Figueiredo and Benavidez to Battle for Flyweight Title on Fight Island
A preview of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card, set to take place in Abu Dhabi.
Updated: July 17, 2020 • 3:05 PM ET
Abu Dhabi will host this weekend's UFC event.
The UFC will host its third consecutive event on Fight Island (Yas Island) in Abu Dhabi this Saturday with a main event between Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez for the vacant flyweight title.
The two combatants originally fought for the vacant title in February with Figueiredo winning by second-round TKO. Due to missing weight for the bout, however, Figueiredo did not walk away with the belt. Hence, the two fighters will square off again this weekend as the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked fighters to determine an undisputed king of the flyweights.
The first fight went well for Benavidez early, as he controlled the bout and landed precise shots on the feet. In the second round, however, a clash of heads opened a bad cut on the top of Benavidez’s forehead, leaving him visibly dazed. Figueiredo took advantage of the accidental headbutt and closed in, landing a big right hand that dropped Benavidez before putting him out for good.
The win over Benavidez was Figueiredo’s third straight with the other victories coming over former title challenger Tim Elliot and Alexandre Pantoja. The win was also by far the biggest of his career, and a second win over the veteran would solidify his position as the best flyweight in the world, for now.
The 32-year-old Figueiredo (18-1, 7-1 in UFC) has only lost to No. 6 ranked flyweight Jussier Formiga in his career and plans on finishing Benavidez again this weekend.
“UFC fans should expect me and Benavidez to put on another ‘Fight of the Night’ performance,” Figueiredo recently told MMA Junkie. “I’ll try to knock him out, but I’d prefer a submission – he’s never been submitted before. Fight fans will absolutely love our rematch.”
Benavidez will fight for the flyweight belt for the fourth time in his career. A UFC title is the only thing missing from his resume, as he has chased gold since arriving in the promotion in 2011. He fought for the inaugural belt at UFC 152, but lost a close split-decision to Demetrious Johnson. The UFC granted Benavidez a rematch in 2013, but Johnson knocked him out in the first round.
After the second fight with Johnson, Benavidez went 9-1 en route to the first fight with Figueiredo. The 35-year-old has defeated plenty of the top flyweights in his career, including key victories over Formiga (twice), Elliott, Dustin Ortiz (twice), Alex Perez, Henry Cejudo, Ali Bagautinov, John Moraga and Ian McCall.
Even though he has come up short in title fights, Benavidez (15-4 in UFC) has kept a positive attitude. After the loss to Figueiredo, he took to Instagram with a few lines from hip-hop group Outkast’s hit song “Elevators.”
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At his age, it’s not a stretch to imagine that this could be the last shot Benavidez will have at fighting for a UFC title. With a win, he could cement his position as the second-greatest flyweight in UFC history behind Johnson.
The rest of the main card on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. EST
Middleweight bout - No. 6 Jack Hermansson vs. No. 7 Kelvin Gastelum
Lightweight bout - Marc Diakiese vs. Rafael Fiziev
Women’s flyweight bout - Ariane Lipski vs. Luana Carolina
Flyweight bout - No. 4 Alexandre Pantoja vs. No. 7 Askar Askarov
ESPN Prelims at 5 p.m. EST
Light heavyweight bout - Roman Dolidze vs. Khadis Ibragimov
Catchweight bout (150 pounds) - Grant Dawson vs. Nad Narimani
Lightweight bout - Joe Duffy vs. Joel Alvarez
Bantamweight bout - Brett Johns vs. Montel Jackson
Flyweight bout - Malcolm Gordon vs. Amir Albazi
Lightweight bout - Davi Ramos vs. Arman Tsarukyan
Heavyweight bout - Carlos Felipe vs. Serghei Spivac