Thursday, January 21, 2021

UFC 256: Figueiredo vs. Moreno Staff Picks

We are less than 24 hours away from UFC 256, which will feature Deiveson Figueiredo defending his flyweight title for the second straight pay per view against top contender Brandon Moreno. The main card will also feature the incomparable Tony Ferguson facing Charles Oliveira in the co-main event.

The kick-off time for the pay per view is 10:00 PM ET, with the early prelims kicking off at 7:30 and the ESPN prelims starting at 8:00 PM ET. The UFC Apex will play host to this card.

Here is the full main card for the event:

  • UFC Flyweight Championship Bout: Deiveson Figueiredo © vs. Brandon Moreno
  • Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira
  • Renato Moicano vs. Rafael Fiziev
  • Kevin Holland vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
  • Junior dos Santos vs. Ciryl Gane

NOTE: Mackenzie Dern vs. Virna Jandiroba has now been moved to the main card, with Renato Moicano vs. Rafael Fiziev now moved to the prelims.

MMA News is the place to be for all the latest UFC 256 updates. Earlier today, we covered the weigh-ins, which you can see the results for here. Myself, Ed Carbajal, and Andrew Ravens have provided predictions for the card, which you can find below.

Junior dos Santos vs. Ciryl Gane

Clyde Aidoo: I think Junior dos Santos is currently making the painful transition from contender to gatekeeper. Santos probably beats most heavyweights right now, but I don’t think Ciryl Gane is one of them. With severe roster cuts underway in the UFC right now and a loss here being dos Santos’s fourth straight, this could be the last time we see Junior in the UFC. Santos has nearly five times the fights that Gane has, and if Santos were a few years younger, I think that would matter more than it will on Saturday. I think Gane is too much younger and sharper right now to let this opportunity slip away. (Pick: Ciryl Gane)

Ed Carbazel: Santos does not seem to mind being a gatekeeper but riding three losses in a row might mean it could be time to leave that task to someone else. Gane has finished all but his last opponent and given his finish rate, he will likely try to finish Santos or get a decision in the attempt. (Pick: Ciryl Gane)

Andrew Ravens: Andrew Ravens: If this isn’t a win for JDS then I’m not sure what his future holds with the promotion. Junior has lost his last three fights and now the UFC has given him a pretty easy fight in Gane, who while undefeated has only had six total fights and three in the UFC against lesser talent. Junior gets it done in a safe yet one-sided decision win. (Pick: Junior dos Santos)

Consensus: 2-1, Ciryl Gane

Kevin Holland vs. Jacare Souza

Clyde Aidoo: At this point, Holland has a better upside than Jacare, and I think he will outpoint him if the fight stays vertical, but Souza would have the advantage on the mat. And since Holland’s takedown defense has historically been shaky, so I’m going to have to go with Souza here. Holland is not a power puncher, so if he is piecing Souza up, I’d expect Souza to get the message at some point and be able to take the fight to the mat and use his superior grappling for the win and spoil Holland’s momentum. (Pick: Jacare Souza)

Ed Carbazel: Holland has been backing up his “big mouth” in the UFC and fighting is absolutely a young man’s sport. Still, the ground is Souza’s ocean and he’s definitely going to have the advantage if he gets Holland to the ground. But fighters get craftier as the sport evolves and these younger fighters seem to evolve faster with it. Holland might be proof of that at UFC 256. (Pick: Kevin Holland)

Andrew Ravens: Although this wasn’t the original fight, it still brings an interesting dynamic to the Octagon. These fighters enter on the complete opposite as Souza has dropped his last two fights while Holland is on a four-fight winning streak. I’m siding with Holland here as I believe he’s a real contender in this division, but he will be challenged by Souza early on. Holland walks away with the decision win. (Pick: Kevin Holland)

Consensus: 2-1, Kevin Holland

Renato Moicano vs. Rafael Fiziev

Clyde Aidoo: Fiziev is a dynamic striker with a wide arsenal on the feet, but I think the most likely outcome has Fiziev leaving himself vulnerable at some point. Fiziev entered the UFC with each of his six wins coming by finish, but his two victories in the UFC have both been decisions, so I think the jury is still out on his finishing ability and response to a higher level of competition. I think Moicano is the more well-rounded and experienced fighter with a better path to a finish being the much better submission grappler, so he has my pick for this close fight. (Pick: Renato Moicano)

