After a bit of an MMA dry spell, fight fans everywhere are now in the thick of it. UFC 270 features two championship events alongside a slew of fascinating match-ups across the early prelim and prelim cards. UFC’s second event of 2022 is a pay-per-view card that fight fans really should not miss.
Moreno vs Figueiredo 3 — Who’s the REAL Champ?
In December 2020, the two went head-to-head for the first time in one of the most intense five-rounders in the UFC’s Flyweight division. The two fighters gave fight fans a twenty-five-minute brawl with neither fighter willing to drop, despite the heavy damage inflicted on them both as the rounds went on. Both “Daica” and “The Assassin Baby” were feisty and highly reactive throughout the five rounds. The world was split on who had won that fight, and so were the judges, as Figueiredo had only managed to keep the belt via majority draw.
However, in their second match-up, Moreno decided to try and take things to the ground – as is his bread and butter. Although “Figgy” responded in kind, actively defending and attacking on the ground, the energy from the Brazilian seemed different. He was a lot less springy compared to the previous fight, and the fight as a whole felt slower in pace. Ultimately, Moreno was able to land a left hook in the second round that wobbled the now-former champion to bring things to the ground and took the chance to take the neck – ending the fight and beginning his reign with a rear-naked choke.
With the first two meetings between the two being just as intense as each other, how will either fighter fare in this trilogy bout?
Figgy Wants His Belt Back
“Daica” is a Brazilian known for his incredible knockout power. He is capable of some powerful right kicks, as well as landing punches that leave his opponents hurt. Figueiredo’s last TKO was against John Moraga back in 2018, in which a mean right hook rocked Moraga, causing him to drop his defenses and allowing Figueiredo to throw some hard right hands to the body.
In fact, his right hand landed him the flyweight belt in the first place. A gorgeous right cross dropped Joseph Benavidez in the second round, giving “Daica” the opportunity to give an aggressive ground and pound show before referee Miragliotta stepped in.
That does not mean that the Brazilian does not have any ground game, no, far from it. His two subsequent title defenses both ended via submissions. In the rematch against Benavidez, Figueiredo scored a first-round rear-naked choke while his second title defense against Alex Perez was won via guillotine choke, also in the first round.
The Brazilian has shown time and time again that he is more than capable of finishing both with his hands and through submissions. Ultimately, the question is this — was the drop in performance in 2021 his age catching up to him, or was it due to something else? The answer will show itself on Saturday night.
Moreno’s Path to Another W
The current Flyweight Champ has a slight favor with a 1-0-1 record against the Brazilian “Daico”. However, that does not mean that “The Assassin Baby” is sure to win the third time around.
It is tough to say what “The Assassin Baby” needs to change in order to keep his belt. Moreno came into the championship picture on what could be seen as a five-win streak if the draws were not to be counted as streak-breakers. The Lego-loving fighter won his first championship belt in 2019 when he knocked out Maikel Pérez in the fourth round, in his one and only fight in the LFA. Two unanimous decision wins followed – one against Kai Kara-France in 2019 and the other in 2020 against Jussier Formiga.
Moreno’s victory against Brandon Royal – in the same event as Figueiredo’s title defense against Perez – gave him the chance for a title shot. Royal seemed not to have stood a chance against Moreno, as the Mexican threw shot after shot on the feet while also maintaining aggression on the ground. Ultimately, a popped shoulder in the first round may have caused “Raw Dawg” to have a lapse in concentration, thus giving “The Assassin Baby” the opportunity to get to top position and win through ground and pound.
As seen during Figueiro vs. Moreno 1, the Mexican champ is more than capable of keeping things standing. While he may only have a 16% T/KO finishing rate, Moreno is not afraid to stand and scrap.
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