
Those odds make sense: Figueiredo got the best of the first fight outside of the low blow, while Moreno proved he could hang with the champion. Figueiredo could potentially improve due to a better weight cut, but it remains to be seen just how big a factor that was in December.
Either way, Figueiredo promises that fans won’t be disappointed.
“I’m a showman and I’m going to put on a show for you guys and knock him out,” Figueiredo said at the press conference. “I’m going to put on a show and make you guys love me.”