Fighters entering fights with undisclosed injuries is nothing new, but their opponents aren’t always aware of the injury so soon. In the opening round of UFC 283, Brandon Moreno was attacked by Deiveson Figueiredo on a compromised knee.
In the first quadrilogy, Moreno defeated Figueiredo by a 2-1-1 doctor stoppage in the third round. The fight was generally controlled by Moreno, but he found himself threatened by Figueiredo’s heel hook late in Round 1. Despite its name, the heel hook has devastating effects on knee ligaments.
“I had a knee injury in the training camp. I think the next day, I went to get stem cells, and that worked well. Stem cells hurt way too much, they hurt a lot, but I didn’t have too much time to lose, so that’s why I put the stem cells in my knee. In the first round against Figgy in this last fight, he went for a heel hook, and he attacked the same knee. I’m not going to lie to you, it wasn’t comfortable, and I was a little bit scared at that moment.”
Moreno will likely fight No. 2 ranked flyweight contender Alexandre Pantoja for a third time after fighting Figueiredo four times. “The Ultimate Fighter” brought the two together for an exhibition fight in 2016, which Pantoja won by submission. They fought for the first time in May 2018, when Pantoja defeated Moreno by a lopsided decision. Pantoja may feel “desperate” for an opportunity to challenge for the title, Moreno understands. Flyweight was essentially gridlocked for four consecutive years as Moreno and Figueiredo fought each other. Moreno wants ample time to recover both physically and mentally from the stresses of the fourth meeting with Figueiredo before diving into another championship training camp.