Brandon Royval (+160) vs. Brandon Moreno (-200)
Weight Class: Flyweight (125 lbs)
On a night where Deiveson Figueiredo and Alex Perez will fight for the flyweight belt, Brandon Royval and Brandon Moreno will be squaring off in what should be a title eliminator. Personally, I’m equally excited for this one as I am for the main event, if not more.
Brandon Moreno heads into this bout following a unanimous decision victory over Jussier Formiga back in March. “The Assassin Baby” has won three of his last four to go along with a draw against the surging Askar Askarov. With a UFC record of 6-2-1, Moreno has picked up wins over Kai-Kara France, Louis Smolka and Ryan Benoit.
Stylistically, Brandon Moreno is a very well rounded fighter. The Tijuana native is very light on his feet and has very creative boxing combinations. He can also hold his own on the ground and has great scrambles. He is no slouch in the BJJ department and has held his own against very talented submission artists, most notably against Formiga in his last go around.
The Formiga fight is very relevant when picking for this one, as the Brazilian’s style is very similar to that of Royval. In the Formiga bout, Moreno was able to fend off a very difficult guillotine and arm-bar while maintaining top position. While Formiga was just released by the UFC, it wasn’t because he’s totally shot as a fighter. He still has a-lot of game and a win over him is very relevant when analyzing this current match-up.
As for Brandon Royval, he strides in following an excellent start to his UFC career. After picking up a submission win against Tim Elliott in his debut, he built on it with another submission against Kai-Kara France at UFC 253. Royval was a 2-to-1 underdog in the bout with France but ended up blowing him out of the water. He walked forward without a care in the world, landing big shots and ultimately securing the submission.
The “Raw Dog” is riding a four fight winning streak overall and has picked up some notable experience prior to his UFC tenure. He lost a five round, title fight decision against Casey Kenney with LFA in late 2018, which says a-lot given what Kenney has done in recent months.
Stylistically, Royval is a very dangerous submission artist. Eight of his professional victories have come via submission. His striking seems to be improving with every fight, though Moreno still has him beat in that department. At least on paper.
This is my fight of the night pick and I could easily see Royval getting a submission. He has plenty of heart along with all the momentum in the world right now. If he can put on another Tony Ferguson-esque performance against Moreno, he stands a great chance.
With that said, I do think that Moreno will edge out a decision here. He has dealt with submission artists of Royval’s caliber in the past and should be able to out-point him on the feet. What Moreno sometimes lacks in power, he makes up for in volume and then some. The striking of Brandon Royval certainly can’t be overlooked and it’s hard to get a definitive read on it. However, we know that Moreno is an excellent striker.
I could totally see Brandon Royval competing for the belt in the very near future, but this will likely just be too much, too soon.
Prediction and play: .5u, Brandon Moreno by decision (+130)