Brandon Moreno may be one of the most easily liked fighters in the sport today, with a persona and style always endearing to the fans and almost impossible to root against. Whether it’s the down-to-earth LEGO-loving nerd in him or the scrappy Mexican boxing-esque fighting Moreno is most definitely one of a kind. He was first introduced to mixed martial arts at the age of twelve when he decided he wanted to lose some weight. In Tijuana, Mexico at the time, for Moreno that meant training at the local Entram gym, a humble martial arts academy. As would become a staple in Moreno’s career, it wasn’t the prodigal rise of an obvious future MMA superstar. He amassed a decent 6-3 record in his first 9 bouts before entering the World Fighting Federation. Five more wins later, he had earned a shot on The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions reality show on team Benavidez. However, at the last minute, Moreno would falter, making it to the finals and losing to current contender Alejandro Pantoja.
Regardless, his performance on the show earned him a shot in the UFC, which lasted five fights before coming to a close via back-to-back losses, including once again to his rival Pantoja. Undeterred, Moreno went on to win the LFA championship belt in order to state his case for a return to the UFC. Since re-entering the promotion, Moreno is yet to lose, although he has been on one end of two draws. The remaining fights include four wins over top competition, the most recent at UFC 263 when he submitted the champion Deievson Figueiredo to claim the flyweight belt.
Let’s now look at the style that Moreno developed as he navigated his way through the world of MMA, after career setbacks to secure the underdog story and become the best flyweight in the world today.
Brandon Moreno’s two biggest attributes are his quickness and his scrambling ability. Moreno, because he enjoys a slight speed advantage over much of the division, has the luxury of using a crouched posture with his head out forward to bait in fighters who use a power-oriented style. He does it to bait them into headhunting so that he can then stick and move with his dynamic footwork and stiff jab. However, Moreno’s pace is also a massive factor as to why this works, he builds upon his jab so that while his opponents miss big opportunities he peppers them with shots that don’t necessarily have all his weight behind them but consistently land and add up. Of course, this doesn’t mean he has perfect defense, and when he is unable to safely exit and counter he definitely has begun to wear the damage on his face but an innate toughness has also been something that he has shown an ability to lean on his way to becoming champion.
In terms of his technical arsenal, Moreno most leans towards boxing as a primary skillset. He has a great double left hook he likes to use outside of his excellent jab. Both of these weapons are especially effective because Moreno uses such good circular movement. He is also very heavy on the lead leg causing the lead hand to be always cocked because twisting off the front leg is an option always present. His body mechanics on the jab are near perfect and the snap of the punch comes pretty much right on impact.
Grappling-wise, Moreno doesn’t necessarily have the physical presence of some of the other flyweights around him such as Deiveson Figueiredo or Askar Askarov, but he makes up for this with a scrappy scrambling style and an ability to create chaos. Often one of the most difficult things about fighting Moreno is that when his opponents shoot on him there is always a threat that they will be reversed or end up in a compromised position because he is so unpredictable. This also means that Moreno is most dangerous when he has positions where he is tied around opponents rather than smashing them with pure top pressure, making his back control one of the worst places to find Moreno if you’re fighting him. Part of the reason for this is it allows him to pepper just enough ground and pound to create openings without fear of being swept or shucked off.
Preparing To Defend the Belt
Brandon Moreno will look to defend his newly earned flyweight strap when he once again fights the man from who he took it from. Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno are set to face one another in a trilogy fight this weekend at UFC 270, as the co-main event underneath goliaths Cyril Gane and Francis Ngannou.
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.