UFC books Alex Perez – Matt Schnell

The UFC has finalized a very solid flyweight matchup that will take place in May. First reported by MMA DNA, the promotion has booked a matchup between former title challenger, Alex Perez (24-6), and Matt Schnell (15-5).

The fight will take place on May 15th. For Alex Perez, this will be the first time that he’s fought since his failed attempt at becoming champion at UFC 255. Perez took on Deiveson Figueiredo in the main event that night.

Originally, the champion was supposed to fight Cody Garbrandt that night. However, after Garbrandt had to pull out with an injury, Perez got the opportunity of a lifetime. The chance at UFC gold and a PPV main event.

Perez had won three fights in a row and was 11-1 in his previous 12 fights. He appeared to be a formidable challenge for the UFC champion, however, it didn’t play out that way in the cage. Perez was submitted by Figueiredo in just under two minutes.

Alex Perez entered the contest ranked fourth in the flyweight division and he stayed put after the loss. He will now have a chance to get back on the right track when he takes on another top UFC flyweight in May.

Big UFC Flyweight Matchup

Standing across from Perez in May will be Matt Schnell. Schnell will make the walk in May as the seventh ranked contender in the UFC’s flyweight division. This fight is a massive fight for him in getting to fight a former title challenger.

Schnell made his UFC debut back in 2016 and started his career with the promotion getting finished in two straight fights. With his back against the wall, Schnell then won four fights in a row in the flyweight division.

That winning streak found him fighting Alexandre Pantoja in December of 2019. Pantoja was able to win that fight by knockout in the first round. Schnell made his return just last month when he defeated Tyson Nam by split decision.

It’s very clear to me that Schnell is one of the better flyweights in the UFC. This is his chance to bust into the top five. If he comes out and gets the win over Perez in May, he could be on his way to making some noise in the division.

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.

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

Arguably the most dominant champion in any UFC division is Valentina Shevchenko (20-3). Shevchenko is the queen of the flyweight division and she has shown that she’s head and shoulders above the competition at 125 pounds.

She has been so dominant that people lose their minds when she loses a round as she did at UFC 255. Shevchenko just defended her title last month against a very game, Jennifer Maia (18-7-1).

Nobody in the world believed that Maia could hang with Shevchenko. However, Maia was able to win a round and make it competitive. Well, as competitive as a fight can be when one person loses four of the five rounds.

Simply put, Valentina Shevchenko is at a different level. The UFC flyweight champion has only lost twice inside the octagon. Both of those losses came to two-division champion, Amanda Nunes.

However, many believe that Shevchenko won the second matchup which Nunes took by split decision. Nevertheless, when the flyweight division was created, the UFC created it with Valentina Shevchenko in mind.

UFC Flyweight in 2021

As we head into the new year, we already know what is going to be first for Valentina Shevchenko. The first challenger will be former UFC strawweight champion, Jessica Andrade (21-8).

Andrade is now competing in her third weight class in the UFC. She started at bantamweight when it was the only division. However, she was much smaller than all of her competition.

When the strawweight division was created, she dropped twenty pounds to compete there. She captured UFC gold, but it still didn’t appear to be her natural weight class. Finally at 125, she seems to have found the perfect fit.

In her debut, she finished former title challenger, Katlyn Chookagian (15-4), in the first round. A matchup between Shevchenko and Andrade should be a lot of fun for fight fans. No word on when this matchup will take place.

Outside of the title fight, there is another compelling matchup in the division that should be made. That would be the rematch between Chookagian and top contender, Lauren Murphy (14-4).

The two fought back in 2016 with Chookagian picking up the win. However, Murphy has now won four in a row which has placed her third in the rankings. A matchup between the two could be a title eliminator.

One storyline to watch out for in the UFC‘s flyweight division in 2021 is a potential champion versus champion super fight. Weili Zhang (21-1) is the UFC’s strawweight champion and widely considered one of the best in the world.

If she’s able to defend her title once or twice successfully in 2021, I wouldn’t rule out her moving up to challenge Shevchenko. Dana White has already said that he likes the idea. The flyweight division is definitely one to watch in 2021.

UFC rebooks Manel Kape – Alexandre Pantoja

The UFC has rebooked the flyweight debut of the former RIZIN 135 pound champion, Manel Kape (15-4). Combate was the first to report that the promotion is rebooking the matchup between Kape and Alexandre Pantoja (22-5) on February 6th.

