Before UFC 255, which was three weeks ago, I said I didn’t know if Figueiredo was the guy who made people care about flyweights, at least to an extent that they didn’t. not done yet. I thought it was more likely that Figueiredo was part of a larger coalition – a group flyweights that would explode the division through competitive fights.
Well, there was nothing competitive about Alex Perez’s quick take-down by Figueiredo on November 21, and now he’s defending his title again three weeks later in the fastest turnaround from a reigning champion. in UFC history. Figueiredo – The Fig? Figgy? Figgy Smalls? I feel like there’s something here – definitely applies its mark to flyweight.
Figueiredo (20-1) is set to end a massive 2020 campaign in style, as he defends his 125-pound belt against Brandon Moreno (18-5-1) in the UFC main event 256 Saturday at the promotion’s Apex facilities. in Las Vegas. If he succeeds, Figueiredo would likely be a near-unanimous choice for Fighter of the Year – and he would set up a top-level fight against former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt. (Unless other plans come in.)
It’s going to be interesting to see where things go for Figueiredo, on several fronts. Obviously, competitively, he’s been outstanding, but there are still plenty of challengers for him and a few unanswered questions. This weekend, for example, I’m curious to see if Moreno can take him to later laps, and if so, what the champion will look like once he’s there.
Her future outside of that, however, is just as intriguing. Figueiredo has the look and style of a champion that people will care about. And he seems to have a natural talent for playing something of a villain. As the fight gets closer, he has a bad streak, which comes out. And his constant predictions of first-round finishes won’t get old if he continues to hold them.
But we are talking about a division in which the last two champions (a) left promotion without ceremony after years of not having resonated with the fans and (b) left the division in less than a year to move up into a weight class and then retire due (in part) to a lack of fights with many silver. History suggests that it is difficult for a 125 pound champion to break the wall of stardom.
This is why I said three weeks ago that I was not ready to anoint Figueiredo like the man to do. But if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he should prove him wrong in no time.
21: Fight days since UFC 255, the November 21 card that Figueiredo and Moreno competed on. Saturday’s fight represents the fastest turnaround for a champion (the previous UFC record was 56 days, shared by Ronda Rousey and Matt Hughes) and also the fastest for a challenger (previous record: 28 days by Derrick Lewis).
4: The UFC champions who won the belt and their first title defense in both the first round. Figueiredo is the latest, joining two-division champion Amanda Nunes (who made it to bantamweight), heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and former heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia.
0: Mexican-born fighters who won UFC championships. Moreno, born and raised in Tijuana, is in the running to become the first.
63,6: Percentage of important strike attempts that Moreno has successfully defended in the UFC, the third best defense among active flyweights. Figueiredo is also in the top 10, at 52.1%.
sept: Ended in the UFC by Figueiredo, tying him with former champion Demetrious Johnson for the most in flyweight division history.
Sources: ESPN Statistics and Information and UFC Statistics
Five against five
Most recent results from Deiveson Figueiredo
Winning: Alex Perez (Sub1, November 21, 2020; watch on ESPN +)
Victory: Joseph Benavidez (TechSub1, July 19, 2020; watch on ESPN +)
Victory: Joseph Benavidez (TKO2, February 29, 2020; watch on ESPN +)
Victory: Tim Elliott (Sub1, Oct 12, 2019; watch on ESPN +)
Victory: Alexandre Pantoja (UD, July 27, 2019; watch on ESPN +)
Most recent results for Brandon Moreno
Victory: Brandon Royval (TKO1, November 21, 2020; watch on ESPN +)
Victory: Jussier Formiga (UD, Mar 14, 2020; watch on ESPN +)
Victory: Kai Kara-France (UD, December 14, 2019; watch on ESPN +)
Draw: Askar Askarov (SD, September 21, 2019; watch on ESPN +)
Victory: Maikel Perez (TKO4, June 7, 2019)
Dom & Gil film study
Gilbert Melendez on Figueiredo’s confusing approach:
Dominick Cruz focuses on Moreno’s left hand:
And the winner is …
I’m all on the Figueiredo train at this point. I thought his three fights so far in 2020 would be competitive, and he finished them in the second round, the first round and the first round. So I won’t be fighting this man anytime soon. I love Moreno’s durability, his confidence and his cardio. If that gets into the fourth and fifth rounds, I think we’ll have a very interesting fight in our hands. But I have finished doubting Figueiredo’s finishing ability. Figueiredo by submission, second round.
