Brendon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo battle for flyweight supremacy.
Trilogies do not happen too often in mixed martial arts, especially at the highest level in the UFC. There are several examples of times where two competitors battled three times, with one man or woman coming out on top. Another is going down at UFC 270 when Brandon Moreno defends his UFC Flyweight title against the former champion Deiveson Figueiredo. And this may not be the last time these two men face off against each other.
Moreno and Figueiredo put on two classic matchups at UFC 256 in 2020 ad UFC 263 in 2021. The first ended in a majority draw, while the second saw Moreno become the first person to ever submit Figueiredo in his professional career.
When the first fight was originally announced, the initial expectations were that Figueiredo would come out with the belt still around his waist. Not only was he the surging champion, with a 9-1 UFC run, but he was fighting an individual in Moreno who many questioned at the time. Even though Moreno is still young in his career, he wasn’t getting much leeway for the fact that he was cut from the UFC after losing two straight fights to Sergio Pettis and Alexandre Pantoja.
Moreno quickly returned to the UFC in less than a year to go on a run that brought him face to face with Figueiredo. Looking at the last two fights, especially the last five rounds of a combined eight points to why Moreno should be seen as the favorite heading into their fight at UFC 270.
When the fight at UFC 256 started, Figueiredo put the pressure on Moreno, as he typically does. The violence and intent to finish were there, but Moreno didn’t go away. Not only did he not wilt, but Moreno pushed back in a way that Figueiredo doesn’t see often.
How will the third fight between Moreno and Figueiredo play out?
Moreno’s pace took over the latter portion of the first fight and the start of the second. Look for the third fight to start the same way with Figueiredo pushing the pace early and the thing to watch is how Moreno responds. The two men will probably end up in a slugfest early, with high-energy exchanges for the first two rounds. If Moreno can wear on Figueiredo, forcing him to grapple as well as strike, he has an opportunity to wear down the former champion as his gas tank has been one of his challenges throughout his UFC run.
On Figueiredo’s side of the equation is the impact of his time training with Henry Cejudo. Figueiredo was already a grappling threat, and many were surprised that Moreno was able to negate much of that. Figueiredo submitted eight men on his quest for the title, and any time an opponent ends up on the ground with him they are in danger. Moreno was able to negate the wrestling for much of the previous two fights, but did Cejudo give the former champion enough tricks to outwrestle Moreno in the third contest?
Moreno versus Figueiredo III is a close contest, with pathways to victory for both men. The scales are tipped toward Moreno as the younger man whose career is on an upswing against a former champion in Figueiredo who is seemingly beginning a downturn at 34-years of age. Moreno will push the pace early and wear down Figueiredo enough to pull out another stoppage victory for his first successful title defense.
Prediction: Moreno via stoppage.