On Saturday, December 12th, the UFC will be live on PPV with UFC 256: Figueiredo vs Moreno from the Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This event features a flyweight world title fight as Deiveson Figueiredo makes a quick turnaround to defend his title against Brandon Moreno.
The co-featured bout is a lightweight clash between two Top 7 ranked lightweight contenders as Tony Ferguson takes on Charles Oliveira. Will the winner become the number one contender for the lightweight championship?
Also on the card is Renato Moicano vs Rafael Fiziev, Kevin Holland vs Ronaldo Souza, and a Top 13 ranked heavyweight bout between Junior dos Santos and Ciryl Gane. In total, there are five fights scheduled for the PPV portion of UFC 256, which begins at 10PM ET.
UFC betting sites have released their full slate of odds for this event. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these odds, identify potential value, and rain down elbows on these predictions.
The opening PPV bout is a heavyweight showdown between the 7th ranked Junior dos Santos and the 13th ranked Ciryl Gane.
Junior dos Santos is the former heavyweight champion and was at one point, the best heavyweight fighter in all of MMA. Unfortunately, his best days are behind him. But, that doesn’t mean he’s still not a threat to win each time he steps into the octagon.
This weekend, dos Santos faces an unbeaten opponent who reminds him of himself:
“He’s like me. He moves very well. He’s very light for his weight. He deals very well with his own size, so that’s why I’m saying it’s gonna be a very interesting fight, because this guy is dangerous. He already submitted some people showing some ground game, as well, so no doubt this fight will be very interesting for the fans, and I’m happy to be there fighting against someone that everybody is considering the next big name in the heavyweight division.”
JDS has lost three straight fights. In fact, all three defeats were via TKO. He last fought in August and lost via 2nd round TKO to Jairzinho Rozenstruik. JDS is 15-7 all-time in the octagon, but hasn’t won since beating Derrick Lewis in March 2019.
16 of his 21 pro wins have come via stoppage with 15 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 5-1 when going the distance.
Ciryl Gane is facing his toughest opponent to date. Yet, he also knows that a win over dos Santos will open him up to the biggest names in the division:
“If I win against Junior, the people will know that I’m ready for the big names. So now we’re going to see and I’m going to do my best against this big man.”
After debuting in the UFC 16 months ago, he’s gone 3-0 in the octagon. Surprisingly, two of those wins were via submission.
His last bout was 12 months ago when he defeated Tanner Boser via unanimous decision. Five of his six pro wins have come via stoppage with three by way of submission. He’s 1-0 when going the distance.
The Over/Under for this fight is set at 1.5 rounds, which means halfway through the 2nd round. I don’t see either man losing in the opening round of this fight, so it’s going to be really close to the O/U.
With that said, I am going with the Over 1.5 rounds (-130) as we could see it hit the third frame. Gane has gone to the 3rd round in his last two fights. However, this fight will end inside the distance (-215) as someone is getting the stoppage victory.
It’s hard to pick against Junior dos Santos in this contest because he does have the tools to win it. His boxing is still crisp. The problem is that his chin isn’t as solid anymore. At some point, I believe he will get clipped and eventually get put down by Gane.
Gane winning inside the distance at -140 odds is the best value especially considering he’s such a massive favorite to win the fight at -440 odds. I also like the odds of this fight starting round 3 at +120.
There could be a real good chance that this is the last time we see Junior dos Santos inside the octagon. With cuts looming, JDS could be axed due to a four fight losing streak.
Junior dos Santos vs Cyril Gane –Gane (-440)
Over 1.5 rounds (-130)
Fight ends inside the distance (-215)
Gane wins inside the distance (-140)
Gane wins via TKO/KO (-125)
Jacare Souza vs Kevin Holland
Jacare Souza (-130)
Kevin Holland (+110)
Over (-140)/Under (+120) 2.5 rounds
Originally, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza was supposed to face Marvin Vettori at UFC 256 and Kevin Holland was going to take on Jack Hermansson at UFC on ESPN 19. Unfortunately, Holland was forced off the card due to a false positive covid test.
