Four fights and over an hour spent in the cage together but Brandon Moreno finally closed the door on his rivalry with Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 283.
Figueiredo was left with severe swelling and an eye injury after Moreno’s nasty punch in the middle of round 3. Figueiredo was stopped by a doctor after the bell rang.
With that, the comain event was over. Moreno won a second victory over Figueiredo and also established himself as one of the top flyweights in UFC.
“This for me, it’s very hard,” Moreno said afterwards. The people must understand that I am just trying to feed my family. It was very difficult to think for myself. The last one, I was so emotional.”
With so much time spent in the cage together, Figueiredo and Moreno were both showing patience while setting up strikes on the feet. Moreno ended up with a couple of surprise takedowns but he also had to fend off a pair of submission attempts as Figueiredo looked for a guillotine early and then a heel hook late in the opening round.
While Moreno displayed his wrestling skills, he actually landed the best combinations of feet and had a distinct advantage in landing strikes. Figueiredo’s power and ability to communicate with it forced Moreno into being cautious when trading shots.
Late in the second round, Moreno ducked down for another takedown but Figueiredo quickly countered with a guillotine choke attempt. The submission looked tight momentarily but Moreno eventually popped free and that left him on top where he maintained control over Figueiredo while also raining down some punches and elbows.
With so many even exchanges on the feet, Moreno was looking for an ideal opening and that’s when he threw a huge left hand that caught Figueiredo directly in the eye. Figueiredo began to complain that the shot had hit his eye. However, replays revealed that the punch was actually a punch and the knuckle which landed flush enough to do the damage.
From there Moreno took control with a dominating ground-and-pound attack, until the bell rang to conclude the round. Figueiredo returned to his side and tried to reduce swelling, but the Brazilian was completely blind.
It didn’t take the doctor long to look at Figueiredo’s eye to realize it was just unsafe to allow him to continue. Figueiredo accepted defeat and announced his retirement from flyweight.
“Unfortunately it’s time to leave this division,” Figueiredo said. Brandon, congratulations! I am moving up. It was Brandon’s night. It was an eye poke, I thought. It’s a good thing I haven’t had any eye problems in the future. This weight is too much for me, so I am moving up .”
With Moreno’s win and Figueiredo declaring his days at 125 pounds are over, one of the greatest rivalries in UFC history comes to an end. Moreno now holds the lead in the flyweight division, with many other contenders eager to compete for UFC Gold.