Brandon Moreno vs Brandon Royval staff predictions | UFC Mexico City 1

Brandon Moreno vs. Brandon Royval 2 is this weekend’s main event at UFC Mexico City.

The two will face off in a flyweight rematch as the UFC returns to Mexico City for the first time since 2019. Moreno earned the victory when they first clashed back in 2020 at UFC 255. Now, Royval gets another shot at the former two-time flyweight champ.

We’re here to break down not just this main event but plenty of other fights taking place at UFC Mexico City this Saturday night.

Betting Odds

Brandon Moreno will step into the cage as a significant betting favorite with odds of -280 up against Brandon Royval who is listed at +220.

  • Brandon Moreno: -280 (BetUS)
  • Brandon Royval: +220 (BetUS)

Staff Predictions

Ex-Champion, Brandon “Assassin Baby” Moreno is yet again projected for a fan-friendly fight. Going back to 2020, with his first fight against Figueiredo, Moreno has been involved in 6 straight exhilarating matchups that haven’t failed to live up to the hype. Moreno’s tendency to be involved in such thrilling fights stem from both positive and negative aspects of his game.

Firstly, let’s look at the positives. “Assassin Baby” is an exceptionally talented grappler, able to sprawl and wrestle with speed and explosion. He has also improved considerably on the feet, striking with precision, pop, and promptness whenever he throws. Lastly, Moreno is otherworldly durable.

In each of his last 6 fights, Moreno has cleanly eaten a blow that would knock most other flyweights unconscious. His durability leads me to the negative reason for Moreno’s rousing bouts. He is unafraid, even pursues at times, chaos.

Moreno has all of the tools necessary to take the path of least resistance in the cage- strike grapplers and grapple strikers- yet he often engages in the center of the cage pitting his best against the best of his opponent. I don’t see this as poor fight IQ or even pride; rather, I think Moreno enjoys fighting and is more than happy to give the fans a fight they’ll not soon forget.

Brandon “Raw Dawg” Royval recently fought for the flyweight strap, losing a unanimous decision that included him largely being dominated for 25 minutes. Royval has always been a fighter willing to put himself in dangerous and off-balance positions in order to hunt the finish.

But, in his title fight, Royval wasn’t given the opportunity to get started with his chaos friendly style until the 5th round. Instead, his opponent- Pantoja- pressured and wrestled from the opening minute and exposed Royval’s takedown defense as a vulnerability.

Royval was unable to keep the fight standing; and, even when he was able to work his way back to his feet, was so exhausted that he couldn’t get his offense going. He’ll need to improve his takedown defense or cardio as this fight is taking place at 7000ft above sea level in Mexico City.

Moreno has all of the tools to replicate Pantoja’s domination of Royval, and he’s already beaten “Raw Dawg” by 1st round TKO in 2020. He has tight enough boxing to avoid a creative knockout blow, high-level enough BJJ to avoid a Hail Mary submission, the durability and cardio to go 25 hard rounds, the experience against elite competition to not let the moment overwhelm, and, most importantly, the wrestling to dump Royval on the mat over and over.

Moreno should win this fight, but the odds are still surprising. Moreno’s skillset and path to victory match Pantoja, yet the odds do not match. Moreno is a significantly bigger favorite over Royval than Pantoja was which leads me to see value on Royval. While I see value on Raw Dawg, the truth is that Moreno has done nothing but impress in the cage, proven he can excel in chaos, and has the perfect skillset to beat Royval. Because I do think Royval will look better in this fight than he did against Pantoja, I’m not willing to parlay “Assassin Baby.” Instead, I’ll take Moreno to win a decision that includes a few close calls as Royval finds openings within the chaos.

Best Bet: Moreno to Win by Decision (+175 at BetUS)

Joe Pounders

Brandon Moreno, the former flyweight champion, can be earmarked as the re-match king, as this marks the 4th time he will re-match a fighter in the UFC, others include: Alexandre Pantoja, Deiveson Figueiredo, and Kai Kara-France. Being a former champion and having fought the list of names just shown, it comes as little surprise to say that Brandon Moreno is a very talented fighter with elite traits just about everywhere, but what is shocking to note is that he is just 30 years old.

From a technical perspective, Moreno is extremely well-rounded, as with just about every top-ranked flyweight. On the feet, he uses fast in and out movement to land fast and powerful boxing combinations. On the mat, he has the technical skills to offensively wrestle talented grapplers, and if he is in a defensive grappling position, can create fantastic scrambles. What makes Moreno special is the ability to blend on the feet striking with grappling as well as having extremely good cardio with a very durable chin. The latter half is important, notably his durability, as his opponent here, Brandon Royval, is touted as having fight-ending abilities everywhere the fight goes. Because his opponent is quite threatening, I expect Moreno to lean into the technical, fundamental side of his fight game contrary to leaning into the grit affinity for a war he has shown in other fights. If he can remain calm and leverage his championship pedigree, then he can secure a victory and sit at the top of the rankings for a chance to regain his title once more.

As stated, Brandon Royval is an extremely dangerous flyweight who fights with a chaotic flow at his best. What I mean by this is that Royval wants to make the fight electrifying and, at times, wild, as the bigger the storm, the better chance he has to find a finish. And, this finish can come by way of a powerful laser left hand that he has, or, perhaps more probable, a chaotic scramble where he can find a submission.

Creating a storm to find a finish was the likely game plan in Royval’s last fight, where he lost a tough bout for the title to the champ, Alexandre Pantoja. While that fight did not result in the way he had hoped, the experience gained will serve him well, particularly knowing Pantoja fights similarly to Moreno, with the slight difference being Pantoja favors wrestling more than Moreno does. If Royval can take lessons from the fight, notably to start faster and enter his flow-state of striking earlier, then he can certainly find a victory here.

I am a big fan of Brandon Moreno as his style is very repeatable and can leverage a variety of fight tools to beat different styles of opponents. While I am a fan of his and would favor him in this fight given his more technical traits and overall experience, I cannot ignore the fact he is a far greater favorite from a betting perspective than Pantoja was against Royval. Further, the experience gained for Royval, while a loss, will serve him well in this fight, particularly with learning how a championship-caliber opponent utilizes a well-rounded arsenal to secure a victory. So, while I favor Moreno here, I believe the matchup is far closer than the odds indicate, as such, I am electing to take the underdog in Brandon Royval at +220 odds.

Bet: Brandon Royval to win (+220 at BetUS)

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