So, the UFC switched Holland out with Vettori and now the #15 ranked middleweight gets to take on another big name. This will be the 5th fight for Holland in 2020 and he’s very confident in his chances against Souza on Saturday:
“Whatever ‘Jacare’ brings to the table is perfectly fine. When we’re talking about the striking aspect, I definitely have the advantage. When we’re talking about the fight overall, if I do things more technical, that might be my downfall. I think if I press fast-forward I might just run through ‘Jacare.’”
Holland has gone 4-0 so far in 2020, which has been a remarkable run. He was 2-2 prior to the year and floundering a bit. With the undefeated year coming to a close, Holland could really enter 2021 with a lot of momentum and possibly a Top 10 fight in the spring.
Holland last fought on Halloween and defeated Charlie Ontiveros via 1st round TKO. It was the 10th TKO win of his career. They go along with six submission victories to give Holland 16 stoppages in 20 pro wins. He’s 4-3 when going the distance.
Jacare has been a longtime UFC competitor and contender. He’s 9-5 all-time inside the octagon, but has gone 1-3 in his last four UFC fights including two in a row.
One of those losses was against Jack Hermansson in April 2019. When Holland was removed from the Hermansson fight last weekend, the UFC talked about a rematch between Jack and Souza. Jacare says that Hermansson shot it down because he was scared:
“They talked about ‘The Joker’ but he was scared. I know he was scared, nobody can give me a rematch. He picked the Italian Dream, and the UFC put me to fight against [Kevin] Holland. Holland’s a great fighter, he came with some good victories, and I’m ready to fight against this guy.”
22 of his 26 pro wins have come via stoppage with 14 by way of submission. He’s 4-5 when going the distance and does have 3 TKO/KO losses on his record.
Souza has the firepower to stay in an upright battle, but he has a significant advantage on the mat. For Souza to win this contest, he needs to make it a grappling battle where he would win due to his jiu-jitsu.
For Holland, he needs to defend the takedown and use his advantage in the striking department to beat Souza. Holland is quicker, more athletic, and has a nice counter striking arsenal that would rough up Souza on the feet.
I think with both men trying to nullify the other’s strengths, we will see a full 15 minute contest. So, take the Over 2.5 rounds (-140) and for the fight to go the distance (-130).
Once with the judges, I expect Kevin Holland to get the split decision win as his volume of striking and punches landed should give him the edge in this bout. Holland’s moneyline of +110 odds offers the best value as he has a great shot at winning this weekend.
Jacare Souza vs Kevin Holland –Holland (+110)
Over 2.5 rounds (-140)
Fight goes the distance (-130)
Holland wins via decision (+165)
Renato Moicano vs Rafael Fiziev
Renato Moicano (+140)
Rafael Fiziev (-160)
Over (-130)/Under (+110) 2.5 rounds
This bout was originally scheduled for November 28th, but it was pushed back two weeks due to a positive covid test for Moicano. The UFC liked this matchup too much to replace Moicano with another opponent for Fiziev.
Even two weeks later, Moicano still enters this fight as the underdog, which is not a surprise considering he moved up from featherweight to lightweight in the spring and now has to reestablish himself as a ranked fighter in a new weight class.
However, the move to lightweight has been a success so far, as Moicano won his first lightweight bout this year via 1st round submission in 44 seconds over Damir Hadzovic. The win snapped a two fight losing streak against the elite of the 145 pound weight class.
At 155, Moicano says he feels good, feels stronger and believes that this weight class is better for him and his body. The weight cut down to 145 pounds was draining him too much.
For this weekend’s fight, Moicano respects his opponent, but believes that after he wins, he will become a legitimate contender in the lightweight division:
“I think Rafael is a tough fighter; I respect him. I respect him because he’s a good athlete and he’s always humble. I like people who are that way because we are fighters and we have to respect each other. He’s a good fighter, but I believe in myself too much. The people are going to see me as a contender after this fight.”
