UFC 256 brings FOTY contender, big win by 2020’s most productive fighter
Photo: Jeff Bottari/ Zuffa LLC
The final UFC Pay-Per-View of 2020 brought a solid slate of fights, upsets, quick finishes and a title fight for the ages. Here is a breakdown of the top three storylines of Saturday night.
A historic title fight ends in insane draw
UFC 256’s main event made waves by being the quickest title fight turnaround in the promotion’s history. Just 21 days after Figueiredo grabbed the Flyweight title at UFC 255, he reentered the Octagon against No. 1 contender Brandon Moreno.
The pair exchanged lightning fast blows and flurries of shots. The pace was set early and held for all five rounds.
Between the two, there were six takedowns and 243 strikes landed over 25 full minutes. This pace was exhausting to watch, let alone compete with.
The fight went the distance and ended in a majority draw, letting Figueiredo retain the championship belt. However, a one-point deduction due to a significant groin shot would have been the difference maker for the champ.
“The referee did his job,” Figueiredo said. “I was able to go in there and put on a good fight. I think it was a good performance. “
This was by far the most action packed fight of UFC 256 and of the past few events. Based on the wild exchanges between the two and the heart of both fighters, this title bout became an instant classic and will undoubtedly be remembered for years to come.
With any draw for a title fight, the talks of a rematch are at the forefront.
“We need that rematch,” Moreno told Rogan after the fight.
Although Figueiredo isn’t opposed to one, he is more focused on recovering with his family right now.
“If they want to put him in front of me in the next fight, I’m fine with that,” he said. “Right now I need to go back, spend some time with my family, and relax for a bit.”
This bout is suspected to end up on the shortlist for Fight of the Year in 2020.
The stunning co-main event
Entering the fight at a -160 favorite, No. 3 UFC legend Tony Ferguson came off a vicious loss against Justin Gaethje for the interim Lightweight belt back in May. Ferguson hadn’t lost a bout since 2012 and was a fan-favorite to win— until now.
Up there with Ferguson was No. 7 contender Charles Oliveira. The Brazilian is known for his grappling and submission skills. Although Ferguson is known for those same attributes, it was all Oliveira.
Right from the start, it was easy to see that this would be no walk in the park for Ferguson. The story before Saturday was that Oliveira is deadly on the ground and Ferguson can box with the best of them. However, when it came to the fight itself, Oliveira was the one landing a number of quality shots.
Once the bout worked its way to the ground, it was over. Oliveira completely hyperextended Ferguson’s left arm in the closing seconds of the first round thanks to one of the deepest arm bars in a long time. This left Ferguson’s arm completely useless and he couldn’t do anything in the next two rounds.
Oliveira tallied three official takedowns, but also outstruck Ferguson 86-26 and had complete ground control for much of the second and third rounds. Ferguson couldn’t get anything going and it went the full three rounds and into the judges’ hands.
It was a unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring it 30-26. This fight proved that Oliveira is the real deal and not to be messed with in this stacked division.
The No. 7 contender will most likely hop into the top five in the Lightweight division come next week.
2020: a breakout year for a rising star
Middleweight Kevin Holland capped off what was already successful 2020 bid in the UFC by defeating his toughest challenge yet, and in a way no one expected.
The breakdown loudmouth took on veteran Jacare Souza and ended up beating him at his own game. Souza is known for his ability to do work on the ground, but Holland was having none of it. Despite finding himself on his back in the first round, Holland became the second ever UFC fighter to knock out an opponent with a punch from the bottom position.
Holland’s explosiveness on the feet has been the tale of the tape in 2020, but even when at a disadvantage he proved that he can make the most of vulnerable situations.
This knockout win handed Holland his fifth win in the past seven months and has even lead to fans campaigning for him to be added to next week’s fight night.
Deiveson Figueiredo* vs. Brandon Moreno: Flyweight Title- Majority Draw
Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira: Lightweight- Unanimous Dec.
Mackenzie Dern vs. Virna Jandiroba: Strawweight- Unanimous Dec.
Kevin Holland vs. Jacare Souza: Middleweight- 1:45 RD 1 KO/TKO
Junior Dos Santos vs. Ciryl Gane: Heavyweight- 2:35 RD 2 KO/TKO
Bold signifies victory
*Figueiredo retains the belt even amidst a draw.