The UFC will use Brandon Moreno as its insurance for the UFC 296 flyweight title co-headliner.
Former two-time champion Moreno (21-7-2 MMA, 9-3-2 UFC) is set to serve as the backup fighter for the Dec. 16 title rematch between Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Royval, which takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and ESPN+.
A person with knowledge of the situation verified the news to MMA Junkie following an initial report from Eurosport Nederland. The person requested anonymity because the promotion has yet to make an official announcement.
Moreno, No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie flyweight rankings, recently told MMA Junkie that he had hoped to get the backup spot ahead of his scheduled Feb. 24 matchup with Amir Albazi at UFC Fight Night in Mexico City.
That will likely remain his focus, because there has never been a situation where the backup fighter’s services have been required. Should something unexpected happen to No. 2-ranked Pantoja (26-5 MMA, 10-3 UFC) or No. 6-ranked Royval (15-6 MMA, 5-2 UFC) during fight week, however, “The Assassin Baby” will be there to save the day.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 296.