Moicano is 6-3 inside the octagon in his six year tenure. Seven of his 14 pro wins have come via submission. He’s 7-0-1 when going the distance.
Rafael Fiziev enters this bout as the sizable betting favorite and on a two fight win streak. He bounced back from a loss in his octagon debut in April 2019. Six of his eight pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO. He’s 2-0 when going the distance.
Fiziev recognizes the big step up in competition that Moicano is and he’s excited for the challenge. He made the following comments about his upcoming opponent:
“He has striking. He has dangerous grappling. And he’s a tall guy. I am like a Hobbit compared to him. I might need to jump to punch him. But it’s a great challenge, and I am ready for it. It won’t be an easy fight but there’s no pressure. This situation just gives me more energy.”
Moicano will have the height and reach advantages in this contest by at least three inches apiece. Yet, Fiziev is the better striker between the two. He’s a more complete striker with kicks and punches. If he can take away the jab from Moicano, I believe he will pick him apart.
With that said, Moicano will have the advantage on the mat. So, if he can set up Fiziev for takedowns by effectively landing the jab, then I believe Moicano actually has a solid shot at winning this bout.
In fact, I am going with the upset in this contest. Moicano is the more experienced fighter at this stage and I see that playing a part in this bout. We will probably get long stretches of action where Moicano is trying to take down Fiziev or trying to keep him down.
I believe that will lead to Moicano winning the fight via decision. So, take this Over 2.5 rounds (-130) and for the fight to go the full 15 minutes (-115). Both options have value, but since we’re taking the upset, just roll with the underdog’s moneyline.
Renato Moicano vs Rafael Fiziev –Moicano (+140)
Over 2.5 rounds (-130)
Fight goes the distance (-115)
Moicano wins via decision (+360)
Tony Ferguson vs Charles Oliveira
Tony Ferguson (-165)
Charles Oliveira (+145)
Over (+140)/Under (-160) 2.5 rounds
I’m more excited for this fight than any other bout on the card including the main event. I believe these two fighters will put on a great showcase this Saturday night where the fans come away as the biggest winner.
The 7th ranked Oliveira enters this bout on a seven fight win streak. He last competed in March and won via 3rd round submission. In fact, Oliveira scored stoppage victories in all seven of these wins including three in the 1st round. He’s 17-8 all-time inside the octagon.
27 of his 29 pro wins have come via stoppage with 19 by way of submission. He’s 2-1 when going the distance. However, it’s been six years since Oliveira has gone the full 15 minutes.
Nicknamed “do Bronx,” Oliveira believes that when he defeats Ferguson, it will make him the #1 contender in the crowded lightweight division:
“Winning this fight I’ll be the next challenger, no doubt,” he said. “Seven wins in a row at the moment. It will be eight after this, and I don’t plan on leaving it in the judges’ hands. It will be eight finishes in a row. There’s no way I have to wait. I’m the next challenger. But, like I said, this is my moment, this is my time. I’ll be 100 percent focused for this fight. I won’t make mistakes up there.”
Tony Ferguson had his 12 fight win streak snapped in May when he lost to Gaethje via TKO in the 5th round. It was the worst loss of Ferguson’s career as he was pummeled. Many fans and pundits were surprised at the outcome because Ferguson has looked unstoppable over the last few years.
Despite the loss, Ferguson is still 15-2 all-time inside the octagon. 20 of his 25 pro wins have come via stoppage with 12 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 5-2 when going the distance.
After the beating that Ferguson took against Gaethje seven months ago, some pundits and fighters believed that “El Cucuy” should retire. They felt his time was up and that he couldn’t come back from that type of punishment.
Ferguson disagrees with them, but refuses to put too much energy into all of that. Instead, he’s focused on this fight and proving that he’s still one of the best in the UFC.
With that said, I actually think that Ferguson will bounce back in style this weekend. As solid as Oliveira is, he doesn’t have the skillset to duplicate what Gaethje did in May. Instead, he’s going to open himself up to a rejuvenated Ferguson who will get the big win with a nasty stoppage.
