Deiveson Figueiredo is a titleholder…
The 32-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and UFC fighter has defeated Joseph Benavidez to claim the vacant UFC flyweight championship.
In a rematch of their controversial bout earlier this year, Figueiredo knocked down Benavidezthree times and then choked him out at 4:48 of the first round in the main event of Sunday’s UFC Fight Night in Abu Dhabi.
In the opening seconds Figueiredo clipped Benavidez with a right hand, then attempted to cinch in a rear-naked choke on the ground. Benavidez bravely fought off the move and was able to get back on his feet. But he couldn’t do that a second time. Figueiredo blasted him with a whipping right hand in the final minute of the first, then pounced and locked in the submission to earn the title victory. Benavidez didn’t have a chance to tap out — he went unconscious and referee Marc Goddard called the fight.
“I said I was going to break Benavidez, and that’s exactly what I did,” Figueiredo said. “I gave him his first submission on his record, and the fight itself was a great show. I gave everyone a show. He didn’t surprise me at all tonight.”
Coming in, ESPN had Figueiredo ranked as its No. 2 MMA flyweight in the world, and Benavidez No. 3. Figueiredo is now just the third flyweight champion in UFC history, following the legendary Demetrious Johnson and the recently retired former double champ Henry Cejudo.
“I’m available for whoever the UFC wants to put in front of me. Anyone at my level,” Figueiredo said. “But you have to be at my level, because I’m a knockout artist, I’m going to knock you out. I’m going home tomorrow, and we’re going to start celebrating with all Brazilians on the flight back, and as soon as I land in Brazil everyone is going to be taking pictures and congratulating me, so it’s going to be a great party.”
Benavidez and Figueiredo first fought on Feb. 29 in Norfolk, Virginia. The bout was supposed to decide the vacant title, but Figueiredo missed weight by 2.5 pounds. Due to the weight miss, Benavidez was the only one who could win the belt in the fight — but Figueiredo ended up stopping Benavidez by TKO in the second round.
There was some dispute there, too. Figueiredo’s finish came right after a clash of heads that rocked Benavidez, who had won the first round. The circumstances led to the UFC granting Benavidez an immediate rematch.