Pre-fight Disucussion UFC FN Mexico: Moreno vs. Royval 2 Sat. Feb. 24 Prelims 7pm et, Main 10 pm et ESPN+

Planning to Watch

  • All of it

    Votes: 15 53.6%
  • Most of it

    Votes: 8 28.6%
  • Some of it

    Votes: 5 17.9%

  • Total voters

@BFoe when the AV bet fails :rolleyes:

Ilia Topuria proved to be a man of his word.

“El Matador” made it look relatively easy against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298, when he rendered his opponent unconscious with an exquisite right hook 3:32 into the second round of their headlining clash at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, on Saturday night. With that, Topuria claimed championship gold and improved to 15-0, signaling the beginning of a new era in the UFC’s featherweight division. The Spain-based Georgian oozes star potential, and at 27 years old could just be entering his peak years as a mixed martial artist. As a result, Topuria makes his debut in Sherdog’s pound-for-pound rankings at No. 4.

While his exact standing is a matter of perspective, there’s no question that Alexander Volkanovski — along with Jose Aldo and Max Holloway — has earned his place among the pantheon of the sport’s all-time great featherweights. The Aussie’s championship reign spanned a whopping 1,526 days — the fifth longest ever for a male UFC champion. However, three losses in four outings come with a price, and Volkanovski drops to No. 6 in the pound-for-pound poll.

Note: Previous ranking in brackets.

1. Islam Makhachev (25-1) | UFC [1]​

Makhachev made a statement at UFC 294, knocking out featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski with a head kick and follow-up punches in the opening round of their lightweight title clash at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The Dagestani standout has won 13 straight fights in the Octagon and thanks to consecutive title defenses against Volkanovski, can close the book on his rivalry with the Australian star. Makhachev’s next assignment could come against the winner of the lightweight title eliminator between Charles Oliveira and Arman Tsarukyan scheduled for UFC 300.

2. Jon Jones (27-1, 1 NC) | UFC [2]​

After a three-year absence, Jones looked as strong as ever in a new division, authoring a first-round submission triumph against Ciryl Gane in the UFC 285 headliner on March 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The longtime light heavyweight king was scheduled for a UFC 295 showdown with ex-heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic at Madison Square Garden for his first title defense before a torn pectoral forced him to withdraw from the bout. The hope is that Jones vs. Miocic can be rebooked at some point in 2024.

3. Leon Edwards (22-3, 1 NC) | UFC [4]​

For all the sound and fury promised by the public build-up between Edwards and challenger Colby Covington, the actual fight was a straightforward affair, lacking any of the eye-popping drama of Edwards’ pair of fights against Kamaru Usman. Instead, the champ forced Covington into the sort of mid-paced kickboxing match that characterized Edwards’ long rise to the top of the division, on his way to winning the first four rounds on all judges’ scorecards. While Edwards’ second title defense is unlikely to have earned him many new fans, it was a dominant showing against a veteran challenger. Whether Edwards’ next defense comes in the form of unfinished business against Belal Muhammad or a meeting with a streaking contender like Shavkat Rakhmonov, his place as one of the top fighters in the sport is secure for the moment.

4. Ilia Topuria (15-0) | UFC [NR]​

Topuria ushered in a new era in the featherweight division with a second-round knockout of Alexander Volkanovski in the UFC 298 headliner at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, on Feb. 17. “El Matador” ended what had been a competitive bout with a clean right hook at the 3:32 mark of Round 2, showcasing his frightening fight altering power in the process. Topuria has all the makings of a massive star, capable of spearheading the promotion’s first-ever card in his home country of Spain. At just 27 years old, the future appears to be bright indeed for Topuria.

5. Alex Pereira (9-2) | UFC [5]​

Pereira has proven to be a quick study in MMA, as he became the ninth two-division champion in promotion history by virtue of a second-round stoppage of Jiri Prochazka in the UFC 295 headliner. It only took “Poatan” seven UFC appearances to capture gold at 185 and 205 pounds after conquering two divisions in Glory Kickboxing, making him one of the most accomplished combat sport athletes in recent memory. Next, the Brazilian will defend his title against former champ Jamahal Hill in the UFC 300 headliner.

