Top ranked featherweight contender Brandon Moreno faced No. 6 ranked Brandon Royval in the featured fight on the UFC 255 preliminary fight card on Saturday. Moreno scored his 13th career finish late in the first round to keep his top ranking and stay first in line for a title shot.
Royval took the fight to Moreno, landing leg kicks in the early going. Moreno unloaded power shots but Royval was able to avoid being hit cleanly. After absorbing a left hand, Moreno changed levels and took Royval down but was unable to keep him on his back. Royval kicked Moreno off of him and rose to his feet.
Royval continued to throw kicks. Moreno closed the distance and took Royval’s back and drug him to the canvas. On the ground, Moreno threatened with a rear-naked choke but Royval defended the submission attempt. Royval scrambled and isolated a leg but Moreno worked his limb free and unloaded a series of hammer fists.
Royval was not able to defend the strikes because his right arm had dislocated at the shoulder. Moreno hammered away until the referee stepped in. Following the fight, Royval’s coach popped his shouldn’t back in place.
“I work too much all day to fight like this. I’m ready for a title (fight) now,” Moreno said following the win. “I don’t know what happened in the fight. I just know I’m the winner right now.”
Champion Deiveson Figueiredo was scheduled to face former champion Cody Garbrandt in the main event of UFC 255 but Garbrandt was forced out of the fight due to injury. Moreno expected to step into Garbrandt’s place, but the fight promotion decided to take a different direction. Moreno wasn’t happy with the decision.
“To be honest I was very sad,” he said. “You know what? I don’t care. I don’t need a title. I need to be the best in the division. If I want a title, I can buy one in a gypsy store. I don’t need a title. I need to beat the best in the division, and I’m so ready for that.”