UFC officially books the rematch between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno

The UFC has finalized a highly anticipated rematch for the flyweight title. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani was the first to report this morning that the promotion has finalized the rematch between Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) and Brandon Moreno (18-5-2).

According to Helwani, the matchup will take place on June 12th at UFC 263. Moreno had said that he wanted to fight in either April or May, but the UFC flyweight champion wanted a little more time before the rematch.

Heading into UFC 256, nobody was really giving Brandon Moreno a shot. Moreno was definitely the top contender in the division, but Figueiredo looked like an unstoppable champion. Both Figueiredo and Moreno also competed at UFC 255 three weeks prior to their first fight.

Moreno was able to stop Brandon Royval in the first round and Figueiredo was able to submit Alex Perez in the first round. Originally, fight fans wanted Moreno to be the challenger at UFC 255 over Alex Perez. Well, the performances of both men allowed the promotion to turn them around quickly for the fight we wanted.

Again, Moreno was a pretty lofty underdog considering the way that Figueiredo had looked. However, he proved at UFC 256 that he was no pushover. Moreno pushed Figueiredo harder than anyone thought he could. In what turned out to be a Fight of the Year candidate, the two men fought to a draw.

UFC rematch we had to see

As mentioned, Figueiredo looked like he was going to be a massive problem for all UFC flyweights. The combination of power, skill, and confidence made him extremely dangerous and he almost looked invincible.

However, Brandon Moreno showed the world that he could be pushed. In a way, their first fight reminded me of Jon Jones – Alexander Gustafsson 1. A champion that looked unstoppable, but the right opponent pushed him to the limit.

All great UFC champions need that dance partner that pushes them to even further greatness. Figueiredo has that in Brandon Moreno. If Figueiredo is able to defeat Moreno in the rematch, it will just further his legacy and shine a greater light on his greatness.

However, Brandon Moreno also has the opportunity to prove that the first fight wasn’t a fluke. Both men have a lot on the line in June and fight fans should be expecting a war between the two men when they meet again.

What’s next for Alexandre Pantoja after big win at UFC Vegas 18?

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 18, we saw a big matchup in the flyweight division. The fifth ranked flyweight in the world, Alexandre Pantoja (23-5), welcomed former RIZIN champion, Manel Kape (15-5), to the UFC.

There was a ton of hype surrounding Kape and many were looking at him as a potential challenger for the title. However, the UFC gave him no layup in his first fight with him taking on the dangerous Pantoja.

Pantoja has been in there with some of the best in the UFC including the flyweight champion, Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1). The fight was promised to deliver and I have to say that it was a little underwhelming.

I was expecting more of a barnburner, but Kape’s cautious approach stalled the action at times. Pantoja didn’t land amazing shots at UFC Vegas 18, however, he was the much more active fighter on Saturday night.

For that reason, the judges unanimously gave the decision win to Alexandre Pantoja. While it wasn’t the sexiest win in the world, it was still a win at the end of the day and a big win at that.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 18?

After the fight was over, Pantoja stated that he wanted a rematch with the UFC’s flyweight champion. However, the odds of Pantoja fighting for the title in his next fight are slim to none.

Figueiredo will have his rematch against Brandon Moreno (18-5-2) next. After that fight, it’s been said that the winner will take on former UFC bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt (12-3). With that in mind, the title is booked for most of 2021.

Of course, that means Pantoja will need to take another fight. There are a couple of options for Pantoja out there. One option could be a matchup with Alex Perez (24-6). Perez is coming off of a title loss at UFC 255.

Another option could be the winner of the Joseph Benavidez – Askar Askarov matchup that takes place next month. However, I’m not sure that fight would get made should Askarov win considering Askerov just beat Pantoja in July.

UFC: Cody Garbrandt wants Jose Aldo in April before flyweight title shot

One of the best highlight reel knockouts of 2020 came back at UFC 250. That night, Cody Garbrandt (12-3) unleashed a vicious right hook in the final seconds of the first round to completely flatten Raphael Assuncao.

The former UFC bantamweight champion picked up his first win since December of 2016 with that knockout. Prior to that victory, he had been knocked out in three straight fights.

After Garbrandt won, he was moved up to third in the bantamweight rankings. However, he wanted to drop down to 125 pounds and fight at flyweight. He had his eyes set on the newly crowned flyweight champion, Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1).

