This weekend at UFC Vegas 85, Renato Moicano faces Drew Dober in a mouth-watering lightweight bout. On the fringes of greatness throughout his UFC career, Moicano has never quite reached the heights many thought he would reach. A big win against knockout artist Drew Dober would give him the boost towards the top 10 that he needs, but at 34 years of age, does the Brazilian have what it takes to make a significant run at 155lbs? Let’s analyse his chances.
Moicano Wants Money
We all remember the post-fight speech that Moicano delivered at UFC 281. After his impressive submission victory against Brad Riddell, the submission specialist seized his moment on the microphone. The win was important especially after his previous loss to Rafael dos Anjos, but his delivery in the speech was what got people talking. His angle was obvious – recognition and of course, a big paycheck.
Whether this sudden outburst of confidence and passion was part of a bigger plan remains to be seen though. The win against Riddell came all the way back in November 2022, and the Brazilian has not fought since. Personally, I was hoping to see more of Moicano in 2023. The 34-year-old has fought the best but has come up short when presented with a golden opportunity, so maybe he has spent time away sharpening the tools he needs to take the next step. 2024 is a chance to become active once again, but time is of the essence now. Is the goal to reach the upper echelons of the lightweight division, or secure some big money fights before heading for the exit door? Either way, a win for Moicano at UFC Vegas 85 is a must.
Moicano has only been part of the lightweight division for just over three years. Before that, he won five of his eight featherweight UFC fights. He was undefeated in his professional career at 11-0-1 until he met Brian Ortega who submitted him in the third round of a thrilling bout at UFC 214. He went on to beat Calvin Kattar before submitting Cub Swanson at UFC 227, and was rewarded with a fight against José Aldo. That was his chance to become a serious contender at 145lbs, but Aldo finished Moicano in the second round. He was then knocked out by The Korean Zombie in his very next fight, and that was when Moicano decided to move up to lightweight.
His 155lb debut couldn’t have gone better. A submission win after 44 seconds over Damir Hadžović meant that the resurgence was on. Rafael Fiziev had other ideas though, knocking out Moicano at UFC 256. Two wins in a row over Jai Herbert and Alexander Hernandez followed, before a war with Rafael dos Anjos. Moicano lost the five round decision, but showed other-worldly toughness in the process.
How Does Moicano Match up With the Top Lightweights?
His latest win over a decent fighter like Riddell is promising. He will need at least one more victory to get anywhere near the top contenders though.
There are some good matchups for Moicano in this division that could be considered winnable fights. The likes of Dan Hooker, Beneil Dariush and Mateusz Gamrot come to mind. Unfortunately for him, it is hard for me to see Moicano causing the current top five any real problems at the moment. With 10 submission wins, he always has this in his back pocket and can’t be completely written off, but don’t expect to see the Brazilian lightweight rise to the top especially with contenders such as Benoît Saint Denis slashing through the rankings.
UFC Vegas 85: Moicano vs Dober
This is also a fight Moicano can win, but he will need to be careful of the knockout power coming his way. He is capable of standing with Dober but cannot afford to take too many shots there. If he can keep Dober within his kicking range and take advantage of his long frame then his chances will increase. His leg kicks and jab will be an effective weapon for keeping Dober at bay. Moicano will likely want this fight on the ground. If he can take it there then his explosive Jiu-Jitsu will cause Dober problems.
My prediction: Moicano by submission.
Can Moicano make an impact at lightweight? Will he beat Drew Dober to close in on the top 10? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Featured image credit to Embed from Getty Images