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UFC 270: Deiveson Figueiredo defeats Brandon Moreno, regains UFC flyweight title

After yet another all-time classic fight, Brandon Moreno vs. Deiveson Figueiredo 3 resulted in Figueiredo winning via unanimous decision and once again becoming UFC flyweight champion. While we could argue about the merits of the decision (as we tend to do for all close fights), perhaps we should instead declare definitively: we can really just keep watching Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo fight each other for all eternity.

The two first met at UFC 256, with then reigning champion Figueiredo retaining his title after the fight was ruled a majority draw. In spite of the anticlimactic ending, this back-and-forth war was widely seen as the best flyweight title fight in history, albeit perhaps supplanted by UFC 270’s offerings.

Moreno would get his second chance at gold at UFC 263, and proved worthy of the rematch, winning the fight via rear naked choke in the third round after dominating every facet of the fight, becoming the first Mexican-born UFC champion.

Saturday’s showdown started tentatively, with shorts bursts of action peppering a tactical chess match through the first two rounds. The striking was evenly matched, with Figueiredo having success in targeting Moreno’s legs while Moreno was head-hunting (and landing more often than not; staggering the Brazilian on more than one occasion).

Neither fighter was able to take the other down through the first two rounds. That would change in the third, with Figueiredo taking Moreno down early, but the latter escaped before Figueiredo was able to establish any effective offense.

As the third round went on, Moreno began finding his stride with his jab, while Figueiredo continued to chop away at the legs, visibly hurting the lead leg of the champion. While the third round was close, Moreno seemed to have the best moments; that is, until the final seconds when Figueiredo knocked down the champion with an overhand right.

Things slowed down a bit in round 4, with perhaps the biggest moment being Figueiredo’s control time toward the end of the round.

Moreno finally got the big takedown early in the fifth, scoring an outside leg trip straight into half control. However, he could not keep Figueiredo down for long, as the Brazilian slipped away without any damage incurred.

Moreno was again beginning to get comfortable in the striking exchanges before Figueiredo scored yet another flash knockdown. Moreno recovered, and the two would both make it to the final bell, but not before an absolutely insane exchange in the closing seconds.

All three judges scored the fight 48-47 in favor of Figueiredo. While Moreno did outstrike Figueiredo, the latter had two knockdowns which perhaps swayed the judges.

Either way, it is doubtful that this is the last time we see these two in the cage together. And that’s a good thing.