UFC 281 is a stacked card with big names in big fights such as Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira clashing for the middleweight title, Carla Esparza defending her strawweight belt against Weili Zhang, and Dustin Poirier breaking his nearly one-year absence taking on the always exciting Michael Chandler. Many incredible storylines will take place that night in addition to the three fights just mentioned. One great fight that may be flying under the radar is what is scheduled to be the featured prelim, Renato Moicano vs Brad Riddell. Both men are extremely crafty and technical with both fighting for more than just a win on November 12th.
What’s on the Line? Brad Riddell vs Renato Moicano
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Brad Riddell was undefeated in the UFC going into a highly touted fight with Rafael Fiziev. A co-main event spotlight featured on one of the last events of 2021, it had a buildup suggesting the winner between Riddell and Fiziev would get a big name with a victory that night. It was a tense and competitive contest at UFC Vegas 44 where Rafael Fiziev scored a highlight reel KO with a wheel kick in the third round. That defeat deflated Riddell’s chance of fighting one of the bigger names in the lightweight division. Next, he was paired off against an up-and-coming talent in Jalin Turner at UFC 276. Turner was able to submit the City Kickboxing fighter in the first round. With just two fights, Riddell went from being a promising name in this stacked lightweight division to now fighting for relevance in this division. Finding himself in a similar situation as he did at UFC 276 where many of his teammates from the New Zealand camp competed in the same card, Riddell will want to get this win to build momentum for his team in the event and also to get back on track for his fighting career in the UFC.
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Renato Moicano is a former featherweight turned lightweight elite hopeful. As well-rounded as they come with his excellent kickboxing and slick grappling skills, Moicano now also has the experience to back up his techniques. During his days in the 145-lbs division, many thought the ceiling was very high for him when he was chosen as the backup, over José Aldo and Chang Sung Jung, for the Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega main event at UFC 231. However, the majority of big names he fought bested him so he moved up to 155 pounds where he enjoyed a good deal of success winning the last 3 out of 4 going into his fight with Rafael Dos Anjos, with his only loss to Rafael Fiziev. The contest with the former champion Dos Anjos showed the American Top Team product battered and taken down throughout the UFC 272 co-main event. Even though he showed a lot of heart and a will that prevented him from being finished, many would say that the damage he took during that fight was career-altering. Losing this upcoming fight to Brad Riddell after such a damaging loss could very likely mean Moicano has finally hit his ceiling.
Renato Moicano vs Brad Riddell takes place at UFC 281 as the featured prelim. In addition to the high stakes for both fighters, this contest promises to deliver a fast-paced and technical battle.