Brandon Moreno added an interim flyweight championship belt to his resume with a third-round TKO win over Kai Kara-France in the co-main event of UFC 277.
The fight got off to a slow start as both fighters took nearly the whole first round to get a read on one another. However, business started to pick up in Round 2 as Moreno's boxing allowed him to score with a few hooks.
Kara-France answered with some leg kicks which parlayed nicely into him opening things up in the third round.
The New Zealanders started to score more regularly with boxing of his own but his willingness to stand and exchange cost him in the long run. Moreno landed a nasty body kick that sent Kara-France to the floor and ended the fight.
The win over Kara-France is the second time he has beaten the New Zealander. The two met at UFC 245 on the Fight Pass Prelims, where Moreno took a unanimous decision before working his way up to UFC champion.
The 28-year-old effectively proved that he's still among the top flyweights in the world. It's a point that could have been lost in the fact that he fought current champion Deiveson Figueiredo three times in a row.
With their series tied at one apiece with one draw, it would appear a fourth fight is what's coming down the pike for the division.
This bout was created as an interim championship while Figueiredo recovers from injuries. Now he has a timetable for his return.
"I couldn't accept this fight right now. I understand they were going to fight for this anyway, and it's important for them to fight. The belt is mine," the champion told Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie. "They're going to come for my belt. Surely by the end of the year, the start of next year, I will be ready to go and ready to face whoever wins this."
Now that we have a winner, Figueiredo knows he will see a familiar face.
It isn't often that a fourth fight is necessary between two competitors, but this is the exception. With the series all tied up and the two proven to put on a great fight, the fourth fight should provide a fitting conclusion to their rivalry.