Deiveson Figueiredo claims flyweight belt with first-round submission of Joseph Benavidez

This time, Deiveson Figueiredo left little question.

In a rematch from a controversial bout earlier this 12 months, Figueiredo knocked down Joseph Benavidez thrice after which choked him out at 4:48 of the primary spherical in the primary occasion of UFC Combat Night time on Sunday in Abu Dhabi. With the win, Figueiredo received the vacant UFC flyweight championship.

Figueiredo clipped Benavidez with a proper hand within the opening seconds, then tried to cinch in a rear-naked choke on the bottom. Benavidez valiantly fought it off and received to his toes. However he couldn’t do {that a} second time. Figueiredo blasted him with a whipping proper hand within the closing minute of the primary, then pounced and locked within the submission to earn the title victory. Benavidez did not faucet — he went unconscious and referee Marc Goddard known as the combat.

Coming in, ESPN had Figueiredo as its No. 2-ranked MMA flyweight on the planet, and Benavidez at No. 3. Figueiredo is now simply the third flyweight champion in UFC historical past, following the legendary Demetrious Johnson and the lately retired former double champ Henry Cejudo.

Within the first contest, Benavidez and Figueiredo fought Feb. 29 in Norfolk, Virginia. The bout was imagined to determine the vacant title, however Figueiredo missed weight by 2.5 kilos. As a result of weight miss, Benavidez was the one one who may win the belt within the combat – however Figueiredo ended up stopping Benavidez by TKO within the second spherical. There was some dispute there, too. Figueiredo’s end got here proper after a conflict of heads that rocked Benavidez, who had received the primary spherical. The circumstances led to the UFC granting Benavidez a right away rematch.

This bout Saturday passed off on the lately constructed Flash Discussion board on Yas Island, which has been dubbed “Combat Island” by the UFC for this month’s slate of occasions in Abu Dhabi. This was the third UFC card on the venue in eight days with yet one more coming July 25.

Figueiredo had a wierd street over the past two weeks. He initially examined constructive for COVID-19 earlier than leaving his native Brazil and didn’t get on the UFC constitution flying out of Sao Paulo. On July 11, he was examined once more, the outcome got here again as damaging and he took a flight out final Sunday night time to Abu Dhabi. As soon as on Yas Island, Figueiredo handed a number of extra COVID-19 assessments and received cleared by the UFC. He efficiently made weight – in contrast to earlier than the primary bout – on Friday, simply hours after he was launched from quarantine.

“I used to be in a position to overcome all that,” Figueiredo stated. “I used to be in a position to are available in right here and I am the champion now it should be a really onerous time for anybody that comes after me.”

Since Figueiredo’s UFC debut in 2017, he has probably the most wins (8) and probably the most finishes (6) within the flyweight division, per ESPN Stats & Data.

Benavidez was in a position to survive Figueiredo’s early onslaught Saturday night time. Figueiredo dropped him with a proper hand behind the ear initially after which tried to get him in a choke on the mat. Benavidez in some way fought off the choke try and received to his toes with 2:16 remaining within the spherical.

As soon as standing up, Benavidez mounted some offense. He landed a four-pound mixture, then a physique shot and onerous proper. However Figueiredo dropped him once more with a proper. Benavidez received to his toes, however seconds later Figueiredo put him down for the ultimate time, then choked him out. It was the primary submission lack of Benavidez’s 14-year profession.

“I additionally needed to place that first submission loss on his report,” Figueiredo stated. “I completed him within the first spherical. That is precisely what occurred.”

Figueiredo (19-1) is among the finest finishers within the historical past of a division not identified for finishes. The Brazilian has six stoppages in eight UFC wins and has received 4 straight general. Figueiredo, 32, has only one loss in his profession, to countryman Jussier Formiga in 2019.

Benavidez (28-7) is among the finest MMA flyweight fighters of all time and a fan favourite, with many rooting for him to lastly win the belt he had come up brief on thrice beforehand. The Las Vegas resident competed within the first-ever UFC flyweight title combat, falling to Johnson – who went on to turn into the longtime champion – in 2012. Benavidez, 35, is tied for probably the most wins in UFC flyweight historical past (13, with Johnson), has probably the most fights within the division (18) ever and probably the most knockouts (5).

Cejudo vacated the UFC flyweight title final December when Cejudo made it clear he was specializing in defending his second belt, the bantamweight title.

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