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Deiveson Figueiredo cleared to travel to ‘Fight Island,’ still required to pass more COVID-19 tests

Deiveson Figueiredo
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Deiveson Figueiredo has cleared at least one obstacle in his path as he prepares to face Joseph Benavidez for the vacant flyweight title on UFC “Fight Island” on July 18.

Earlier this week, MMA Fighting reported that Figueiredo failed a COVID-19 test in the lead-up to his rematch with Benavidez. Figueiredo’s manager Wallid Ismail later revealed that the Brazilian actually tested positive for the coronavirus two months earlier, which is what he believes led to the positive test.

On Sunday, Ismail confirmed an initial report from Combate that Figueiredo passed his next COVID-19 test and he was cleared to travel to Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The original report stated that Figueiredo tested positive for the antibodies related to COVID-19 after previously having the disease but he’s not carrying the active virus.

There are multiple types of COVID-19 tests including an antibody test, which determines whether a person has previously been infected with the coronavirus. Figueiredo admitted he had the disease, so that could explain a positive result if he did indeed take an antibody test.

There are two additional types of COVID-19 tests — PCR (polymerase chain reaction), which searches for the genetic material of the coronavirus and antigen, which looks for the active infection. It’s unknown which test Figueiredo took and failed before being tested again with negative results.

According to sources that spoke to MMA Fighting on Sunday, Figueiredo will be allowed to board the flight bound for “Fight Island” but it’s premature to say he’s definitively been cleared for the fight.

Figueiredo still needs to pass multiple COVID-19 tests upon landing in Abu Dhabi before he’s actually cleared for the showdown with Benavidez.

Athletes arriving by plane are immediately tested and put into quarantine for two days until the results are returned. Figueiredo will also have to pass additional COVID-19 tests later during the week including one on weigh-in day this Friday.

Assuming Figueiredo passes his additional tests, he will face off with Benavidez in the main event on July 18. If Figueiredo isn’t cleared due to additional positive tests, Benavidez would then face off with Alexandre Pantoja, who was previously secured as a possible replacement for the flyweight main event.

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