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Brandon Moreno’s ‘Rocky IV’ moment in hostile territory has arrived

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Interim UFC Flyweight Champion Brandon Moreno has flown into hostile territory to take on his arch-rival once more. He does so after learning that he will not be able to train with his chosen coach, as the UFC has banned all of its fighters from training with or at James Krause’s gym while Krause’s gambling is under investigation.

Brazilian fights are usually tough for fighters who face Brazilians, especially when the stakes are high, but Moreno agreed to fight flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil without complaint. It’s a difficult situation for anyone who volunteers to get into it, but Moreno put his name on the contract and did his best to prepare for the fight.

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The fact that Moreno agreed to all of this and did it with a smile on his face is not only the reason why he becomes one of the UFC’s biggest stars, but also why he said he’s been warmly welcomed ever since. How did he get to Brazil?

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He will take on Figueiredo on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro for the fourth time in a 1-1-1 series for the undisputed flyweight title in the co-main event of UFC 283.

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“Dude, this is Rocky IV to me,” Moreno told Sportzshala Sports. “For me, this is a legacy. This is a movie, right? The film sort of polishes itself.

“So, man, again, of course, it’s a lot of pressure and extra pressure. Go to Brazil, go to your hometown. And maybe people will be against me or not. I don’t know dude. I dont know .

“Let’s see what happens. I mean, I see this scenario, like how ferocious people are going to be. [in favor of] Daveson. But as time goes on, as the rounds progress, I feel like I can win the hearts of Brazilians here in Brazil.”

Moreno’s biggest problem may well be the coaching situation. He knows Figueireda quite well, having fought him for over 12 rounds in three fights.

In July, Krause coached him against Kai Cara-France in Dallas at UFC 277 for the interim flyweight title. Moreno looked outstanding in a TKO victory in the third round. He seemed to have a great connection with Krause, who seemed to be able to push Moreno to the next level.

DALLAS, TX - JULY 30: Brandon Moreno of Mexico reacts in his corner for an interim flyweight title fight against New Zealand's Kai Cara France during UFC 277 at the American Airlines Center on July 30, 2022 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Brandon Moreno hugs former trainer James Krause after his victory at UFC 277 on July 30 in Dallas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

But when Krause became embroiled in a gambling investigation, Moreno had to move on. He left Missouri and moved back to Las Vegas where he was based and met with Fortis MMA’s Saif Saud.

Saud, like Krause, is one of the best in the game, and in his gym, many fighters have risen in the ranks and achieved success.

It’s been a tough pill for Moreno to tinker with success, but he insists he’ll be at his best despite the late coaching change. He said he cares a lot about Krause as a person and said that Krause helped him a lot as a fighter.

But Moreno is also a realist and understands that nothing in life is guaranteed.

“Of course it was painful and hard at first, but then again, but I had to quickly turn the page,” Moreno said. “I asked myself: “What do I need to do?” But I also got a lot of support from James.”

This is what concerns Moreno. He knows how to find the good in almost any situation. He does not dwell on the negative and seeks solutions rather than making claims.

He is an extremely positive person and it was this mentality that helped him become a star.

“The same night I lost to Daveson [at UFC 270] I remember talking to my manager in the locker room and coming up with a plan: “Like what do we need to do to get this belt back?” Moreno said. “And in a way I did it right against Kai Cara France, but obviously I have to do it again with Daveson for the undisputed belt.

“I think [my positivity] it’s something natural. I try to think positive every time in every single scenario. And that’s it, dude. I understand that this fight will be very difficult. But I did a lot of good things [preparing] for that and as you say my evolution in this sport was really cool. [It’s not] only the physical part, but also the mental part. I’ve grown a lot and I’m ready to fight.”

DALLAS, TX - JULY 30: (LR) Mexico's Brandon Moreno and Brazil's Deiveson Figueiredo communicate after Moreno defeated New Zealand's Kai Cara-France for the Interim UFC Flyweight Championship during the UFC 277 event at American Airlines Center July 30th.  2022 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Brandon Moreno (left) and Deiveson Figueiredo will face off for the undisputed flyweight championship on Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images)


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