Ed Carbazel: This match has been booked and rebooked enough that both men are probably more than ready to face one another. While Fiziev is impressive and on a two-fight win streak, Moicano might just have too much experience. It seems like a mismatch but fighters can prove that statement wrong on any given fight night. Still, going with the Moicano just makes sense here. (Pick: Renato Moicano)

Andrew Ravens: Moicano has been in struggle city as of late by going 1-2 in his last three fights after fighting and mostly beating some notable names. This feels like a setup fight for him to shine on a big stage against Fiziev, who really is an unknown fighter. I have Renato getting the TKO win. (Pick: Renato Moicano)

Consensus: 3-0, Renato Moicano

Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira

Clyde Aidoo: I still believe that what Gaethje did was more a testament to how good Gaethje is than being any indication that Ferguson is on the decline. If that is so, then it’s the same Tony Ferguson who pulled out 12 consecutive wins, and I see that guy outlasting Oliveira, especially if/when the fight gets dirty. I think Ferguson thrives better in this environment than almost anyone, including Oliveira, so I’m going with El Cucuy to get the statement win here. (Pick: Tony Ferguson)

Ed Carbazel: Ferguson already called out Oliveira on making weight and how he will not fight if the contracted weight is not met. Can’t blame Ferguson either who made weight twice for his match against Justin Gaethje. Even coming off that loss, Ferguson shows he comes to fight and he likely has a reach advantage over Oliveira. Hard not to pick “El Cucuy” here. (Pick: Tony Ferguson)

Andrew Ravens: Ferguson is looking to get back to his winning ways after having a lengthy winning streak snapped by Justin Gaethje. Interestingly enough, he won’t get a lesser opponent as he meets Oliveira who has been climbing up the rankings thanks to a 7-fight winning streak. I think we will all side with Ferguson here and I would agree by picking him to get a decision win, but we could see Ferguson drop back-to-back fights. (Pick: Tony Ferguson)

Consensus: 3-0, Tony Ferguson

Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno

Clyde Aidoo: Brandon Moreno does have a distinct speed/movement advantage in this fight, which can certainly earn him a lot of points in the striking numbers the longer the fight extends. When Figueiredo throws, he swings for the fences, so I expect him to exert a lot of energy when throwing his strikes…for one thing, because that’s just how he fights, and furthermore, I personally believe he’s at a stage right now where he is buying into his own hype to the point where he expects the wins to just happen. Moreno is not the type of guy to have that attitude against.

I think Figueiredo beats more flyweights in the world than Moreno does, but I think Moreno is a stylistic problem for him as the fight drags on if he is unable to be the first person to put Moreno away. My brain says Figueiredo is the better overall fighter, but my gut screams cardio, heart, and upset, baby. (Pick: Brandon Moreno)

Ed Carbazel: Both men fought at UFC 255 and both won in the first round. That means one of two things, they’re fresh and ready to go again or a longer and extended camp with another weigh-in a month later might take their toll on one. It’s hard to make a pick this early and the UFC Embedded episodes thus far make it seem like both men are ready to go, but the champ needs to get through one more weigh-in for 125. Moreno seems to make the weight easier. Picking an upset here. (Pick: Brandon Moreno)

Andrew Ravens: A fight that sees an unstoppable champion and a challenger that most won’t know yet they should consider the tear of destruction that follows him in his last few fights. Moreno is on a three-fight winning streak heading into this fight. Figueiredo looked uneasy in his previous fight against Alex Perez before getting the submission win. Although I see Figueiredo getting a decision win here, I think Moreno will surprise people with the challenge he’ll give the champ. (Pick: Deiveson Figueiredo)

Consensus: 2-1, Brandon Moreno

That’ll do it for the UFC 256 predictions. Do you agree with the MMA News staffers? Who do you think will emerge victorious on the main card? Give us your predictions in the comments below and be sure to stick with us for live coverage of UFC 256!