For Brandon Moreno, Deiveson Figueiredo rivalry remains unsettled: ‘A fourth fight is needed’

Former UFC champion Brandon Moreno calls for a fourth fight with Deiveson Figueiredo, says rivalry is unfinished.

Now a few days removed from the trilogy bout against Deiveson Figueiredo, [autotag]Brandon Moreno[/autotag]’s feelings remain the same.

The Mexican star wants nothing other than a fourth title fight with Figueiredo (21-2-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) following their clash in the co-main event of this past Saturday’s UFC 270 in Anaheim, Calif.

In a competitive, back-and-forth fight that won the card’s “Fight of the Night” award, Moreno (19-6-2 MMA, 7-3-2 UFC) lost his UFC flyweight belt, coming up short 48-47 across all three judges’ scorecards. The result put the record between them even, as they first fought to a draw at UFC 256 in 2020, and then Moreno won their second meeting via submission at UFC 263 in 2021.

Moreno feels there’s unfinished business with his rival and wants to put an end to the series to determine who’s the better fighter.

“I want my manager to push for the fourth fight; that’s all I want right now,” Moreno told MMA Junkie in Spanish. “I don’t want anything else. Obviously if it doesn’t happen, I’ll be pissed. I’ll say whatever I’ll say, and then the next day I’ll be focused on the opponent. But for me, it’s very clear what I want – I want the fourth fight.

“I want to fight Deiveson, and I want to finish this. I want there to be a clear winner in all of this.”

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This was the first trilogy in UFC history that went down in consecutive fights for both opponents. Moreno knows an immediate fourth fight puts other contenders on ice, and that’s why he’s open for a quick return in late spring.

“I’m willing to fight him in May or June so we don’t clog up the division and we have a finality to this,” Moreno said. “The balance is even, and this is caused by the draw in the first fight. If it wasn’t for that, we probably would’ve had a winner by now. A fourth fight is needed to close it out. Like I said, I’m willing to fight quick so we don’t clog up the division and have a solution to this.”

Like many watching from home and in the arena, Moreno thought he did enough to best Figueiredo. He understands it was a close fight and gives credit to the Brazilian for adjusting in the trilogy, but he feels the judges got the decision wrong.

Moreno feels he’s changed Figueiredo as a fighter throughout this trilogy. He doesn’t think “Deus da Guerra” is the fighter he used to be.

“What got him to the top is not there – at least with me,” Moreno explained. “He’s not the bully. He’s not the aggressive man that looks for the knockout. That’s gone. That’s what I saw from this fight. All that is gone. I saw a guy that respected me a lot, and like you mentioned, he was smart and knew how to play his cards.

“The series is tied because the first fight basically doesn’t count because it was a draw. I finished him in one fight, and he won the other in a somewhat questionable decision. If his evolution was just strategy, that’s the easiest part to solve in a fourth fight. It’s so strange how MMA works and how things develop. It seems that’s what’s next for us. Even if he doesn’t want it, and he’s mentioning (Kai) Kara-France, I think the division and the UFC wants this to truly be over, for it to be a clear 2-1 to end the story.”

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Justin Gaethje thinks his UFC 268 war with Michael Chandler ‘was kind of a boring fight’

“It’s the first time I’ve ever wanted to win more than to knock somebody out. So yeah, it was not good.”

Somehow, [autotag]Justin Gaethje[/autotag] didn’t enjoy his war with [autotag]Michael Chandler[/autotag].

Gaethje (23-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) outlasted Chandler (22-7 MMA, 1-2 UFC) in a three-round barnburner at UFC 268 in November, a matchup that was named MMA Junkie’s “Fight of the Year.” It was widely regarded as one of the best fights in the promotion’s history, but Gaethje wasn’t too pleased with his performance.

He explains why.

“To be completely honest with you, I feel like that was kind of a boring fight when I was in there,” Gaethje told BT Sport. “Yeah, it just makes no sense. It’s the first time I’ve ever wanted to win more than to knock somebody out. So yeah, it was not good. I didn’t like it. I want to go back to just wanting to hurt somebody and finish them. But now that I have won and I got my title shot, I can go back to how it should be.”

The win positioned Gaethje as the No. 1 contender in the UFC’s lightweight division and the former interim champion is expected to challenge current titleholder Charles Oliveira (32-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) next.

With the promotion announcing the title fight between light heavyweight champ Glover Teixeira and Jiri Prochazka for a rumored Brazil card on May 7, Gaethje would love to face Oliveira in enemy territory.

