Brandon Moreno is the undisputed flyweight champion once more, following a bittersweet conclusion to a record fourth battle with his toughest challenger.
The UFC 283 co-main event flyweight title unification battle between Moreno (21-6-2 MMA, 9-3-2 UFC) and Deiveson Figueiredo was stopped in the third round by a doctor's stoppage. It was Moreno who was crowned champion at Jeunesse Arena because Figueiredo's right eye (21-3-1 MMA, 10-3-1 UFC) was swelling completely.
Moreno changed levels as Figueiredo got closer, completing a superb takedown. Figueiredo retaliated by resisting a guillotine attempt, and eventually used the hold to bring the battle back to his feet. Both fighters were taking calculated risks in the initial rounds.
In the second round, Figueiredo attempted a guillotine choke as Moreno ducked down for another takedown. With so many even foot-to-foot exchanges, Moreno was searching for an opportunity, and that's when he threw a powerful left hand that bruised Figueiredo's eye.
From that point on, Moreno gained control with a powerful ground and pound strategy until the round's horn rang. As soon as Figueiredo got to his corner, attempts were made to treat the wound and lessen the swelling, but it was obvious that the Brazilian's eye was shut.
“This for me, it’s very hard,” Moreno said afterwards. “The people need to understand, I’m just trying to get food for my family and that’s it. I was trying to be very, very smart. The last one, I was so emotional.”
While it was clear that Figueiredo didn't want the outcome, he accepted defeat and declared his departure from the flyweight class once the bout was stopped.
“Unfortunately it’s time to leave this division,” Figueiredo said. “Congratulations to Brandon but I’m moving up. It was Brandon’s night. I thought it was an eye poke. I hope I don’t have any lasting problems with my eyes. I’m tired of making this weight, that’s why I’m moving up.”