Brandon Moreno has settled an all-time great rivalry with Deiveson Figueiredo. A slicing punch by Moreno forced a doctor stoppage in their UFC flyweight title unification fight at UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday.
Figueiredo, who entered with the full title, and Moreno, who entered with the interim strap, threw down for the fourth time in their historic rivalry where the two sat at 1-1-1 in three previous fights, all contested for the UFC flyweight championship.
Moreno immediately had Figueiredo thinking, mixing up takedown attempts and a variety of strikes. Figueiredo kept Moreno on his toes with counter-guillotine chokes, including a particularly threatening one in the second round. The first two rounds were quite competitive and could have gone either way. Round 2 also featured some fascinating scrambles. Moreno nearly completed a takedown but had it reversed by Figueiredo. Moreno swept Figueiredo's ankle out from under him and shot for another takedown, leading to Figueiredo jumping on a tight guillotine, which Moreno was lucky to escape.
Moreno blitzed forward with a combination halfway through Round 3 that Figueiredo immediately protested to referee Herb Dean. It was unclear in the immediate exchange if Moreno landed a punch or poke to Figueiredo's eye, but the referee did not halt the fight. A replay revealed that Moreno's knuckle was responsible for the damage and thus the strike was legal. Figueiredo fought the remainder of the round off his back with an eye that was swollen shut and terribly cut underneath.
A doctor examined Figueiredo between Round 3 and Round 4, deeming Figueiredo unable to continue. Moreno was awarded a third-round doctor stoppage TKO and promoted to undisputed champion.
"I definitely understand the people," Moreno told UFC commentator Daniel Cormier in his post-fight interview. "But the people need to understand that I was just trying to get food for my family.
"I was trying to be very, very smart and put a lot of my gameplan into this fight. I was very emotional in the last fight. I was trying to put a lot of pressure on him this time."
Figueiredo announced post-match that he will be moving to the bantamweight division following four consecutive flyweight title fights against Moreno and 25 career fights at 125 pounds.
"Hopefully I don't have any lasting problems with my eyes," Figueiredo said. "I'm tired of making this weight so that's why I'm moving up."
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