UFC 256: Main And Co-Main Event Odds, Preview, and Predictions
Updated: Dec 13, 2020
UFC 256 has had some last-minute replacements, but barring any setbacks, it should be a very entertaining card. The co-main event features the return of 'El Cucuy,' Tony Ferguson, and the main event is an exciting flyweight title fight between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno.
Flyweight Championship (125): Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-0) vs Brandon Moreno (18-5-1) Both Figueiredo and Moreno are fresh off victories at UFC 255 a couple of weeks ago. Moreno squared off against Brandon Royval in a fight that ended with a fluke injury that forced Royval to give up. His arm dislocated with a few seconds left in the 1st round and Moreno scored the victory. Moreno has never been finished in his MMA career and has relied on his wrestling and submission game to carry him to a title shot. On the feet, Moreno isn't afraid to brawl and loves getting into firefights, but that could ultimately be his downfall in this fight. But, Moreno will have a 2-inch reach advantage in this bout and will need to use it to stay away from Figueiredo's power shots. He will look to push the pace in this fight and try to take Figueiredo into the championship rounds to tire him out with wrestling and high output.
The champion, Figueiredo, has the true heart of a champion and is willing to take on all-comers at any given time. He's only lost 1 time in his career and it was to Jussier Formiga by unanimous decision in March 2019. Since then, he's rattled off 5 straight wins over Alex Perez, Joseph Benavidez, Tim Elliott, and Alexandre Pantoja. After showcasing his elite skillset after back-to-back dominating performances over Benavidez, he continued his dominance at UFC 255 by taking out Perez in the 1st round. He will have another tough test as he's set to face off against the Mexican brawler, Brandon Moreno, who has never been finished in his MMA career. Aside from his black belt in BJJ and a 40% finish rate by submission, Figueiredo has finished 45% of his victories by KO/TKO and has turned into a vicious KO artist. However, Figueiredo isn't a volume striker because he only has a striking rate of 2.43 significant strikes per minute.
With that being said, it will be very difficult for Figueiredo to put Moreno away even with his ferocious power. I believe Moreno is the quicker fighter and will put up a tough fight, but I have a feeling he will be finished for the first time in his career. Figueiredo hits like a truck for the flyweight division and his opponents don't seem to last long in the octagon with him. Let's take Figueiredo by KO with a patient counter shot in what should be a fun fight.
Prediction: Figueiredo (-335)
Bulldogs Risky Pick: Figueiredo by KO/TKO (+140)
Lightweight Matchup (155): Tony Ferguson (26-4-0) vs. Charles Oliveira (29-8-0, 1 NC)
This has the makings for 'fight of the night,' and possibly 'fight of the year.' Both of these fighters bring it every time they step into the octagon. Ferguson was on a 12 fight win streak until he ran into Justin Gaethje in May 2020. Ferguson took a prolonged beating in that fight and the ref was forced to step in and save him in the 5th round. At 36 years old, Ferguson has been in wars in the UFC and seems to get clipped and dropped in every fight before making a comeback. He's as durable as they come, but it will be interesting to see if all of his wars and injuries are finally catching up to him. This is a must win for Ferguson if he wants to get back into the 'title shot' conversation. He's a volume striker as he has an average of 5.51 significant strikes landed per minute, but he also has power in his hands with 50% of his finishes coming by KO/TKO. Ferguson has won by decision 19% of the time, but this is a 3 round fight and he's known for his cardio and outlasting his opponents. So, this 'shorter' fight favors Oliveira due to the cardio advantage of Ferguson, but Ferguson will not stop coming forward and he will look for the finish until the final horn.
Oliveira is the darkhorse of the lightweight division and could be one of the most avoided fighters in the division, with not many ranked above him wanting to take a fight against him. However, this will be a big step up in competition for Oliveira, so I'm not sure if he's ready just yet. His last fight was in March 2020 against Kevin Lee and he won that fight via submission in the 3rd round. Oliveira's BJJ is very elite and now his striking has caught up with his ground game. He has an astonishing 19 submission wins in his MMA career and 8 KO's to his resume as well, and his last fight against Lee was a 'coming out party' to show his well-rounded game. At just 31 years old, Oliveira has an insane 94% finish rate and will have the daunting task of trying to put away Ferguson who has only been finished 2 times in his career. But, a concern for Oliveira in this fight will be his gas tank and ability to keep pace with Ferguson in what will be a 3 round war. With that being said, let's take a shot on the underdog in this spot in what should be a 'pick-em' fight. We could see a changing of the guard at UFC 256 and Oliveria might finally get the recognition he deserves. I believe Ferguson will be his normal volume striker self and the busier one in this fight, but Oliveira will land the heavier shots and he will clip Ferguson at some point and capitalize. Oliveira shocks the world with a performance of a lifetime in what should be the 'Fight of the Night.' But in all honesty, sit back and enjoy the violence unless you're feeling extremely confident to bet on one of them.
Prediction: Oliveira (+135)
Bulldogs Risky Pick: Oliveira Inside Distance (+240)