“I want to go down to Brazil; I want to fight in the chaos,” Gaethje said. “If you go back and listen to my early interviews, I said I wanted to go to the enemy territory like Brazil and fight in that chaos. So them screaming ‘I’m gonna die,’ 20,000 people, I am 100 percent confident that when I’m done, they’ll love me.”

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Eric Nicksick believes Francis Ngannou, UFC will come to terms, have lucrative future together

While he tries to stay in his own lane as head coach, Erick Nicksick believes Francis Ngannou and the UFC will settle their differences and have a bright future together.

The UFC heavyweight champion’s head coach, [autotag]Eric Nicksick[/autotag], believes there are many bright days ahead for his pupil and the promotion.

While [autotag]Francis Ngannou[/autotag] and the UFC are at odds in an ongoing contract dispute, Nicksick remains optimistic that both sides will eventually settle their differences. As a head coach, Nicksick tries to stick to the training and gameplanning side of things but admits there are times he wants to provide his input.

“I understand that this is a business, and I try to allow management to handle those kind of things, so I never really try to step across, and I just try to stay in my lane,” Nicksick recently told MMA Junkie Radio. “I do understand that the UFC, essentially, they pay a lot of my bills. Not them personally, but the fighters that fight for the UFC. I have to bite my lip on certain things, but I have to be understanding in some of their areas, as well, as far as the business goes.”

Ngannou and the UFC were unable to agree on a new contract ahead of this past weekend’s UFC 270, which meant “The Predator” entered the cage with an uncertain future. Although Ngannou defeated Ciryl Gane via unanimous decision and his contract was automatically extended for three fights or a year longer, the future is still as unclear as it was before the fight.

“I really think they’re going to get a deal done,” Nicksick said. “I think they’re going to figure this thing out. I think they’re going to get a deal done, and I think these guys are going to make a lot of money together, and everybody can be happy at the end of the day. I don’t like to worry too much about all that stuff.”

Notably, UFC president Dana White did not place the UFC championship belt on Ngannou at UFC 270 as he usually does for the winner of championship bouts – and did for the co-main event when Deiveson Figueiredo defeated Brandon Moreno. While White’s absence has sparked a number of theories on why he snubbed the belting of Ngannou, Nicksick believes there may be an explanation but thinks it simply wasn’t a good look.

“I don’t understand why Dana did that, but he might have his reasons why,” Nicksick said. “I don’t think it looked good, but it is what it is, man.”

Check out the clip above to hear Nicksick discuss the situation and watch the full interview in the video below.

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After feeling of failure in UFC, Yorgan De Castro eager to reinvent himself for Eagle FC

Complacency can lead to failure in the UFC, as former heavyweight Yorgan De Castro figured out the hard way.

[autotag]Yorgan De Castro[/autotag] reflects on his four-fight UFC tenure with a bit of disappointment. He knows he could’ve done better.

After he won a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2019, De Castro (7-3) nailed a bonus-earning knockout of Justin Tafa in his debut at UFC 243. However, three straight losses lead to his UFC pink slip.

“I think I could’ve given it more,” De Castro told MMA Junkie on Friday. “I think I failed. The UFC did good. They gave me good matchups. I never felt like I had a mismatch. Even the fights I lost, I could’ve won. The one I got knocked out in, it is what it is. I got caught. The other two, the Greg Hardy and Carlos Felipe (fights), I thought I was too short, too shy. I needed to push forward. I was too worried about not losing and I ended up not winning the fight.”

Since his departure, De Castro has competed once. Failed matchups and life obstacles have gotten in the way of more frequency, until now. De Castro is set to Friday face Shaun Asher (13-4-1) at Eagle FC 44. The event takes place at FLXcast Arena in Miami. De Castro thinks he’s righted many of his wrongs.

“All my goals in the gym were to get to the UFC,” De Castro said. “Once I got to the UFC, I needed to set up new goals. I was lost there. I got confident. I said, ‘I’m already here and I accomplished everything I had to accomplish.’ Not anymore, my man. I need to start on new goals. I don’t want to just be a one-timer in the UFC. I want to be well-rounded. I want to be top 10. I want to fight for the belt one day. I believe in a year or two I’ll be a completely different fighter. … The mistakes I made in the past, I’m not going to make them again. That’s the thing. In the UFC, I didn’t feel like I gave my 100 percent. That’s not going to happen anymore. Every fight I have from now on is do-or-die.”

