Deiveson Figueiredo has established himself as a different breed of flyweight, one who can end a fight at a moment’s notice with his power and overall finishing ability.
However, the reigning 125-pound champion threw everything he had at Brandon Moreno in the UFC 256 main event on Saturday, and “The Assassin Baby” still kept coming. Thanks to a point deduction for an inadvertent low blow in the third round, Moreno was able to emerge with a majority draw against the champion.
The longer the fight went on, the more confident Moreno became.
“I think I expected a little bit more power from him. Obviously he has power. It’s obvious because when he threw punches to my body, I felt it. When he threw kicks to my forearms, I felt it definitely,” Moreno said on the ESPN+ post-fight show. “But I started to get more confidence during the fight, and I started to feel comfortable. I think I needed to put more pressure in the fifth round, but it is what it is. Right now I have this weird draw. I’m not happy, but at the same time I am happy because I know it was a nice fight.”
Both men accepted the fight just 21 days after earning victories at UFC 255 last month. It was much needed for the promotion after UFC 256 lost multiple title fights due to various withdrawals. The end result was a five-round battle that was hailed as the UFC’s greatest flyweight bout ever in its immediate aftermath. It also joins Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk as a leading candiate for 2020 “Fight of the Year.”
While the end result wasn’t as satisfying as it would have been to become the UFC’s first Mexican-born champion, Moreno still walked away pleased with his performance.
“To be honest, I feel too much pain in all my body, but at the same time, I feel so happy,” Moreno said.
“Obviously I wanted the title,” he later added. “I wanted to bring that happiness to my country, to my family. But it is what it is. I’m so happy to take this opportunity. I’m ready to go home with my family, with my kids. That’s all I need.”
Both Moreno and Figueiredo seem on board with a rematch down the road, but the challenger acknowledged that rest must be prioritzed following a hectic final two months of 2020.
“Obviously after these last eight weeks of 2020, I need to rest,” Moreno said. “He has all my respect. He fought the same time as me. He took this fight on short notice. He is a champion. Normally the champion takes a long time to rest and recover his body; he does not. He took the fight. I have too much respect for him. I need to rest and spend some time with my family. But definitely in 2021 I am ready to take the rematch.”