‘Fight of the Year!’: Title ‘war’ ends in draw as insane UFC card delivers pure chaos
Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno put on 25 minutes of pure violence in a main event that might have delivered the best fight of 2020.
Headlining a UFC 256 card that wasn’t exceptional on paper, the two flyweights somehow lived up to the insane action that preceded it, with a majority draw allowing Figueiredo to retain his 125-pound belt in Las Vegas on Sunday (AEDT).
One judge scored the bout 47-46 Figueiredo, while the other two had it 47-47 as a point deduction in the third round for a low blow ultimately cost the champion the victory.
Best UFC fight of 2020?1:37
Just 21 days after both fought at UFC 255, they were back in the cage — this time against each other — in a fight that will be a late addition to the Fight of the Year discussion.
Figueiredo, who was transported to the hospital after the main event, revealed post-fight he was also in the hospital until 2am the night before with a stomach infection. But it didn’t show, as he put on the sort of striking clinic that has seen him take control of the flyweight division.
Moreno displayed the sort of staying power that no recent opponent has shown against Figueiredo; a chin made of something supernatural in a fight that saw bomb after bomb land.
The Mexican challenger was able to go with Figueiredo in the stand-up — although probably couldn't match the champion’s power — and take the fight to the ground at times in a fight that had a little bit of everything.
Those watching on couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing.
“We’ve got to give these guys some time off,” UFC president Dana White said. “But you absolutely, positively do that rematch.
“That’s another fun fight to look forward to in 2021."
FERGUSON DOESN’T TAP, STILL LOSES
In the co-main event, Brazlian Charles Oliveira ragdolled Tony Ferguson through three rounds of lightweight domination.
Oliveira secured his eighth straight victory and consigned Ferguson to a second consecutive defeat with a unanimous decision win (30-26 x 3) that will see him jump up the 155-pound rankings.
It was one-way traffic, and a fight that might have ended earlier if Ferguson wasn’t so tough. The American, who never went away against Justin Gaethje earlier this year, stunned the UFC world by surviving an armbar attempt that seemed a sure thing. With less than 10 seconds to go in the first round, Oliveira had the position locked in and Ferguson’s left arm turned in a direction no arm should ever turn, but the buzzer came before any tap.
It didn’t matter, though, as Oliveira dealt with Ferguson on the ground in a way we haven’t really seen before.
How did Ferguson not tap??0:40
“I turned away” @dc_mma can’t watch Ferguson NOT tap and let his arm snap. Somehow it’s going to rd 2 #ufc256— Sarah Kaufman (@mmasarah) December 13, 2020
Bruh!! How in the hell did Tony Ferguson not tap? He’s the toughest ever man. Too much respect for dude. @ufc is there an award for that?— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) December 13, 2020
YOU CAN’T DO THAT!
Kevin Holland secured his fifth win of 2020 with one of the most bizarre knockout finishes you’re ever likely to see.
Holland left middleweight veteran Jacare Souza in all sorts with a flurry of punches that started with the American on his back.
After Souza’s second takedown of the fight, Holland, who was given some space on the ground, dug his left foot into his opponent’s body and launched a right hand. It connected. And so did the subsequent right hands that saw Holland work his way to his feet as Souza melted in a heap.
Who KO's someone from there?!0:57
Kevin Holland KOs Jacare in the first. What a freaking win. 5-0 in 2020 for Holland.
Holland x Vettori next. Let’s go.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 13, 2020
“Come back up to 185 [pounds],” Holland said, calling out rising star Khamzat Chimaev for a December 20 (AEDT) bout.
“... If he comes up here to 185, I’m going to bang that boy up.”
FIZIEV FINDS EARLY KNOCKOUT
Rising lightweight star Rafael Fiziev secured his third consecutive win with a brutal first round knockout of Renato Moicano in the prelims.
The Tiger Muay Thai product showed off his elite striking with a three-punch combination that sent his opponent to the canvas. Fiziev ripped Moicano to the body with a searing left, followed it up with a straight right, before finishing it off with a left hook. He landed one shot on the ground, before the referee jumped in to stop the bout.
“I want to say to everyone in my division, guys, train more, harder ... I am coming,” Fiziev (9-1 MMA) said in his post-fight interview.
Insane combo knock out0:41
CUB GOES BANG
Not to be overshadowed by Fiziev, Cub Swanson, in the featured prelim, delivered a showstopping KO of his own.
Swanson, returning from a torn ACL, secured his second-straight win after a four-fight skid with a second round finish of Daniel Pineda in their featherweight showdown.
Pineda survived the first, but wasn’t as lucky in the second as a big right hand put him down, before Swanson connected with one more on the ground for good measure.
Swanson puts his LIGHTS OUT!0:39
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno — majority draw (47-46 Figueiredo, 47-47 x 2) — flyweight title
Charles Oliveira (7) def. Tony Ferguson (3) — via unanimous decision (30-26 x 3) — lightweight
Mackenzie Dern (11) def. Virna Jandiroba (13) — via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3) — women’s strawweight
Kevin Holland (15) def. Jacare Souza — via second round TKO — middleweight
Cyril Gane (14) def. Junior dos Santos (7) — via second round TKO — heavyweight
Cub Swanson def. Daniel Pineda — via second round KO — featherweight
Rafael Fiziev def. Renato Moicano — via first round KO — lightweight
Gavin Tucker def. Billy Quarantillo — via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3) — featherweight
Tecia Torres def. Sam Hughes — via first round TKO — women’s strawweight
Chase Hooper def. Peter Barrett — via third round submission — featherweight