Las Vegas – As this chaotic year nears an end, the UFC has capped off their final PPV of 2020 on Saturday night with an Instant Classic main event between the always tough Brandon Moreno and the always exciting and very popular flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo.
Figueiredo vs. Moreno
In the main event, Flyweight Champion and rising UFC Star, Deiveson Figueiredo took on the very impressive and never-finished challenger, Brandon Moreno. The fight was a rollercoaster of back and forth action.
In the first round, Figueiredo seemed to get the better of Moreno; landing heavy shots and walking Moreno backward most of the round. In the second round, Moreno flipped it back around and seemed to get the better of Figueiredo through crisp combos and stunning the champion. The third round was arguably the key round in the fight. Figueiredo won the round but, after landing a brutal, accidental groin strike, Figueiredo was deducted one point and, as a result, the round was scored as a 9-9. In the fourth round, Moreno took it back to the champion in one of the absolute best rounds of the year and was able to edge out the round after rocking Figueiredo multiple times throughout the round. The fifth round was then a must-win for the champion, and he delivered. Moreno seemed to have a left arm injury due to blocking hard kicks from the champion and Figueiredo was able to capitalize on that and land the more meaningful strikes and edge out the round on the scorecards. With Figueiredo winning three rounds but one being scored 9-9 due to the point deduction, and Moreno winning two rounds, the fight ended in a majority draw.
This fight was an instant classic and, as Dana White has already confirmed for 2021, a rematch will happen in the very near future.
What’s Next for the Fighters?
Figueiredo’s next fight will either be against Garbrandt or a rematch against Moreno; depending on how severe Moreno’s shoulder injury is. Personally, I would love to see Figgy vs. Garbrandt next. This would ensure, at the very least, 2 back-to-back blockbuster Flyweight title fights upcoming. This would also not only give time for Moreno to recover from his injury, but also provide time for a rematch to fester between Figueiredo and Moreno. However, I can see the UFC avoiding that option and going straight to the rematch, especially if Moreno’s left shoulder injury is minor.
Moreno’s next fight will be for the title, barring he doesn’t take over a year off after this past war. Even if Figueiredo fights Garbrandt next, Moreno will not have to fight anyone in between and be given the winner of that matchup. No matter what happens next, Moreno’s stock rose exponentially in this fight.
After watching this fight, I think it is important to note that Figueiredo is going to have to clean up a lot of his striking if he is going to take on Garbrandt next. That isn’t to say that I think Garbrandt will beat Figueiredo (I am not sure if Garbrandt’s chin can hold up to Figueiredo’s power), but it is to say that, especially under Mark Henry’s training, Garbrandt would make Figueiredo pay badly for his tendency of rushing in and overreaching his strikes.
Moreno’s toughness makes him a very tough test for Figueiredo who often finishes his opponents early and dumps much of his energy in early rounds. As a champion, Figueiredo was able to adjust and retain his cardio throughout all five rounds, but Moreno’s chin and ability to stay in fights pushed Figueiredo to a limit we have yet to see of him in his short tenure as champion thus far.
Ferguson vs. Oliveira
In the co-main event, Charles Oliveira was able to dominate Tony Ferguson as we have never seen before. On the feet, Oliveira was able to maintain discipline, patient, and precision as he slowly marched Ferguson backward and, despite being cut by an elbow, continued to land clean strikes on him until an opportunity for a takedown opened up. From the ground, it was just a Jiu-Jitsu clinic from Oliveira. Multiple times throughout the fight “Do Bronx” almost locked in a submission but “El Cucuy” was able to somehow survive. This included a disgusting armbar that was locked in at the end of round one in which Tony Ferguson’s arm was brutally hyperextended, but Ferguson refused to tap before the round ended and survived through to the bell. In the third round, Oliveira locked in a triangle choke from a beautiful transition, and Ferguson was again, somehow, able to escape by rolling to his back. In the end, Ferguson survived the fight without being finished but took a dominant unanimous decision loss.
