Newcomer Askar Askarov gave everything he had, and Brandon Moreno answered right back at UFC Mexico City.
Brandon Moreno was set to make his return to the UFC Saturday night, on home turf. Cut from the promotion in late 2018, he was looking to start fresh with a win at home on the UFC Mexico City main card. His opponent, Askar Askarov, was a talented flyweight prospect making his promotional debut.
Askarov was carrying a perfect 10-0 record into the fight. The Dagestani finished all ten of those wins, and was the betting favorite in the fight, despite being far from home, in Moreno’s back yard.
Askarov latched onto a leg early, looking to take the fight to the ground. Moreno made his way to the fence. Askarov switched to a body lock, and hoisted his opponent up, then slammed him down. While Moreno actually landed on top Askarov quickly rolled him over. That gave him time to work, but Moreno would eventually scramble free — only to have to watch out for an arm-bar/triangle as he did. Askarov then got active off his back, as Moreno settled into guard. Some hard elbows landed for Askarov on bottom. Moreno dropped some heavy punches in response, an seemed to have his opponent hurt. However, Askarov would escape to his feet, and they’d close out the round there.
Cageside Press scores the round 10-9 Moreno
Round two opened with a flurry from Moreno. Askarov opted to avoid that, and take the fight to the ground. Soon enough Moreno was on his back, working his way to the fence. He gave up the back standing back up, but was eventually able to scramble free. A brief, wild exchange followed until Askarov took control of Moreno’s back, while the Mexican was still standing. Moreno then found himself thrown back to the mat. Each time Moreno returned to the feet, Askarov was able to quickly take control and bring him back down. Until the final ninety seconds of the round, where Moreno was at long last able to create space. After a couple of exchanges, Askarov changed levels, and Moreno cracked him with a head kick! Askarov was rocked, but survived the round.
Cageside Press scores the round 10-9 Askarov
Through two, this flyweight scrap was close, and could easily be split, or have either fighter awarded both rounds. Moreno switched up the script and took down Askarov to open the third. Askarov threw punches from his back, while Moreno worked to improve top position. More than anything, he was eating up time on the clock. Landing punches to the body, dropping elbows, and working to pass guard. Which was more and more control time. Moreno would eventually move to the back and look to sink in a rear-naked choke. He couldn’t pull it off, and Askarov would transition to the top to finish the frame.
Cageside Press scores the round 10-9 for Moreno
Official Result: Brandon Moreno vs. Askar Askarov ends in a split draw (28-28, 28-29, 30-27)