6. Alexander Volkanovski (26-4) | UFC [3]​

Volkanovski couldn’t overcome Father Time at UFC 298, as the 35-year-old Aussie suffered a second-round knockout loss to Ilia Topuria in the evening’s main event at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Regardless of what the future holds, Volkanovski will go down as one of the sports all-time great featherweights and given his previously perfect record at 145 pounds, he has a solid case for an immediate rematch with Topuria. Whether that happens remains to be seen.

7. Charles Oliveira (34-9, 1 NC) | UFC [6]​

After relinquishing his belt to Islam Makhachev in October 2022, Oliveira made an emphatic statement in his return, as he defeated top contender Beneil Dariush via first-round technical knockout in the UFC 289 co-main event. “Do Bronx” held his own with Dariush on the canvas, but it was on the feet that he did his best work, rattling the Kings MMA product with head kicks and heavy punches before sealing his victory with ground-and-pound. Unfortunately, a cut suffered in training forced Oliveira to pull out of a rematch against Makhachev at UFC 294. He’ll now collide with Arman Tsarukyan in a title eliminator bout at UFC 300.

8. Justin Gaethje (25-4) | UFC [7]​

Gaethje picked up a statement win — and the UFC’s BMF belt — in style at UFC 291, getting the better of Dustin Poirier for six minutes before flattening him with a head kick. In avenging his 2018 loss to Poirier, “The Highlight” reaffirmed his status as a top contender in the UFC lightweight division. While Gaethje was angling for a lightweight title shot after that victory, he will instead defend his BMF belt against former 145-pound king Max Holloway at UFC 300.

9. Alexandre Pantoja (27-5) | UFC [8]​

Pantoja put on a dominant performance in the co-main event of UFC 296, grounding Brandon Royval seemingly at will and doing grimy work from top position for most of five rounds. While the result was not the frenetic fireworks show fans may have hoped for, “The Cannibal” effectively denied Royval any chance to employ his hyper-aggressive kickboxing and grappling, retaining his belt while facing next to no real danger. One danger Pantoja does face is a dearth of ready contenders, as he is now 2-0 against Royval and 3-0 against Brandon Moreno, counting their meeting on “The Ultimate Fighter.” As such, Pantoja will have to hope that someone like Amir Albazi or Manel Kape puts on an impressive performance in their upcoming outings—and emerges healthy enough to fight again soon.

10. Vadim Nemkov (16-2, 1 NC) | Bellator [9]​

Nemkov was largely dominant in his latest title defense, as he earned a clear-cut unanimous verdict over former UFC title challenger Yoel Romero in the Bellator 297 main event. The Russian standout is unbeaten in his last 12 professional outings, a stretch that also includes a victory in the Bellator 205-pound grand prix. Nemkov vacated his Bellator 205-pound belt ahead of his transition to heavyweight against Bruno Cappelozza at the PFL vs. Bellator event on Feb. 24.

Other Contenders: Sean O’Malley, Aljamain Sterling, Israel Adesanya, Max Holloway, Tom Aspinall.

Sherdog’s divisional and pound-for-pound rankings are compiled by a panel of staff members and contributors: Tristen Critchfield, Mike Fridley, Brian Knapp, Ben Duffy, Jay Pettry, Marcelo Alonso, Keith Shillan, Tyler Treese and Rob Sargent.
That's his cover to escort everyone to the party. Jack's bringing his bass, sound system and basketballs. I'm bringing morrocas, Cohibas and pancake mix for breakfast.
I'll be blasting some Texas Tornados on that sound system. Thanks for the thread @PurpleStorm This song features both Doug Sahm and Augie Meyers of the Sir Douglas Quintet.

Wiggle room has all but disappeared for Brandon Moreno and Brandon Royval.

