After UFC 256 was down on its luck and losing title fight after title fight, UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno came to the rescue on just a one-month turnaround from both picking up wins at UFC 255. Now, the two will face off in the main event on Saturday night at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
But this card has some depth beyond the title fight main event. Lightweight contenders collide in the co-main event when perennial title contender Tony Ferguson returns to take on Charles Oliveira. Ferguson was considered the No. 1 contender for the 155-pound title for multiple years and had multiple bookings with champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, only to see each fall through for one reason or another. Now, coming off a destructive loss to Justin Gaethje in May, Ferguson is looking to get back to a title shot with a win over Oliveira, who himself has won seven in a row.
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Let’s take a look at every fight on the main card, which streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view. All odds are provided via William Hill Sportsbook.
Ciryl Gane -440 vs. Junior dos Santos +340, heavyweights: Former heavyweight champion dos Santos (21-8) has fallen on hard times, losing three straight fights by TKO. Those losses came at the hands of Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Those are all elite fighters in the current heavyweight division. Gane (6-0) is trying to place himself alongside those men while still early in his professional career. Gane has won all three of his trips to the Octagon and has only seen the judges’ scorecards once in his pro career, scoring three submissions and two knockouts. Submissions rarely play a factor in dos Santos fights, with him having only one win and one loss by submission, though he has won by knockout 15 times and has six knockout losses on his record. Dos Santos is a long way removed from his November 2011 knockout of Cain Velasquez to win the heavyweight title on the UFC’s first event on FOX, but he has managed to remain relevant by never having a multi-fight losing skid — until his current stretch.
Kevin Holland -115 vs. Jacare Souza -105, middleweights: Souza (26-8) was originally set to face Marvin Vettori on the card, but when Holland (20-5) tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of his Dec. 5 fight with Jack Hermansson, Vettori was bumped to that card and Holland moved to UFC 256. The result is a compelling fight between fighters who are fairly even on paper. Holland lost his first official UFC fight, but has compiled an Octagon record of 7-2 since August 2018. That record includes a current four-fight winning streak with all four wins coming in 2020 and three by TKO. Souza is a former Strikeforce champion who not only never won gold in the UFC, but never made his way into a title fight. Souza is on a two-fight losing skid, but should be well-rested as, unlike the very active Holland, Souza has not fought since a November 2019 split decision loss to Jan Blachowicz. He was scheduled to face Uriah Hall in May at UFC 249, but was removed the day before the event following a positive COVID-19 test.
Rafael Fiziev -160 vs. Renato Moicano +135, lightweights: Moicano (14-3-1) sports a 6-3 UFC record that becomes even more impressive when you realize his three losses came against three of the best featherweights of the generation in Jose Aldo, Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung. In his most recent fight, Moicano broke a two-fight losing skid with a 44-second submission of Damir Hadzovic. The Hadzovic fight was also Moicano’s debut at lightweight, where he is hoping to find sustained success. Fiziev (8-1) suffered a TKO loss in less than 90 seconds in his Octagon debut. He has since rebounded with two straight wins, beating Alex White and Marc Diakiese by decision. Those two decisions were the first of Fiziev’s career, with six straight stoppage victories to begin his career.
Tony Ferguson -170 vs. Charles Oliveira +145, lightweights: Ferguson (25-4) is coming off a one-sided loss to Justin Gaethje in a fight for the interim lightweight championship. The Gaethje fight was a replacement for a fight with lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, a fight that has been made and canceled five times, and moved Ferguson back in line in a crowded lightweight division. Prior to the loss, Ferguson was riding a 12-fight winning streak with nine of those victories coming by form of stoppage. Stoppages are also central to Oliveira’s approach to fighting. Oliveira (29-8) has 19 submission victories in his professional career, including a record-setting 14 in the UFC. His 16 finishes are tied with Donald Cerrone for the most in UFC history. Oliveira is currently riding a seven-fight winning streak, though the level of opposition has been a step or two below Ferguson.
Deiveson Figueiredo (c) -330 vs. Brandon Moreno +260, UFC flyweight championship: Both Figueiredo (20-1) and Moreno (18-5-1) are coming off wins at last month’s UFC 255, making this a wholly unique championship fight between men on quick turnarounds. Figueiredo has had a breakout 2020, beating Joseph Benavidez twice, capturing the flyweight title with the second victory and making his first successful title defense by submitting Alex Perez in less than two minutes . All three of his 2020 victories have come via stoppage and all in less than a round and a half. The champ’s lone loss came in March 2019 when he was on the short side of a decision against Jussier Formiga.
Moreno’s UFC 255 win also came in the first round, stopping Brandon Royval with strikes one second before the end of the round. After a two-fight losing skid, he is now riding a five-fight unbeaten streak, including four wins and one draw. Ten of Moreno’s 18 wins have come via submission. He has not scored a submission victory in his last seven trips to the Octagon, however, and Figueiredo has his own strengths in the submission game, scoring eight submission wins of his own.
Who wins Figueiredo vs. Moreno? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 256, all from the incomparable expert who’s up more than $22,000 on MMA in the past 22 months, and find out.