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Five rounds were not enough to settle the score between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno.
Figueiredo retained his Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight crown but settled for a majority draw against Moreno in the UFC 256 headliner on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Judge Derek Cleary scored it 48-46 for Figueiredo, while Sal D’Amato and Junichiro Kamijo saw it 47-47. A third-round point deduction for a low blow ultimately cost the Brazilian a victory in a clear contender for “Fight of the Year.”
It was a dogfight from start to finish. Figueiredo (20-1-1, 9-1-1 UFC) hit the Mexican challenger with everything in his arsenal, from spinning back kicks to the body and standing elbows to left hooks and heat-seeking jabs. Moreno (18-5-2, 6-2-2 UFC) refused to go away, returned fire and, perhaps most importantly, mixed in multiple takedowns to keep the champion on his toes. With the result still very much in doubt, the challenger’s output waned in the fifth round, at least in part to an apparent arm injury. Figueiredo executed a late takedown, consolidated it with ground-and-pound and escaped with his championship reign intact.
Afterward, UFC President Dana White called it the greatest fight in the history of the flyweight division.
Ascendant Oliveira Dominates Ferguson
Effortless takedowns, sublime topside grappling and a near-submission spurred Charles Oliveira to a one-sided unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 13 winner Tony Ferguson in the three-round lightweight co-main event. Oliveira (30-8, 18-8 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-26 marks from the judges, his stock at an all-time high.
Outside of a defensive elbow strike that resulted in a cut on the Brazilian’s left eyebrow, Ferguson (25-5, 15-3 UFC) was a non-factor. Oliveira set the tone with an overwhelming first round, where he took down “El Cucuy,” advanced to full mount and hyperextended the Californian’s left elbow with an armbar in the waning moments. Anyone other than the notoriously tough Ferguson might have tapped. Oliveira kept his foot on the gas, executed takedowns in the second and third rounds, stymied the former interim champion and never once allowed him to sniff an opportunity to turn the tide.
Oliveira, 31, has rattled off eight consecutive victories.
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Dern Outlasts Jandiroba in Standup War
Checkmat RVCA export Mackenzie Dern continued to build momentum, as she laid claim to a unanimous decision over former Invicta Fighting Championships titleholder Virna Jandiroba in a featured women’s strawweight confrontation. All three judges struck 29-28 scorecards for Dern (10-1, 5-1 UFC), who has pieced together a three-fight winning streak since her 2019 defeat to Amanda Ribas.
Dern leaned on winging overhand rights and wild punching flurries throughout much of the first round, took a knee to the face that appeared to leave her with a broken nose in the second and connected on the more consequential blows in the third. There, she delivered a booming right cross that resulted in significant damage around Jandiroba’s right eye, scored with a persistent jab and landed several thudding body kicks.
The loss was the first for Jandiroba (16-2, 2-2 UFC) in nearly two years.
Breakout Star Holland Victimizes Souza
Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Kevin Holland punched out two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Ronaldo Souza in the first round of their middleweight feature. Souza (26-9, 9-6 UFC) met his end 1:45 into Round 1.
Holland (21-5, 8-2 UFC) remained calm under duress after being taken down by the former Strikeforce champion. He initially threatened Souza with a triangle and elbows from his back, returned to an upright position and made a pass at a guillotine choke. After relinquishing his grip on the Brazilian’s neck, Holland lured him into a kneeling position and unleashed a series of right hands — first from his back, then while seated — that left “Jacare” dazed and defenseless against the cage. Sensing the end was near, he continued to fire punches as he returned to his feet and battered Souza until he was bent over backwards and unconscious.
One of the UFC’s breakout stars of 2020, Holland has won five fights in a row.
Unbeaten Gane Melts Dos Santos
Undefeated MMA Factory standout Ciryl Gane dismissed Junior dos Santos with a standing elbow strike and follow-up punches in the second round of their heavyweight showcase. Dos Santos (21-9, 15-8 UFC) succumbed to blows 2:34 into Round 2, as he suffered his fourth consecutive defeat.
Gane (7-0, 4-0 UFC) wrecked the Brazilian’s base with kicks to the inside and outside of his lead leg throughout the first round, then made his move. A jab from the Frenchman blindsided dos Santos and propelled him back into the fence. Gane gave chase, floored the former UFC champion with an elbow behind the ear and mopped up what was left with punches.
The 30-year-old Gane has finished six of his first seven opponents, five of them inside two rounds.
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