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De Castro, 34, thinks he’s improved leaps and bounds in recent months. He’s focused on grappling improvement and less of a reliance on his right hand and leg kicks as his only strikes. According to De Castro, Eagle FC gives him a unique opportunity to showcase his skills – and compensates him appropriately for it.

“The big goal is always to get to the big leagues,” De Castro said. “Eagle FC is as big as any other promotion. I can tell you the pay is just like the UFC. They pay good. The contract is great. It’s another chance for me and a lot of other guys to follow their dream and provide for their families at the same time.”

 

Francis Ngannou details extent of knee injury, says doctors warned him of potential ‘irreversible damage’

Francis Ngannou shares details on his knee injury in the lead-up to his UFC 270 title defense over Ciryl Gane.

ANAHEIM, Calif. – [autotag]Francis Ngannou[/autotag] rolled the dice in more than one way at UFC 270.

The UFC heavyweight champion entered his first title defense in Saturday’s main event looking to fight out his UFC contract against a very game Ciryl Gane – while also fighting with a compromised knee.

Ngannou (17-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC), who beat Gane to retain his belt in a unanimous decision, revealed after the fight he had torn his MCL and suffered damage to other knee ligaments in the build-up to the event.

“It was pretty bad,” Ngannou told reporters at the UFC 270 post-fight nenws conference. “I have a grade 3 MCL (tear), I have damage on my ACL and damage on my MPFL. That was 25 days ago.”

When asked why he chose to continue on with the fight rather than pull out of the event, Ngannou said he was confident he’d win the fight even with an injured knee.

“Leading up to this fight, I got injured,” Ngannou said. “You don’t know what could happen. I could’ve withdrawn, but then get into another fight and get even worse, you know.

“This sport is very dangerous and you can hurt yourself all the time. So if you think there’s a chance you can do it, I think you have to do it. I believe in myself and I’ve been through a lot of stuff in my life. That must be a dumb decision, but I didn’t want to withdraw from the fight. I was very confident about my skills to win this fight.”

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Ngannou took a big gamble Saturday not only with his contract and standing in the UFC, but also with his health. Just a few days away from the fight, Ngannou said doctors advised him to pull out of the fight since he could potentially face worse damage.

“I saw the doctor on Tuesday to clear me and he wasn’t very optimistic about it. but I still decided to move on,” Ngannou said. “My team was by my side regardless, whatever I decided, but the doctor said he wouldn’t recommend me because I could have irreversible damage if I got kicked on that knee. That’s why I didn’t switch my stance.”

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Francis Ngannou airs his grievances with UFC: ‘I don’t feel like I’ve been treated good’

UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou explains his issues with his UFC contract following his UFC 270 title defense.

[autotag]Francis Ngannou[/autotag] doesn’t feel like he’s getting a fair shake from the UFC.

The UFC heavyweight champion is hoping for some change in his fighting career, but not inside the octagon where he’s thriving, but outside. Ngannou (17-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC) retained his UFC belt on Saturday night, defeating former teammate Ciryl Gane in a unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 270 in Anaheim, Calif.

Although the result was one that Ngannou wanted, the 35-year-old is not entirely content with his career.

“It’s not simply money,” Ngannou told reporters at the UFC 270 post-fight press conference regarding his contract issues with the UFC. “Obviously, money is a part of it, but it’s also the terms of the contract that I don’t agree with.

“I don’t feel like it’s fair. I don’t feel like I’m a free man. I don’t feel like I’ve been treated good. It’s unfortunate that I have to be in this position, that I have to say that. I feel like everyone should have the right to claim for what’s best for them. At the end of the day, we put a lot of work for this job and we take a lot on our body to make it happen, so we can have a fair and square deal.”

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Ngannou fought out his contract, completing his final fight with the win over Gane. Since he remained champion, the championship clause on the contract extended for another three fights.

According to Ngannou and his team, the contract is three fights or one year. “The Predator” said he’s got no problem waiting on the sidelines for his contract to expire if his grievances with the company are not addressed.

“In the past three years I have fought three times, so what does that mean? Once a year,” Ngannou said. “It wouldn’t be something strange. I’m not frustrated about anything, I’m at peace with my decision.”

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Fourth fight? Deiveson Figueiredo says he’s down to rematch ‘crybaby’ Brandon Moreno again

Fourth fight incoming?

ANAHEIM, Calif. – In the mind of [autotag]Deiveson Figueiredo[/autotag], there is no doubt.

