Figueiredo vs Moreno
Photo Credit: UFC

Match Preview: UFC 256 – Figueiredo vs. Moreno


If your nickname is “The God of War,” it is extremely appropriate that you turn around to defend your title again just 21 days after your last fight. Rising star Deiveson Figueiredo’s submission of Alex Perez last month impressed Dana White so much that the Brazilian never even left Las Vegas. Instead, the Flyweight champion is set to top the bill again this weekend against the streaking Brandon Moreno. 


UFC 256 is the final pay-per-view of the year, set to take place tonight on ESPN 2 and ESPN+ from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card lineup should prove to be one worthy of closing out arguably the craziest year in the promotion’s existence.

The headliner between the defending champ Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1) and the fiery contender Brandon Moreno (18-5-1) is one of those fights where if you blink, you might miss the move that leaves somebody unconscious.

It’s absolutely insane to think that both of these fighters will have competed exactly three weeks ago to the day when the cage doors get slammed shut and their title fight gets underway. They arguably should have been the UFC 255 main event in the first place — but Dana White had other ideas — and as a result, it set up this potential late Fight of the Year entry.


Figueiredo’s rise to prominence is like a zenith in the UFC world.


Photo Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Figueiredo’s rise to stardom in the UFC has been quick and vicious. The champ is currently riding a five-fight winning streak, including two brutal stoppages of flyweight great Joseph Benavidez, and of course, most recently, the spectacular guillotine choke of Perez.

All of this has taken place over the last 15 months.

The most exciting thing about Figueiredo is his dominant unpredictability. He’s very much a do it all kind of fighter. Initially, he impressed with his striking and unusual knock out power for the 125-pound division. But a few weeks ago, against a dangerous wrestler, “Deus da Guerra” tapped into his grappling arsenal and locked in an expert guillotine off his feet.

In a division that was very close to being cut off from the UFC following the exit of Demetrious Johnson, Figueiredo is exactly the champion it needed in order to pump some life and excitement back in. The flyweights have often been criticized for being boring and not marketable enough. Johnson’s resume would beg to differ. And now, Figueiredo’s style has certainly proved those to be false claims.


There is life in the flyweight’s yet, and that is also reflected in the new contenders coming up — Perez and now Moreno being the perfect examples. The former came up short, but the Mexican No. 1 contender firmly believes that he will have a lot to say in regards to whose hand gets raised at around 10 p.m. on Saturday.


I worked so hard for this opportunity,” Moreno told MMA Fighting earlier this week. “I want to go to that fight and not respect his abilities. I respect him as an athlete, but in the moment where he and I step into the octagon, I don’t want to respect his abilities. I want to go and take everything from him and put it in my hands.

Moreno’s recent rise has arguably been just as impressive as the champion’s. At only 27, “The Assassin Baby” was already once an exciting prospect in the UFC back in 2017. Two consecutive losses to Sergio Pettis and Alexandre Pantoja completely derailed his momentum and prompted a brief exit from the Octagon.

Photo Credit: MMA Junkie

Still very young, Moreno needed a reset, and he got it after taking a year out and returning in the Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) in 2019 and picking up its flyweight title with a TKO victory over Maikel Perez. That got him back on track. He hasn’t tasted defeat since.

Moreno is on an undefeated run of his own (4 wins, 1 draw). He has taken out the likes of Jussier Formiga and Brandon Royval on his way. A mix of experience and new blood. He claims to have been ready three weeks ago.

Well, he is certainly ready now. He has to be.


You cannot go into a fight against someone like Figueiredo half-heartedly because he is no ordinary flyweight. But Moreno looks ready. He sounds ready. They are fighting on a level playing field having had an identical amount of time to prepare. This one should not disappoint.


On paper, this is a fun match-up. Both fighters are electric on the feet while also being able and willing to scramble and grapple. But the likeliness of the fight hitting the mat is low. Striking is their bread and butter. And seeing Figueiredo’s hidden Brazilian JiuJitsu capabilities, it would probably be in Moreno’s best interest to keep the bout standing too.

It’s hard to bet against Figueiredo after witnessing his vicious dominance every time he sets foot in the Octagon. He is the -320 favorite for a reason. But there is always a hint of unpredictability when Brandon Moreno is involved in a fight. He is quick and scrappy and makes it very uncomfortable for his opponents.

This fight is a huge test of will and character for both fighters. A very quick turnaround, difficult weight cuts, and a task of entertaining the world in the UFC 256 headliner lies ahead. But they’re both on weight and widely expected to deliver. A flyweight classic could very well be upon us.


Also on the UFC 256 Main Card:


Co-Main Event: Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira – Lightweight

Mackenzie Dern vs. Virna Jandiroba – W-Strawweight

Kevin Holland vs. Ronaldo Souza – Middleweight

Junior dos Santos vs. Ciryl Gane – Heavyweight


UFC 256 will surely be a fun event to watch as modern day gladiators step in the octagon to do battle.


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-Arion Armeniakos – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter: @ArionArmeniakos

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