Already a breakout celebrity in 2020, UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo is taking a look to make a somewhat bizarre commentary on Saturday.
Figueiredo will shield his title towards best contender Brandon Moreno in the principle match of UFC 256 in Las Vegas. That combat will move down because the quickest turnaround in historical past via a UFC champion. Figueiredo defeated Alex Perez within the UFC 255 major match on Nov. 21.
Throw in his two dominant performances towards Joseph Benavidez, together with profitable the flyweight belt in July, and it is been a dream 12 months for Figueiredo.
But is the Brazilian being a little too bold in protecting his crown simply 3 weeks after his ultimate struggle?
Prior to the Figueiredo-Moreno conflict, Tony Ferguson will step into the Octagon towards Charles Oliveira. It’s Ferguson’s first combat since dropping to Justin Gaethje in May, which snapped his 12-fight win streak.
A win over Oliveira can be an outstanding one, making an allowance for he is on a seven-combat win streak. Would that be sufficient to get Ferguson again into title competition in a loaded light-weight department?
ESPN MMA professionals Ariel Helwani, Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim talk about the ones subjects and extra, breaking down what is real and what is not.
Real or not: Figueiredo is making a mistake via turning round so briefly.
Helwani: No manner. This is a sensible transfer on his phase. First of all, he did not get harm in his win over Alex Perez. That’s maximum necessary. Second, he’s going to make historical past when he fights on Saturday as a result of that will be the fastest turnaround for a champion ever. That’s a large feather in his cap. Third, enthusiasts and the corporate merely love a fighter who turns round briefly — simply ask Khamzat Chimaev. A transfer like this most effective endears him within the eyes of, smartly, everybody, and is helping expedite his expansion as a celebrity. Fourth, this will lend a hand stay his weight down. There’s undoubtedly he is a large man, however the quick turnaround will preclude him from getting too large as a result of he agreed to this combat ahead of he left the Apex on Nov. 21. There wasn’t any time to get out of form.
He’s sharp and in form and has a likelihood to seal his destiny because the 2020 male fighter of the 12 months via headlining his 2nd immediately pay-consistent with-view. A no-brainer if there ever used to be one.
Of direction, he has to win, and I believe Brandon Moreno is a more difficult combat than Perez, however it is a possibility price taking, particularly while you believe the luxurious of simply having the ability to keep in Las Vegas. Hindsight would possibly turn out in a different way if he in the long run loses, however I just like the transfer a lot for a budding celebrity.
Real or not: Ferguson will combat for the light-weight title in 2021.
Raimondi: Tentatively, shall we say real for this one. Of direction, a number of issues need to fall in position. Ferguson has to first beat Oliveira, and that is the reason no simple job. Oliveira has received seven immediately — each and every unmarried certainly one of them via end. He has appeared as just right as ever, nearly like Ferguson all through his unbelievable 12-fight profitable streak.
There appears to be a sentiment amongst some other folks in MMA that Ferguson is on a steep decline. He indisputably did not glance fully like himself in a 5th-spherical TKO loss to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 again in May. But it’s good to owe that to no less than two issues. For one, he used to be combating Gaethje, who is sensible and would most probably beat each and every different light-weight on this planet not named Khabib Nurmagomedov. Secondly, Ferguson reduce weight inexplicably two times ahead of that combat, as soon as the day ahead of the combat as standard and as soon as about 3 weeks out. Ferguson is a large boy for 155 kilos. It’s simple to consider two of the ones steep weight cuts sapping his vaunted power towards Gaethje.
Those two issues will not be a worry towards Oliveira. If Ferguson will get a win, particularly a end, he will be proper again within the title combine — strongly so. He controls his personal future in that manner. However, there are a few different chips that experience to fall in position. Does Nurmagomedov in truth retire and surrender his light-weight title? Does the winner of the UFC 257 major match between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier get the following title shot? Where does Gaethje are compatible? Those 3 names — McGregor, Poirier and Gaethje — are forward of Ferguson within the pecking order at this time. There’s a likelihood Ferguson must beat Oliveira after which any other best contender to get again to a title shot.
But if Nurmagomedov in reality steps away and timing is on Ferguson’s aspect, it is indisputably affordable that Ferguson may combat for the title in 2021. And then there may be this: Ferguson has proven over and over again the previous few years that he is not somebody you need to wager towards.
Real or not: Casey Kenney is the very best opponent for Dominick Cruz to go back towards.
Wagenheim: This reserving is unreal. It leaves me bewildered. I imply, what precisely is the UFC envisioning for Cruz, a two-time former champion coming off a title combat loss, via sticking him in the cage with an unranked up-and-comer?
