Brandon Moreno ready to step in: Former champ to weigh-in as backup fighter for 296 Flyweight title bout, per reports
Brandon Moreno has seen his last six fights come with either the interim or undisputed flyweight title on the line. While UFC 296 will mark the first title fight in the division that does not include him since 2020, 'The Assassin Baby' is reportedly set to weigh in as the backup fighter for the bout between Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Royval.
MMA Orbit shared the news, tweeting:
"🚨 | Former UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno is expected to weigh in as the back-up fighter for the #UFC296 flyweight title fight between Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Royval next weekend. [per @BigMarcel24] #UFC296 #UFC #MMA"
Check out the announcement that Brandon Moreno will serve as the UFC 296 backup fighter below:
Moreno lost the title at UFC 290 as he was defeated by Pantoja via split decision. It marked 'The Cannibal's third victory over the No.1-ranked flyweight, having previously defeated him via second-round submission on The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions and unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 129.
'The Assassin Baby' is a two-time flyweight champion. However, he was unsuccessful in his first title defense during both reigns. Pantoja will look to defend the belt for the first time when he faces Royval next month.
When will Brandon Moreno make his return to the octagon?
While Brandon Moreno will weigh in as the backup fighter at UFC 296, he will only enter the octagon if Alexandre Pantoja or Brandon Royval are forced to withdraw or if the latter misses weight. If he does not compete in the upcoming flyweight title bout, 'The Assassin Baby' will make his return at UFC Fight Night 237, which takes place in Mexico City in February 2024.
The news was first reported by Carlos Contreras Legaspi and confirmed by ESPN, who tweeted:
"Brandon Moreno will fight Amir Albazi in a flyweight bout on Feb. 24 in Mexico City, Moreno confirmed in an interview on Wednesday with @marcraimondi. The bout being discussed, a five-round co-main event, was first reported by @CCLegaspi."
Check out the tweet confirming the bout from ESPN below:
While the bout will serve as the co-main event, there have been talks that it could be a five-round fight. If Moreno is able to get back in the win column against Albazi, he will likely receive another title opportunity. The card will reportedly be headlined by a featherweight bout between Yair Rodriguez and Brian Ortega.