This means Riddell has now suffered three straight losses in the UFC Lightweight division, with all coming via stoppage. Therefore putting Riddell at a crossroads in his career having lost both times this year by first-round submission.
It was clear from the opening bell that Riddell was in for a tough fight, with the reach advantage of Moicano proving difficult to navigate.
While neither was afraid to throw, Moicano was the one having the early success sticking behind his jab, constantly hitting Riddell without taking any punishment in return. Even when Riddell entered into range to try and land his shots, Moicano was wise to it and would move out of the way and counter.
This showed in the first minute with the Brazilian able to land a knee as Riddell closed the distance.
Moicano continued his dominance on the feet moments later landing a head kick, which he then followed up with a solid combination while Riddell was unable to land anything in response. It appeared in this exchange that one of Moicano’s strikes opened a cut under the right eye of Riddell.
With no answer to the reach advantage, Riddell was unable to find a way to land anything significant on the Brazilian, while he was constantly being hit in return.
Halfway through the opening round Moicano took the fight to the ground, taking Riddell down to the mat where he would have a significant advantage. While Riddell scrambled well initially, Moicano was able to find his way onto the Kiwi’s back.
It was not long before the 33-year-old was able to sink in the rear naked choke, forcing Riddell to tap.
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The win puts Moicano back in the winners column with the Brazilian calling for a performance of the night bonus for his strong performance and to be ranked in the Lightweight division post-fight. While Moicano may not get his wish of being ranked in the top 15 of the division a potential next fight for him could be against Riddell’s City Kickboxing teammate, Dan Hooker (22-12) who also got a stoppage win at UFC 281.
With Hooker being ranked a win over him would put Moicano into the top 15 while being a good match-up following Hooker needing to string some wins together having lost to the Lightweight divisions elite recently.
For Riddell it is back to the drawing board with the Kiwi now needing to work his way back after some difficult losses over the past 18 months. A potential next opponent for Riddell could be Denmark’s Mark Madsen (12-1) who is coming off a loss and fought just a week prior at UFC Vegas 64.
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