“It was 4-1,” Figueiredo told reporters including MMA Junkie at a UFC 270 post-fight news conference. “I mean, there were five knockdowns. It was 4-1. They could’ve just given me every round.”

Figueiredo (21-2-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) defeated [autotag]Brandon Moreno[/autotag] to win the UFC flyweight title for the second time. His opponent, however, did not agree with the judges’ scorecards that had Figueiredo winning unanimously. Both in the cage and at a post-fight news conference, Moreno (19-5-2 MMA, 7-2-2 UFC) let it be known he thinks he won.

“Crybaby,” Figueiredo said of Moreno. “Let’s go to the next one, man. Let’s take it up (during) the next one.”

In the cage immediately following his win, Figueiredo told the largely pro-Moreno, pro-Mexico crowd he’d be willing to travel into enemy territory for a title defense against Moreno in Mexico. However, Figueiredo changed his mind in between the cage and the podium.

“Yeah, I initially said Mexico,” Figueiredo said. “But I think if we go to Mexico… we might not leave. So I think that we’re considering Brazil might be a better option. … (With Mexican fans), I can definitely feel the warmth. I love when people yell at me and just swear at me. I love Mexico so much. I cherish it so much that I’m going to make a video for him eating burritos and saying how much I love Mexico, all right? I wanted to knock him out and I felt the crowd was feeling it. If it wasn’t for those 30 seconds, I think I would’ve done it.”

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Bruised, bloodied and swollen, but a winner, Figueiredo thinks his immediate future will consist of a celebration among the team that helped him earn back the title he lost in early 2021. In late 2021, Figueiredo switched camps to Fight Ready MMA in Arizona under coaches Eddie Cha, Santino Defranco and Eric Albarracin.

“The first thing, going back to Scottsdale with this team that’s helped me so much,” Figueiredo said. “These guys, they gave so much of them to me, to transform my game. This is not just my belt, this is their belt.”

As of now, the lifetime series is even across the board with one win for each man, as well as a draw.

UFC 270 took place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

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UFC 270 salaries: Francis Ngannou, four others take home six-figure paydays

Much was made in the lead-up to UFC 270 about Francis Ngannou’s contract. So what was his disclosed purse?

UFC 270 featured two title fights and all four of the participants walked out of the cage with six-figure disclosed paydays.

Heavyweight champion [autotag]Francis Ngannou[/autotag] and former interim champion [autotag]Ciryl Gane[/autotag] led the way. Former champion [autotag]Brandon Moreno[/autotag] and current flyweight champion [autotag]Deiveison Figueiredo[/autotag] were not far behind in the co-main event.

MMA Junkie obtained a full list of disclosed UFC 270 payouts from California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) executive director Andy Foster immediately following the event. The purses listed do not include discretionary bonuses, pay-per-view points, or performance bonuses.

UFC 270 took place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The main card streamed on ESPN+ pay-per-view after prelims on ESPN/ESPN+.

Check out a full list of UFC 270 disclosed salaries below.

UFC 270 bonuses: Deiveson Figueiredo, Brandon Moreno among four winners

Check out who earned a bonus for their performance at UFC 270 in Anaheim, Calif.

The first UFC pay-per-view of the year delivered some memorable moments throughout the fight card topped by two title fights.

After UFC 270, the promotion awarded two Performance of the Night bonuses and both competitors in the Fight of the Night walked away with an extra $50,000 in their pocket. Naturally, the trilogy bout between [autotag]Deiveson Figueiredo[/autotag] and [autotag]Brandon Moreno[/autotag] earned FOTN honors for their incredible 25-minute war.

Check out who all earned a bonus for their performance at UFC 270 below.

Jon Jones reacts to UFC 270 main event: ‘At the end of the day, I’m f*cking them both up’

Jon Jones kept a close eye on the UFC 270 main event Saturday and was not impressed with what he saw.

[autotag]Jon Jones[/autotag] kept a close eye on the UFC 270 main event Saturday and was not impressed with what he saw.

In a series of tweets throughout the heavyweight title unification bout between champion [autotag]Francis Ngannou[/autotag] and then-interim champion [autotag]Ciryl Gane[/autotag], the former light heavyweight champion Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) voiced confidence in his abilities as he awaits his heavyweight debut.

Ngannou (17-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC) defeated Gane (10-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46) in a grappling-filled affair. The event took place at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

Check out what Jones wrote in the tweets below.