Capping off the preliminary card at UFC 281 was a potential Fight of the Night, at least on paper, between fan faves Brad Riddell and Renato Moicano.
Despite taking a loss, Moicano had picked up a legion of new fans after facing former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos on extremely short notice earlier this year. As for Riddell, the New Zealander had dropped back-to-back fights, but was known for an exciting style, and his Fight of the Night against Drew Dober.
Saturday’s showdown at Madison Square Garden likely won Moicano a few more fans, as what ensued was a dominat performance by the Brazilian.
It was Moicano opening the action with a jab, holding his own on the feet with the hard-hitting Riddell, at least early. Moicano pressed forward, and fired a combo punctuated with a high kick. Moments later, they tied up, with Riddell turning to take control, and Moicano reversing along the fence before they moved back to center. Moicano worked his jab, and Riddell was busted up, blood seemingly streaming down his nose from a cut under his right eye.
Moicano’s jab would land against and again, while Riddell came over the top. As they came together, the pair went down, but in a scramble it was Moicano to the back, with a body triangle quickly in place. Moments later, the rear-naked choke was in, and Riddell didn’t seem to have it in him to even fight hands. Instead, the New Zealand native appeared to accept the choke, tapping moments later in a fight in which Moicano dominated in all areas.
— UFC (@ufc) November 13, 2022
Official Result: Renato Moicano def. Brad Riddell by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 3:20