What’s Next for Both Fighters?
The next fight for Oliveira should either be against Michael Chandler, Justin Gaethje, or the winner of McGregor and Poirier. I would love to see a little tournament play out of Gaethje vs. Oliveira and McGregor vs. Poirier, with the winners fighting for the vacant Lightweight Title. However, I would also like to see (and I think is the more likely option that the UFC executes) Gaethje take on the winner of McGregor and Poirier for the title. In that case, Oliveira vs. Chandler would be the fight to make and the winner of that would be the #1 contender.
Contrary to what many fans might be thinking after this fight, I don’t think we are necessarily seeing the demise of Tony Ferguson. Oliveira represents the next generation coming up and I don’t think that many of the old guards can keep up with this new generation of MMA athletes tearing through the ranks (yes I know he’s been in the UFC for 11 years, but his style is the perfect representation of the next generation fighter). With that being said, the next fight for Ferguson is Dan Hooker. They are both coming off of losses, and are looking to bounce right back and enter into the top 5 again. This is also a very exciting fight, with both fighters willing to stand and bang until someone falls. Tony Ferguson would have a great shot winning that fight as well. Depending on how everything else plays out and how the UFC value Michael Chandler, I could also see Ferguson vs. Chandler being a fight set up next as well; but this is a less likely option than the former.
Dern vs. Jandiroba
In the third fight of the main card, two world-class women Jiu-Jitsu crossovers into MMA, in Mackenzie Dern and Virna Jandiroba, put on a phenomenal fight that mostly took place on the feet. Due to both of their great competence on the ground, the fights naturally took place mostly on the feet. In a highly contested bout, Dern was able to edge out the first and third rounds to earn a unanimous decision victory over her fellow world-class Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. This fight would have most likely been the fight of the night if it weren’t for the unbelievable main event.
Holland vs. Souza
In the second fight of the main card, Kevin Holland put on his most impressive performance to date with an unbelievable finish from his back of the longtime veteran Jacare Souza. Holland put on another highlight reel in this fight as he was able to show incredible Jiu-Jitsu defense against one of the best Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in all of MMA, and land strikes from the craziest angles and from all positions. In Jacare’s first takedown of the first round, he was forced to posture up and lose the dominant top position in full guard after Holland landed some disgusting elbows to the top of his head. As the round progressed and Holland continued to pressure forward on Souza, he was taken down again. From full guard again he landed a hook that hurt Souza, then he sat up and rocked the veteran and was able to knock him out in unbelievably impressive fashion. Kevin Holland is storming forward in the middleweight division with his 5th straight win, all in this year alone.
Junior Dos Santos vs. Ciryl Gane
In the PPV opener, we saw a very important Heavyweight bout between former Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos and rising Heavyweight Contender Ciryl Gane. Gane did exactly what he needed to do to solidify his position in the top 10 rankings of the UFC heavyweight division. Gane was able to control the standup throughout the first round and ultimately earn a KO victory over JDS in the second round after landing a clean elbow behind the former champion’s ear.
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno ends in a Majority Draw (48-46, 47-47, 47-46)
Charles Oliveira def. Tony Ferguson via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Mackenzie Dern def. Virna Jandiroba via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Kevin Holland def. Jacare Souza via TKO (Punches) in Round 1 (1:45)
Ciryl Gane def. Junior dos Santos via TKO (Punches) in Round 2 (2:34)
Cub Swanson def. Daniel Pineda via TKO (Punches) in Round 2 (1:52)
Rafael Fiziev def. Renato Moicano via TKO (Punches) in Round 1 (4:05)
Gavin Tucker def. Billy Quarantillo via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Tecia Torres def. Sam Hughes via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) in Round 1 (5:00)
Chase Hooper def. Peter Barrett via Heel Hook Submission in Round 3 (3:02)