The two longtime contenders find themselves stuck in a crowded line behind current Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight titleholder Alexandre Pantoja—a man to whom they have both lost twice—as they move toward their rematch in the UFC Fight Night 237 headliner this Saturday at Mexico City Arena. Neither man can afford another backward step in the 125-pound weight class. Moreno has compiled a 10-4-2 record across his 16 appearances inside the Octagon and held the undisputed flyweight crown from June 12, 2021 to Jan. 22, 2022 and again from Jan. 22, 2023 to July 8, 2023. Royval, meanwhile, has rattled off three victories across his past four outings, keeping himself near the top of the flyweight totem pole. A onetime Legacy Fighting Alliance champion, the Factory X export succumbed to first-round punches from Moreno in their first encounter at UFC 255 in 2020.

The Moreno-Royval showdown and its resulting fallout at 125 pounds is but one storyline to watch at UFC Fight Night 237. Here are five more:

Question Marks​

Nearly 600 days have passed since Brian Ortega last strapped on the gloves, and more than three years have gone by since he last posted a victory. Uncertainty shrouds his pending return, as he sets his sights on a rematch with “The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” winner Yair Rodriguez in the co-main event. Once the No. 1 contender in the featherweight division, Ortega has been pushed out of view by injury-induced inactivity. The Rener Gracie-trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu back belt last fought at UFC on ABC 3, where a dislocated shoulder resulted in a technical knockout loss to Rodriguez on July 16, 2022. Now 33 and with the mileage of all-out wars against Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski still on the odometer, Ortega’s time may be running short. On the other side of the equation, Rodriguez remains one of the sport’s most dynamic martial artists. He last competed on July 8, when he bowed to third-round punches from Volkanovski and failed in his bid to claim the undisputed featherweight title at UFC 290. Which contender will start another climb at 145 pounds?

Youth Movement​

Tempered optimism surrounds Raul Rosas Jr., a prospect who will not celebrate his 20th birthday for another seven months. Spawned by Dana White’s Contender Series in 2022, the 19-year-old carries a 2-1 UFC record into his bantamweight showcase opposite Ricky Turcios. Rojas Jr. rebounded from his first professional defeat in September, when he needed just 54 seconds to bury Terrence Mitchell with punches at UFC Fight Night 227. Seven of his first eight wins have resulted in finishes, five of them via submission. Because of his age and inexperience, the Rojas Jr. ceiling remains a topic of debate. Team Alpha Male’s Turcios, 30, should provide a stern challenge. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 29 winner has won three of his past four bouts, a unanimous decision loss to Aiemann Zahabi the only hiccup. Perhaps more importantly, Turcios has never been submitted in his 15-fight career. Can Rosas Jr. pass his latest test and continue his upward trajectory?

Comeback Trail​

A first brush with failure can whip the winds of change into a revelatory frenzy. Into just such a position steps Yazmin Jauregui, as she collides with Sam Hughes in a three-round women’s strawweight feature. Jauregui started her career a perfect 10-0 with seven wins via stoppage, only to get knocked off the rails by Denise Gomes in a stunning 20-second knockout at UFC 290 in July. The 24-year-old Entram Gym standout now gets an opportunity to show her resilience in a bounce-back assignment. Hughes, meanwhile, seems to have found her footing inside the Octagon. The Fortis MMA product has rebounded from a three-fight losing streak to post victories in three of her past four starts. Hughes, 31, last suited up at UFC 287, where she took a three-round unanimous decision from Jaqueline Amorim on April 8. Will the highly regarded Jaurequi find a way to put adversity in the rearview mirror?