The flyweight matchup was originally supposed to take place on the UFC Vegas 17 prelims. However, Pantoja had to pull out of the fight. As a result, the UFC shifted to having Kape serve as the UFC 256 backup for the main event.

Kape relished the opportunity saying that he would deliver a destructive performance if he got the chance to step in. Of course, there were no issues at UFC 256 so Kape’s debut would have to wait.

While it’s not the biggest mainstream move in the world, the Manel Kape signing was a big deal for the UFC‘s flyweight division. Kape is looked at as one of the very best in the world at 125 pounds.

The UFC’s flyweight division has really taken off this year. After flirting with extinction for a couple of years, the division appears to be here to stay and the UFC is investing a lot into developing the 125 pound division.

Big UFC test for Kape

While a lot of the attention will be on the UFC debut of Manel Kape, he’s not going to have an easy task on February 6th. Alexandre Pantoja will enter the octagon ranked fifth in the flyweight rankings.

One of the more powerful flyweights in the promotion, Pantoja has been in there with some of the best. Since May of 2018, the only losses that Pantoja has suffered include losses to Askar Askarov and the UFC flyweight champion, Deiveson Figueiredo.

It’s worth noting that Pantoja has two victories over top contender Brandon Moreno. Granted, one came on The Ultimate Fighter so it does not count towards Pantoja’s official record. However, you can see the level of fighter he is.

Giving Kape a fight like Pantoja shows you how serious the promotion is about him. On a lesser scale, this is similar to the UFC signing Michael Chandler. This flyweight matchup should be fireworks in early February.

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.

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.

Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno fight to a draw at UFC 256

In the main event of UFC 256 we had a flyweight title fight between the champion, Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1), and the challenger, Brandon Moreno (18-5-1). Both of these men just won three weeks ago at UFC 255.

It’s been quite the 2020 for the flyweight champion. Back in February, Figueiredo was able to stop Joseph Benavidez. However, since he missed weight, he didn’t walk away with the UFC flyweight title.

Instead, the two men rematched in July. This time, Figueiredo finished Benavidez even fast than he did the first time. After claiming the title in July, Figueiredo defended at UFC 255 against Alex Perez. Figueiredo submitted Perez early in the first round.

Brandon Moreno also competed and won at UFC 255. Moreno is the top flyweight contender, yet he was passed over for the title shot three weeks ago. However, Dana White wanted him to get this shot at the title.

Moreno has been looked at as a future champion by many in the business. He has a habit of rising to the occasion and he was looking to become the first Mexican born UFC champion in the promotions history tonight.

UFC 256 Recap

Round 1

The main event of UFC 256 opened up with Figueiredo throwing a spinning back kick to the body. Figueiredo then threw a left hook that seemed to wobble Moreno right away. The UFC champ shot in for a takedown, however, Moreno defended nicely.

After a scramble, both men ended up back on their feet. Figueiredo was carrying his hands low just stalking the challenger. Moreno was doing a good job of landing stiff jabs as Figueiredo was moving forward.

Figueiredo appeared to be trying to time a big shot. Moreno was doing a good job of keeping his hands high. Figueiredo appeared to have no respect for Moreno’s power. The UFC champ appeared to sting Moreno again with an overhand right.

Moreno seemed to recover well and quickly. However, Figueiredo was just plotting forward. Moreno started to open up in the final minute of the round and Figueiredo appeared to be tiring a little. Good moments from the challenger but a clear first round for the champion.

Round 2

Moreno opened the second round throwing a couple of big hooks. The UFC champion appeared to be taking his time a little more in the second. Figueiredo threw a big spinning back kick, but Moreno countered nicely with a few big shots.

Moreno was getting confident in the second round with his striking. However, Figueiredo landed a few massive shots in tight. Somehow, Moreno made it through the barrage. Moreno was able to land a takedown.

Once on the ground, Figueiredo started to throw some elbows. A scramble found the two back on their feet. The two then just started trading power shots in the pocket. Moreno was willing to stand right in the fire with the UFC champion.

Figueiredo jumped forward with a massive left hook that Moreno just ate. Moreno stepped in with a right of his own that seemed to stun the champion. Figueiredo landed a few big shots, but Moreno was able to land a takedown.

Figueiredo scrambled and the two went back to trading. Second round comes to a close and I don’t know how to call that one. I lean slightly towards the challenger in the second with the takedowns.

Round 3

The third round opened with both men landing jabs. The UFC champion threw a couple of clean and powerful hooks, but Moreno just ate them. Figueiredo then landed a massive shot to the body.

