After defeating Kai Kara-France via body kick finish at UFC 277 in July, Moreno (20-6-2 MMA, 8-3-2 UFC) was named interim flyweight champion and is now expected to unify the titles with champion Figueiredo (21-2-1 MMA, 10-2-1 UFC).
There have been three previous fights between Moreno and Figueiredo. A majority of the judges declared a draw in their first bout. The second fight was a victory for Moreno, but Figueiredo came out on top in the trilogy deciding fight. Moreno says he was initially hesitant to face Figueiredo in enemy territory when the UFC announced its return to Rio de Janeiro on January 21 for UFC 283. Now, however, he actually looks forward to it.
“Let’s go,” Moreno told reporters, “It’s like ‘Rocky IV,’ man. I want to go to Rio now. First of all, I was like, ‘Ugh, man,’ because it’s hard to go to another far country. I don’t know – like nine-hour flight, then go there different hours, different food. Everything is very hard when you go to a whole different country. But I’m just trying to the positive things. Now I’m so excited to go to Rio, the ‘Uh vai morrer.’ ‘Rocky IV’ is in my mind right now when the people say Rio.”
Moreno has only competed in Brazil once thus far in his career, and that bout took place in the midst of the pandemic in March of 2020, when the UFC organized an event behind closed doors. Moreno responded by saying that he is well aware of the potentially unpleasant environment that can be created by the Brazilian fans.
“Don’t forget, I’m from Latin America,” Moreno said.
“Definitely, all the fans from Latin America are very passionate – sometimes can be a little bit aggressive. I’m agreeing with that and especially talking about Brazil, they go completely deep with their fighters. They go, ‘You’re going to die,’ ‘Uh vai morrer,’ all that stuff. Right now, I don’t know how to feel about it because the last time I went to Brazil was the first event with the pandemic, so no crowd. But I’ll be ready for that.”