How to watch the fights
Watch the preliminaries on ESPN2 or ESPN +: Download the ESPN app | WatchESPN | TV
Don’t have ESPN2? Access immediately.
Don’t have ESPN + for foreplay and PPV? Get it here.
Purchased the fight on your phone and want to stream to your TV? Find out how here.
There is also FightCenter, which offers live updates for every UFC card.
Saturday fight card
PPV (via ESPN +), 22 h HE
Deiveson Figueiredo (c) v Brandon Moreno | Flyweight for men
Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira | Lightweight
Mackenzie Dern v. Virna Jandiroba | Straw weight
Jacare Souza vs. Kevin Holland | Average weight
Junior Dos Santos v Ciryl Gane | Heavy weights
ESPN2 / ESPN +, 20 h HE
Cub Swanson vs. Daniel Pineda | Men’s featherweight
Renato Moicano vs. Rafael Fiziev | Lightweight
Gavin Tucker vs. Billy Quarantillo | Men’s featherweight
Tecia Torres vs. Sam Hughes | Straw weight
ESPN +, sept: 30 h HE
Chase Hooper vs. Peter Barrett | Men’s featherweight
(c) = defending champion
An unparalleled main co-event
Tony Ferguson! Charles Oliveira! Reasons to get excited:
Ferguson is a busy body: He landed 1,051 significant strikes at lightweight in the UFC, the third-greatest in divisional history. Ferguson has 14 wins at 155 pounds, putting him behind just Donald Cerrone (19) and Francisco Trinaldo (15) since his UFC debut in 2011.
Oliveira is a showstopper: He has 16 UFC finishes, linking him with Cerrone for most of the story. He’s finished in his last seven fights, the second longest streak in modern UFC history (Anderson Silva, 8). Oliveira’s 14 submission wins in the UFC are a record. Throughout his career, he has a 93% success rate, with 27 saves (19 subs, 8 KOs) in 29 wins.
Six more things to know (from ESPN stats and info)
1. Kevin Holland, who faces off against veteran middleweight Jacare Souza, seeks to become the third modern-era UFC fighter to go 5-0 or better in a calendar year, joining Neil Magny (2014) and Roger Huerta ( 2007).
2. If former Junior heavyweight champion Dos Santos beat undefeated Ciryl Gane, it would be his 16th UFC win, tying him to Frank Mir for the second-tallest heavyweight, behind Andrei Arlovski (19).
3. Cub Swanson will look for his 12th UFC win when he takes on Daniel Pineda. This would put Swanson in sole possession of third place on the featherweight winning list, behind Max Holloway (16) and Darren Elkins (14).
4. Jiu-jitsu ace Mackenzie Dern, who faces Brazilian strawweight Virna Jandiroba, will seek his fourth UFC submission victory, which would break the tie (with Rose Namajunas and Cynthia Calvillo) at the top of the list. strawweight submissions of all time. Jandiroba has won two strawweight fights by submission, so getting one against Dern would add him to the tie at the top of the list.
5. Tecia Torres takes on UFC newcomer Sam Hughes, who took the fight this week after Angela Hill had to step down. Torres has won seven strawweight victories, one less than ex-champion Carla Esparza for second place in division history.
6. Chase Hooper, a 4-1 favorite over featherweight Peter Barrett, is the youngest fighter on the card at 21. Hooper is looking to become the 25th fighter in UFC history to win multiple fights before he turns 22. This list includes former champions Vitor Belfort, Robbie Lawler, Jon Jones and Max Holloway.
ESPN’s Jeff Wagenheim contributed to this bout preview.