Historically, the UFC has always had a must-see end of the year Pay-Per-View fight card. Whether it was five years ago today with the infamous 13 second knockout that launched the stardom of Conor McGregor, or in 2016 when “The Lioness” Amanda Nunes finished and ultimately retired UFC Hall of Famer, Ronda Rousey, in just 48 seconds.
On December 12th, the UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas with Flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo defending his belt against number one ranked contender Brandon Moreno. As well as the return of Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson, taking on seventh ranked lightweight, Charles Oliveira.
It’s important to note the significance of Figueiredo’s second title defense. Deiveson Figueiredo will be returning to the octagon just three weeks after submitting Alex Perez in under two minutes. If Figueiredo is able to make the walk to the octagon on Saturday, it will be the fastest turn around ever for a UFC champion to defend their title.
Deiveson Figueiredo’s confidence and immense self-belief has made him an unstoppable force in the Flyweight division. Even though his last two finishes have been submissions, the ferocious and heavy hands of the Brazilian boxer have been too overwhelming for his opponents to handle.
Brandon “The Assassin Baby” Moreno is the number one ranked flyweight behind the champion. And just like the champ, he too shall be making the walk once again just three weeks after fighting Brandon Royval at UFC 255 on,November 21st.
Moreno has all the confidence he needs going against the defending champion. He’ll be walking into his first title shot on a three-fight win streak. While Moreno may have taken a draw in his fight with Askar Askarov, the 26-year-old technically hasn’t lost a bout since the summer of 2018.
Alex Moreno will also be the first ever Mexican-born and raised fighter to challenge for a UFC title. If he is victorious, he will of course become the first ever Mexican-born and raised UFC champion.
Will Deiveson Figueiredo be able to put away Moreno and add a successful second title defense to his resume and continue his title reign? Or will Brandon Moreno be able to derail the champ to become the new face of the division and become the best 125-pounder in the world?Regardless, Figueiredo’s intense octagon pressure and elite boxing, paired with the sporadic and high energy of Moreno, surely will result in an intense and fast pacedfight.
In the co-main event of the night we are sure to see nothing but fireworks. After suffering a setback in a loss to Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson is ready to remind everyone that the number three ranked lightweight is here to stay and that “El Cucuy” is far from dead.
It’s been seven months since Ferguson was last seen in the Octagon. Initially, it looked like Ferguson would be fighting newly signed lightweight Michael Chandler. Ferguson took aim to Chandler on Twitter, essentially calling him out to sign a fight bout for December 12th. Four days after Ferguson’s tweet, Chandler told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that there was, “a zero percent chance” he’ll fight Ferguson in December.
To which Ferguson took to Twitter once more saying Chandler actually already agreed to another fight. Just three days later it was announced that the UFC was finalizing a deal for Ferguson to take on lightweight Charles Oliveira.
Charles Oliveira is a perfect matchup for Tony Ferguson. Ferguson is a complicated puzzle to figure out and unless you have significantly better striking or ground game, it could be a long night for whoever is on the other side of the octagon. Luckily, Oliveira has the submission game he needs if he ends up on the ground with Ferguson. He currently holds the crown for the most submissions wins in the UFC with 14 in total.
In early May of this year, Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje headlined the first sporting event held after the government ban of large gatherings due to Covid-19. In an interview with ESPNs Brett Okamoto, it seemed that Ferguson took issue with not getting the proper thanks for helping bring sports back in 2020. All on top of cutting weight twice in the span of a month. Regardless of what happened this year to Ferguson, it all adds to his motivation and fire.
Ferguson is walking into Saturday with something to prove. And Charles Oliveira hasn’t seen a fight go the full fifteen or twenty-five minutes since his bout with Jeremy Stephens in 2014. This fight has all the potential to be the fight of the night and could have easily headlined its own fight card if it wanted to.
Also featured for UFC 256 is a fight in the Middleweight division between fighter of the year candidate Kevin Holland, taking on the veteran jiu-jitsu specialist, Jacare Souza. Folks should be looking forward to the middleweight bout for a number of reasons. For one, Kevin Holland is currently on a four-fight winning streakand if he beats Souza on Saturday, he will have the most wins for a UFC fighter in 2020.
If Holland is able to defeat Souza at UFC 256, expect to see the California-born fighter become officially ranked in the middleweight division. He’s taken the year by storm with his four consecutive wins. Two of Holland last finishes have been worthy of a highlight reel. In June, Holland finished Joaquin Buckley via TKO, and in October a TKO slam finish of Charlie Ontiveros.
The explosiveness and ferocity in the standup game of Holland has just been confident and accurate. Holland will have to try and make quick work of the 4th degree Black Belt if he hopes to make history in Vegas tonight.
Getting that fifth consecutive win will be easier said than done of course. While Jacare Souza may be coming off two losses from 2019, the Brazilian veteran is capable of beating his opponent. The key to victory for Souza will be to take Holland down and submit him. He will have to use his veteran experience and force Kevin Holland to play his game if he hopes to break the four-fight win streak.
The main card will be starting at 7:00 PM on ESPN+. UFC 256 has more fights that are surely going to be great and entertaining for the fans. Early prelims begin at 4:30 PM on ESPN+ as well. The night will start with a featherweight bout between Chase Hooper and Peter Barrett. Prelims start at 5:00 PM on ESPN2 and ESPN+ and will be headlined by Cub Swanson taking on Daniel Pineda at 135lbs.