UFC Mexico Recap: Brandon Royval wins razor close decision over Brandon Moreno

May 7, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Brandon Royval celebrates after defeating Matt Schnell during UFC 274 at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In the main event of UFC Mexico, we saw a rematch in the flyweight division. Former two-time flyweight champion Brandon Moreno (21-7-2) was fighting in front of his home country when he took former title challenger Brandon “Raw Dawg” Royval (15-7).

Both men entered the octagon in a very similar position tonight. The last time we saw either of these two men, they both fell short to flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja. Most recently, Royval had a title shot in December where he lost a decision. That loss snapped a three-fight win streak.

Moreno regained the flyweight title in January 2023 only to fall short by split decision to Alexandre Pantoja in July in an instant classic. Moreno and Royval fought back in 2020 with Moreno getting the win largely due to an injury from Royval. Tonight, they ran it back and both were trying to earn another shot at the UFC’s flyweight title.

UFC Mexico Recap

Round 1

The UFC Mexico main event kicks off with a touch of the gloves. Royval takes the center and Moreno circles along the outside. Kick from Royval starts the striking. Low kick from Royval and now a low kick from Moreno. Body kick from Royval and another leg kick for Moreno. Moreno continues to circles on the outside.

Body kick from Royval. Left over the top lands for Moreno. Nice jab lands for Royval. Not a lot happening and the referee has had to warn the fighters because they aren’t engaging enough. Halfway through the round and Royval lands a jab. Leg kick now from Moreno and a right over the top.

Still anyone’s round with two minutes to go. Front kick for Royval and Moreno lands a big combination over the top. Royval answers with big shots of his own. Body kick from Moreno. Royval pushes forward with a big combination. Big left and a knee to the body from Moreno. The round ends and I lean Moreno at UFC Mexico due to the bigger moments.

Round 2

Second round begins with an immediate body kick from Royval. Royval holding the center and he’s upping the pressure a little here. Moreno continues to just circles on the outside. Leg kick now from Royval and Moreno stuns Royval with a huge right over the top. Sharp left counter from Moreno as Royval comes forward.

Another big left hand lands for Moreno. Jab from Royval and now a body kick. Another nice right hand lands for Moreno. Sharp right hand for Moreno and then he catches Royval with a left as Royval comes in. Body kick from Moreno. Moreno pushes forward but it’s Royval that lands a nice combination.

1-2 now from Royval and now a knee. Right hand over the top from Moreno. Moreno steps forward and both men just throws huge combinations. Moreno might’ve been stunned there but he still landed big shots. Royval with a nice combination now. Nice jab and a body kick lands for Royval.

Royval steps in and lands a really knee. Big body kick from Royval but Moreno catches it and lands a takedown. Royval attacks submissions to force a scramble and he gets back to his feet. Moreno just misses with a huge left and the round ends. Both men had big moments but I lean slightly towards Moreno overall making it 2-0 at UFC Mexico.

Round 3

The third round starts with a touch of the gloves. Heavy pressure from Royval and he lands two straight kicks. Head kick attempt from Moreno. Big kick lands for Royval and he is really pressuring Moreno here. Moreno continues circling away looking for counters. Big jab from Royval and Moreno gets a takedown.

Big scramble forced by Royval. They both trade a dominant position and Moreno gets Royval’s back. Royval breaks free and they are back to striking. Moreno lands a really nice combination off a Royval kick. Royval doubling up on the jab now and Moreno lands a right hand.

Another kick from Royval and he’s really upping the volume here. Right over the top from Moreno but Royval is really picking up the pace here. Combination from Royval. Pawing jab lands for Moreno and then another jab lands for Royval. Takedown from Moreno and Royval forces another scramble.

They get back to their feet and Royval lands a couple of shots along the fence. Moreno catches a kick and looks to try and take Royval down. However, Royval stays upright and lands a combination. Royval really doing a good job here in round three. Nice combination lands for Moreno. The round ends and I give that one to Royval which has it 2-1 Moreno at UFC Mexico.

Round 4

Entering the fourth round and this fight is very close. Both men open up with big combinations. Big kick from Royval and Moreno lands a big shot over the top. These two are swinging here in the fourth. Big kick from Royval and a huge right over the top for Moreno.

Moreno catches a kick and lands over the top. Takedown for Moreno but Royval reverses and gets on top. Scramble and they are back to their feet. Big leg kick from Moreno and now a right over the top. Long jab from Royval and a big calf kick from Moreno. Long combination from Royval.

Moreno is really starting to attack the lead leg of Royval as he lands another brutal leg kick. Combination from Royval and a power jab counter from Moreno. Big right hand from Moreno but a huge right hand counter from Royval. Moreno might be a little hurt here. Big combination from Royval and now he lands a takedown.

Moreno scrambles and they get back to their feet. Moreno immediately lands a low kick. Sharp 1-2 now from Royval. Right hand and then a leg kick from Moreno. Another right over the top from Moreno but Royval answers with a three punch combination. Moreno pushes forward and lands a nice combination to the body.

Another nice body combination from Moreno. He pushes forward but eats a counter from Royval. Nasty shots to the body from Moreno and Royval answers with body shots of his own. Jab from Royval now and he throws a head kick. The round ends and I have it 2-2 entering the final round at UFC Mexico.

Round 5

I personally think whoever wins this round wins the fight. They touch gloves and here we go. Royval immediately opens with multiple jabs keeping Moreno at distance. Big right hand over the top lands for Moreno and then Royval tries to answer back. Body lock for Moreno and he pushes Royval against the fence.

Not much action happening and they get separated by the referee. Immediately Royval goes on the attack with combinations. Big right hand lands for Moreno and then he lands a nasty leg kick. Knee from Royval and now a combination. Body kick from Moreno and a huge right over the top.

Combination from Royval and a right hand for Moreno. Leg kick from Moreno. Step in knee from Royval. Moreno steps in but eats a combination from Royval. Royval is really upping the volume but then Moreno lands a big power shot. Big right over the top from Moreno.

Leg kick and another nice shot from Moreno. Body lock from Moreno and they are immediately warned by Herb Dean. 90 seconds left in the round and Moreno lands a foot stomp. They get separated and Moreno lands a big combination. Big combination answer from Royval. Long body shot from Royval.

These two are swinging. Knee to the body from Royval and Moreno goes for a takedown. He has the body lock but can’t get Royval down. They break free and both land big shots to close out the fight. I lean Royval and that would give him the fight at UFC Mexico, but who knows what the judges will say.

Brandon Royval def. Brandon Moreno by Split Decision (48-47, 46-49, 48-47)

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