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UFC Mexico City

THE UFC returns to Mexico City for the first time since the Covid pandemic with a pair of five-round rematches that will likely decide the next title contender in two weight classes.

Former champion and #1 ranked flyweight Brandon Moreno rematches #3 Brandon Royval in the main event, whilst countryman Yair Rodriguez (#3) rolls it back with Brian Ortega (#4) in the featherweight division.

First time around both Mexican’s had their hands raised via first round TKO’s. But both were injury related stoppages – incredibly, two dislocated shoulders!


There was just one second left on the clock in the opening round when Moreno, now 30, stopped Royval, 31, in Las Vegas in November 2020.

Since, the Mexican has had six straight UFC title fights, four of which involved Deiveson Figueiredo – a draw, a loss and two victories – whilst his latest was a split decision defeat to new champ Alexandre Pantoja.


Royval has also only lost to the current king since meeting Moreno four years ago, either side of wins over three fellow top 10 ranked opponents that included two opening round bonus winning finishes of his own.

Iraqi Amir Albazi was scheduled to face Moreno this weekend, but he pulled out last month and was replaced by revenge-seeking Royval.


It’s just 19 months between fights for Rodriguez and Ortega, whose five-round main event in New York in the summer of 2022 also ended in round one due to a shoulder injury.

Rodriguez, 31, would capture the interim 145lb belt in his next fight submitting Josh Emmett in Perth, Australia, only to fail in a title unification against Alexander Volkanovski in the summer.

As for Ortega, this is the first fight back for the once 14-0 top contender, who can add losing title chances against Max Holloway and Volkanovski to a skid of just one win in his last four fights.

Now 33, that career-worst 1-3 campaign is all Ortega has to show for the last six years of competition.


Breaking down the action we did get four years ago, Royval struggled to utilize his height and reach advantage against Moreno and appeared apprehensive to commit to his shots under threat of takedown.

And, it was in fact, a miscalculated spinning back kick which allowed Moreno to take him down and take his back at the midway point.

An ugly face crank led to Royval scrambling and chasing a kneebar, but his arm got trapped and popped out of the socket as Moreno rained in ground ‘n’ pound, forcing the ref to intervene.

Ortega had more success against Rodriguez, dominating the geography of the action from a fence-riding clinch. But after forcing the takedown his arm got caught in an armbar attempt which pulled it clear of the socket.

Hopefully, we don’t get any injuries interfering with the action this weekend. But I still don’t believe that reverses either outcome.

Roared on by the home support, Moreno’s dominance on the ground should be all telling. Whilst the slick inventive striking of Rodriguez will prove too much for the far too inactive Ortega.


Mexico City will be absolute buzzing with two local heroes battling it out in potentially career-changing five-round rematches that will go a long way to determining divisional pecking orders. Who gets the win?

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UFC Mexico City

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