The final UFC Pay Per View of the year takes place this weekend as UFC 256 hits the Apex Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the card is a Flyweight title fight between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno who both crazily featured on the last UFC Pay Per View card. In the co-main, Tony Ferguson returns for the first time since his defeat to Justin Gaethje against the rampaging Brazilian, Charles Oliveira. We take a look at the main two fights and one on the undercard below.
At UFC 255 I made the statement that I saw the fight to be favourable one for Figueiredo and he should make light work of Alex Perez. He did just that stopping him inside two minutes. I also said the fight to watch was the Moreno v Royval fight and that was the real number 1 contender fight. Now the next Pay Per View later we have the rightful Flyweight championship bout and it is sure to be a cracker. They are two high level finishers and for mine the strength of each is their grappling. I am super high on Moreno’s ground game as a big fan of jiu jitsu and have watched him plenty in grappling tournaments away from the UFC. However, Figueiredo’s ground skills almost cancel out those of Moreno’s.
Both have a range of leg attacks, an incredible squeeze and a knack of wrapping up the neck when someone shoots for a takedown. Therefore, I do only see them possibly grappling in scrambles and see the more likely finish being on the feet. Brandon Moreno has improved immensely since returning to the UFC and his boxing and distance management has gone to the next level. The way he picked apart Kai Kara France really excited me as it showed that in his time away he worked hard on his striking and has finally started to put together a full martial arts repertoire that is required if you are to be a modern day mixed martial arts champion.
Without a doubt these are the two top Flyweights and since I called Brandon Moreno as a future UFC champion back in 2016, I am admittedly a little bias in siding with Moreno here. Figueiredo will throw everything at Moreno early and has ridiculous power for a Flyweight. Pound for pound he is one of the hardest hitters in all of MMA and he will test Moreno’s chin. If I had to side one way or another I would have to side with the champion because he has been utterly dominant in the last couple of years. I do however, see it likely that if Moreno does last the first couple of rounds he can finish all over the Brazilian as he has the coveted Mexican gas tank.
There is enough juice in the price to suggest a small wager on Moreno to win in Round 4, 5 or by decision and earn that championship belt. Even if he doesn’t manage to win it here, I do truly believe he will hold UFC gold in the near future, I just hope he can survive the early exchanges and put it on Figueiredo in the championship rounds to earn the win.
Chalk this or the main event down for fight of the night. Tony Ferguson returns to action for the first time since his defeat to Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliveira looks to continue his finishing run and put himself right in the title picture. Ferguson’s all-round skillset are as high level as they come and he has an everlasting gas tank to go with it. Last fight he put his body through starvation twice in quick succession and then fought against a killer like Gaethje and still was only stopped mercilessly late on. Granted he was outfought but he did drop Gaethje and he was a stylistic nightmare for Ferguson.
Oliveira throws plenty of flashy kicks and punches and is high level on the ground but can anyone be more creative and explosive than Tony Ferguson? Kevin Lee was picking apart Oliveira on the feet behind his jab before the Brazilian’s pressure and then submission skills finished him. This really is Ferguson’s fight to lose. Before the Gaethje stoppage he had never been stopped in the UFC which dates back to 2012 and he was stopped standing which shows his durability. I do think Ferguson may be rocked in this fight, but he should have ample success fighting behind his jab and has the clear advantage on the feet and is savvy on the ground which should stop him being submitted. I have to go with Ferguson to get the win and please when he does give that man a title shot!
This market is so wrong and that is coming from someone who would love Mackenzie Dern to go on a rampage through the division. Dern is a former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion and she made a mockery of Hannah Cifers and Randa Markos in her last two fights. However, I don’t see her loss to Amanda Ribas as a one off. Ribas is a stud but Dern got outwrestled in that fight and while she does carry power on the feet that power fades drastically by round 2.
Jandiroba is not the level of grappler as Dern is but she is the better wrestler and should be able to safely navigate top control time. As long as she stays out of Dern’s guard, she will be able to remain safe and rack up rounds. While Jandiroba is no star striker she is technically superior on the feet as well and as long as she remains focused for 15 minutes she should win by decision.
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