Last Stand​

Raoni Barcelos was thought of as a potential dark horse when he joined the UFC roster in 2018, and consecutive victories over Kurt Holobaugh, Chris Gutierrez, Carlos Huachin, Said Nurmagomedov and Khalid Taha only enhanced the intrigue. However, his fortunes went south in a hurry. The former Resurrection Fighting Alliance and Shooto Brazil titleholder’s job could conceivably be on the line when he confronts Cristian Quinonez in an undercard battle at 135 pounds. Barcelos, 36, steps back into the spotlight on the heels of back-to-back losses to Umar Nurmagomedov and Kyler Phillips, the ice under his feet having thinned alarmingly. On the other side of the docket, Quinonez looks to recapture lost momentum. His five-fight winning streak grinded to a halt in June, when he submitted to a first-round rear-naked choke from Kyung Ho Kang at UFC on ESPN 47. Does Barcelos have enough left in the tank to turn back the clock?


Preview: UFC Fight Night 237 Prelims​

Quinonez vs. Barcelos​



The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s long-awaited return to Mexico offers an engaging set of prelims. UFC Fight Night 237 on Saturday at Mexico City Arena seems poised for an action-packed undercard, with all fights scheduled to take place at 155 pounds or below; and there is the expected smattering of Mexican talent, led by a featured prelim between bantamweight prospect Cristian Quinonez and Brazilian veteran Raoni Barcelos. Beyond that, there are plenty of entertaining flyweight scraps, along with one of the more intriguing threads without a Mexican contingent, as Peruvian kneebar specialist Claudio Puelles attempts to get back in the win column against Fares Ziam at 155 pounds.

Now to the preview for the UFC Fight Night 237 prelims:


Raoni Barcelos (17-5, 6-4 UFC) vs. Cristian Quinonez (18-4, 1-1 UFC)

ODDS: Barcelos (-175), Quinonez (+145)

This is some excellent matchmaking, as it pairs a prospect and a veteran who could each use a big win. Barcelos has had a solid UFC career, though it is hard not to focus on what could have been rather than what the Brazilian has actually accomplished. Barcelos came to the UFC at 30 years old with an athleticism-dependent style, so he figured to have a short window to charge up to a championship; and for two years, Barcelos looked like he might do just that, as he ran through his first five UFC opponents. However, injuries—to Barcelos and prospective opponents—kept him from getting an opportunity at a breakout victory, leaving him to take high-risk and low-reward fights until Timur Valiev picked him off in 2021. That started a skid of four losses in Barcelos’ last five fights, though he has still typically been competitive. Barcelos has historically found his way to victory through aggression, marching his opponents down and eating damage in order to gather information and take over the fight later on. With his recent bit of athletic slippage, that process has gotten a bit slower and made it more difficult for Barcelos to score wins on the margins. Quinonez comes along at an interesting time, since he could take the win with a sharp performance. The Mexican is theoretically at his best as a range striker, and while he has been able to feast at times when given stockier opponents, his success does feel a bit tenuous. Beyond Quinonez often falling into an unnecessary brawl, his last fight saw him get clubbed and subbed while going in for the kill against Kyung Ho Kang. Barcelos’ approach should give Quinonez some opportunity to land some hard shots early on, but unless the prospect can close the show, this looks like a fight where the Brazilian still has enough left in the tank to take things over. The pick is Barcelos via decision.

Jump To »
Quinonez vs. Barcelos
Mendonca vs. Aguilar
Chairez vs. da Silva
Ziam vs. Puelles
Rodriguez vs. Bondar
Dos Santos vs. Altamirano
Naimov vs. Silva

Last edited by a moderator:

Preview: UFC Fight Night 237 ‘Moreno vs. Royval 2’​

Moreno vs. Royval​



Given the success Mexican fighters have enjoyed in recent years, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has been long overdue in making its return South of the Border. That finally happens after over four years of waiting with UFC Fight Night 237this Saturday at Mexico City Arena, and it comes with an excellent one-two punch atop the card. In the main event, former flyweight champion Brandon Moreno and perennial contender Brandon Royval run back a 2020 fight that ended prematurely due to injury; and in a strange twist, the five-round featherweight co-headliner between Yair Rodriguez and Brian Ortega also revisits a battle that ended due to premature injury. Both fights are as well-matched now as they were then, and the rest of the main draw features an array of entertaining scraps highlighting Mexican and Mexican-American prospects, led by bantamweight wunderkind Raul Rosas Jr.and women’s strawweight buzz saw Yazmin Jauregui in some winnable but tough tests.

