Royval gets back at Moreno in UFC Fight Night

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
Royval gets back at Moreno in UFC Fight Night
Brandon Royval (left) lands a jab on Brandon Moreno.

MANILA, Philippines – The home sons and daughters generally fared well in the UFC’s return to Mexico City for UFC Fight Night last Sunday.

But the two fighters who the partisan crowd pinned their hopes on — flyweight Brandon Moreno and featherweight Yair Rodriguez — both lost.

Moreno looked good in the first two rounds of the main event of the evening against Brandon Royval. But Royval found his legs and his stinging jabs, which made the difference in the last three rounds.

In the much-ballyhooed sequel to their match that previously ended with Moreno getting his hands raised, Royval upped the ante this time. The Colorado-born Royval, a third-generation Mexican-American, threw a total of 556 strikes, landing 177 of them. 

That was more than double what Moreno dished at 112-211.

The huge volume swung the decision in Royval’s favor, who got two of the three judges’ nod, 48-47, 46-49, 48-47.

Said Royal, who improved to 16-7-0: "I'm a third-generation Mexican(-American), I know that doesn't count, but the only reason I get through this is because I have that Mexican heart like all you guys. I'm the realest one in this division. Everyone wants to grab me all day. Speaking of — I hear that (UFC flyweight champion Alexandre) Pantoja's in the building. Let's run that back!""

Moreno dropped to 21-8-2.

Speaking of running it back, No. 2-ranked featherweight Rodriguez and No. 4-ranked Brian Ortega ran it back in an absolute thriller that did not need the five rounds it was granted. 

Rodriguez was on fire with knockdowns in the first round. Ortega survived by relying on his grappling and made it dominant in the second. At the start of the third, Ortega surged with a clinch, a trip and a triangle choke that forced Rodriguez to tap. 

Ortega said, "We won! It's a wrap. I've been training super hard. I got my life together, I'm not being an idiot anymore. I'm focused, I'm walking a straight line. We trained so hard for three months."

Ortega hiked his MMA record to 16-3-0 while Rodriguez, who absorbed his second straight loss, fell to 16-5-0.

Next week’s UFC event pits heavyweights Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Shamil Gaziev in the main event. Vitor Petrino and Tyson Pedro lock horns in the light heavyweight of a co-main event. 

The card will be televised live on Sunday, March 3, on the Premier Sports Channel on Sky Cable and Cignal as well as on the Blast TV streaming application. The preliminary card begins at 2 a.m., with the main card at 5 p.m.

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