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Editorial: UFC made a mistake in booking Figueiredo vs Moreno IV prior to UFC Columbus

UFC created unnecessary headaches for itself in timing of Figueiredo vs Moreno IV booking

The day after Deiveson Figueiredo defeated Brandon Moreno to regain the UFC flyweight title at UFC 270, I offered my full support for the booking of a fourth fight between the two top 125-pounders in the UFC. The UFC did not announce that fight in the aftermath of Figueiredo’s unanimous decision win in January. Instead, the promotion remained silent on the topic throughout February and most of March. Then the UFC shot itself in the foot — promotionally speaking — by working to put that fight together the same week of the Askar Askarov vs. Kai Kara-France fight, which took place on Saturday’s UFC Columbus card.

Had the UFC announced the fourth bout between Figueiredo and Moreno in January or February or even early March, I wouldn’t have had an issue with the booking, but just days before the Columbus event? That felt wrong. And again, not wrong in making the fight, but wrong in the booking’s timing.

Heading into UFC Columbus, Askarov was the No. 2 ranked flyweight in the official UFC rankings, while Kara-France was in the No. 6 spot. Askarov was 14-0-1 and coming off a decision win over perennial title contender Joseph Benavidez. Kara-France was on a two-fight winning streak and had scored post-fight bonuses in three straight outings, including his most recent win — a December knockout of former 135-pound champ Cody Garbrandt. The UFC could have pushed the Askarov vs. Kara-France bout as a potential title eliminator. Instead, the promotion turned that scrap into nothing more than two dudes fighting at 125 pounds — at least that’s what it felt like in the lead up to the event.

After the fight, which Kara-France won via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3), both Moreno and Figueiredo requested matchups against the victor.

“Congratulations you dirty kiwi @kaikarafrance you just punched your ticket with the God of War. @theassassinbaby you just took the back seat. You are 02 against @Pantojamma if you could beat him I’ll give you the next title shot. Vs let’s make it happen @danawhite,” Figueiredo wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Moreno posted in Spanish, “@daico_deusdaguerra’s ovaries hurt and he doesn’t want to fight !!!! How about an interim against @kaikarafrance while the gremlin gets his balls back !!!!”

So, where does this leave us? Most likely with Kara-France or Moreno feeling slighted — and both deservedly so. Kara-France because he defeated the No. 2 ranked — and previously unbeaten — Askarov and Moreno because his name was already pencilled into a July title fight before the Columbus event took place.

The UFC have avoided this drama had it either struck when the iron was hot in January or February for the fourth scrap between Figueiredo and Moreno or if it had waited until after the Columbus card to book the next UFC flyweight title fight.