The UFC Flyweight division finally has a new champion. Deiveson Figueiredo took on Joseph Benavidez in a rematch from their first meeting in March. On that occasion, Figueiredo stepped onto the scales at 2.5 lbs overweight. Hence he was ineligible to claim the belt despite winning the fight.
In the buildup to their second encounter, ‘Deus da Guerra’s first coronavirus test came back positive and cast a shadow over the bout. However, after a second test was negative, he got the all-clear to head to Abu Dhabi. Also, the Brazilian promised to submit Benavidez and embarrass him. He did exactly that at the 3rd Fight Island event.
The fight started aggressively with power and both fighters landed punches. Then ‘Deus da Guerra’ landed a blow that sent Benavidez to the floor. Here, in just the 2nd minute of the contest, he locked in a choke. However, Benavidez got out of it through sheer grit and determination.
All the while, the Brazilian punished Benavidez and landed shots right at his midsection. The American fighter absorbed elbows to his face that busted his nose open too.
Once the fighters reestablished a vertical base, Figueiredo knocked down again. However, he staggered following a leg kick. Benavidez ate a punch again and fell to the canvas. However, he gamely fought on.
As the fight entered the final minute of round 1, ‘Deus da Guerra’ secured his third knockdown on the night. He swooped in and landed 6 elbows to Benavidez’s face, before turning him over and locking in the choke once more. At this point, the 2nd ranked contender went limp as referee Marc Goddard waved off the fight.
This marked the first time Benavidez had lost a fight via submission. His previous defeats had come via decision (4) and knockout (1)
The top-ranked contender has UFC Championship gold for the first time in his 8-year professional career. Now, he will look to establish a dominant reign over the division akin to the previous champions in Demetrious Johnson and Henry Cejudo.
What did you make of Deiveson Figueiredo’s impressive showing in the Flyweight Championship fight on Fight Island?
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