The UFC’s final pay-per-view event of the year takes place Saturday night in Las Vegas with UFC 256. A stacked card sees a quick return of champ Deiveson Figueiredo defend his flyweight strap against Brandon Moreno in the headliner. Fan favorite Tony Ferguson takes on the surging Charles Oliveira in a pivotal lightweight encounter in the co-main. With plenty of great fights coming from the Vegas octagon, Ryan O’Leary from MMA Viking brings you his betting preview and tips for what should be an explosive night of action.
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UFC 256 PRELIM CARD
Featherweights kick off the card as the much hyped Chase Hooper meets Peter Barrett. Despite coming off his first career loss to Alex Caceres, Hooper is expected to come out on top against the 34-year-old Barrett who is coming off a loss of his own.
Heavyweights collide as Sergey Spivak faces off against Jared Vanderaa. Spivak has won two of his last three -- including a recent majority decision against Carlos Felipe -- and is a comfortable favorite over the debuting Vanderaa.
There is also women’s strawweight action as Tecia Torres faces the debuting Sam Hughes on short notice. Torres recently ended a four-fight skid with a unanimous decision win over Brianna Van Buren and was expected to face Angela Hill. Instead, she will fight "Sampage" who is 5-1 in her professional career thus far. Expect a decision victory for the longtime veteran.
An exciting featherweight bout between Gavin Tucker and Billy Quarantillo is also on the cards. Tucker is on a two-fight winning streak with submission wins over Seung Woo Choi and Justin Jaynes. However, he is a slight underdog to Quarantillo who is 3-0 in the UFC with his most recent win being an emphatic knockout of Kyle Nelson.
The popular Brazilian-American Mackenzie Dern will look to go on a three-fight winning streak when she faces Virna Jandiroba in women’s strawweight action. Dern recently enjoyed submissions over Hannah Cifers and Randa Markos and is a slight favorite over the Brazilian Jandiroba who is a jiu-jitsu expert herself with two submission wins in a row as well.
Cub Swanson finally returns to action when he faces Daniel Pineda in a featherweight bout. Swanson, 37, returned to the win column with an impressive unanimous decision win over Kron Gracie last year. However, as he returns from injury is a slight underdog against the 35-year-old Pineda who is coming off a knockout victory over Herbert Burns in his UFC debut back in August.
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UFC 256 MAIN CARD
Junior dos Santos (21-8) vs. Cyril Gane (6-0)
The main card kicks off with an exciting veteran vs. prospect matchup in the heavyweight division. Junior dos Santos will be looking to end the first three-fight losing skid of his career with a huge victory. The former UFC heavyweight champion is coming off three consecutive TKO losses to the heavy hitters of Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
While Gane is one of the most exciting fighters in the division who can excel wherever the fight goes. Given that he is six years the junior of “JDS” as well, it’s not a surprise to see him installed as a heavy favorite. While there’s every chance this could be a case of a prospect getting humbled, it’s hard to see Gane losing this one.
Ronaldo Souza (26-8, 1NC) vs. Kevin Holland (20-5)
An intriguing middleweight bout is also on the cards as former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo Souza meets the ever-active Kevin Holland. Souza is currently experiencing the first losing streak of his career after getting outpointed by Jack Hermansson before his most recent split decision loss to Jan Blachowicz in his light heavyweight debut last November. He will look to kickstart his ambitions for a title shot with a win in his old division.
Holland, meanwhile, will aim to go 5-0 in 2020 and top the year off with arguably the biggest win of his career. The 28-year-old only last competed in October when he slammed Charlie Ontiveros on his way to his third TKO victory of the year. While “Jacare” has lost a step, Holland is recovering from his positive COVID-19 test, and oddsmakers have this as a pick ‘em fight.
Renato Moicano (14-3-1) vs. Rafael Fiziev (8-1)
A potential Fight of the Night encounter is also set to go down as Renato Moicano meets Rafael Fiziev in lightweight action. Moicano enjoyed a successful lightweight debut with a submission victory over Damir Hadzovic that ended a two-fight losing skid in the featherweight division.
Fiziev, meanwhile, impressed many with his matrix-like movement in his unanimous decision victory over Marc Diakiese in July which put him on a two-fight winning streak. The dynamic striker is expected to make it three in a row against the Brazilian with oddsmakers having him as a slight betting favorite.
Tony Ferguson (26-4) vs. Charles Oliveira (29-8, 1NC)
Arguably the most highly-anticipated fight on the card sees Tony Ferguson collide with Charles Oliveira in a lightweight encounter. Ferguson will be competing for the first time since his 12-fight winning streak was snapped in May following a fifth-round TKO defeat to the hard hitting Justin Gaethje. A win on Saturday night, however, could see him move toward a title shot once again.
As for Oliveira, he is enjoying a seven-fight winning streak -- the longest in the division currently -- and is coming off a third-round submission win over Kevin Lee in March earlier this year. However, Ferguson is undoubtedly the toughest opponent Oliveira will have faced yet and taking the fight on short notice won’t help matters either no matter how much “Do Bronx” has improved in recent years.
Unless the 36-year-old Ferguson is in complete decline following the Gaethje fight, this should be a win for “El Cucuy”.
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Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1) vs. Brandon Moreno (18-5-1)
Deiveson Figueiredo will look to defend his title for the second time in the space of a month in the event’s headliner, the quickest back-to-back title defenses in history. Figueiredo successfully defended his newly-won title with a first-round guillotine submission win over Alex Perez in the main event of UFC 255 last month.
Another victory this weekend would not only put him at 9-1 in the UFC, but also take him another step closer in his pursuit of becoming one of the most popular and active champions.
The Brazilian won’t face an easy task against Brandon Moreno, however. Moreno also competed at UFC 255 and required just a round to finish Brandon Royval with strikes. Unbeaten in four since returning to the UFC in 2019, the Mexican has looked a completely different and more well-rounded fighter in his second stint.
That said, it’s still a tall order to dethrone the hard-hitting Figueiredo who oddsmakers have instilled as a heavy betting favorite. It’s hard to bet against “Deus da Guerra” right now as he should come away with his second title defense.