Brandon Moreno was a man on a mission at UFC 263, winning the first two rounds and then choking out Deiveson Figueiredo in the third to become the flyweight champion.
Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno were running it back Saturday at UFC 263. The flyweight duo had fought to a draw at UFC 256 back in December. In Arizona on Saturday, they were looking for a more definitive outcome.
Things had become a little heated in the build-up to the rematch: Figueiredo gave Moreno a good shove at weigh-ins. One of Moreno’s teammates had been accused of racism towards Brazilians.
All of it served to simply up the anticipation, after the pair’s last meeting had turned out to be a Fight of the Year contender.
After 30 seconds passed, Moreno began the fight with a leg kick and a jab. Moreno was throwing punches two at a time while Figueiredo was happy to wait. Moreno went to the body during a four-punch combination. Moreno kept up the pace as Figueiredo stayed patient, allowing Moreno to throw five-times the strikes that he had. One jab knocked the champion down with a minute left in the round and Figueiredo recovered to butterfly guard, sweeping Moreno to get to his feet. The challenger had won the first round.
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Figueiredo was much more active to start the second round, firing a combination after eating a jab, then taking Moreno down. The champion had Moreno locked in half guard until a scramble got the fighters back to their feet with three minutes left, featuring a brief guillotine attempt from Figueiredo. Moreno scrambled again on the feet to take the back of the champion, and Figueiredo had to roll to guard to get out of danger. Another scramble nearly returned the fight to the feet, but Moreno stayed in top position to take the second round.
Moreno took the back early in the third round, sinking his forearm under the chin. Figueiredo was able to fight off the first attempt, but Moreno got the the choke in much deeper the second time. Figueiredo tried to rip away the grip with both hands, but Moreno stayed strong and got the tap, becoming the new flyweight champion.
Brandon Moreno def. Deiveson Figueiredo by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) in Round 3 (2:26)