- Brandon Royval gets revenge with split decision win over Brandon Moreno at UFC Mexico Cityby Damon Martin on February 25, 2024 at 6:17 am
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images Brandon Royval waited nearly four years but he finally get his revenge with a hard-fought split decision win over Brandon Moreno in in the UFC Mexico City main event. Their first fight ended with Moreno scoring a TKO after Royval suffered an injury but following a disappointing outing in a title fight back in January, “Raw Dog” had a lot to prove on Saturday night. As a lifelong fan of Nate and Nick Diaz, Royval employed a similar game plan as the UFC veterans as he showcased incredible output, volume striking and a relentless pace to keep Moreno off balance throughout the fight. Royval may have lost a couple of the early rounds but he just stayed in Moreno’s face throwing more than 400 strikes during the five round affair. When the final scorecards were tallied, two judges gave Royval the win with 48-47 scores with the third official going 49-46 for Moreno. That was still more than enough for Royval to get the nod as he returns to the win column and gets a much more satisfying conclusion in his second fight with Moreno. Following the win, Royval once again channeled the Diaz brothers and sent an emphatic message to UFC flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja, who was sitting a few feet away watching the action unfold. “I’m a f****** gangster,” Royval shouted. “I’m the realest one in this f****** flyweight division. Everybody wants to grab me all day. Speaking of grabbing, I hear Pantoja’s in the building, let’s run that s*** back motherf*****.” There was a lot of caution from both sides with Royval acting as the aggressor and Moreno reacting as the counter fighter in nearly every exchange. Royval connected well with a good lead jab but he struggled to really land any power punches. On the other side, Moreno used speed and footwork to dip down and unload his biggest shots including a stiff right hand that continued to find a home on Royval’s chin. Royval was also dealing with a foot injury that seemed to prevent him from unloading many kicks, although he was still in Moreno’s face throughout the fight. Because Moreno spent so much time reacting to what Royval was throwing at him, the Colorado native displayed much better output and volume. Royval stayed in Moreno’s face and just peppered away at him without overextending to leave himself open for a big punch in return. As the fight moved into the fourth round, Moreno found a combination that began working with a big right hook followed by a stiff leg kick behind it. That led to more aggression from Royval including a hard punch that snapped Moreno’s head back before snatching a takedown against the cage. With urging from his head coach in the corner, Moreno started putting more pressure in the fifth and final round and he popped Royval in the eye right out of the gate with a well-timed punch. Moreno then slowed the action with a takedown attempt but the flyweights ended up clinched against the cage, which forced the referee to break them apart and restart in the center. From there, Royval was just constantly in Moreno’s face with a right jab and a hard left behind it as his death by a thousand cuts strategy continued to chip away at the former champion. With a minute remaining, Moreno started emptying the tank but Royval kept firing right back at him. There was no slowing down with a wild flurry from both fighters until the final horn sounded. While Royval’s accuracy wasn’t necessarily on point throughout, his non-stop attacks rarely gave Moreno the chance to surge ahead, especially during the final 15 minutes of the fight. It may not have been the highlight reel finish he wanted but Royval got the win, which is ultimately all that matters. The victory puts Royval right back in the race for the flyweight title, although with two losses to Pantoja it’s unknown if he’ll get another shot at the champion right away. As for Moreno, he’s now suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since 2017 and 2018, which came just before his release from the UFC.