Figueiredo followed up with more shots and Moreno was hurting to the body. Moreno appeared to be feeling some of the damage early in the third round. Moreno was able to clinch and catch his breath two minutes in.

The two separated and the UFC champion went right back to stalking Moreno. Moreno landed a clean jab, but Figueiredo countered with a clean left of his own. Figueiredo landed two clean left hooks and Moreno just ate them again.

A massive kick landed low on Moreno and the action came to a halt. The referee decided to take a point away from the UFC champion and the action resumed. Both men seemed a little refreshed after the break.

Figueiredo shot in for a takedown with one minute left in the round and got it. However, Moreno was able to get back up. The round comes to a close and I leaned towards the champion, but with the point deduction I have it a draw.

Round 4

The fourth round opened with the UFC champion throwing a flying knee. Figueiredo then staggered Moreno with a stiff jab. Moreno was getting popped over and over with the jab in the opening minute.

However, Moreno then started landing big combinations of his own. A flush right hook landed for Moreno then a high kick that wobbled Figueiredo. 90 seconds into the round and Moreno was able to land a takedown.

Figueiredo worked his way up to the feet and landed a clean combination of his own. The UFC champion then started to land very clean when the two were on the feet. Halfway through the round and Moreno appeared to rock Figueiredo.

However, Figueiredo started throwing back big shots of his own. Moreno was caught with a flush right hand, but then he landed one of his own. Figueiredo landed some massive shots and Moreno shot in and landed another takedown.

Figueiredo started throwing big elbows from the ground while Moreno was just laying there. A scramble brought the fight to the feet and Moreno was able to land some big shots. I give the round to Moreno. 2-2 on my scorecard.

Round 5

The final round opened with the UFC champion plotting forward again. 30 seconds in and the first shot is landed by the champion. Figueiredo landed a few really clean body kicks, but then Moreno started pressing forward.

Figueiredo appeared to be looking for big shots while Moreno was plotting forward. The UFC champion landed a couple of really clean shots on Moreno. Moreno wasn’t throwing much in the final round.

Halfway through the round and Figueiredo was controlling the striking. Moreno appeared to have a hurt arm and he wasn’t throwing any left hands. Figueiredo landed a big right hand, but again, Moreno just ate it.

90 seconds left in the fight and Figueiredo landed a nice combination. A good low kick landed from the champion. A minute left and the UFC champion landed another clean shot. However, Moreno landed a good hook of his own.

Under a minute left and Moreno went for a takedown. However, Figueiredo defended well. Figueiredo throws Moreno to the ground and lands some massive shots as the fight comes to a close. I score the fight 47-47 with the point deduction.

Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno fight to a Majority Draw (47-46, 47-47, 47-47)

UFC 256 Preview: Deiveson Figueiredo – Brandon Moreno

Tomorrow night in the headliner of UFC 256, we have a flyweight title clash between Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1) and Brandon Moreno (18-5-1). Both of these fighters just fought at UFC 255 which was three weeks ago.

That night, Figueiredo was able to successfully defend his title against Alex Perez. Perez was the fourth ranked flyweight contender, but the UFC gave him the title shot. Figueiredo was able to submit him in the first round.

It’s been an incredibly dominant year for the UFC champion. He started things out by starching Joseph Benavidez back in February. That fight was supposed to be for the vacant flyweight title, but Figueiredo missed weight.

They rematched in July and Figueiredo finished Benavidez quicker than he did the first time. A sensational 2020 has book the UFC flyweight champion on the map and he looks like a destroyer that the division has truly never had.

The challenger tomorrow night is Brandon Moreno. Despite being the top ranked contender in the UFC‘s flyweight division, Moreno didn’t get the title shot a few weeks ago. Instead, he took on Brandon Royval and he won by TKO.

Since returning to the UFC in September of last year, Moreno has gone 3-0-1 with wins over Royval and Jussier Formiga. Moreno is looking to become the UFC’s first Mexican born champion tomorrow night.

UFC 256 Prediction

This is such a fun matchup and honestly it’s the matchup we should have had at UFC 255. Moreno is clearly the top contender in the division if you ask me. He’s got very good striking skills and we’ve seen him show off his grappling.

What’s impressed me in his last few fights is how he beats opponents at their own game. People expected Brandon Royval to have the grappling advantage, yet Moreno dominated the grappling at UFC 255.

He’s strong wherever the fight goes and you know he’s going to be prepared. However, he has an extremely tall order tomorrow night. Deiveson Figueiredo is not your normal flyweight. For lack of a better term, he’s a destoryer.

