Brandon Moreno and Deiveison Figueiredo had already tied their legacies to one another coming into their UFC 270 co-main event on Saturday night. The two men had already battled to a draw before Moreno won the flyweight championship with a third-round submission in June 2021. In the trilogy fight, Figueiredo regained his title in another classic, managing to edge out Moreno for a unanimous decision win at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Figueiredo tried to open the fight with leg kicks to address Moreno's ability to control the distance at which the fight took place in the second meeting between the two. The kicks did have an impact on Moreno, though an early right hand from the champion seemed to bother Figueiredo. After the punch landed, Moreno wagged a finger at the challenger, a sign of the wild confidence he brought to the Octagon in front of a wildly pro-Moreno crowd.
That confidence continued to show through the fight as Moreno was happy to stand in front of Figueiredo, picking spots to launch straight punches while also shucking off takedown attempts from the Brazilian.
In the third round, Figueiredo finally did score with a takedown, though Moreno was able to fairly easily work back to the feet. Still, between the leg kicks and threat of a takedown, Figueiredo was presenting multiple problems for Moreno to consider. But the power of Moreno was an equally serious problem for Figueredo, who was visibly hurt several times by the powerful hooks and straight right hands coming from Moreno.
And that was how the fight continued to play out, with Figueiredo landing heavy calf kicks and Moreno firing back with massive power punches. Then, with seconds left in the third round, Moreno was stunned by a right hand from Figueiredo that dropped the champion and allowed Figueiredo to lock in a deep guillotine choke as the round came to a close.
With every passing minute, the fight seemed to get closer. Figueiredo would have a moment, Moreno would answer. Moreno would land a meaningful shot, Figueiredo would respond in kind.
Can't get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news, including complete coverage of UFC 270 with instant analysis as the conclusion of the PPV event.
With the fight possibly hanging in the balance heading into the fifth round, Moreno scored a takedown out of nowhere. Figueiredo, in a particularly clutch moment, was able to escape back to his feet without taking any serious damage or giving up control time. Both men had huge moments in the final two minutes, both seeming to hurt the other before a firefight to close the round, with Moreno seemingly getting the better of Figueiredo in the final seconds.
That final flurry was not enough for Moreno to get the nod, however, as all three judges scored the fight 48-47 for Figueiredo, much to the dismay of the crowd.
No two fighters have met four times in the UFC. With Moreno and Figueiredo splitting their three fights 1-1-1, that may well be history the two fighters are ready to make. Figureido suggested that the fourth fight happen next and that it happen in Mexico.