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UFC 263 breakdown: How will Deiveson Figueiredo-Brandon Moreno rematch unfold?

·8 min read
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MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom breaks down the UFC’s top bouts. Today, we look at the co-main event for UFC 263, a rematch for the UFC flyweight title between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno.

UFC 263 takes place Saturday at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN/ESPN+ and early prelims on ESPN+.

Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1 MMA, 9-1-1 UFC)

Feb 29, 2020; Norfolk, Virginia, USA; Deiveson Figueiredo (blue gloves) celebrates beating Joseph Benavidez (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chartway Arena. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Staple info:

  • Height: 5'5" Age: 33 Weight: 125 lbs. Reach: 68"

  • Last fight: Draw with Brandon Moreno(Dec. 12, 2020)

  • Camp: Team Figueiredo (Brazil)

  • Stance/striking style: Switch-stance/muay Thai

  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:

+ UFC flyweight champion

+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt

+ Regional grappling accolades

+ 9 KO victories

+ 8 submission wins

+ 11 first-round finishes

+ KO power

+ Well-timed right hands/uppercuts

^ Coming forward or off the counter

+ Slicing elbows from multiple ranges

+ Strong inside the clinch

+ Improved wrestling ability

+ Transitions well from topside

^ Dangerous strikes and submissions

+/- 1-0 in rematches

Brandon Moreno (24-5-1 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC)

Brandon Moreno

Staple info:

  • Height: 5'7" Age: 27 Weight: 125 lbs. Reach: 70"

  • Last fight: Draw to Deiveson Figueiredo(Dec. 12, 2020)

  • Camp: Team Entram (Mexico)

  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox/kickboxing

  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:

+ Regional MMA titles

+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt

+ Multiple grappling accolades

+ 3 KO victories

+ 10 submission wins

+ 8 first-round finishes

+ Consistent pace & pressure

+ Accurate left hook

^ Coming forward or off the counter

+ Hard leg and head kicks

^ Works well off of the lead side

+ Improved wrestling ability

+ Good transitional grappler

^ Solid scrambles and submissions

+/- 0-1 in rematches

Point of interest: Striking the second time around

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 12: (L-R) Brandon Moreno of Mexico punches Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil in their flyweight championship bout during the UFC 256 event at UFC APEX on December 12, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

In their first fight, we were privy to an all-out war in which both fighters were able to show their proverbial stuff. Figueiredo, for my money, scored the more damaging strikes through four of the five rounds, landing hard kicks while looking to counter Moreno's jab over the top. Both men demonstrated good bodywork, as Moreno's heart and durability helped him push through some hard fouls in the process of making it a competitive fight down the stretch. But with immediate rematches being a lot about adjustments, I will be curious as to what, if any, recalibrations are made to each man's game. Still bearing a lot of the spirit of the pressure-fighting wildman that we saw on the Brazilian regional scene, Figueiredo has seemingly sharpened his style and approach since touching down in the UFC octagon. The reigning champion still relies heavily upon his head and trunk movement but will now add a long-framing defense from both stances, as well as flick out more jabs and straight shots to help establish his range. This approach both accentuates Figueiredo’s length, as well as entices risky entries from his opposition that open them up for the Brazilian’s powerful counters. Whether he’s unloading counter crosses or uppercuts, Figueiredo demonstrates stellar timing and anticipation to go along with a power that flyweight hasn’t seen since the days of John Lineker. That said, Figueiredo's confidence in both his chin and power can be a dangerous line to walk considering the number of shots he allowed Moreno to land in their last meeting. As the commentary team noted, Figueiredo was lacking a strong feinting presence considering the countering games that both fighters were trying to play. I would also like to see the sitting champion throw more of the front teeps and calf kicks he got away from back at UFC 256, but he'll still need to incorporate more feints to limit the challenger's chances for successful returns. Still only 27, Moreno continues to display almost-unshakable composure, win or lose, almost as if he’s determined to finish the fight stronger than his foe. But when you look beyond the brief, brash moments that allow his character to shine, you can see a more mature countering game at play. Always a fan of the left hook (both coming forward and off the counter), Moreno does a much better job of variating both his timing and targets, levering shots to the body and head. The theme of lead-side savvy travels fluently for the Mexican fighter as Moreno also attaches lead-leg kicks to his combinations when feeling in stride – something I think would serve him well in this fight. As seen in their initial bout, Moreno was able to come close with a couple of home runs via head kick by hiding them behind straight punches that helped encourage Figueiredo's propensity to slip hard to the power side. But if the challenger fails to find success on the feet, then I suspect he will try his luck on the floor.

