Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is set to stage its final pay-per-view (PPV) event of the year, as UFC 256 goes down later tonight (Dec. 12, 2020) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event will feature a Flyweight title fight between division champion, Deiveson Figueiredo, defending his strap against Brandon Moreno. In the co-headlining act, Tony Ferguson will battle Charles Oliveira in a pivotal Lightweight affair.
Figueiredo will make one of the quickest turnarounds of any UFC champion ever when he defends his 125-pound title against Moreno just three weeks after submitting Alex Perez at UFC 255. That’s probably one of the reasons why Dana White decided to give him an extra $50,000 cash in a bag. Winner of five in a row, Figueiredo has been on a tear during his run inside the Octagon, going 9-1, with his lone loss coming against Jussier Formiga. Overall, “Daico” is 19-1 with 17 finishes, an impressive resume to say the least. While he has his work cut out for him to bring more buzz to the 125-pound weight class, he’s off to a mighty fine start.
As far as Moreno is concerned, after getting passed over for a shot against Figueiredo in favor of Perez, he made sure it wouldn’t happen again by putting on a dominant performance against Brandon Royval at UFC 255, separating his shoulder with one second remaining in the first round (watch it). As a result, the promotion was quick to book him in the title fight immediately after. “The Assassin Baby” is 4-0-1, 6-2-1 during his stint with the promotion and has proven to be as legit as they come. Against Figueiredo, he will be giving up some size and strength, but the experience factor is pretty even here. Overall, Figueiredo’s arsenal is a bit more polished so Moreno will have to be on his “A” game if he wants to end the Brazilian bomber’s run before it picks up further momentum. On the ground, the edge once again goes to Deiveson. All that being said, Moreno isn’t one to be counted out and has the skills to pull off a major upset.
Despite the constant setbacks, the card didn’t turn out too bad for it being a pay-per-view (PPV) event. COVID-19 really delivered one blow after another to the card, which has been the story of 2020.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
This card has had so many changes, so bear with us here. The event was originally set to feature a Welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns but was eventually scrapped due to “The Nigerian Nightmare” needing more time to prepare. As a result, the co-main event title fight between UFC “champ-champ” Amanda Nunes and Megan Anderson was bumped up to headliner. After “Lioness” withdrew, the promotion booked a Bantamweight title bout between division champion Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling. After Yan ran into travel issues, that fight was canceled as well. In the end, the promotion was able to book a Flyweight title fight between Figueiredo and Moreno.
But that’s not all, not even close.
COVID-19 absolutely obliterated this card in this last week alone as Angela Hill, Karl Roberson, Dwight Grant and Jared Vanderaa were all forced out of their respective matchups. As a result, UFC 256 now only has 10 fights on its slate.
No major injuries reported.
The lone newcomer making her Octagon debut will be Sam Hughes, who agreed to step in and face Tecia Torres after Angela Hill was forced out due to COVID-19. Hughes is coming in from Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) and is 5-1 thus far in her mixed martial arts (MMA) career. She was most recently seen defeating Danielle Hindley back in October. “Sampage” has only been fighting professionally since 2019 and has four finishes to her credit since that time.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Headlining the undercard is a Featherweight showdown between Cub Swanson and Daniel Pineda. Swanson hasn’t competed in more than one year and was last seen defeating Kron Gracie in Oct. 2019. In doing so, he snapped his four-fight losing streak. Pineda, on the other hand, made his return to the Octagon after a six-year absence to knockout Herbert Burns at UFC 252.
Billy Quarantillo will look to keep his momentum going by scoring his eighth straight win when he takes on Gavin Tucker. Quarantillo — a “Contender Series” alum — has won his first three fights inside the Octagon, making quite an impression in the process. As for Tucker, despite losing to Rick Glenn at UFC 215, he has been on quite a tear, winning his last two bouts, going 3-1 under the UFC banner and 12-1 overall. This is a fun scrap between two up-and-coming Featherweights.