A matchup like this may had been affordable again in September 2014, when Cruz used to be getting back from a 3-12 months absence to heal from surgical procedures to his knee (two times) and groin. He have been out for goodbye that he needed to vacate his bantamweight belt. For his comeback, it gave the impression smart to many on the time for Cruz to take a tuneup combat, however after all the UFC does not e-book such issues. Instead, Cruz confronted extremely ranked Takeya Mizugaki and confirmed he actually used to be absolutely in music, knocking out the Japanese fighter in slightly a minute.
Booking an opponent very similar to Kenney additionally would have gave the look of a just right concept in January 2016, when Cruz returned from any other knee surgical procedure and a 16-month absence. But Cruz used to be thrown proper in with the champion, and would not you understand it, Cruz ended up dethroning TJ Dillashaw to regain his previous belt.
Facing somebody of Kenney’s standing would have made sense whilst lately as May, when Cruz used to be resuming his profession following nonetheless any other prolonged pause, this one had to heal arm and shoulder accidents and lasting just about 3 and a part years. Instead, Cruz challenged Henry Cejudo for the title and used to be knocked out in the second one spherical.
So, after finishing 3 prolonged sessions of state of being inactive via leaping proper into two title bouts and a No. 1 contender combat, Cruz now is set to step again into the Octagon simply 10 months after his ultimate combat, and is booked towards an unranked, little-identified opponent? What a puzzling run of matchmaking.
This is not to discredit Kenney. He has received 9 of his previous 10 fights, together with two victories simply 21 days aside in October. He is a 29-year-previous on the upward thrust and will be no pushover. This is a nice alternative for him so as to add a large identify to his résumé and make a identify for himself.
But why the surreal trade of matchmaking philosophy? In the UFC’s eyes, has Cruz devolved from The Dominator to The Gate Keepinator?
Real or not: Yoel Romero will combat for Bellator.
Helwani: A 12 months or so in the past this may had been a very simple one to respond to. A no-brainer. A 12 months or so in the past, Romero would already be signed to Bellator.
However, for those who’ve spotted today, the promotion has been hesitant to signal combatants, large-identify or not, who’re deemed UFC castoffs. It is additionally transparent that it is making a concerted effort to signal more youthful combatants this present day.
None of this bodes smartly for the 43-year-previous Romero, who used to be lately released by the UFC.
I’m advised Bellator used to be introduced a possibility to signal Romero ultimate week and respectfully declined. Just because it did with Anderson Silva lately and because it did with Paige VanZant over the summer time, too. Does that imply Romero to Bellator is lifeless? No. But there are not any talks happening at this time between the 2 facets, resources say.
This one is a marvel, making an allowance for it’s good to make a case that Romero in truth beat middleweight champion Israel Adesanya again in March. And yeah, he has misplaced 3 of 4, nevertheless it does not really feel like he is in reality over the hill — I imply, his ultimate combat used to be for a UFC title — and you’ll be able to’t inform me a Romero vs. Gegard Mousasi middleweight title combat would not be probably the most fascinating 185-pound title combat Bellator may placed on at this time. But alas, it is sticking to its early life motion and do not appear .
If not Bellator, PFL would look like a herbal, proper? After all, it did simply signal fellow 43-year-previous Fabricio Werdum, who hasn’t been as related as Romero today. All I do know evidently is I’m hoping Romero does not signal with Bare Knuckle or a promotion like that. One of the best wrestlers in MMA historical past — not to say some of the best possible to by no means win a UFC title — wishes to finish his profession in MMA, and I’m hoping he will get to take action on his phrases.
Real or not: Conor McGregor vs. Jake Paul is a combat I wish to see.
Jake Paul tells Marc Raimondi that his long term plans contain combating UFC combatants within the boxing ring, and names Conor McGregor as his number one goal.
Okamoto: No, this is not a combat I wish to see. McGregor combating Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017 used to be something. It did not make sense and it used to be a farcical cash snatch, however shall we all know it or even experience it. I don’t have any phrases for what this may be. A travesty? A huge waste of McGregor’s skill?
I’m not hating on Jake Paul, right here. Do your factor, Jake. I’m at the back of you the entire manner. Keep boxing and promoting pay-consistent with-perspectives, however not towards some of the best skills in combined martial arts. McGregor appears to be hungry and in a position to in truth compete once more, in a recreation wherein he has the facility to be a real champion. That’s what I wish to see … not him combating a YouTube character.