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UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs Royval

The Octagon descends upon Mexico City this Saturday, February 25th, for UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval 2. This highly anticipated flyweight rematch promises an electrifying night of action as former two-time champion Brandon Moreno seeks redemption against the always dangerous Brandon Royval.

Their first encounter at UFC 255 in 2020 left a lasting impression. Moreno delivered a stunning first-round TKO, silencing the Mexican crowd and solidifying his claim to the flyweight throne. However, the landscape has shifted since then. This highly anticipated flyweight rematch sits strategically within the UFC calendar, potentially a pivotal turning point for the division and its title picture.


Event Overview​

UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval 2 (Flyweight Championship)
Date: February 24th, 2024
Venue: Arena CDMX in Mexico City

Standing tall in the heart of Mexico City, Arena CDMX boasts a rich history deeply intertwined with the nation's vibrant culture. Initially built in 1946 as the Plaza México, it was a renowned bullfighting arena until 2006, witnessing countless moments of drama and daring. Its transformation into Arena CDMX breathed new life into the structure, welcoming various events, from concerts and rodeos to major sporting competitions.

For fight fans, Arena CDMX holds a special place in the UFC's history in Mexico. It hosted UFC Fight Night: Rodríguez vs. Stephens in 2019, marking the organization's first return to the country in over six years. The passionate Mexican crowd created an electric atmosphere that resonated throughout the event, and UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval 2 promises to replicate and surpass that energy.

Detailed Fight Card Analysis​

Brandon Moreno (21-7), the former two-time champion, seeks to bounce back after losing his belt to Alexandre Pantoja. His well-rounded striking and crafty grappling made him a dominant force, but he must be at his best against the unpredictable Brandon Royval (15-7).

Known for his aggressive, unorthodox grappling and submission attempts, Royval is hungry for revenge after his first-round TKO defeat to Moreno in their previous encounter. This rematch promises a thrilling blend of technical prowess and raw aggression.

The featherweight division heats up with this rematch between two ranked contenders. Yair Rodriguez, known for his flamboyant striking and acrobatic takedowns, has impressed audiences with his showmanship and technical skills. Brian Ortega, a submission specialist with a well-rounded skill set, will be looking to improve upon his close decision defeat to Rodriguez in their first encounter.

For the lightweight division, Daniel Zellhuber, a rising contender with a well-rounded skillset, takes on Francisco Prado, a veteran striker known for his aggressive style.

Raul Rosas Jr., a 17-year-old prodigy with impressive striking, faces Ricky Turcios, a promising prospect with knockout power in the bantamweight division.

For the women’s strawweight, Yazmin Jauregui, a ranked contender with a well-rounded skillset, meets Sam Hughes, a grappler looking to upset the favorite.

Manuel Torres, a knockout artist with powerful striking, goes toe-to-toe with Chris Duncan, a striker with a strong wrestling base in the lightweight division.

Main Event Spotlight​

Brandon “The Assassin Baby” Moreno​

Moreno's fighting style is a blend of precision striking and calculated grappling. His Muay Thai background gives him powerful kicks and sharp boxing, while his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt allows him to control the fight on the ground and threaten submissions.

Moreno excels at reading his opponents and setting traps, utilizing his footwork and feints to create openings for explosive attacks. However, his aggression can sometimes lead to recklessness, leaving him vulnerable to takedowns or counters.

He has likely been focusing on tightening his defense against takedowns and improving his cardio to withstand Royval's aggression. He might utilize his footwork and feints to draw Royval in before unleashing precise counterstrikes or takedowns of his own.

Brandon “Raw Dawg” Royval​

Royval is a whirlwind of unorthodox attacks. His wrestling base, honed through Freestyle Wrestling, fuels his relentless takedowns and scrambles. Once on the ground, his Jiu-Jitsu expertise allows him to hunt for unique submission attempts. Royval's unpredictability makes him a tricky opponent, but his reliance on aggression can leave him open to counters, and his gas tank can be a concern in later rounds.

He might employ a similar strategy in this fight, looking for early takedowns and using his grappling to control the fight. However, he might mix it up by incorporating more striking to keep Moreno guessing. Ultimately, his success hinges on maintaining his energy and capitalizing on any openings created by his relentless pressure.

Predictions and Pre-Fight Analysis​

Delving into the world of flyweight contenders, Moreno emerges as the epitome of resilience, having faced and survived challenges from the division's elite. Examining his track record, he stands undefeated in official finishes, showcasing his remarkable ability to weather storms inside the octagon.

Anton Tabuena, a UFC enthusiast, shared, “As for the fight, Royval will surely make this fun to watch either way, but I think he’ll still be a step behind on most aspects. I think Moreno will be better with striking and grappling exchanges, and while Royval will remain competitive and find some moments, I’m going with Brandon Moreno by Decision.”

Though Moreno faced a finish in a TUF exhibition against Pantoja, it's crucial to note that he has encountered Pantoja twice without succumbing to a definitive conclusion. It speaks volumes about Moreno's adaptability and strategic prowess.

Royval's growth as a fighter is evident in his ability to transcend reliance on securing finishes for victory. Reflecting on their previous bout, it concluded with Royval separating his shoulder. It adds an intriguing layer to the upcoming rematch, sparking contemplation about potential shifts in the match’s outcome.