The UFC booked their title fight for November. However, due to injuries and a battle with COVID, Garbrandt had to pull out of the fight. Garbrandt has been healing on the sidelines while awaiting his flyweight title opportunity.

The former bantamweight champion was all set to take on the winner of the UFC 256 headliner between Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno (18-5-2). However, the two men fought to a draw and the UFC is going to give Moreno an immediate rematch.

Garbrandt is ready for another fight, however, if he wants to wait for a flyweight title shot, he won’t fight until late in the summer. Instead, Garbrandt has his eyes on a big fight at bantamweight while he waits.

Will the UFC book Garbrandt – Aldo?

Cody Garbrandt told ESPN this week that the fight that he wants is Jose Aldo (29-7). He pointed out the fact that at this stage he only wants to fight big names if he’s not getting a title shot. His desire to remain active is why he’s wanting to fight again at bantamweight.

Aldo is coming off of a win in December over Chito Vera. The win snapped a three-fight losing streak for Aldo. Aldo has looked rejuvenated since dropping down to bantamweight in late 2019.

Currently, both men are ranked in the top six of the division. Aldo has been calling out TJ Dillashaw (16-4), however, there’s no traction on that fight at the moment. Garbrandt also told ESPN that he wants to fight a “clean” TJ Dillashaw.

No Love made it very clear that he still intends on dropping to 125 pounds when he’s presented with the title shot. The desire to fight Aldo just stems from remaining active and getting to fight a big name. Personally, I love the matchup if the UFC can get it done.

UFC: State of the men’s flyweight division entering 2021

2020 was a transition year for the UFC‘s flyweight division. When the year got started, Henry Cejudo (16-2) had just vacated the flyweight title. The promotion setup a fight in February to crown a new champion after Cejudo moved to bantamweight.

That fight put Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) against Joseph Benavidez (28-7). Benavidez was always looked at as one of the best fighters in the UFC, but he just could never quite climb the mountain to become a champion.

Many believed that February would be his best chance. However, Figueiredo proved to be too much for Benavidez. Benavidez was completely dominated and stopped in the second round by Figueiredo.

However, Figueiredo missed weight so he didn’t capture the title. The UFC decided to have the two men run things back on Fight Island. This time, Figueiredo made weight and he ended up finishing Benavidez quicker than he did the first time.

Figueiredo has become a star in the UFC‘s flyweight division. After he choked out Benavidez, he defended his title against Alex Perez (24-6) at UFC 255. Figueiredo forced Perez to tap within the first two minutes of the fight.

With taking such little damage, the UFC turned Figueiredo right around to fight Brandon Moreno (18-5-2) at UFC 256. The two men had a war and the fight was ultimately ruled a majority draw.

UFC flyweight in 2021

Dana White said shortly after UFC 256 that the promotion would have Figueiredo and Moreno run things back. The fight was a fight of the year candidate and with no winner declared, he said it make sense to do the rematch.

With that, the odd man out becomes Cody Garbrandt (12-3). The former UFC bantamweight champion decided to drop to flyweight to pursue another title. He was originally supposed to get the title shot at UFC 255.

However, he had to pull out of the fight. He was hoping to face the Figueiredo – Moreno winner in March, however, that’s not likely now. Garbrandt and his team have discussed taking an interim fight at bantamweight while he waits, but that’s not settled.

A very compelling matchup to watch at flyweight is Manel Kape (15-4) and Alexandre Pantoja (22-5). Kape is the former RIZIN champion at 135 pounds and he will be making his UFC debut against Pantoja on February 6th.

Whoever wins that fight will be in excellent position in the flyweight division. Another matchup to watch is Benavidez taking on Askar Askarov (12-0-1). Askarov trains under Khabib Nurmagomedov and he looks like he can be a future champion.

At one point, the UFC’s flyweight division looked like it was going to be closed for business. However, business is booming at the moment with a number of intriguing matchups. Should be a fun year for the promotion at 125 pounds.

2020 UFC Fighter of the Year

The UFC has officially completed all of their business in this crazy 2020. Despite a global pandemic, the promotion had an incredible year that saw tremendous growth and new fans coming to the sport of MMA.

The UFC hosted many successful events and saw a number of fighters burst onto the scene in 2020. One of those fighters being the rising superstar, Khamzat Chimaev (9-0). Chimaev made his debut with the UFC back in July.

He rose to fame with his incredible dominance through his first three fights. In his first three fights with the UFC, Chimaev has scored finishes in all three while absorbing just a few strikes total.

He’s been catapulted into a main event on January 20th in a fight that could be a title eliminator. While Chimaev’s UFC rise has been remarkable, he’s not quite the fighter of the year in my opinion.

Another fighter who broke through this year was Kevin Holland (21-5). After losing his last fight in 2019, Holland completely transformed himself in 2020. Holland had arguably the best year out of anybody with the promotion.

He went an astonishing 5-0 with four finishes in 2020. Even more remarkable was the fact that he didn’t fight for the first time until May. However, despite his incredible year, Holland was not ESM’s UFC Fighter of the Year.

2020 UFC Fighter of the Year

Looking at everything for 2020, the UFC‘s Fighter of the Year was a clear choice for me. That clear choice is the flyweight champion of the world, Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1). Figueiredo started out 2020 as the top contender at flyweight.

Back in February, he took on Joseph Benavidez for the vacant UFC flyweight title. However, Figueiredo missed weight for the fight which caused him to lose his opportunity to capture the belt. Yet, the fight still went on.

Figueiredo was completely dominant and he won the fight by second round knockout. In July, Figueiredo had a rematch for Benavidez for the UFC title. This time Figueiredo made weight and he stopped Benavidez in the first round to capture the title.

Looking to close out the year strong, Figueiredo was booked to defend his title against Alex Perez at UFC 255. Figueiredo submitted Perez in less than two minutes to successfully defend his title.

Because of his quick work, the UFC turned him around quickly to headline UFC 256 against Brandon Moreno. The two had an absolute war that was a fight of the year candidate. In the end, the two men fought to a draw.

Granted, Figueiredo would have won had he not been docked a point at UFC 256. It was later revealed that Figueiredo had spent time in the hospital the night before his title fight against Moreno.

Yes, his record was not technically perfect, but Deiveson Figueiredo is the clear Fighter of the Year. Four sensational performances in essentially four title fights. Figueiredo emerged as the superstar flyweight needed in 2020 for the UFC.

2020 UFC Fight of the Year

It’s been a crazy year for the world and a crazy year for the UFC. The promotion started on a high note back in January when Conor McGregor headlined a card that sold over one million PPVs. The promotion was off and running.

However, in March, production had to be shutdown by the UFC due to the global pandemic. COVID-19 shut the entire world down and the UFC was no exception. However, the promotion worked hard to get back on track.

After just over a month off, the UFC was back open for business in May. They were the first professional sport league to come back in full force and they delivered. Despite the lack of live crowds, the fighters delivered all the way since May.

There have been so many incredible fights this year inside the octagon. One of the fights that was on the shortlist for fight of the year was Josh Emmett (16-2) and Shane Burgos (13-2) from back in June.

This was a featherweight shootout where both men were trading serious shots back and forth. Both are extremely powerful and Burgos was able to holdup and survive the ungodly power from Josh Emmett.

Another candidate just took place at UFC 256. The flyweight title fight between Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) and Brandon Moreno (18-5-2). An absolute back-and-forth war between the two best flyweights in the world that resulted in a draw.

All year long, I believed that one fight in particular would be the UFC‘s fight of the year. However, the Figueiredo – Moreno fight made me start hedging my bets. However, in the end, I’m sticking to the one fight that I think truly deserves to be the fight of the year.

UFC’s Fight of the Year

In a crazy 2020, the UFC‘s Fight of the Year has to be the strawweight title fight between Weili Zhang (21-1) and Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-4). This title fight took place at UFC 248 which was the last PPV event with fans in 2020.

The fans that were in attendance that night should thank their lucky stars they got to witness this fight in person. This UFC strawweight title fight had it all and it was such a perfect fight for that division.

In Jedrzejczyk, you had the greatest strawweight in UFC history. In Zhang, you had the new champion who appeared to be a force that would become the greatest strawweight in the promotions history.

What ensued was a back-and-forth high level war over five rounds. These two ladies didn’t stop the entire time. The pace was incredible and the technique from both of these fighters was just perfect.

