Deiveson Figueiredo Dominates Joseph Benavidez to Claim Flyweight Title

Jenn Connor
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Sunday, July 19, 2020

Deiveson Figueiredo captured the vacant flyweight title last night, with a devastating first round submission victory over Joseph Benavidez at Fight Island, Abu Dhabi. Figueiredo had Benavidez in trouble early, flooring his opponent with a right hook. Benavidez valiantly fought off several choke attempts and was able to get back to his feet, but was obviously still shaken. Figueiredo unleashed another right hand that sent Benavidez to the canvas for a second time, but he again got back up, hoping to survive the round. 


He didn’t. 


Figueiredo knocked Benavidez down for a third time and finished with a devastating rear naked choke during which Benavidez appeared to briefly lose consciousness. 


Now 19-1, Figueiredo's power seems almost outsized for the division and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the Brazilian. For Benavidez, this was likely his last title fight.  


In the co-main, sixth ranked middleweight Jack “The Joker” Hermansson defeated seventh ranked Kelvin Gastelum with a heel hook submission just 1:20 in to the opening round. Gastelum was able to reverse a takedown by Hermannson, but could do little with the advantage. While attempting to get to his feet Gastelum was caught by Hermansson, who deftly applied a heel hook to bring the fight to a stunning end.  


With the win, Hermannson effectively put to rest any doubts about his contending status following his loss to Jared Cannonier. It was the third straight loss for Gastelum, and likely quells any chance he may have had at a title shot in the near term. The relatively easy victory for Hermansson, now 21-5, puts him in a position to get right back in there for the right opportunity.  


In other action from the main card, Askar Askarov positioned himself as a potential challenger for Figueiredo’s flyweight belt with a hard fought split decision victory over Alexandre Pantoja in a spirited affair. Askarov converted only two of fifteen takedown attempts, but held a 41-32 edge in significant strikes over the three rounds. Pantoja appeared to tire as the fight wore on, his repeated takedown defense, while successful, no doubt taking a great deal of energy. Askarov remains undefeated in the UFC, his record improving to 2-0-1.  


Lightweight Rafael Fiziev posted an impressive victory over Marc Diakiese, earning a unanimous decision. Fiziev simply would not be denied, landing several thunderous leg kicks to Diakiese’s mid section and keeping the pressure on for all three rounds. Fiziev also equally impressive defensively, highlighted by a Matrix-like avoidance of a leg kick from Diakiese in the second round. Diakiese had some moments in this fight, particularly in the final round but those only seemed to inspire Fiziev to respond.  The scrap earned Fight of the Night honours. It was the second consecutive win for Fiziev after losing his UFC debut - his star is definitely on the rise.  


Performance of the Night honours went to Ariane “Queen of Violence” Lipski who disposed of Luana Carolina with a frightening-looking kneebar at 1:28 of the opening round. It was Lipski’s second UFC win and a statement win within the women’s flyweight division.  


The UFC’s next event is slated for July 25th, the headliner a middleweight clash between Robert Whittaker (21-5) and Darren Till (18-2-1).