The Fighters and Their Journey​

Moreno's entrance into the professional fighting arena marked the genesis of the nickname “baby assassin.” The initial intent was to capture the essence of his youthful appearance and a skilled fighter's prowess. The term "baby" in Moreno's nickname holds profound significance, reflecting his youthful exuberance and amiable and approachable demeanor. Before adopting the title "The Assassin Baby," Moreno was initially known as the "Baby Assassin."

In a candid conversation with MMA Junkie, Moreno shed light on the nickname transition, stating, "Some guys thought, told me like, the Baby Assassin sounds like I am killing babies or something like that. That’s why I changed the words." This insight unveils the delicate balance fighters must maintain in shaping their public image.
In a peculiar turn of events, Royval’s nickname “Raw Dawg” found its roots in the enthusiastic shouts of a drunken fan from the audience. Royval recalls the fan passionately yelling, "Brandon, raw dog him, raw dog him." Little did he know that this seemingly random moment would give rise to a moniker that would accompany him throughout his fighting career.

Royval's decision to embrace the nickname reached a turning point when he knocked out his opponent during a World Series of Fighting match. His team, finding humor in the fan-driven nickname, officially adopted it.

Weigh-In Results and Fighter Condition​

Both headliners, Brandon Moreno and Brandon Royval, successfully hit the 126-pound flyweight limit, ensuring the main event remains intact.

While both camps reported no significant injuries, Brandon Moreno and Brandon Royval have battled injuries. Moreno sustained a knee injury in his last fight, and Royval has dealt with nagging back issues. While seemingly healed, these past injuries could resurface under the pressure of a high-stakes rematch.

Behind the Scenes​

At the forefront of this match is the Athletic Commission of the State of Mexico (COMAEM), responsible for licensing fighters, inspecting facilities, and enforcing safety regulations. They ensure fighters undergo pre-fight medical examinations and receive on-site medical attention if needed. Additionally, USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) conducts year-round testing to maintain a level playing field and protect fighter health.

Furthermore, the UFC Anti-Doping Policy implements comprehensive testing and sanctions to deter and punish performance-enhancing drug use. These combined efforts create a robust system ensuring fair competition and fighter safety.

Beyond the regulatory framework, significant sponsors support the event and enhance the fan experience. Bud Light and Cuervo serve as the presenting sponsor.

Fight Night Implications​

A victory for Moreno, the former two-time champion, would be a powerful statement of redemption after losing his belt. It likely propels him directly into a title rematch against the new champion, solidifying his position as a top contender. However, a loss could set him back in the rankings and force him to rebuild his momentum through multiple fights.

For Royval, a win would be a monumental upset, catapulting him from gatekeeper status into the spotlight as a legitimate title challenger. It would validate his aggressive style and earn him a top-five ranking. Conversely, a loss could stall his progress and leave him needing to prove himself against lower-ranked opponents again.

The outcome of this fight will have ripple effects throughout the flyweight division. Depending on the victor, other top contenders like Alexandre Pantoja, Joseph Benavidez, and Askar Askarov could impact their title shot opportunities. The rankings shake-up could also present new opportunities for rising prospects such as Amir Albazi and Raughton Williams.

Viewing Information​

Pay-per-view broadcasts are the primary and most traditional way to catch UFC fights. UFC often airs its premium events through cable and satellite providers, allowing viewers to purchase access to specific matchups. While this option is costly, it guarantees high-quality streaming and access to all the main card fights.

The UFC also joined forces with ESPN to bring MMA enthusiasts extensive coverage. ESPN holds the rights to broadcast UFC Fight Night events, making it accessible to cable subscribers. Additionally, fans can stream UFC content on ESPN+, the network's subscription-based streaming service.

For the ultimate UFC fan, the UFC Fight Pass offers a dedicated streaming service that provides a comprehensive library of past fights, exclusive content, and live coverage of certain events.

Social Media and Public Opinion​

The fight taking place in Mexico City adds a layer of excitement. Mexican fans are passionately backing Moreno, with tweets like "Vamos Moreno! ¡Trae el oro a casa!" (Let's go Moreno! Bring the gold home!) expressing their national pride and desire for his victory.

Despite their preferred fighter, both sides of the fandom agree on one thing: this is a highly anticipated fight that promises fireworks. In addition to #UFCMexico, tweets like "This is going to be epic!" and "Can't-miss this rematch!" reflect the general excitement and anticipation surrounding the clash.

Frequently Asked Questions​

How can I watch the UFC fight card tonight?

If you're in the United States, the main card, including Moreno vs. Royval, airs live on ESPN+ starting at 10:00 PM ET. Spanish-speaking viewers in the US can tune in to ESPN Deportes for the main card. If you don't have ESPN+, you can purchase the event on UFC Fight Pass, the UFC's subscription streaming service.

What are the key matchups in tonight's UFC fight card?

Moreno vs. Royval is undoubtedly the highlight. A featherweight rematch between Yair Rodriguez vs. Brian Ortega promises an exciting fight. A women's strawweight contender fight between Yazmin Jauregui vs. Sam Hughes is also part of the co-main event.

Who is fighting in the main event of tonight's UFC card?

The main event features the highly anticipated rematch between Brandon Moreno and Brandon Royval. A former champion, Moreno seeks redemption against the man who dethroned him. Royval is Hungry for revenge and has a chance to solidify his place as a top contender.