UFC Fight Night results, highlights: Brandon Royval scores big upset in outpointing Brandon Moreno in Mexico

Two months after his first title loss, an opportunistic Brandon Royval may have just stamped his ticket directly back into the UFC flyweight championship picture.

Royal (16-7), who accepted a late offer to replace top contender Amir Albazi following his withdrawal, edged out two-time former champion Brandon Moreno via split decision over five competitive rounds on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night at Arena CDMX in Mexico City. Two judges scored it 48-47 for Royval while the third scored it 49-46 for Moreno.

In a fight that was difficult to score due to the contrast of Royval's spamming jabs from distance against the counter right hands and calf kicks of Moreno, Royval gained revenge from a first-round TKO defeat he suffered to Moreno (21-8-2) in 2020. And with newly crowned flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja, who defeated both main eventers last year, in attendance, Royval didn't hesitate to cut an expletive-filled promo after the fight.

"I'm a f---ing gangster. I'm the realest one in this f---ing flyweight division," Royval said. "Everybody wants to grab me all day. Speaking of grabbing, I hear Pantoja is in the building. Let's run it back, motherf---er."Ain't [a] motherf---er holding me ever again. I'm going to people's houses and I'm taking their f---ing shit."

For the 30-year-old Moreno, who suffered his third defeat in his last five fights, his grappling game in the high altitude of his home nation's capital was ineffective. He took Royval down three times over five rounds but could only secure 47 seconds of control time.

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Moreno landed the bigger strikes throughout, usually in the form of looping overhand rights. But his activity levels were down just enough despite chewing up the front leg of Royval for the "Raw Dog" to use activity in order to steal the decision.

Royval, who mixed in front kicks to the body of Moreno well, switched stances routinely in the championship rounds while turning up the pace to frantic levels. Moreno, however, was able to take the final round on all three judges' scorecards due to effective punching.

Moreno was outlanded, in terms of significant strikes, by a margin of 128 to 99 over five rounds. Royval also attempted more than twice as many strike attempts.

Pantoja (27-5) does not have an opponent announced as of yet for his next title shot although he has been rumored to be in the running for a return at UFC 301 on May 4 in his native Brazil.

CBS Sports will be with you the entire way on Saturday bringing you all the results and highlights from the event below. The main card begins at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV following preliminary bouts at 7 p.m. ET.

UFC Fight Night card, results

  • Brandon Royval def. Brandon Moreno via split decision (48-47, 46-49, 48-47)
  • Brian Ortega def. Yair Rodriguez via third-round submission (arm triangle choke)
  • Daniel Zellhuber vs. Francisco Prado via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Ricky Turcios, bantamweights (Canceled, Rosas illness)
  • Yazmin Jauregui def. Sam Hughes via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Manuel Torres def. Chris Duncan via first-round submission (rear-naked choke)
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SCORECARDS: 48-47 Royval, 49-46 Moreno, 48-47 Royval. It's a split decision for Royal!

 
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February 25, 2024, 6:02 AM
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We head to the scorecards after five rounds at elevation. Fun fight to likely determine the next title challenger at 125 pounds.

 
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R5: Close round and closer fight. 10-9, Royval. (48-47 Royval)

 
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R5: Moreno is content to force a clinch to mute Royval's output. Royval breaks free and they flurry to the final bell. Good fight. 

 
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R5: Royval opens up with combinations. Good two-way fighting but Royval is landing more.

 
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R5: This final round has been incredibly even as Dean makes them separate and fight. Big combo from Moreno.

 
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R5: Moreno takes Royval's back in the standing clinch as Dean threatens to separate them.

 
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R5: Moreno is trying to line Royval up with one big right hand. Royval, meanwhile, works behind his long jab. 

 
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R5: Big trading in the center of the cage. This fight is up for grabs and they are going for it.

 
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R5: This is a veteran move by Moreno to force referee Herb Dean to finally separate them. 

 
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R5: Moreno forces a standing clinch with Royval's back to the cage.

 
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ROUND 5: Busy jabs and stance switches from Royval. Hard right counter from Moreno.

 
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Marc Montoya, the trainer of Royval, told him, "you win this round, you win the fight."

 
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Moreno's corner tells him "we need this f___ing round" as set to begin Round 5.

 
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R4: Close round goes to Royval for activity, 10-9. (38-38)

 
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R4: Another hard kick to the legs from Moreno. Royval backs him up to the cage wall with jabs. Royval is focusing more on simply touching Moreno than landing anything too firm but it has been effective.

 
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R4: Royval very busy from distance with the jab. Moreno barely misses with an overhand right. But he is under the swarm of Royval's constant combinations.

 
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R4: Royval stuffed another takedown and briefly ended up on top. More spam offense from Royval. He is flicking his jab at will. 

 
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R4: Moreno eats a left hand but lands another kick to the outside leg of Royval. Back comes Moreno with a counter right hand. 

 
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R4: Moreno is focusing on hard calf kicks that have Royval limping.

 
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R4: Nice punching inside from Moreno. His takedown attempt briefly saw Royval end up on top until they both stood. 

 
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ROUND 4: Frantic pace to start from Royval. He is touching Moreno up high and low. 

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