UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo retained his title with a thrilling majority-draw decision against Brandon Moreno in the main event of UFC 256 in Las Vegas.
Brazil’s Figueiredo, 32, and Mexico’s Moreno, 27, engaged in a wild, back-and-forth battle as the two 125lb fighters fought all the way to the judges’ scorecards after five breathless rounds at the UFC Apex.
Figueiredo was bidding to complete his second title defence in the space of 21 days after his first-round finish of Alex Perez at UFC 255 in November.
But despite loading up with heavy-handed strikes throughout the bout, he was unable to trouble the iron chin of the challenger, who continued to fire back with shots of his own, and appeared to hold the advantage in the wrestling exchanges through the contest.
After two all-action rounds, a thumping kick to the groin by Figueiredo left Moreno down on the canvas for two minutes, with referee Jason Herzog penalising the champion with a point-deduction.
That sanction ultimately prevented Figueiredo from claiming the outright victory on the scorecards, with one judge scoring the fight 48-46 to Figueiredo, while the other two judges tendering 47-47 scores to confirm the result as a majority draw.
Figueiredo’s title defence capped off a remarkable year for the former bricklayer and motorcycle taxi rider, who captured the UFC’s 125lb title with a first-round submission of Joseph Benavidez in July, then made the first defence of his title with another first-round submission, against Perez, last month.
Remarkably, after that victory at UFC 255, UFC president Dana White declared that the promotion would keep Figueiredo in Las Vegas so he could complete a three-week turnaround and face Moreno in the main event at UFC 256.
It meant Figueiredo broke the UFC record for the shortest gap between title defences, lowering the previous mark of 56 days to just 21, and while the fight may not have produced a decisive result, the match-up was hailed online as one of the best fights of 2020, while White told the fighters immediately after the bout that it was the best flyweight fight in UFC history.
Oliveira dominates Ferguson
In the night’s co-main event, Brazilian contender Charles Oliveira dominated former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson to earn a shutout decision win on the scorecards.
Oliveira, 31, held the advantage throughout the fight, and came close to finishing the American with a tight armbar. But, despite appearing to suffer a hyperextended arm, 36-year-old Ferguson refused to submit and the fight continued.
Oliveira proceeded to dominate the bout to earn scores of 30-26 on all three scorecards to cement his status as a threat to the UFC lightweight title.
Holland scores career-best win
There was a remarkable knockout in the middleweight main card fight between Kevin Holland and former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, with the American scoring a rarely-seen knockout while sitting on the canvas.
Holland, 28, happily grappled with the former jiu-jitsu world champion on the mat then, with the 41-year-old Brazilian in a seemingly dominant position, the 28-year-old connected with hard punches off his back to stun, then knock out Souza in remarkable fashion to register his fifth win, and third first-round finish, in 2020.
Gane claims big-name finish
In the first main card bout of the night, undefeated French heavyweight Ciryl Gane scored the biggest win of his career with a second-round TKO finish of former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos to improve his record to seven wins, with no losses.