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Royval upsets Moreno by split decision in UFC Mexico City main event

Josh Hedges / UFC / Getty

Brandon Royval walked into enemy territory and picked up a win against a former champion.

Royval defeated former UFC flyweight champ Brandon Moreno via split decision (48-47, 46-49, 48-47) in the UFC Mexico City main event Saturday night.

With the victory, Royval avenged a 2020 loss to Moreno that came via first-round TKO.

In his postfight interview, Royval called for a rematch with flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja, who defeated Royval in a title fight at UFC 296 in December. Pantoja was cageside at Saturday's event. Royval and Moreno were ranked No. 3 and No. 1 heading into their fight.

"I'm a f-----g gangster," Royval said. "I'm the realest one in this flyweight division. I hear Pantoja's in the building. Let's run that shit back."

The Royval and Moreno rematch was closely contested but also a tale of two fights. Moreno appeared to do better work in Rounds 1 and 2, landing solid punches and counters.

The momentum turned in Royval's favor in the last three rounds. Royval stayed busier on his feet throughout those 15 minutes, and Moreno seemed to tire out.

Although the fight was mostly a tactical affair, Royval and Moreno slugged it out in the final minute, receiving cheers from the Mexico City crowd.

Royval gets back on track with the victory, following a unanimous decision loss to Pantoja, and is now 4-1 in his last five Octagon appearances.

Moreno has lost two straight after dropping the flyweight belt to Pantoja last July. Moreno, from Tijuana, suffered his first defeat in a non-title bout since 2018.

Moreno now holds a record of 0-2-1 in the UFC while competing in his home country.

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