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Background

Figueiredo has a history of being an explosive fight finisher, which is especially impressive given the standards of the flyweight division. Figueiredo has finished seven of his 11 UFC fights and is tied for the all-time lead in finishes in the history of the flyweight division. Because Figueiredo finishes a lot of his fights, he has one of the shortest average fight times in the flyweight division, averaging just over 10 minutes per fight, which puts his average fight time a tick above two rounds, which is under the DraftKings Sportsbook total rounds of 4.5.

Figueiredo entered his first fight with Moreno coming off four straight finishes, including three first-round submissions, which Figueiredo actively hunts. Figueiredo has attacked armbars, chokes and leglocks in scrambles in recent fights, most recently attacking a leglock against Alex Perez after Perez attempted a single-leg takedown, which created another scramble that led to Figueiredo sinking in the fight-finishing guillotine choke.

Because Figueiredo actively hunts submissions rather than waiting for opportunities, Figueiredo has posted big submission statistics, leading the flyweight division in submission average per 15 minutes (2.36) and total submission attempts (18). Figueiredo is confident in his guard and scrambling, which allows him to aggressively attack submissions because he does not fear being on his back.

Figueiredo also has very powerful striking, which is a big threat for him both in the stand up game and on the ground. On the feet, Figueiredo leads all flyweights in total knockdowns (8) and ranks third best in the division by knockdowns per 15 minutes (1.05). Figueiredo also displays ferocious ground-and-pound, which at times has opened up submission opportunities, most notably in his fight against Joseph Benavidez where thunderous ground-and-pound forced Benavidez to give up his back and allow Figueiredo to sink in a fight-finishing choke. Figueiredo leading the division in submission attempts and knockdowns paints a good picture for why he is so strong at finishing fights.

Figueiredo and Moreno’s first fight was an instant classic and highly competitive, with both fighters displaying incredible toughness. Figueiredo landed several vicious strikes that would have folded most other opponents, but Moreno kept eating the shots, which seemed to surprise Figueiredo. Moreno also had moments where he caught Figueiredo with flush strikes, but Figueiredo’s strong chin allowed him to eat the shots. The final striking tally was incredibly close, with Figueiredo landing five more significant strikes—137 to 132. Both fighters were able to score takedowns, but both fighters were able to scramble up and avoid significant control time or damage on the ground.

Figueiredo does have flaws that could potentially be exposed by the right opponent. On the feet, Figueiredo is prone to keeping his hands remarkably low, which makes him hittable. This could theoretically make him more susceptible to a fight-changing bomb if he mismanages the distance or gets hit with a strike he doesn’t see coming. However, Figueiredo has a strong chin and eats the strikes he absorbs, and he also uses movement and distance to avoid having opponent strikes land with full power, which gives him margin for error.

Figueiredo has also been susceptible to takedowns. Figueiredo has stopped only 61% of opponent takedown attempts in his UFC career and got taken down by Moreno multiple times in their first fight.

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Prediction

If Figueiredo is going to lose the belt, it will most likely be against an opponent who can either take advantage of Figueiredo’s low hands with a big power shot or put together chain wrestling and win a fight with takedowns and control time. Moreno had success in the first fight finding Figueiredo’s chin and taking down Figueiredo, but did not have enough punching power or top control to really make Figueiredo pay. Moreno has recorded only two total knockdowns in 10 UFC fights and has not recorded any knockdowns in any of his last four fights — he won via TKO over Brandon Royval at UFC 255 after Royval dislocated his shoulder and was unable to defend himself, which is Moreno’s only career UFC finish due to strikes. Moreno has not been particularly accurate with his striking either, landing just 38% of his significant strike attempts, although this number played up against Figueiredo’s leaky striking defense in their first fight, with Moreno landing 53% of his significant strike attempts.

Moreno also does not have a big offensive wrestling game, and while Moreno was able to take Figueiredo down four times in their first fight, he was unable to hold Figueiredo down for very long and Figueiredo scrambled back to his feet without issues.

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While Moreno’s toughness and strong chin can fuel another competitive fight, Figueiredo is the more potent striker and grappler. Figueiredo constantly hunts submissions in scrambles and is capable of attacking the neck, arms and legs. Figueiredo has more explosive skills in both striking and grappling, which gives him multiple ways of finishing the fight. Figueiredo has more ways to win, and had he not been deducted a point for a groin strike in their first fight, he would have won a decision on points.

Since Moreno is incredibly tough to finish with strikes due to his granite chin, we could see Figueiredo alter his game plan for this fight. Moreno has not officially been finished in his professional MMA career, but he did lose via submission to Alexandre Pantoja on The Ultimate Fighter after giving up his back off a takedown. The reason the submission loss is not on Moreno’s professional record is because the fight is officially classified as an exhibition bout.

Figueiredo could decide that his best method to beat Moreno this time around is to actively hunt submissions through grappling. Figueiredo did go for several takedowns in the first fight and was successful on two of them, including in the closing seconds of the fight, where Figueiredo took Moreno down with less than 15 seconds left and had the buzzer go off while he was in top position. Creating a scramble could allow Figueiredo to find Moreno’s neck or limbs and lock in a submission rather than trying to knock Moreno out, which was an incredibly difficult task in the first fight. Figueiredo could also try to do his striking damage on the ground from top position this time around, which could set up a submission if Moreno rolls over and gives up his back in an effort to escape.

Ultimately, I expect Figueiredo to win, and Figueiredo by submission at +750 is a higher-paying option that I think has a realistic chance of happening.

Pick: Deiveson Figueiredo by submission

DraftKings Sportsbook bets to consider

Deiveson Figueiredo moneyline (-230)

Deiveson Figueiredo by submission (+750)

Under 4.5 rounds (-106)

Israel Adesanya (c) vs. Marvin Vettori


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