He has incredible power for a flyweight. On top of that, he’s incredibly slick on the ground and can submit you from anywhere. Now that he has his weight under control, the UFC champion truly doesn’t have a weakness in his game.

What concerns me for Moreno is I’ve seen him struggle against power punchers. See the Alexandre Pantoja fight as an example. I’m worried that Figueiredo’s power is really going to throw off Moreno tomorrow night.

If Figueiredo wasn’t the champion, I truly believe that Brandon Moreno could be. However, Figueiredo is the champion and he stands in Moreno’s way tomorrow night. Unfortunately for “The Assassin Baby”, I don’t think the belts going anywhere.

Prediction: Deiveson Figueiredo by TKO – Round 3

UFC: Manel Kape – Alexandre Pantoja is off

Next weekend’s UFC Vegas 17 card is one of the more stacked fight night cards in recent memory. However, the card has taken some hits. Earlier this week, a positive COVID test from Leon Edwards scratched the main event against Khamzat Chimaev.

That fight is looking like it will be rebooked in January or February. Now, today we found out that UFC Vegas 17 is losing another fight. MMA Fighting was first to report that the flyweight contest between Manel Kape (15-4) and Alexandre Pantoja (22-5) has been called off.

Pantoja reportedly had to pull out of the fight for undisclosed reasons. While this wasn’t the biggest fight on the card, this was a fight that die-hard MMA fans were really looking forward to.

Manel Kape is one of the best flyweights in the world. This fight was going to be his UFC debut and he was getting a very exciting opponent in Alexandre Pantoja. The perfect introduction for Kape into the UFC.

Whenever Kape does make his UFC debut, he will do it on the heels of three consecutive knockout finishes. Those finishes led him to being crowned champion over in Rizin. Kape is expected to be an immediate title contender at 125 pounds.

What’s the UFC’s plan?

Again, at this time there is no reason as to why Pantoja had to pull out of UFC Vegas 17. That being said, the promotion is tossing around dates in February for the fight to be rebooked per MMA Fighting.

When these two do meet in the octagon, Pantoja will be looking to bounce back after a loss to Askar Askarov that came back in July. Since May of 2018, Askarov and current UFC flyweight champion, Deiveson Figueiredo, are the only two to beat Pantoja.

Pantoja even has a win over current number one contender, Brandon Moreno. I’m really happy to hear that the promotion is sticking with this fight instead of moving to something else. This should be a fantastic matchup whenever it does get finalized.

UFC books Joseph Benavidez – Askar Askarov

Joseph Benavidez, UFC

The UFC is finalizing a fantastic flyweight matchup for their March 6th card. MMA Junkie was first to report that the promotion is finalizing a matchup between former title challenger Joseph Benavidez (28-7), and Askar Askarov (12-0-1).

The fight is expected to take place on the main card of the UFC 259 PPV. Both men will enter the cage ranked inside the top 3 of the UFC‘s flyweight rankings. From a matchmaking perspective, it doesn’t get much better than this.

For Benavidez, he’s going to be looking to bounce back after back-to-back losses to the champion, Deiveson Figueiredo. The two first fought back in February where Benavidez was finished in the second round.

However, Figueiredo didn’t make weight so the UFC decided to run the fight back for the flyweight title. The second fight was even more dominating for Figueiredo who put Benavidez to sleep in the first round.

Despite being dominated twice by the champion, it should be known that Benavidez is still one of the very best in the world. He’s only lost to four men in his professional career: Figueiredo, Demetrious Johnson, Dominick Cruz, and Sergio Pettis.

The knock on Benavidez is that he’s always failed to win the big one. While consistently being one of the UFC‘s best, he’s 0-5 in title opportunities. With this fight on March 6th, he will look to climb the latter once again.

UFC 259’s Flyweight Clash

Standing in the way of Benavidez will be Askar Askarov. The Russian flyweight trains under Fighting Eagle in Dagestan which of course is the gym of UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Askarov is looked at as the potential next UFC champion to hail from Dagestan. So far, he’s made three appearances inside the octagon. He fought to a split draw against number one contender, Brandon Moreno. After that he defeated Tim Elliot and Alexandre Pantoja.

Askarov is the real deal and he’s very talented. This is not going to be an easy fight for either man. Either Benavidez will show everyone that he still has enough in the tank for one more UFC title run or Dagestan will flex it’s muscles once again.