Five Questions Leading Into UFC 256

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UFC 256 marks the last pay-per-view event for the year. The event was originally slated to have three title fights on the card, however alike many things this year, plans needed to change. Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1) is set to headline against Brandon Moreno (18-5-1). The “God of War” has a chance to secure the 2020 Fighter of the Year award with another impressive performance. Whereas, “The Assassin Baby” has a chance to be only the fourth flyweight champion in UFC history. With that said, let’s look at five questions leading into UFC 256. 

1.) Can Deiveson Figueiredo earn P4P status?

The pound-for-pound list in combat sports is always one of the more controversial debates. Yes, it is “mythical” and “meaningless”. But, it is important to fans and especially fighters. If you don’t believe me, just ask Jon Jones. Former flyweight king Demetrious Johnson sat atop those rankings after his reign of dominance. It’s not impossible for Figueiredo to enter the top five on the p4p list considering what the Brazilian has accomplished in 2020. It only took Figueiredo 1 minute and 57 seconds to finish challenger Alex Perez. He finished potential hall-of-famer Joseph Benavidez twice this year and now is set to fight another top contender. If he’s able to finish Moreno, it would be his 8th finish inside the UFC. That would pass “Mighty Mouse” for the most all time at flyweight. 

2.) Can Charles Oliveira take the next step?

Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveria is one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC. He’s also one of the more difficult fighters to evaluate. Oliveira has been in the UFC for 10 years and has seemed to finally hit in his peak. Possessing a seven-fight win streak, Oliveira is coming off his biggest UFC victory when he guillotined Kevin Lee back in March. Lee was the only ranked opponent in that stretch and now, an even bigger task is at hand. Tony Ferguson’s historic win streak ended, but “El Cucuy” is still one of the best lightweights in the world. Can Oliveira cement his status as one too? 

3.) Will the young guns or savvy veterans prevail?

There’s two fights on the UFC 256 card that are clearly set up for the next generation of fighters. Ciryl Gane has six professional fights and is taking on a former world champion. That’s almost unheard of. Gane takes on Junior dos Santos in the main card tonight. “JDS” is at the tail end of what is a historic career, but he’s fallen on hard times as he’s lost three in a row. All three of those losses were also by stoppage. In a similar situation, Kevin Holland faces off against Jacare Souza. Souza is 13 years his elder, but is one of the best middleweights to ever do it. Holland steps into the cage for the 5th time this year attempting to be one of only three fighters ever(Neil Magny and Roger Huerta) to go 5-0 in a calendar year. 

4.) Does “El Cucuy” secure a title opportunity in victory?

The fact that Tony Ferguson has never competed for an undisputed championship is almost criminal. A sheer of incredibly bad luck, the rise of Conor McGregor, and a world pandemic lead Ferguson on the climb back to #1 contender status. With the retirement or lack thereof with Khabib Nurmagomedov, the lightweight division needs clarity. If Ferguson can come away with a dominant victory, he will have the leverage over contenders Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler. Gaethje was dominant in victory over Ferguson, but his lopsided loss to “The Eagle” is still fresh on fans’ minds. The winner of next month’s bout between Mcgregor and Dustin Piorier could be in Ferguson’s future. 

5.) Can Mackenzie Dern or Virna Jandiroba crack the top ten? 

The most successful women’s BJJ practitioner to cross-over into MMA is Mackenzie Dern. She’s currently ranked #11 in the strawweight division. Taking on a fellow black belt in Virna Jandiroba, this matchup could dictate who’s on the fast track in the top ten. Both Dern and Jandiroba are on two fight winning streaks. Jandiroba is ranked #13 and is a former Invicta FC champion. Both fighters have losses against women inside of the top 10, which one will prevail and enter that category for themselves?

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Brandon Joint is a 26 year old graduate of Slippery Rock University. He resides in Erie, Pa with his fiancé and two children.

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