Last week, the UFC announced the booking of the fourth fight between reigning flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo and ex-titleholder Brandon Moreno. The two elite 125-pounders are slated to headline an event in July, which likely falls on International Fight Week.
The bout has yet to be finalized and at least based on the two combatants themselves, everything is still up in the air. Both men even called out Kai Kara-France, who notched an impressive win against Askar Askarov at UFC Columbus on Saturday.
Figueiredo then doubled down on the Kara-France challenge on Monday, saying Moreno and his team “crossed the line with racist comments.” This all stems from a June 2021 Instagram live session by Moreno’s teammate Marcelo Rojo, who supposedly depicted Figueiredo as a monkey using filters.
Rojo apologized, but now, “The Assassin Baby” is issuing his response in a recent interview with ESPN Deportes.
Brandon Moreno reacts to Deiveson Figuereido’s recent post and explains the alleged racism incident from his team: “He’s just running away from the fourth fight. That’s already offered for July. He sees a better opportunity to beat Kara-France”— Carlos Contreras Legaspi (@CCLegaspi) March 29, 2022
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“It’s just stupid,” Moreno said of Figueiredo’s claims. (Rojo) was playing with his phone, he was streaming live on Instagram and was using many filters. It’s a shame we don’t have the full video because it was a live stream. He didn’t save it.
“He was using filters on everyone: Dana White, my teammates. He even used a filter on me. He was switching filters, and then appears a monkey filter on Figueiredo. That’s true.
“And someone took a screenshot, we don’t know who, and starts calling Marcelo Rojo a racist. And you know Marcelo, you’re not going to let me lie. He’s not racist.”
As far as Moreno is concerned, the fourth Figueiredo fight is still on.
“I’ve already talked to the UFC, with the top guys in the promotion. And they told me that the fourth fight is set. At some point, they told me not to worry. That the plan for me is to fight again for the title,” he said.
“But I think at this point, Deiveson is running away from me. I’m not lying. UFC wants Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno number four. I’ve said yes already, but the other part has not.”
Figueiredo may be the reigning champion, but Moreno sees him as the “B-Side.”
“He needs to understand that he’s still the B-side on this. And that’s not my fault. I’m just here to fight and be the best. Chances for him to lose against me are very high, and he sees an easier opportunity versus Kara-France to keep the belt and make some money.
“But he knows that the only ‘money fight’ for him is with me. Simple facts.”
Moreno and Figueiredo are 1-1 against each other. Their first fight at UFC 256 in December 2020 ended in a draw, while Moreno won the second bout with a submission finish at UFC 263 exactly six months later. Figueiredo then reclaimed the belt via decision at UFC 270 in January. Moreno earned $50K bonuses for all three bouts.