- ‘Hell of a show’: Pros react to Brandon Royval’s fantastic rematch win over Brandon Moreno at UFC Mexico Cityby Alexander K. Lee on February 25, 2024 at 6:16 am
Brandon Moreno and Brandon Royval | Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images Brandon Royval had to wait over three years to get a win over Brandon Moreno. The two headlined UFC Mexico City on Saturday and they lived up to their billing, battling back and forth for five rounds en route to a split call. It was Royval who left the cage with his hand raised, with a pair of 48-47 scores earning him the victory. Making the win extra special was that Moreno is the man who handed Royval his first UFC loss back in 2020. The two first fought at UFC 255, where Moreno won via first-round TKO in a bout that saw Royval suffer an ill-timed shoulder injury. Moreno went on to become a two-time flyweight champion while Royval is still waiting to have gold around his waist. Royval may get that chance at UFC 301 in Rio de Janeiro if current 125-pound champion Alexandre Pantoja is chosen to headline that main event. Pantoja holds two wins over Royval, including a decision victory at UFC 296 just two months ago, but there may be no better option for the Brazilian star at the moment. Pros watching the fight were wowed by the non-stop action and you can see their excited social media reactions below. What a fight!!! Love both these boys, thank you for a hell of a show. #UFCMexico— Zak Cummings (@ZakCummings) February 25, 2024 Incredibly close fight. Both Brandon's put on a helluva show and had their moments Royval stepped in on short notice tonight in what was being considered a no.1 contender fight tonight.. since his last fight was a L to the champ.. don't see him getting that immediate rematch…— Megan Anderson (@MeganAnderson) February 25, 2024 Great fight #UFCMexicoCity — Muhammad Mokaev (@muhammadmokaev) February 25, 2024 Both guys named Brandon I think the judges are gonna be all over the place with these cards— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) February 25, 2024 I thought Royval won but that probably means nothing in Mexico— Jared Gordon (@JFlashGordonMMA) February 25, 2024 49-46 is crazy— Terrance McKinney (@twrecks155) February 25, 2024 2-2 goin into the 5th?? #UFCMexico— Terrance McKinney (@twrecks155) February 25, 2024 What a fight!! What a round 5 !! #UFCMexicoCity— JIMI MANUWA (@POSTERBOYJM) February 25, 2024 Crazy fast ending #UFCMexicoCity— Dan Henderson (@danhendo) February 25, 2024 Who’s winning this fight? #UFCMexicoCity— Dan Henderson (@danhendo) February 25, 2024 Royval looking sharp !! He might have the edge tonight ! #UFCMexicoCity— JIMI MANUWA (@POSTERBOYJM) February 25, 2024 I’m watching #UFCMexicoCity— Muhammad Mokaev (@muhammadmokaev) February 25, 2024
- Brandon Royval vs. Brandon Moreno 2 full fight video highlightsby Shaun Al-Shatti on February 25, 2024 at 6:12 am
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images Watch Brandon Royval vs. Brandon Moreno 2 full fight video highlights from the main event of UFC Mexico City, courtesy of the UFC and other outlets. UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval 2 took place Feb. 24 at Arena CDMX in Mexico City, Mexico. Former UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno (21-8-2) rematched Brandon Royval (16-7) in the night’s main event. The fight aired live on ESPN+. Catch the video highlights below. The #UFCMexico Main Event starts NOW on @ESPNPlus pic.twitter.com/fZmnZZ4loi— UFC (@ufc) February 25, 2024 UFFF que golpazo del Bebe Asesino #UFCMexico pic.twitter.com/b9VgIdY8gi— UFC Español (@UFCEspanol) February 25, 2024 Ya empezaron esas combinaciones letales de Moreno #UFCMexico pic.twitter.com/kXSpZ4GBiY— UFC Español (@UFCEspanol) February 25, 2024 .@brandonroyval ya empieza a entrar en ritmo en este tercer round #UFCMexico pic.twitter.com/zYvYFpFldZ— UFC Español (@UFCEspanol) February 25, 2024 Rodillazo y derribo para @brandonroyval en este cuarto round #UFCMexico pic.twitter.com/9otIEEYnN7— UFC Español (@UFCEspanol) February 25, 2024 Ambos estelares buscando como entrar con sus armas en este round definitivo #UFCMexico pic.twitter.com/llzUhe65Sa— UFC Español (@UFCEspanol) February 25, 2024 El cardio de estos atletas es una locura #UFCMexico pic.twitter.com/L7eEflrbwo— UFC Español (@UFCEspanol) February 25, 2024 25 minutes in the books The #UFCMexico Main Event is headed to the judges scorecards! pic.twitter.com/KD5dz0zeDs— UFC (@ufc) February 25, 2024 Got the win on short notice @BrandonRoyval wins the #UFCMexico main event by split decision! pic.twitter.com/wsYdXGxBZN— UFC (@ufc) February 25, 2024 Brandon Royval is fired up!He wants the rematch with Alexandre Pantoja after tonight's #UFCMexico win pic.twitter.com/ynUKqG7CXP— UFC (@ufc) February 25, 2024 For more on Royval vs. Moreno 2, check out the live blog by MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti. Round 1: Hot damn. These main-eventers have a heck of a show to follow. Brandon Royval makes that walk first, right into the lion’s den. And here comes the former champ! This Mexico City crowd adores this man. Herb Dean is the referee in charge of this contest. They touch ‘em up and we’re off. Measured start to this one. Royval throws out a body kick. Lots of circling around the outside of the cage from Moreno. Dean calls for action after about 90 seconds. Royval rushes inside with a jab and eats a left hook counter. Another body kick from Royval. Charging right hook misses for Moreno, who then kicks low. Moreno catches Royval flush with a combination. Royval tags him back with a right hand counter. Much more measured pace than usual for both men. Moreno goes high with an overhand right but just misses. Right hand connects for Royval. Moreno disengages, circles, and resets. Close round. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Moreno. Round 2: Royval’s left leg may be a bit hurt, but he’s still chucking it. Immediate kick with it from him to start. Big right hand lands by Moreno. That’s the best shot of the night so far. Moreno catches a body kick then blasts Royval with a looping hook. Moreno seems to be finding his range now. Royval slips another winging overhand left. Long jab to the jaw from Moreno. Royval responds with a combination. Royval cracks Moreno with a counter after a missed Moreno flurry. Huge combination from Moreno! That was nice. Somehow, Royval just eats and continues marching forward. Sneaky hook to the body from Royval. Both men trade shots from inside the pocket. Royval starts unloading with kicks but Moreno catches one of them and takes him down. Frantic scramble here. Moreno settles in top position. Super slick escape off the gogoplata attempt by Royval. That was beautiful. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Moreno. (20-18 Moreno.) Round 3: Royval’s left leg/knee is bothering him. He seems very concerned by it. Screw it, Royval immediately tosses out a couple quick low kicks. Lots of movement for Moreno. He’s hanging back and looking for his shot. Another body kick by Royval. Moreno catches another kick and muscles Royval down the mat. Wild scramble here and Royval escapes to his feet. Royval smacks Moreno with a kick to his kibbles ‘n’ bits. We’re taking a moment here. OK, we’re back. Moreno answers with a hard kick of his own. He was waiting for that. Royval is relentless with his left leg kicks, though. He’s finding something here. Moreno can’t figure out this range now. Royval jabs then gets dragged back to the mat by Moreno. Instant get-up by Royval. Moreno blocks a two-piece. Royval flurries after eating a leg kick. Nice bounce-back round for Royval. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Royval. (29-28 Moreno.) Round 4: Moreno storms forward with a big two-punch combination then smacks Royval with a low kick. Nice uppercut lands for Moreno inside the clinch. There’s a scramble here but we end up back on the feet. Moreno is really intent on using these wide, looping hook combinations tonight, but they’re slowing down and Royval is starting to get wise to it. Nasty counter up the pipe from Royval! Royval is pushing the pace now, unloading with shots as Moreno backs up against the fence. Takedown for Royval, but Moreno stands quickly. Moreno spins Royval around with another leg kick. Royval still throwing punches in bunches. Royval leans back and catches Moreno clean with a series of counters. He’s totally figured out this range right now. Moreno blocks a three-piece, then answers to the body. Another leg kick from Moreno spins Royval around again, but Royval just continues to throw. Lots of touch-touch-touch from Royval. This might be tied up. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Royval. (38-38 overall.) Round 5: Here we go y’all, this could be all or nothing. Tremendous urgency from both corners. Royval peppers the jab out there to start. Moreno misses with a looping shot, and Royval makes him pay with a combination. Moreno clinches and forces Royval’s back to the fence. Dean calls for action after a bit of a stall. More calls for action by Dean. He finally steps in and separates them. Royval thanks him. Three minutes to win this and they’re trading! Royval’s volume is not slowing. Moreno just misses with a big standing elbow. Sneaky right hand connects for Royval. He may be taking over. Oh, big shot by Moreno! That was nice. Moreno charges inside and ties up on Royval’s back against the fence. Dean is not having this — he wants action. And he splits it up. One minute to go. Big punches from both men! Royval is the busier fighter. Nasty right hand by Royval! And there’s a cheeky knee to the body by Royval! Moreno clinches in desperation and drives this fight to the fence. Royval breaks free and UNLOADS with a furious combination at the horn. That was sick. Royval may have done it. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 Royval. (48-47 Royval.) Brandon Royval def. Brandon Moreno via split decision (48-47, 46-49, 48-47)
- ‘What a f****** DOG’: Pros react to Brian Ortega’s unreal comeback win over Yair Rodriguez at UFC Mexico Cityby Alexander K. Lee on February 25, 2024 at 5:26 am
Brian Ortega | Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images Brian Ortega has done it again. A fighter known for his flair for the dramatic, Ortega was triumphant in his first fight since July 2022, scoring a stunning third-round submission of Yair Rodriguez. It was a comeback performance for Ortega in more ways than one as he also had to battle back from being badly hurt in the opening round, not to mention the possibility of an ankle injury he suffered moments after entering the octagon. Brian Ortega hurt his ankle during his warm up #UFCMexico pic.twitter.com/sMlWzeBF6R— MMA Mania (@mmamania) February 25, 2024 Ortega was bloody and battered after an opening round that saw Rodriguez score a knockdown, but his elite grappling and absurd toughness shined through as he took control of the action in Round 2. After scoring a takedown early in Round 3, it didn’t take Ortega long to snatch a fight-ending arm-triangle choke and secure his first win since October 2020. To say his peers were impressed would be an understatement and the accolades poured in on social media afterwards. See some of the best