Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight talents Renato Moicano and Damir Hadzovic will square off this Saturday (March 14, 2020) at UFC Fight Night 170 from inside Ginasio Nilson Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil.
After a relatively short but rather successful run at Featherweight that saw Moicano climb into the Top 10 and score some big wins, the Brazilian has opted to allow himself an additional 10 pounds and move to Lightweight. Moicano is currently riding a two-fight losing streak, so this will be a very important test for him. On the other hand, Hadzovic is a solid first test. “The Bosnian Bomber” has won two of his last three bouts, and while he’s no contender, Hadzovic has certainly proven himself well-rounded and tough enough to give us real insight on where Moicano fits into the 155-pound picture.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each athlete:
Record: 13-3 (1)
Key Wins: Jeremy Stephens (UFC on FOX 24), Cub Swanson (UFC 227), Calvin Kattar (UFC 223), Zubair Tukhugov (UFC 198)
Key Losses: Chan Sung Jung (UFC Fight Night 154), Jose Aldo (UFC Fight Night 144), Brian Ortega (UFC 214)
Keys to Victory: It cannot be overstated how poorly Moicano’s first main event slot went. To miserably cut weight for weeks and weeks only to get walloped by Jung’s first power punch of the night (watch it) ... well, it’s not hard to see why Moicano abandoned the Featherweight ship. Luckily, Moicano is a pretty nasty kickboxer with a sharp jab and opportunistic submission game regardless of weight class.
Moicano’s kickboxing is interesting. He’s definitely got a great jab, but the rest of his boxing can be a bit stiff, relying on flurrying back whenever an opponent throws at him. Jung really predicted Moicano’s approach, allowing him to tee off on the very first exchange.
Given Hadzovic’s penchant for looping power shots, expect him to attempt to counter the jab in similar fashion.
In short, Moicano needs to switch it up a bit, just to make himself a little less predictable. Still rely on the jab, but spend some more time circling, feinting, and kicking before relying committing to the blow. Getting a feel for Hadzovic’s movement and timing before trying to box with his opponent will certainly allow his superior technique to shine, whether he chooses to wrestle or strike.
Key Wins: Marcin Held (UFC Fight Night 109), Polo Reyes (UFC Fight Night 145), Nick Hein (UFC Fight Night 134)
Key Losses: Christos Giagos (UFC Fight Night 153), Alan Patrick (UFC Fight Night 125), Mairbek Taisumov (UFC Fight Night 86)
Keys to Victory: Hadzovic is not a technical marvel. He is, however, a strong and tough athlete with rounded enough skills to confidently press forward. Hadzovic attacks with good aggression and volume, looking to bully opponents with his physicality.
He’s stopped seven of his foes via knockout.
Hadzovic does not want a technical striking match, which will likely see him caught at the end of the jab and low kick for three rounds. However, he also has to be wary of chasing wildly, as Giagos found great success with reactive double legs last time out, and Moicano is a finisher on the mat.
To find kickboxing success without giving up a takedown, in the words of the great Ray Longo, Hadzovic must “punch a hole in his f***ing chest.” If Hadzovic is target the mid-section while advancing, it will help keep his level low and help grant him an underhook. Furthermore, it will tempt Moicano to punching downward, which could be the opening required for Hadzovic to land big.
This fight should tell us a lot about Moicano’s Lightweight potential.
Lightweight could prove precisely the new start Moicano is chasing. There’s a ton of skill to his game already, and he may be able to perform even better without such a dramatic weight cut. Plus, he has lost his last two fights via stoppage, and there’s always a chance some of that could be attributed to a bad cut.
If Moicano wins dominantly, expect him to receive a more highly ranked foe next. However, a loss could send him back down to Featherweight — it’s hard to give up ranked status to instead be stuck in the middle of the talent-rich Lightweight ranks.
Meanwhile, Hadzovic is really being used as a test for Moicano in this fight. He’s certainly not expected to win, so a loss won’t affect him too terribly. However, Hadzovic has out-performed expectations in the past, and this is still an opportunity to pick up the biggest win of his professional career regardless of the betting odds.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 170 fight card this weekend right here, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 170: “Lee vs. Oliviera” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
At UFC Fight Night 170, Renato Moicano and Damir Hadzovic will scrap. Which man will have his hand raised?