They both hurt each other numerous times throughout the fight. After the fight was over, Jedrzejczyk was not even recognizable. Ultimately, Zhang walked away retaining her UFC title after a hard fought five rounds.

In a year that has truly been remarkable, this fight stands out to me as the most remarkable. If you haven’t had a chance to watch this fight, I would suggest trying anyway you can to sitting down and watching this classic from UFC 248. You won’t regret it.

UFC: What’s next for Cody Garbrandt?

Former UFC bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt (12-3), is still waiting to make his debut in the flyweight division. The former champion made a successful return to the octagon in June when he knocked out Ralphael Assuncao.

That fight took place at bantamweight, but it was announced shortly after that Garbrandt would be dropping down to flyweight. After Deiveson Figueiredo won the flyweight title in July, the UFC booked the two up for a title fight.

Originally, Garbrandt was set to face Figueiredo at UFC 255 in November. However, Garbrandt tore his bicep and he’s been dealing with lengthy symptoms from COVID. As a result, Alex Perez got the shot against Figueiredo.

Of course, Figueiredo was able to win by first round submission. The champion quickly turned around to fight Brandon Moreno at UFC 256. The two had a fight of the year candidate that resulted in a draw.

After the fight was over, Dana White announced that the UFC would be booking the rematch between the two. Garbrandt said on Twitter that he’d be ready to fight by March. However, it now appears that he won’t be getting a title shot next.

What does the UFC do with Garbrandt?

If Cody Garbrandt wants a UFC flyweight title shot in his divisional debut, he’s going to be waiting a while. After the war that Figueiredo and Moreno had at UFC 256, I think it’s safe to say that fight won’t happen until April or May.

With that timeline, Garbrandt would have to sit out over a year in between fights. I think the smart thing would be for him to take a fight at flyweight in the meantime. He’s never fought at 125 so taking a fight would allow him to go through the process and get his feet wet.

There are a couple of fights that would be fun for Garbrandt in the UFC‘s flyweight division. One fight that I would personally love to see is Garbrandt against Manel Kape (15-4). Kape was the backup at UFC 256 after his fight with Alexandre Pantoja fell through.

Kape is one of the best in the world at 125 pounds. A fight between those two would be a lot of fun. The UFC could also pair Garbrandt against Alex Perez (24-6) who just lost in the title fight at UFC 255.

No matter what they decide to do, I think the promotion needs to give Garbrandt a flyweight fight. Let him make the weight and get a win in the division as opposed to shelving him and waiting for the title shot.

Did illness prevent a Figueiredo finish at UFC 256?

This past Saturday at UFC 256, we were treated to an incredible flyweight title fight between Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) and Brandon Moreno (18-5-2). The two men engaged in an absolute war where neither man would back down.

Going into UFC 256, many people thought Moreno didn’t have much of a chance to win. The general thought was that he would be tougher than Alex Perez was for the champion, but Figueiredo should have been able to win pretty easily.

It was evident in the first few rounds that wasn’t going to be the case. Figueiredo dominated the first round of the fight for the most part blasting Moreno with massive shots. However, nothing appeared to seriously damage the challenger.

The UFC champion seemed focused but almost perplexed at times that Moreno wouldn’t go down. Throughout the fight there were momentum swings, but in the end, I had it 3-2 for Figueiredo on my scorecard.

However, with Figueiredo being docked a point, I had the UFC 256 main event a draw. Ultimately that is how the fight was called when two of the three judges scored it a draw while one still gave it to Figueiredo.

Hospital trip’s impact at UFC 256

After the fight was over, Figueiredo said in his post-fight interview that he had to go to the hospital the night prior to UFC 256 with stomach issues. He said that he didn’t feel 100%, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him.

This week, the champion expanded on that again saying through his manager that he would have finished Moreno at UFC 256. Figueiredo said to ESPN, “If I’m not sick, I knock him out or submit him in the first round, that’s a promise.”

The UFC champion has looked like a destroyer in 2020. However, this fight really shined a light on the fact that he can dig down deep and pull out a fight in the championship rounds. An important fight for a champion to go through.

However, it’s clear that he’s not happy with the performance. In all reality, I thought Figueiredo looked great on Saturday night. I just believe that Moreno is that tough and was able to take his shots.