Chase Hooper will look to bounce back after suffering the first loss of his career against Alex Caceres. Prior to that, the 21-year-old standout had gone 9-0-1. Standing in his way of the winner’s circle is Peter Barrett, who threw up a dud in his UFC debut against Youssef Zalal a few months ago.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Junior dos Santos was once the Heavyweight champion of the world, knocking out the likes of Cain Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum, Derrick Lewis, Mark Hunt and even defeating current champion, Stipe Miocic. But over the last few years, it seems “Cigano” has lost a step as he is currently on a three-fight losing streak (all via knockout). Breaking that skid will not be an easy task as he takes on Ciryl Gane, the undefeated (6-0, 3-0 UFC) big man who not only has heavy hands, but a great jiu-jitsu game. A fourth loss won’t be good news for “JDS,” who could find himself in the unemployment line along with a slew of veterans who were recently cut by the promotion.
Interest Level: 7.5 out of 10
While this fight card started out as a potential all-time great, it’s still pretty decent despite all of the setbacks, even on the undercard. The rest of the PPV main card has some great match ups, including the co-main event between Tony Ferguson and Charles Oliveira.
UFC President, Dana White, recently hinted at the possibility of having non-title co-headliners go five rounds, as well, and this is a prime example of why that's a good idea. This fight is a sure-fire slugfest that will likely leave fans and fighters alike wanting more once it's all said and done. White recently stated that the winner could be in line for a shot at the 155-pound title, which is currently in limbo. And while “El Cucuy” seems to be done trying to get to that “wet dream,” it’s hard to see him turning it down. As for Oliveira, his lifelong dream of fighting for the title is one more win away because if he can hand Ferguson his second straight loss, denying him a championship fight after earning his eighth straight win would be tough to justify. This fight could end up stealing the show.
Mackenzie Dern will look to collect her third straight win as she faces off against Virna Jandiroba. Dern got back on track in no time flat after suffering her first-ever loss to Amanda Ribas, winning back-to-back bouts against Hannah Cifers and Randa Markos. Getting that third win won’t be easy because Jandiroba is also on a two-fight win streak and was last seen defeating Felice Herrig earlier this year at UFC 252. All in all, she owns a 16-1 record.
Rafael Fiziev really had a coming out party in his last fight against Marc Diakiese this past July, putting on an exciting offensive and defensive performance that had everyone talking. After earning the win, he was on everyone’s radar, and now the world awaits to see what he has to offer this time around against long-time veteran, Renato Moicano. The Brazilian bomber recently snapped his two-fight losing streak with a win over Damir Hadzovic, so you know he doesn’t want to go back to the losers group again. This match up should be bananas.
Also on the main card, Kevin Holland will look to continue his climb up the Middleweight ladder by attempting to take out Ronaldo Souza. Holland was in line to face Jack Hermansson last week before COVID-19 sidelined him. While Hermansson is higher-ranked, a win over Souza would be big given “Jacare’s” name value alone. With a win, “Trail Blazer” can elevate himself up the rankings and maybe even crash the Top 10. For “Jacare,” stopping Holland’s momentum could be what gets him back in the mix and prevents him from joining the growing list of legends who are finding themselves out of work. Obviously, Souza’s best bet is to take the fight down to the mat because going toe-to-toe against the younger and much more powerful Holland is a gamble the jiu-jitsu ace doesn't want to take.
Enjoy the fights!
UFC 256 Full Fight Card:
UFC 256 PPV Main Event:
125 lbs.: UFC Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno
UFC 256 PPV Main Card On ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira
115 lbs.: Mackenzie Dern vs. Virna Jandiroba
185 lbs.: Ronaldo Souza vs. Kevin Holland
265 lbs.: Junior dos Santos vs. Ciryl Gane
UFC 256 Prelims Card On ESPN+/ESPN2 (8 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Daniel Pineda vs. Cub Swanson
155 lbs.: Rafael Fiziev vs. Renato Moicano
145 lbs.: Billy Quarantillo vs. Gavin Tucker
115 lbs.: Tecia Torres vs. Sam Hughes
UFC 256 Prelims Card On ESPN+ (7:30 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Peter Barrett vs. Chase Hooper
***Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to drastic change because of the various global quarantine restrictions.***
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 256 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 256: “Figueiredo vs. Moreno” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For more upcoming UFC events in both Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi click here.