Exclusive – Brandon Royval Admits His Short-Notice Win Over Brandon Moreno Put the UFC in a ‘F*cked Up Position’

Royval threw the flyweight division into complete chaos with his split decision victory over 'The Assassin Baby'

Brandon Royval
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

Brandon Royval recognizes that his short-notice victory over Brandon Moreno has put the UFC in a tough spot.

On February 24, ‘Raw Dog’ spoiled Moreno’s homecoming in Mexico City, scoring a split decision victory over the former flyweight world champion. With the victory, Royval is once again in a position to challenge the division’s reigning titleholder, Alexandre Pantoja

Speaking with James Lynch in a MiddleEasy exclusive interview, Royval revealed that he has enjoyed the days following his big win by scarfing down some food and relaxing at home with his girlfriend. 

“I went home, ate a bunch of food, and just relaxed with my girl for a good five days,” Royval said. “Eating food, chilling, and just doing a whole lot of nothing. A lot of ice baths and recovery. A lot of relaxing. I didn’t do anything major, but I’ll probably try to do something this week.”

While taking it easy, Royval caught the latest UFC card which featured the return of division rival and undefeated standout Muhammad Mokaev. Though ‘The Punisher’ left The APEX with his hand raised, Mokaev received criticism for his lackluster performance and left many fight fans unconvinced that he is deserving of the next flyweight title opportunity. 

“The overall tactic is not my style,” Royval said of Mokaev’s game plan. “His style and my style are very much not so I guess when I watch his fights, I’m not a fan I guess is one way to say it. Like Pantoja, I’m a fan. I like watching that dude fight. Brandon Moreno, I’m a fan. Kai Kara-France, I’m a fan. There’s dudes where you’re like, ‘Dang, I like watching them fight.’ In your division, out of your division. Whatever it is, but there’s certain [fighters] I wouldn’t tune in to if I didn’t have to.”

Though unimpressed with the overall performance, Royval admittedly agreed with the judges, scoring the fight in favor of Mokaev. 

“I scored it for Mokaev,” he added. “I wasn’t going to say that on Twitter because it was too close, but I thought if Alex Perez could have landed a little bit more punches when he was defending those takedowns, I think he would have won the fight easily. I just felt like he was so precautions on the takedowns that it looked like he was just defending rather than what he should have been doing. 

“He turned it into more of a defensive thing. If he was more on the opposite side of things. If he was defending and throwing a couple punches in the process of that, it changes things, but he did a lot more defending than he could have.”

Brandon Royval Says He Put the UFC in a ‘F*cked Up Position’

With Mokaev and Royval both winning big fights in their division, they appear to be the frontrunners for a shot at Pantoja’s gold. The only problem is that ‘Raw Dog’ already came up short in a title fight with Pantoja in December, while Mokaev failed to wow anyone with his performance against Alex Perez. 

“I don’t really know who else they would give it to. You got [Amir] Albazi. Maybe he beat Kai Kara-France. maybe he didn’t. It just depends on how you scored that, but his only real win over anyone in the top 10 is controversial. You’ve got Mokaev who’s coming off a win against Alex Perez. Maybe that’s it, but other than that, I don’t really know who else would get it. I don’t know who’s deserving. I knew with beating Moreno I’d put the UFC in a f*cked-up position, but I guess that was kind of my goal anyway. Spoil everybody’s party and f*cking make their job hard.”

Royval believes Manel Kape could be an option, but after ‘Starboy’ missed weight by three and a half pounds for a January scrap with Matheus Nicolau, it’s hard to justify rewarding him with a championship opportunity. It becomes even more difficult when you remember that Kape already has a loss to Pantoja from a 2021 meeting. 

“Manel Kape, he’s been super impressive in his last wins, but I don’t know if he’s beaten anybody in the top five, but I feel like he’s been super impressive, but then he went and missed weight and I think he’s missed weight multiple times at flyweight,” Royval said. “At least two times and it doesn’t necessarily look good for the next title shot.”

Though it doesn’t answer the question of who will fight Alexandre Pantoja at UFC 301 on May 4, Brandon Royval believes a title eliminator between himself and Amir Albazi makes the most sense. 

“I beat Kai [Kara-France]. I beat Matheus Nicolau. I beat Brandon Moreno. All that’s left for me is Albazi and then maybe a title shot after that. I’ll fight Albazi for sure and then just whoever. I’ll put my number against any of these guys to go fulfill what I want to do which is become champion of the world one of these days. I feel like I already did it on the way up to being the No. 1 ranked. I was clearing out everybody behind me.

“There was a moment in time I was ranked No. 6 and I couldn’t break the top five. I would beat No. 7 three times in a row and they all of a sudden they would give me the next No. 7. Damn, bro. What do I gotta do? It was that until they gave me the title shot.”


Albazi currently sits as the No. 3 ranked flyweight following his highly controversial split decision victory over Kai Kara-France in June. That is the only win he currently holds over another flyweight top-10 opponent. 

Finishing up his interview with James Lynch, Brandon Royval confirmed that he is staying in close contact with the UFC and revealed that the promotion has encouraged him to stay active. 

“I’m trying to stay on them,” Royval added. They’re the ones that told me to stay a little more active on social media and stuff which I’m not very good at so I need to work on all that.” 

Watch the full exclusive interview below:

Published on March 5, 2024 at 5:05 pm
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