The UFC hosts its penultimate event of 2020 in UFC 256: Figueiredo vs Moreno, Saturday, December 12th, at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. On merely a 3-week turnaround, champion Deiveson Figueiredo looks to defend Flyweight gold against challenger Brandon “The Assassin Baby” Moreno in the main event, with both fighters having last fought at UFC 255 on November 21st. And, in the co-main, Tony Ferguson squares off with Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira. Early prelims begin at 5:15pm CST on ESPN+, with prelims following at 7:00 on ESPN 2, and the main card kicking off at 9:00 on PPV. Follow along as we break down each of the main card matchups for this Saturday’s event, and give our picks and predictions for how we see each of those fights going down.
Junior dos Santos (21-8) vs. Ciryl Gane (6-0)
Bovada betting odds as of 12/6/20: Gane (-450), dos Santos (+325)
An indication as to how stellar of a main card we’ve got in-store for UFC 256 is the fact that it opens up with Junior dos Santos taking on Ciryl Gane. UFC staple Junior dos Santos will be making his 23rd walk to the Octagon this Saturday night. Upon joining the UFC back in 2008, dos Santos racked up 9 consecutive wins against the likes of Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve, Mirko Cro Cop, Roy Nelson, Shane Carwin, Cain Valasquez and Frank Mir. However, since then dos Santos is only 6-7, including the 3-fight skid that he’s currently riding. What’s even more troubling, is that in 6 out of 7 of those losses (the most recent 6), dos Santos was finished. Vegas must have considered the diminishment of dos Santos’ chin when calculating the current odds, as he is facing an absolute stud in France’s Ciryl Gane. Although Gane is only 6-0 (3-0 in the UFC), 5 out of 6 of those wins were finishes. What’s more, before mixed martial arts, Gane was an undefeated Muay Thai fighter, going 7-0 in his career with 5 finishes. As tempting as it might be to throw some money on Dos Santos, this smells like a trap bet, and we think Vegas has this one spot on.
Our pick: Gane, 1st-round KO/TKO
Ronaldo Souza (26-8-0, 1 NC) vs. Kevin Holland (20-5)
Bovada betting odds as of 12/6/20: Holland (-155), Souza (+125)
Next up on the main card, we’ve got UFC and Strikeforce legend Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza taking on Kevin Holland. The heavily decorated 4th-degree Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt Jacare Souza will be making his 15th walk to the Octagon since 2013. Jacare earned victories in 7 out of his first 8 with the UFC, including wins over Gegard Mousasi and Vitor Belfort. Since then, however, Souza is only 2-4, and it’s been over 2 years since he’s had his hand raised in the Octagon. Kevin Holland, who entered the UFC by way of the Contender Series back in 2018, has made the most out of his time with the promotion. He’s fought 9 times in 27 months (7-2) and he’s about to make his 5th appearance of 2020. Holland has certainly been the more active of the two, he’s riding a ton of momentum entering this fight, and we think he will edge out this one over Souza.
Our pick: Holland, decision
Renato Moicano (14-3-1) vs. Rafael Fiziev (8-1)
Bovada betting odds as of 12/6/20: Fiziev (-145), Moicano (+115)
Next up we’ve got Brazil’s Renato Moicano vs. Kyrgyzstan’s Rafael Fiziev (he was actually born in the same city as UFC Women’s Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko). Renato Moicano will be making his 10th UFC appearance, and he’s 6-3 with the promotion since December of 2014. Although Moicano is only 1-2 in his last 3 fights, those losses came at the hands of UFC Bantamweight great Jose Aldo and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. Slight favorite Rafael Fiziev will be making just his 4th UFC appearance Saturday night. He’s 2-1 with the promotion, and Moicano will be his toughest competition to date. Fiziev, the accomplished 29-4 Muay Thai fighter, looked unstoppable before joining the UFC. He was 6-0 as a mixed martial artist with 5 first-round finishes, and only 1 fight that went to the second round. The step-up in competition since joining the UFC has been real for Fiziev (he lost his debut and both of his wins went the distance), and we think that Moicano has a great shot here as an underdog.
Our pick: Moicano, 2nd-round submission
Tony Ferguson (26-4) vs. Charles Oliveira (29-8-0, 1NC)
Bovada betting odds as of 12/6/20: Ferguson (-175), Oliveira (+150)
In the co-main event, fan-favorite Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson takes on Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira. Ferguson will be making only his second appearance of 2020, and he will attempt to rebound from just his 2nd UFC loss. Ferguson lost a brutal bout to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 back in May. Before that, however, Ferguson was on a 12-fight win streak that dated back to 2013. Ferguson is currently ranked #3 in the division, and with Khabib Nurmagomedov recently retiring, Ferguson has as good a chance as anybody to claim UFC Lightweight gold. Charles Oliveira is a dark horse in the Lightweight division. Although he’s only ranked #7, Oliveira is on a 7 fight win streak dating back to June of 2018, with victories over Clay Guida, Jim Miller, Jared Gordon, and most recently Kevin Lee. That being said, “The Boogey Man” is back, and we think “El Cucuy” is going to put on a monster performance!
Our pick: Ferguson, 3rd-round KO/TKO
Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1) vs. Brandon Moreno (18-5-1)
Bovada betting odds as of 12/6/20: Figueiredo (-315), Moreno (+245)
In the main event, Deiveson Figueiredo makes his second defense of the UFC Flyweight title against Brandon Moreno. In an unprecedented move, after both fighters earned victories at UFC 255 back on November 21st, Figueiredo and Moreno, having both received minimal damage from their respective opponents, agreed to fight each other on this card. Deiveson Figueiredo has quickly risen to one of the most promising athletes on the UFC’s roster, and he enters fight week a plump -315 betting favorite. Figueiredo is 20-1, and he’s 9-1 in the UFC with 7 finishes. He’s currently riding a 5-fight win streak, and his only loss was a decision to Jussier Formiga back in March of 2019. Brandon Moreno is on a 5-fight unbeaten streak, and he’s the #1 ranked Flyweight contender. In less than a calendar year, Moreno has gone on a tear in the division, defeating Kai Kara-France, Jussier Formiga and most recently Brandon Royval. Even though Moreno is as tough as the come, (in 5 losses he’s never been finished), we think Figueiredo should be able to secure a conclusive victory.
Our pick: Figueiredo, decision
Tell us what you think! Where do we have it right, and where do you think we got it wrong? Comment with your picks, and don’t forget to bookmark our page and check back often for more predictions and fight coverage. If you like what you see, go ahead and give our Facebook page a like and follow us on Twitter & Instagram @fightsportfocus. Also, subscribe to the Fight Sport Focus podcast on Anchor.fm, Spotify, iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts!