Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight scrappers Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno will throw down one more time this weekend (Sat., June 12, 2021) at UFC 263 inside Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
It proved to be a banner year for the Flyweight division in 2020, and a great deal of that extra attention came due to Figueiredo’s viciousness. He won three fights in short, violent fashion to capture and defend the title, then made history by accepting a short rebound to defend his title once more vs. Moreno. “The Assassin Baby” rose to the occasion, battling the dominant champion back-and-forth through five rounds (watch full fight here). Each man scored strong strikes and had big moments, but after 25 minutes, the match was called a draw — the perfect set up for another showdown with full preparation for each athlete.
Let’s take a closer look at their keys to victory:
Key Wins: Joseph Benavidez (UFC Fight Island 2, UFC Fight Night 169), Alex Perez (UFC 255), Alexandre Pantoja (UFC 240), John Moraga (UFC Fight Night 135), Tim Elliott (UFC Fight Night 161), Joseph Morales (UFC Fight Night 125)
Key Losses: Jussier Formiga (UFC Fight Night 148)
Keys to Victory: Figueiredo does his damnedest to live up to his “Deus da Guerra” moniker (God of War). The Brazilian brings a considerable intensity into the Octagon, and he’s plenty willing to take major chances in pursuit of the knockout blow or submission finish.
In the first bout, a lot of Figueiredo’s tactics worked. He landed some huge shots, but it seemed to surprise Figueiredo when Moreno managed to remain standing and fire back. Figueiredo did well to adjust when the early finish eluded him, but hopefully Moreno’s toughness imparted a lasting impression, because Figueiredo has to assume he’s in for another five-round war.
Tactically, I’d like to see Figueiredo hunt for more close distance striking exchanges. From further apart, both men landed solid jabs, but Moreno surprised his foe with his ability to counter with combinations. However, those counters proved more difficult to find when Figueiredo marched forward behind a whirlwind of elbows, liver shots, and knees. From that close distance, Figueriedo’s physicality should be at its most effective, and the damage can build quickly.
Key Wins: Jussier Formiga (UFC Fight Night 170), Dustin Ortiz (UFC Fight Night 108), Brandon Royval (UFC 255), Kai Kara-France (UFC 245)
Key Losses: Sergio Pettis (UFC Fight Night 114), Alexandre Pantoja (UFC Fight Night 129)
Keys to Victory: Moreno has developed into a really well-rounded fighter. He began as a jiu-jitsu specialist, but his wrestling quickly grew to match his ground work, and in the last couple years, his boxing has leveled up similarly.
Ahead of Moreno’s first bout with Figueiredo, the Mexican athlete performed very well, but there was a notable omission from his strategy. “Daico” stands in a wide stance with his weight very committed — that’s why he’s able to punch so damn hard. In the past, this has left him vulnerable to low kicks, and that’s a flaw Moreno failed to exploit.
It also fits so well into his strategy! Moreno did great work at distance with his jab and counter punches, then he turned to his clinch takedowns whenever Figueiredo charged really hard.
In general, I’d like to see Moreno ending his combinations — on lead or counter — with kicks. He’s got a sneakily powerful high kick that nearly caught Figueiredo last time out, and it could once again punish his foe’s low hand position or break down the leg further.
The Flyweight belt is up for grabs.
Figueiredo has done remarkably well to establish himself as a dominant champion in a very short period of time. He’s the face of Flyweight right now, and that’s great for the division. A second showdown with Moreno is his opportunity to show that health issues really did limit him in the first battle, as well as remind the rest of the division of his destructive potential.
Alternatively, Moreno has a chance to show what he can do with a full camp — the challenger took the fight on short-notice too after all! More than that, rebounding from being released by UFC to capturing the title would be an awesome story for the would-be champion, and there’s a definite chance he can grow to become a real star in Mexico.
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.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 263: “Adesanya vs. Vettori 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
At UFC 263, Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno will meet once more. Will there be a definitive winner the second time around?