It was an incredibly impressive showing from Moreno, who was actually in a bit of trouble until he launched a body kick that just absolutely shut Kara-France down. As soon as the New Zealand native fell to the canvas, Moreno blitzed him with punches before referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the contest with the end coming 4:34 in the third round.
Afterwards, Moreno celebrated with the UFC belt back around his waist and an inevitable showdown against Figueiredo awaiting him.
“Coming here to this fight in fight week, I had a lot of feelings. I wanted to go against Deiveson Figueiredo and throw all my hate and all my fury,” Moreno said. “I then remembered, my daughter is watching me at home in Vegas. I don’t want to be the guy who is throwing s*** to a guy in front of his daughter. I have a chance to be an example to my daughter.
“I don’t hate you. I don’t say nothing against you. Please forgive me if I did something against you, brother. I want to fight against you in December. Let’s go in December.”
By that time, Figueiredo had made his way into the cage and he ended up raising Moreno’s hand to show him respect as the longtime rivals put bad feelings behind them as they prepare to clash again to determine the true UFC champion at 125 pounds.
“This guy right here, this is his night,” Figueiredo said. “He is a champion. I have a lot of respect for him. I want to take this fight to Brazil.”
Prior to the moment shared between champions, Moreno first had to get through Kara-France and he definitely had a battle on his hands before the stoppage.
A left hand buzzed Kara-France a couple of times in the opening round with Moreno tactically picking his shots on the feet. While it took a few minutes for him to really get going, Kara-France eventually came firing back with a hard right hand of his own that definitely got Moreno’s attention.
While it was a punch that landed early, Kara-France’s best strikes were typically a variety of kicks he continuously threw at Moreno as he looked to chop away at the former flyweight champion. Still, Moreno was avoiding more kicks than he was taking as he consistently switched stances and then came back up top with blitzing combinations with his hands.
As the flyweights battle for position in the third, Kara-France connected with a slashing elbow that opened a sizable cut under Moreno’s right eye as blood began trickling down his face. Thankfully the cut was in a spot where it wouldn’t affect Moreno’s vision but that moment seemed to feed into Kara-France’s confidence as he began really letting go with his strikes.
Kara-France was landing with better accuracy but he was also getting more aggressive and that gave Moreno more openings to fire back at him. That’s when Moreno unleashed the kick to the body that just reverberated throughout the arena as Kara-France crumbled to the canvas.
“I love that kick,” Moreno said. “It’s crazy how everything is in its place right now. I’ve been working those kicks all this training camp. I’ve been working to become a complete mixed martial artist and today I can grab [this title] again.”
The TKO now puts Moreno back into another fight with Figueiredo after they’ve already battled it out on three previous occasions but it’s impossible to argue against a fourth encounter, especially after what unfolded on Saturday night in Dallas.