The pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event of UFC 263, which took place tonight (Sat., June 12, 2021) inside Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., featured Flyweight champion, Deiveson Figueiredo, running it back with No. 1-seeded contender, Brandon Moreno. The dynamic duo hoped to settle the score once and for all following their thrilling “Fight of the Year” in 2020 that ended in a dreaded “majority draw.”
After their first fight, Figueiredo revealed that he was in the hospital with serious stomach issues the night before the fight. Ever since, he has claimed that Moreno would not stand a chance against him at 100 percent. And he could not have been more wrong, with Moreno coming out strong from the opening bell en route to an awesome third round submission finish.
Both fighters touched gloves and went straight to work, with Figueiredo taking the center of the cage and inviting Moreno to come trade punches with him. Instead, Moreno targeted Figueiredo’s lower half, then peppered in some random strikes upstairs. Figueiredo, meanwhile, was content to circle and take it all in. Moreno started to put some combinations together, with Figueiredo finally uncorking a mini flying knee and a hard body shot. Moreno kept pushing forward, though, with Figueiredo whiffing on a big overhand right. Standing elbow from Figueiredo scored, with Moreno smiling as if he didn’t feel it. Figueiredo tried to get cute with a side stance and some weird angles, but Moreno sat him down with a hard shot. Figueiredo rolled to try and recover and the pair tussled on the ground for a bit before Moreno let him back to his feet. Moreno with a nice switch kick at the bell, looking very strong in the opening five minutes.
Figueiredo tried to laugh it off between rounds, but it was clear that he needed to step it up if he wanted to retain his belt. Moreno, though, stung him with a jab that had Figueiredo thinking he wanted to get the fight to the floor. He wrapped him up from half guard and dropped hard elbows to his ribs, with Moreno scrambling and kicking his way back to his feet and reversing position along the cage. Moreno landed some hard knees then tossed Figueiredo to the mat, landing in full guard along the bottom of the cage. Figueiredo tried to work short elbows from underneath as Moreno struggled to find an opening. Figueiredo tried to get back to his feet and a crazy scramble ensued, with both fighters landing back in the same position. The shots off his back appeared to do some damage to Moreno, who started to develop a large mouse over his left his eye as he headed back to his corner.
Likely down two rounds on the judges scorecards, Figueiredo really needed to get something going or risk losing his coveted world title. He got things started in round three with a hard kick, which Moreno countered with a lower version. Moreno missed on a haymaker, but used the momentum to score a takedown and somehow land in rear-naked choke position. He slid the forearm under the chin, and it looked close to being sunk in deep, but Figueiredo was able to break the arm lock. Moreno didn’t give up, though, boxing Figueiredo’s ears and freeing up some real estate under his chin. Moreno didn’t hesitate, locking in the choke and forcing a reluctant tap.
Figueiredo was perhaps a little too overconfident — Moreno won both rounds then finished him in the third. It was a total masterclass, one that no one besides Moreno expected heading into the rematch.
It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving and hard-working human.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 263 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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