Now to the UFC Fight Night 237 “Moreno vs. Royval 2” preview:


#1 FLW | Brandon Moreno (21-7-2, 9-4-2 UFC) vs. #3 FLW | Brandon Royval (15-7, 5-3 UFC)

ODDS: Moreno (-270), Royval (+220)

This marks yet another rematch near the top of the flyweight division, but there is enough intrigue for Moreno and Royval to run it back three years and change later. Their first fight, which took place in November 2020, was an entertaining affair that was going Moreno’s way until a sudden ending late in the first round, as a Royval shoulder injury suddenly left him unable to defend himself. It was a disappointing result in a vacuum, though in retrospect, it was a pretty major moment for both Moreno and the flyweight division as a whole. Why? It made Moreno’s longtime rivalry with Deiveson Figueiredo possible. With both Moreno and then-champ Figueiredo scoring quick wins on the same card and coming out relatively unscathed, each were in a position to turn around just three weeks later and main event a pay-per-view that was suddenly in need of a title fight. The two fought to a tooth-and-nail draw that necessitated an immediate rematch, which then turned into an unprecedented series of four championship fights, interrupted only by a Moreno interim title win over Kai Kara-France in 2022. After trading the belt back and forth, Moreno finally closed that chapter of his career with one last win over Figueiredo on Brazilian soil in early 2023, having established himself as a star for the UFC and raising the profile of the division in the process. Moreno’s first title defense of his second reign saw him take on yet another old foe in Alexandre Pantoja, who had beaten him both on “The Ultimate Fighter” in 2016 and in the last fight of Moreno’s first UFC stint back in 2018. Their third fight was the closest of the bunch but yielded a familiar result. After another Moreno title fight that ranked among the most entertaining bouts of its year, Pantoja walked away with the win and the title. Yet between his status and success, Moreno is not far from jumping right back into the title picture with another win.

While Moreno’s career has been marked by consistent improvement in the years since his first fight with Royval, the Factory X rep’s last few years have been a bit more of a rollercoaster. “Raw Dawg” came to the UFC as an absolute whirlwind of violence earlier in 2020, but after injuring himself in the loss to Moreno and quickly losing to Pantoja upon his return nine months later, Royval understandably felt the need to retool. The results have been a mixed bag, even if Royval did string together three wins to get another shot at Pantoja, this time for the title. Royval’s decision victory over Rogerio Bontorin saw him clearly overcompensate for his prior struggles, to the point that he almost lost a decision through inactivity. Wins over Matt Schnell and Matheus Nicolau were much more spectacular, but it is still hard to tell if Royval rediscovered anything. Schnell fought aggressively to the point of self-destruction, while Nicolau was a patient counterstriker who immediately got caught cold. Then came Royval’s title challenge against Pantoja in December, when he did not get much done in a fight where the champion was content to hold onto wrestling positions and allow his counterpart to coast to a loss. Even if it is difficult to say Royval is operating at peak effectiveness, his success proves that he is still a ridiculously dangerous fighter, including in this pairing. While Moreno has continued to sharpen his tools, there is an innate level of aggression that often marches him right into danger. Royval’s long frame allows him to land at unexpected moments—as he did against Nicolau—so there is a chance his reach could cause Moreno some issues. However, someone should look to start a grappling match at some point, and that is where Moreno figures to shine. He was ahead of Royval on the ground in their first fight, and their respective performances in the years since have done nothing to shake that impression. The pick is Moreno via second-round submission.

Jump To »
Moreno vs. Royval
Rodriguez vs. Ortega
Zellhuber vs. Prado
Rosas Jr. vs. Turcios
Jauregui vs. Hughes
Torres vs. Duncan
The Prelims