Point of interest: Winning the wrestling

Jul 27, 2019; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Deiveson Figueriredo (blue gloves) and Alexandre Pantoja (red gloves) during UFC 240 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Given the well-rounded games of both flyweights, no one should be surprised if this battle hits the ground running. As we witnessed last December, Moreno was able to sprinkle some well-timed takedowns into the mix but failed to produce meaningful offense from those positions given then the butterflies, frames, and overall scrambling ability of Figueiredo. Despite being more known for his striking threats on the feet, Figueiredo – who earned multiple grappling accolades during his time spent under Marajo Brothers Team – translates his power just fine in the grappling department. More of a positional-based player who carries deceptive transitional savvy, Figueiredo likes to apply himself both in the clinch and from the topside, as he seems to take great pleasure in making his opposition feel his weight and strength. We saw a beautiful example of this in Figueiredo’s first meeting with Joseph Benavidez, as the Brazilian defended takedowns nicely both in the open and from the clinch. Doing a great job of breaking grips and framing off hips, Figueiredo not-so-subtly used his head to re-steer Benavidez towards the fence, taking the outside position. However, if Figueiredo unsuccessfully sells out on guillotines (like he did against Jared Brooks) or opts for any sort of takedown offense of his own, then he’ll still need to be on his best behavior and stay mindful of Moreno’s strengths; otherwise, he may find himself slowly sinking into a special brand of flyweight quicksand. Starting off his career as more of a jiu-jitsu fighter, Moreno smartly swam toward the wrestling side of things (from an offensive standpoint) after being afforded the chance to train stateside through the UFC’s former developmental program. Although the Team Entram product was still not beyond being taken down or scoring submissions off his back, Moreno offered plenty of glimpses of improvement during his first run with the promotion. Moreno appears much more aggressive on feet during this second stint, as he purposely stood with the heavy-handed Kai-Kara France back at UFC 245. That said, both his grappling and wrestling scrambles have only seemed to improve, as Moreno was able to come out on top of stanzas against some of the division’s best grapplers in Jussier Formiga and Askar Askarov. But as good as Moreno’s grappling is, he’ll still need to find ways to get around Figueiredo's guard and frames if means to make him work from compromising positions.

Point of interest: Odds and opinions

The oddsmakers and public are siding with the sitting champion, listing Figueiredo -230 and Moreno +190 as of this writing. Considering the hype Figueiredo tends to generate within the gambling community, I am somewhat surprised to see a tighter spread on the betting lines this time around. Nevertheless, but I'm glad to see Moreno getting some deserved respect in this spot. Moreno has all the skills needed to overcome the odds against the champion, including things that are hard to measure like durability and heart. If Moreno can make Figueiredo work harder with more bodywork and meaningful grappling exchanges without taking too much damage in return, then perhaps he can edge rounds from his Brazilian foe down the stretch. Moreno does appear to have put on more muscle ahead of this contest, as perhaps he felt a significant strength edge for the champion when they tangled. Figueiredo, on the other hand, looks to be slimmed down and in the shape of his life ahead of this rematch, as he still seems to have a point to prove to both Moreno and the masses when it comes to his cardio. It's not the boldest prediction, but I suspect we get another fun and competitive war that goes long this Saturday night. My heart will be with the challenger to do well, but I ultimately believe that the champion will, once again, land the harder and more meaningful offense within the frames. Prediction: Figueiredo by decision [vertical-gallery id=470974] [vertical-gallery id=495544]

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