This fight won’t go the full 15 minutes (-205) and I believe it will come in Under 2.5 rounds (-160). The only question in my mind is whether or not Ferguson wins via submission or TKO/KO. Let’s go with the TKO at +275 odds.
The best value for this fight is Ferguson winning inside the distance at +145 odds. Combined, these two men have gone the distance in just 10 of their 66 pro fights.
Tony Ferguson vs Charles Oliveira –Ferguson (-165)
Under 2.5 rounds (-160)
Fight ends inside the distance (-205)
Ferguson wins inside the distance (+145)
Ferguson wins via TKO (+275)
Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno
Deiveson Figueiredo (-300)
Brandon Moreno (+250)
Over (+110)/Under (-130) 2.5 rounds
For Brandon Moreno, this is the biggest fight of his career. Not only does he get his first title shot in the UFC, but he’s trying to become the first Mexican born champion:
“Definitely, first of all, I can be the first 100 percent Mexican born and raised in Mexico to be the flyweight champion. The opportunity for us in general in this sport are (small). Brazil is a third-world country too, but MMA was born there, so you can go to any small academy and find two or three good guys who can help you be better in this sport.”
Moreno is 6-2-1 inside the octagon and enters this contest on a five fight unbeaten streak. His last three wins were against top shelf competition in Kai Kara France, Jussier Formiga, and Brandon Royval who he fought on November 21st and won via 1st round TKO.
In fact, both Moreno and Figueiredo fought on the UFC 255 PPV. This will be the quickest turnaround for a champion in UFC history. So, neither man has the advantage in terms of rest and preparation.
13 of Moreno’s 18 pro wins have come via stoppage with 10 by way of submission. He’s 5-5-1 when going the distance and has never been stopped in his career.
Figueiredo has had a tough time in the past making weight, but it should be easier for this weekend’s title fight because he just fought three weeks ago as he defeated Alex Perez via 1st round submission within two minutes.
In typical Figueiredo fashion, the champ had unflattering words about his upcoming opponent Moreno:
“Perez is way tougher than him, no doubt about it. But I’m ready to shut his mouth on the 12th so he doesn’t call me out or talk trash at me on social media again. Brandon Moreno comes from a boxing background; he has sharp little boxing, but speaking of jiu-jitsu and takedowns, I see no qualities in him. So it’s an easier match-up for me to fight. I thought Perez’s game was easy, and I think his is way easier.”
It’s hard to argue against what Figueiredo says because he has made his last four fights look incredibly easy. The champ is on a five fight win streak since suffering the lone loss of his career in March 2019 against Jussier Formiga via unanimous decision. Moreno defeated Formiga nine months ago via decision.
17 of his 20 pro wins have come via stoppage with nine by way of TKO/KO. He’s 3-1 when going the distance.
Neither man has been stopped in their careers, but I see that changing for one of them this weekend. Right now, you have to go with the champ and the streak he’s on.
It’s as if he found a super power in 2020 because he looks unbeatable. Figueiredo has the power and grappling advantages in this contest, but Moreno has the reach and striking advantages which should give him some success and confidence.
Figueiredo predicts that this fight will end in the first round via submission. I have to disagree, I think it touches the 3rd round where the champ will then find the submission hold for the win. Figueiredo is much better on the mat than Moreno and it will show this weekend.
Take the Under 2.5 rounds (-130) and for this fight to end inside the distance (-260). Furthermore, I like the odds of -115 that this bout will start the 3rd round. Figueiredo winning via submission is listed at +300, which is appealing as well. There’s plenty of value in these options.
Hopefully, Figueiredo will be able to coax Henry Cejudo back into the UFC so we can see this matchup. I don’t believe anyone else will dethrone Figueiredo. Cejudo is the only realistic threat.
Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno –Figueiredo (-300)
Under 2.5 rounds (-130)
Fight ends inside the distance (-260)
Figueiredo wins inside the distance (-165)
Figueiredo wins via submission (+300)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …