A new flyweight champion has finally been crowned, and his name is Deiveson Figueiredo.
It’s been a long road to the gold for Figueiredo, who had already defeated Joseph Benavidez back in February but failed to capture the belt because he missed weight for the fight. Five months later, the Brazilian returned for a rematch with Benavidez. But this time, he made the 125-pound limit and then proceeded to have an even better performance, stopping Benavidez at the 4:48 mark of the first round.
Figueiredo was on the attack from the opening seconds of the fight, and after dropping Benavidez with three separate knockdowns, he secured the victory with a rear naked choke that put the four-time title contender to sleep.
“I feel really good,” Figueiredo said after UFC President Dana White handed him the flyweight title. “I worked really hard for this. I knew that my time was going to come and this is my time.
“I wanted to come here and take this belt to my people. I’m here, I’m the champion.”
The fight couldn’t have started any better for Figueiredo after he landed a clubbing right hand that blasted Benavidez and sent him stumbling to the mat early in the first round. As soon as Benavidez was down, Figueiredo was on top of him, dropping bombs in an attempt to get the finish.
When the knockout didn’t happen, Figueiredo moved to take the back, where he made several attempts to lock up the rear-naked choke. Despite a telling grimace on his face, Benavidez somehow found a way to escape each time until he finally worked back to his feet.
Things didn’t get any better for him there.
Figueiredo continued to fire the same devastating right hand that put Benavidez down the first time. Like a heat-seeking missile, the Brazilian kept finding a home for that same punch as Benavidez struggled to stop his opponent’s offensive flurry.
“I’m used to growing up with the wild animals, and I think I got some of that from them,” Figueiredo said about his tremendous power in the fight. “I’m a ferocious guy in the octagon.”
Following a third knockdown that put Benavidez on the canvas, Figueiredo kept firing away until he decided to look for the submission again. This time there was no way out, and while Benavidez never tapped, he eventually went to sleep from the submission.
As for Benavidez, he’s now come up short in four attempts to win the flyweight title. It’s impossible to know where he goes from here, but it’s a disappointing end in his latest attempt to become UFC champion.
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