Now, Figueiredo’s hospital trip and sickness could have played down his cardio. However, his weight cut could have also hurt his cardio. Either way, something depleted his gas tank a little.

Would that have changed the outcome? Maybe not considering he looked pretty fresh in the first round of their fight. I just believe that Moreno is tough as hell and wasn’t going to budge on Saturday night.

Brandon Moreno’s incredible journey culminated at UFC 256

This past Saturday at UFC 256, we got to witness the arguably greatest flyweight title fight in the history of the division. Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) and Brandon Moreno (18-5-2) went to war over five rounds.

Many people, including myself, believed that Moreno was a little out of his league entering UFC 256. I figured that Moreno would be more competitive than Alex Perez, but I didn’t think he would seriously challenge the champion, Figueiredo.

Boy was I wrong about that one. It was evident from the opening bell that Moreno was going to push the champion like no one has before. Figueiredo threw everything he had at Brandon Moreno at UFC 256.

Moreno ate power shots from the champion and just kept coming forward. He even took a massive shot to the groin which saw Figueiredo be docked a point which proved to be vital in the outcome of the fight.

Despite all of this, Moreno wouldn’t stop fighting at UFC 256. He kept pushing forward and throwing his own combinations. There were a couple of times throughout the fight where Figueiredo looked hurt and dejected because Moreno wouldn’t go away.

Moreno was searching to become the first Mexican born UFC champion on Saturday night. He fought with the Mexican warrior spirit on Saturday. In the end, the fight ended in a draw, but Moreno proved that he belonged.

Moreno’s UFC Journey

It’s been quite the journey for the UFC’s top flyweight contender. Back in 2016, Moreno was the lowest seed on The Ultimate Fighter’s 24th season. He was finished by Alexandre Pantoja in his first fight on the show.

He made his way into the UFC but was cut after he lost two consecutive fights. Moreno then went to LFA where he finished Maikel Perez which earned him a shot back into the big show.

After fighting Askar Askarov to a draw in his first fight back, Moreno went on to win three straight to earn himself the shot at UFC 256. Despite not getting his hand raised on Saturday, it was a shining moment for the flyweight that hails from Tijuana.

Dana White said after UFC 256 that Moreno would get a rematch with Figueiredo in 2021. Moreno has some work to do if he’s going to beat the champion. Had Figueiredo not been deducted a point, he would have won on Saturday.

Moreno is going to have to go back to the drawing board to figure out a game plan on how he can dethrone the flyweight king. It’s not going to be an easy thing to do, but if anyone’s capable of pulling it off, it’s Brandon Moreno.

Dana White says there will be an immediate rematch after UFC 256

UFC, Dana White

We got to witness arguably the greatest flyweight fight in the history of the division at UFC 256. Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) and Brandon Moreno (18-5-2) fought to a draw in what was an absolute war.

The champion, Figueiredo, was looked at as unstoppable heading into UFC 256. Figueiredo had looked like a destroyer and it was hard to imagine anyone giving him a tough fight at 125 pounds.

However, that didn’t intimidate Brandon Moreno at all. Moreno was willing to accept the challenge and he wasn’t going to back away no matter what the champion threw at him. The UFC champion threw everything he had at Moreno and Moreno wouldn’t back down.

The fight between the two men was an instant classic and might be the UFC‘s fight of the year. The fight saw Figueiredo land some incredibly big power shots, but Moreno kept coming despite them.

Moreno came on really strong in the middle rounds of the fight. In the middle of all of this, Figueiredo landed an accidental groin shot which put Moreno down for a few minutes. The referee took a point from the UFC champion and the two fought on.

I had the fight 2-2 going into the final round. Figueiredo really came on strong in the fifth round and I had it 3-2. However, the point made it a draw and that is how the judges ended up scoring the fight.

UFC President wants the rematch

After the fight was over, Dana White took to the podium at the post-fight press conference to give his thoughts. He said that there will definitely be a rematch between Figueiredo and Moreno after UFC 256.

It makes complete sense for the promotion given the way the fight went down and the result. Not only was the fight a classic, but we got no clarity because of the draw. Granted, most believe Figueiredo won three of the five rounds.

Nevertheless, Moreno had an incredible performance. There were not many out there that believed he could hang with the UFC champion. He proved tonight he can and it looks like were going to get an immediate rematch to see if he can do it again.