UFC 256: Figueiredo vs Moreno Main Card Matchmaking

Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil and Brandon Moreno of Mexico react after their flyweight championship bout was declared a majority draw during the UFC...
PC: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno – Draw (Majority)

Deiveson Figueiredo – Brandon Moreno

Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno put on a show for those watching at home. In the final pay-per-view event of the year, the two gentlemen in the headliner put on a nominee for fight of the year in a 25-minute war. It is performances like this one that must leave the UFC brass desperate to begin having attendances in the arena.

Despite a hospital visit, Figueiredo returns home with the belt after judges declared the contest a majority draw. The Brazilian flyweight has now set a UFC record for quickest turn-around between title defenses and can now head into 2021 preparing for one of the most anticipated rematches in Flyweight history.

Brandon Moreno showed tremendous toughness from opening to closing bell. He weathered the early storm and was one round away from being the first Mexican-born fighter to capture UFC gold. In the press conference, Dana White indicated a rematch will be happening regardless of a Cody Garbrandt or Henry Cejudo return. Both men will likely be in need of some time off so we can expect to see the rematch in the early summer.

Charles Oliveira def. Tony Ferguson via Unanimous Decision

Charles Oliveira – Winner of Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor.

In the co-main event Charles Oliveira continues his hot form and extended his winning streak to eight consecutive victories. The storyline of fight was Ferguson’s toughness late in the first round overcoming a deep armbar to survive the round. Despite proving his resilience, Ferguson has now lost back-to-back fights for the first time in his career.

For Charles Oliveira, this performance could ultimately give him the opportunity to compete for the title next time out. This will ultimately depend on the meeting between Dana White and Khabib Nurmagomedov expected to take place next month. Another fight taking place next month is the return of Conor McGregor, when he faces Dustin Poirier at UFC 257. The winner of that fight should be next for Do Bronx.

Tony Ferguson – Winner of Islam Makhachev vs Drew Dober

As for Ferguson, this slide will ultimately erase any possibility of the fight versus Khabib. As fans, that fight will always be remembered as the one that got away for the UFC. At 36 years of age, questions are already circulating about whether Ferguson is on the decline. It may be too early to tell, but title aspirations may be out of question at this point. Ferguson should look to the lower half of the top 15 for his next booking, and a fight with the winner of Islam Makhachev vs Drew Dober in March makes the most sense for El Cucuy.

Mackenzie Dern def. Virna Jandiroba via Unanimous Decision

Mackenzie Dern – Michelle Waterson

In a fight many expected to be a grappling spectacle, this contest played out on the feet. In what would have been fight of the night until being robbed by the main event, the stand-up fight was full of action. Dern overcame a broken nose to power her way to another victory.

Mackenzie Dern entered the UFC with a ton of hype given her jiujitsu credentials and has so far lived up to the hype. Despite a small hiccup against #9 ranked Amanda Ribas, she has looked flawless. She deserves another big name in her climb towards the top of the division, and a fight with Michelle Waterson would be a nice clash of styles.

Virna Jandiroba – Kanako Murata

Virna Jandiroba was matched up with one of the few girls in the UFC as skilled as her on the ground. She had to resort to her stand-up and fell short against Dern. Despite the loss, Jandiroba is 16-2 and a matchup with recent UFC debutant Kanako Murata will give her an opportunity to stay in the Top 15.

Kevin Holland def. Ronaldo Souza via KO (Punches)

Kevin Holland – Jack Hermansson

This fight was expected to go one of two ways, Jacare on the ground and Kevin Holland on the feet. When the fight ended up on the ground early in the first round, many expected the fourth degree blackbelt to submit Holland. After a little verbal back and forth between the two middleweights, Holland knocked out Souza from his back. It was one of the most impressive knockouts of the year and catapulted Holland toward the top of the division.

Kevin Holland is one of the front-runners for fighter of the year earning his fifth victory inside 2020. He immediately called for a fight with one of the most hyped fighters of 2020 in Khamzat Chimaev. With Chimaev likely facing Leon Edwards next at welterweight it seems unlikely the UFC will take that angle. However, a matchup with #6 ranked Jack Hermansson makes perfect sense.

Ronaldo Souza – Zak Cummings

Ronaldo Souza is on the wrong side of 40 and could be nearing the end of his MMA career. The UFC has been vocal about their upcoming cuts and with veterans like Yoel Romero and Anderson Silva being cut from their roster, one would imagine it could be the end of the road for ‘Jacare’. If the UFC were to keep him around, a matchup with another veteran Zak Cummings would make sense.

Ciryl Gane def. Junior dos Santos via TKO (Elbow)

Ciryl Gane – Shamil Abdurakhimov

This has been the theme to 2020, an MMA pioneer and former champion passing on the torch to an up-and-coming prospect. Ciryl Gane remains undefeated in his climb towards the top of the Heavyweight later by taking out Junior dos Santos.

Ciryl Gane has had a rough 2020 in terms of getting fights booked. After multiple fights fell through, he finally got a fight and picked up his biggest win to date. In one of the shallowest divisions in the UFC, Gane offers a fresh face in the top 10 of the division and we could see him thrust towards a title shot sooner rather than later. Despite the fight falling through twice in 2020, a matchup with Shamil Abdurakhimov would be another tough test before lining him up with the elites of the 265lb division.

Junior dos Santos – Ben Rothwell

JDS is now riding a four-fight losing streak after falling to yet another powerful striker. The fighters on that list were nothing but elite, so the UFC should consider that before cutting the former heavyweight champion. If the UFC decides to hold on to dos Santos, a step back in competition should be considered. A matchup with former opponent, Ben Rothwell would be a fight between battle tested veterans. This could make for a great co-main event on a fight night card in May or June of 2021.

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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