The final PPV of a strange year in sports ended in style. Deiveson Figueiredo retained his undisputed flyweight belt against Brandon Moreno by majority draw (48-46, 47-47×2).
Both fighters were fighting off the back of wins after both competing at UFC 255 just three weeks ago. The short turnaround showed no signs of fatigue with both fighters throwing bombs in what was arguably the greatest fight in UFC flyweight history.
Round one saw the champion connect with a head kick which seemed to daze the Mexican Moreno. However both men were swinging and connecting big head shots, setting a trend for how the entire fight would go. Figueiredo would take round one just.
Round two was again proving to be a close contest. Moreno throwing some good body shots whilst proving his durability when taking some hard jabs to the head.
He was looking to become the first Mexican champion in UFC history and his performance was suggesting it was well on the cards.
The third round brought a huge moment in the fight when Figueiredo’s body shot caught Moreno below the belt and was in serious pain as referee Jason Herzog halted the contest for a few minutes of time. Moreno was down coughing and there was worrying signs that the fight could be stopped all together.
‘The Assassin Baby’ eventually recovered but the champion Figueiredo was deducted a point. However, the Brazilian won the round with the fight still in the balance heading into the championship rounds.
Moreno recovered brilliantly from the low blow, as round four saw him pour the pressure on the champion, landing a combination of hooks on the ‘God of War’ who stumbled and responded with a low single. The pair got back to their feet swiftly before Figueiredo traded his own hooks which landed and wobbled the challenger.
In the final round, another competitive display was produced by both fighters, with Figueiredo finishing the round of top. Brutal ground and pound strikes gave the champ the edge in the round and the fight, but the point deduction proved costly as the fight was declared a draw although the flyweight strap stays in Brazil.
One of the great encounters of the year indeed, and I don’t think anybody would be disappointed if they decided to run it back in 2021.
Oliveira achieves 8th straight win in dominant display over Ferguson
Charles Oliveira announced himself as a top contender in the lightweight division with a unanimous decision win over Tony Ferguson (30-26×3).
Ferguson was coming off a defeat to Justin Gaethje, when prior to that he was on his own win streak of 12 and was hoping to reclaim glory with a win tonight, but came up short changed by the impressive Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist
In the first round, Oliveira caught Ferguson with a huge takedown after having him held against the cage and having control in the clinch.
The last several seconds of the round were perhaps the most interesting of the fight, when the Brazilian seemed to have got Ferguson in an armbar, but ‘El Cucuy’ refused to tap and managed to withstand the pain until the bell.
A submission that is very capable of breaking an opponent’s whole arm, only Tony Ferguson would have the courage to hold back tapping from that sequence.
A similar pattern of play was developing in round two, with 36 year old Ferguson attempting the land shots but failing with Oliveira reaching for a single leg takedown timed to perfection.
He again controlled the fight on the mat with Tony unable to do much but play guard and wait for round three.
The third round showed no change for Ferguson however, Oliveira catching the kick of the American and slamming him down onto the canvas.
He stayed at top mount trying to find what would have been his 20th career submission win but Ferguson’s submission defense withstood the 15 minute bout.
Nonetheless, the decision clearly went Oliveira’s way who said after the fight he wants the winner of Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor.
Rest of the card
With the main and co main events providing great entertainment, the rest of the card was a great showing also on what was a great night of MMA action. Mackenzie Dern defeated Virna Jandiroba by unanimous decision (29-28×3) with the American-Brazilian now up to a record of 10-1.
Both fighters have shown in their careers already to be jiu-jitsu masters, but wild striking exchanges were involved throughout the course of the fight, with Dern landing the heavier ones earlier in the contest.
Jandiroba showed great takedown defense when Dern tried to take it to the ground, but it was the striking which Dern excelled in much better on the night.
Kevin Holland knocked out legendary MMA fighter Ronaldo Souza in the first round to make it 5-0 for Holland in 2020, and a reasonable case for him to win ‘Fighter of the Year’.
A bizarre KO to go with it too, with Holland swinging punches off his back which connected with Souza so bad that the 41 year old veteran went out cold.
Short work in the end for Holland who stated he wants to go again next week against Khamzat Chimaev in the last UFC event of the year.
Chimaev was due to face Leon Edwards that week until it was postponed due to Edwards contracting Covid 19, but if the bout was to take place on short notice and Holland was to come out on top.
It would be no doubt ‘Fighter of the Year’ would be his for the taking as he emerges as a top contender in the middleweight division.
In the prelims, Cub Swanson made his return to the octagon in style with a second round KO against Daniel Pineda.
Featherweight Swanson’s last fight came 14 months ago following ACL surgery, and came back to finish Pineda with a right hand that landed flush in a spectacular win and performance for the long serving UFC fighter.
In contrast, 21 year old Chase Hooper submitted Peter Barrett with a heel hook in the third and final round to take his record to 10-1-1. Hooper is the youngest male fighter on the roster and has great jiu-jitsu skills which he showcased on the night.
His stand up striking has been critisised by many despite his young age, and got caught with a couple of strikes to the head throughout the bout by Barrett.
However, he managed to achieve the finish to add to what is already a great start to his career for Hooper. And is without doubt one to look out for on a main card in years to come.