UFC 263 is upon us. Saturday night’s pay-per-view (10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT, ESPN+ inside the United States, preorder today) will be the third such card from the UFC to originate from a traditional arena with a full audience since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic 15 months ago– this time inside Gila River Arena in Phoenix, AZ, home to the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, and the Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers.
UFC 263 this Saturday night will feature a 13-fight card (barring any late postponements for any reason) and a five-fight main card, the last three of which will be five rounds at five minutes each, including the UFC 263 co-main attraction for the promotion’s flyweight championship between incumbent champion Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1)and No. 1 contender Brandon Moreno (18-5-2), a rematch of a fight contested last December on PPV during the headlining bout of UFC 256.
That night, Figueiredo and Moreno fought to a draw following 25 minutes inside the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, setting up the rematch this weekend.
Figueiredo vs. Moreno II Contender Comparison
Heading into this weekend’s bout in the UFC 263 co-main, top-ranked Brandon Moreno is the taller man at 5-foot-7, with Deiveson Figueiredo standing 5-foot-5.
In addition, Moreno holds a two-inch reach advantage (70 inches to 68 inches) over Figueiredo, with the men level in leg reach (38 inches apiece going into the co-main event on Saturday evening during UFC 264.
Figueiredo enters the UFC 263 co-main having gone 4-0-1 in his last five UFC appearances, with Moreno entering the bout having gone 3-0-2 in his last five fights.”
As previously stated, Figueiredo and Moreno drew after five rounds back in December at UFC 256– with Figueiredo retaining his belt due to the champion’s advantage– having only fought just 21 days prior to the Dec. 12, 2020 card at UFC 255 on Nov. 21, 2020, for the quickest turnaround between title fights in promotional history.
In the penultimate UFC pay-per-view of the year, Figueiredo locked in a guillotine choke submission inside the first round against Alex Perez during that night’s headlining bout.
Figueiredo Under the Weather Last December
But Figueiredo was nearly unable to make that turnaround, as he was ailing with a stomach bug, as described in an interview in the days following the fight by his manager, Wallid Ismail as “30 hours of nightmare”.
The champ successfully made weight for the Dec. 12 card and then ate soup, with Ismail saying:
“When he ate the soup, everything fell apart. He threw up a little bit and that started the nightmare. We get out from there, we go direct to the hospital.”
Despite the later abdominal pain, Figuereido fought the next night.
Moreno Ready to Go in UFC 263 Co-Main Event
Brandon Moreno enters the UFC 263 co-main on Saturday night ready to claim the flyweight title that eluded him late last fall, saying in a recent interview:
“Obviously, I saw the fight, and my team and I saw a few mistakes. Even with that, we think we did a lot of good work in that fight. Figueiredo is a tough opponent but I feel comfortable with the rematch because I feel stronger than ever, faster than ever, my body feels so different. I feel like another athlete, I’m ready for this rematch.”
Moreno, like Figueiredo, also fought in November of 2020, with the former fighting on the undercard against Brandon Royval (first-round TKO due to shoulder injury after ground and pound shots) during the featured preliminary bout of the evening at UFC 255.
This one is going to be a toss-up to call, as both fighters subscribe to Brazilian jiu-jitsu– thus, it’s going to be an evenly-matched bout– and both men are capable of scoring the submission inside the distance of the fight– and all signs point to a grappler’s treat.
But will it hold form in the UFC 263 co-main event on Saturday?
Figueiredo’s Sub Shop
Deiveson Figueiredo has won most often by submission in his recent fights, with three of his last four victories going into UFC 263 coming by either guillotine or rear-naked choke.
In my opinion, Figueiredo should try to shoot for and land the takedown early on in the UFC 263 co-main event on Saturday night– because if he’s able to advance on a takedown and go to a dominant position on the cage mat, he can end the fight pretty early and retain the championship.
The champion has won four career bouts by submission heading into the UFC 263 co-main event.
At the same time, he’s won seven times by either knockout or TKO, so he could potentially score a knockdown, take top mount, and pepper it on with ground and pound shots for the knockout win.
Moreno is a Decent Grappler Himself
But don’t underestimate the grappling and BJJ prowess of Brandon Moreno going into the UFC 263 co-main event on Saturday night.
In addition to his recent UFC appearances, Moreno fought three times in the same night during February of 2019 in a combat jiu-jitsu tournament, going 2-1 that evening– as part of his nine career wins by submission.
Unlike Figueiredo, Moreno has only won twice by knockout, so if he gets this one to the ground, look for him to hunt for a submission.
Prediction: Deiveson Figueiredo by First-Round Guillotine Choke.
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