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Second Chances Aplenty At UFC Mexico City

Three Of The Fights Taking Place At UFC Mexico City Are Rematches. We Reexamine The Initial Bouts And Circumstances That Led To Saturday Night.

As fight fans we’re always hoping for a definitive result – a stellar knockout, a slick submission, a high-octane battle, or a clear-cut decision.

Unfortunately, there are so many variables at play in mixed martial arts that can derail a desired outcome from happening. In those cases, certain rules apply to determine what the final result of a fight is.

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The good thing is that second chances are a possibility in this sport, and we have three prime examples of that this weekend at UFC Mexico City.

Brandon Moreno of Mexico celebrates his TKO victory over Brandon Royval in their flyweight bout during the UFC 255 event at UFC APEX on November 21, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa)
Brandon Moreno of Mexico celebrates his TKO victory over Brandon Royval in their flyweight bout during the UFC 255 event at UFC APEX on November 21, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa)

In 2020, contenders Brandon Moreno and Brandon Royval were on the rise and looking to claim a flyweight title shot. Late in the first round of their bout, Royval was transitioning from a leglock submission and suffered an injury to his right shoulder. Royval let out a scream in pain and rolled over to his stomach to cover up. That’s when Moreno dropped numerous hammer fist strikes and put an end to the fight. It was a strange ending to what was a highly entertaining bout.

WATCH FOR FREE: Moreno vs Royval 1

Since their meeting at UFC 255, Moreno has gone on a fabulous run that saw “The Assassin Baby” become a two-time undisputed UFC flyweight champion and develop into one of the biggest stars in the sport. Royval put together a run to the title that culminated in 2023 with a decision loss to champion Alexandre Pantoja.

The two flyweights will headline UFC Mexico City this weekend, with their sights set on earning another shot at Pantoja.

Yair Rodriguez of Mexico reacts after his victory over Brian Ortega in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UBS Arena on July 16, 2022 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Yair Rodriguez of Mexico reacts after his victory over Brian Ortega in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UBS Arena on July 16, 2022 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

A very similar scenario played out in July of 2022 for top featherweight contenders Yair Rodriguez and Brian Ortega.

RELATED: Dana White Discusses UFC 298, Ilia Topuria & More

It was billed as one of the best fights of 2022 and for as long as it lasted it certainly seemed like “El Pantera” and “T-City” were going to deliver. Then, late in the first round, the fight went to the canvas, with Rodriguez throwing up an armbar attempt from his back. Ortega looked to escape the position and pulled back, with his shoulder popping out in the process. Ortega immediately fell backwards, and the fight ended. It was a very disappointing end to the fight, and fans everywhere couldn’t help but feel like they missed out on one of the best fights possible.

Brian Ortega reacts after suffering an apparent shoulder injury against Yair Rodriguez of Mexico in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UBS Arena on July 16, 2022 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Brian Ortega reacts after suffering an apparent shoulder injury against Yair Rodriguez of Mexico in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UBS Arena on July 16, 2022 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

After that fight, Rodriguez faced Josh Emmett for the interim UFC featherweight title, winning by submission and bringing another belt to Mexico. Rodriguez went on to be defeated by Alexander Volkanovski on the same night that Morenol lost to Pantoja. On the flip side of the coin, Ortega hasn’t fought since the injury.

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With the current landscape at 145 pounds, and with a new champion in Ilia Topuria, their five-round co-main event is the perfect time for Rodriguez and Ortega to run it back and hopefully stake their claim as the next man to face “El Matador.”

The third bout taking place on UFC Mexico City that has prior history is the flyweight bout between Edgar Cháirez and Daniel Lacerda. These two met at Noche UFC in September of 2023 and their fight ended in a very unusual manner.

Edgar Chairez of Mexico and Daniel Lacerda of Brazil react after the ruling of a no-decision after their flyweight fight during the Noche UFC event at T-Mobile Arena on September 16, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Edgar Chairez of Mexico and Daniel Lacerda of Brazil react after the ruling of a no-decision after their flyweight fight during the Noche UFC event at T-Mobile Arena on September 16, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Cháirez locked in a standing guillotine in the first round that looked airtight. Lacerda was pressed up against the fence and it was tough for the referee to see Lacerda’s condition, and then Lacerda’s arm suddenly dropped. The referee, looking to protect the fighter, called an end to the fight. The second that Cháirez let go, Lacerda jumped up in protest, showcasing that he wasn’t out, and he was just trying to survive the choke. The Las Vegas Athletic Commission got it right and called the fight a no contest due to a premature stoppage.

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The two agreed to run it back just a month later, and after both men made the 130-pound catchweight limit, officials cancelled the fight due to a separate medical issue for Lacerda.

So now, five months later, Cháirez and Lacerda are ready to put an end to this chapter of their careers.

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UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs Royval 2 took place live from Arena CDMX in Mexico City, Mexico on February 24, 2024. See the Prelims / Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!