reactions from the pros below. Wowww what a comeback!! Silenced the crowd #UFCMexicoCity— JIMI MANUWA (@POSTERBOYJM) February 25, 2024 Impressive Grit from T-city after a bad first round. #UFCMexico— Casey Oneill (@kingcaseymma) February 25, 2024 Let’s go!!!!!!! @BrianTcity — Jalin Turner (@JalinTurner) February 25, 2024 So much improvement in that wrestling department! Wow Ortega looked great!! #UFCMexicoCity— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) February 25, 2024 T City gets it done in Mexico City All he needed to do was get the fight to the ground, and it was just a matter of time.. #UFCMexicoCity— Megan Anderson (@MeganAnderson) February 25, 2024 Twisted his ankle at opening bell and still finished in the third against Yair what a savage #UFCMexico— Terrance McKinney (@twrecks155) February 25, 2024 Holy cow @BrianTcity— Platinum Mike Perry (@PlatinumPerry) February 25, 2024 What a comeback win for ortega— Jared Gordon (@JFlashGordonMMA) February 25, 2024 Ortega what a ******* g DOG . Heart he always shows !— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) February 25, 2024 Ortega showed insane grit coming back from a rough round 1 and perhaps an even rougher last couple years. Clean sub and superior conditioning. — Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) February 25, 2024 Great heart by Brian Ortega battling through adversity against the always dangerous Yair! #UFCMexicoCity— Dan Ige (@Dynamitedan808) February 25, 2024 That was a huge win for Ortega, wasn’t lookin good early especially with that ankle thing #UFCMexicoCity— Billy Quarantillo (@BillyQMMA) February 25, 2024 Did Ortega just hurt himself warming up — Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) February 25, 2024 Oh hell nah y’all peep Brodie twist his ankle — Terrance McKinney (@twrecks155) February 25, 2024 Did bro just mess his ankle up hopping around during announcements?!— Jamahal Hill (@JamahalH) February 25, 2024 Brian Ortega hasn't fought in over a year and a half, comes back in a 5 round co-main against Yair Rodriguez at elevation..Much respect #UFCMexicoCity— Megan Anderson (@MeganAnderson) February 25, 2024
- UFC Mexico City video: Brian Ortega pulls off incredible comeback to submit Yair Rodriguez in third roundby Damon Martin on February 25, 2024 at 5:25 am
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images It looked like disaster struck for Brian Ortega again but this time he somehow snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. After his previous encounter with Yair Rodriguez ended when he suffered a freak shoulder injury, Ortega had to feel snake-bitten when he jumped in the air during his introduction and actually rolled his ankle after an awkward landing. Things didn’t get much better when the action started as Rodriguez began battering him with strikes and there were a couple of moments where it looked like the fight might be over. Instead, Ortega showed incredible resilience and heart to survive the onslaught before turning to his grappling game. Once Ortega dragged Rodriguez to the canvas, he took over and that included the moment when he snatched an arm-triangle choke in the third round to get the tap in the UFC Mexico City co-main event. BRIAN ORTEGA THE COMEBACK KID GETS THE CHOKE OVER YAIR #UFCMexico pic.twitter.com/RyFuJ2FkRy— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) February 25, 2024 It was an awe-inspiring performance in Ortega’s first fight back in nearly two years as he takes out Rodriguez and puts himself right back near the top of the featherweight division. “Right when they were introducing us, I jumped up and I rolled my ankle and I freaked out,” Ortega said about the moment before the fight started. “[Once I got that arm-triangle choke] it’s a wrap. I’ve been training super hard. I got my life together. I’m not being an idiot anymore. This is what we did. We trained non-stop for three months.” The end was much better than the start after Rodriguez drew first blood when he blasted Ortega with a stiff left hook that dropped him to the canvas. Rodriguez followed up with a flurry of shots but Ortega managed to get back to his feet, although he was wearing some serious damage on his nose. Rodriguez continued his assault with several hard kicks including one to the body that had Ortega wincing in pain. Still, Ortega persevered and continued to hang around until he actually ended up in a grappling exchange with Rodriguez late in the opening round where he took the mount just before the horn sounded. As the second round got underway, Ortega turned the tables on Rodriguez after the fight hit the floor again but he had a lot more time to get some work done. Ortega dropped bombs from the top with punches and elbows including a shot that opened a cut underneath Rodriguez’s right eye that also resulted in significant swelling. Realizing he had a significant advantage on the ground, Ortega went right back to his grappling at the start of round three except he rolled right into the arm-triangle choke after tossing Rodriguez to the canvas. Ortega locked up the submission and it didn’t take long for Rodriguez to realize he wasn’t breaking free. The tap came at just :58 seconds into the third round. The miraculous comeback caps off back-to-back fights with Rodriguez but the rematch obviously went much better than the first for Ortega. As far as what comes next now that he’s injected himself into title contention with the win, Ortega is holding his cards close to the vest. “We’ll see,” Ortega said. “I see the boss Dana [White] right there. We’ll talk later.”
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