Brandon Moreno just took a serious step toward title contention in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s flyweight division.
“The Assassin Baby” captured a closely-contested unanimous decision triumph over Jussier Formiga in the featured UFC Fight Night 170 preliminary bout at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brasil on Saturday. Cageside judges submitted scorecards of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 — all in favor of Moreno, who is unbeaten in his last four bouts. The card took place at an empty venue due to ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak.
Tell me why I don’t deserve to fight for the title next,” Moreno said in a plea to the promotion’s matchmakers.
Moreno held his own in grappling exchanges, defending guillotine and armbar attempts from the Brazilian in the opening stanza. Moreno also excelled in the transitions between striking and grappling, where he would often unload with flurries of strikes. And when the flyweights did trade, it was usually “The Ultimate Fighter 24” competitor who got the better of the exchange.
Formiga had his moments too — including achieving full mount in the final 45 seconds of the fight — but too often he didn’t capitalize on favorable positions. The 34-year-old American Top Team representative has lost two straight after a four-bout winning streak from September 2017 to March 2019.
Ribas Dominates Markos
Amanda Ribas is looking like a prospect to watch at 115 pounds. The 26-year-old Brazilian earned her most significant victory to date, as she took a clear-cut unanimous verdict against “The Ultimate Fighter 20” cast member Randa Markos. Judges scored the bout 30-26, 30-25, 30 — all in favor of Ribas.
Ribas (9-1, 3-0 UFC) set the tone with a dominant first round, where she landed multiple takedowns, punished Markos with ground-and-pound and hurt her foe with a spinning back kick to the body. After outlanding Markos (10-8-1, 6-7-1 UFC) in a standup-oriented Round 2, Ribas finished off her victory with more punches and elbows from top position in the final stanza.
Dos Santos Garners Split Verdict vs. Kunchenko
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos returned to the win column with a competitive split-decision triumph against Alexey Kunchenko in a preliminary welterweight clash. The Brazilian received a trio of 29-28 tallies as he bounced back from a technical knockout loss to Jiangling Li this past August, a defeat that ended a seven-bout winning streak.
Dos Santos (22-6, 8-2 UFC) relied on a toolbox of kicks, occasional takedowns and clinch work against the fence to get the job done against his Russian opponent. Kunchenko (20-2, 2-2 UFC) controlled the center of the cage for the majority of the bout, but he was too often content to counter dos Santos. While he began to find success landing his right hand over the second half of the bout, Kunchenko’s overall lack of volume likely cost him in the long run.
Yahya, Barzola Battle to Majority Draw
Rani Yahya (26-10-1, 1 NC, 11-4-1, 1 NC UFC) and Enrique Barzola (16-5-2, 6-3-1 UFC) dueled to a majority draw in a back-and-forth bantamweight contest. One judge had it 29-28 for Barzola, while two others submitted 28-28 scorecards.
The bout featured numerous grappling exchanges and scrambles, with Yahya largely controlling positioning in the early going. Toward the end of the second stanza, Barzola began to seize momentum after returning to his feet and landing some solid punches before the horn. That continued into round three, as “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” Season 2 competitor spent the majority of the period punishing his Brazilian foe with elbows and punches from top position.
Moroz Holds Off Bueno Silva
Maryna Moroz started quickly and then survived a late surge from Mayra Bueno Silva to take a unanimous decision victory in a preliminary flyweight affair. Moroz (10-3, 5-3 UFC) secured a trio of 29-28 scorecards for her second consecutive victory.
While Bueno Silva landed with more power, Moroz controlled the first two rounds thanks to superior speed and volume. Perhaps more importantly, the Ukraine native ended both frames with takedowns and ground-and-pound from top position. Round 3 took on a different tone, as Bueno Silva (5-1, 1-1 UFC) rocked her adversary with powerful right hands and heavy kicks to the body. The Dana White’s Contender Series Brazil alum put one final bloody stamp on the fight by landing a knee in the clinch that opened up a huge gash on Moroz’s forehead. Still, it wasn’t enough to get the nod from the cageside judges.
Dvorak Extends Winning Streak to 14
David Dvorak made his Octagon debut a successful one, capturing a unanimous verdict against Bruno Silva in a preliminary flyweight duel. Dvorak (18-3, 1-0), who had finished his previous 13 opponents on the regional circuit, nonetheless extended his winning streak to 14 in going the distance for the first time since February 2012.
Things didn’t began so well for the Czech fighter, as he was dropped to a knee by a Silva (10-5-2, 0-2 UFC) front kick in the opening frame. Dvorak found his footing in Round 2, landing knees in the clinch and spending some time in top position. The third stanza was the best for “The Undertaker,” who kept his Brazilian foe off balance with a steady diet of punches, kicks and knees.
Malecki Remains Unbeaten, Outpoints Macedo
Bea Malecki kept her unblemished mixed martial arts record intact, as she captured a unanimous decision triumph against Veronica Macedo in the card’s opening preliminary bout at bantamweight. All three cageside judges scored the contest 29-28 in favor of the Swedish muay Thai specialist.
Macedo (6-4-1, 1-4 UFC) set a rapid pace that she was unable to maintain as the fight progressed. The Venezuelan attacked with numerous punching combinations to the head in Round 1 but faded as the fight progressed. The rangy Malecki (4-0, 2-0 UFC) imposed her will through front kicks and long straight punches on the feet, stuffed multiple takedowns and landed effective ground-and-pound from top position. The bantamweights engaged in a wild slugfest at the end of the final stanza, but Macedo was unable to turn the tide in her favor.