YAS ISLAND – Another Saturday passes, and another great night of fights ends in Abu Dhabi.
In the main event of this prospect-filled and sneaky-good card, we saw a new flyweight champion crowned, Deiveson Figueiredo. After an even more impressive showing than their first fight, Figueiredo was able to dominate the striking battle and threaten multiple rear-naked chokes, before finally locking one in that put the lights out in the veteran Benavidez.
Benavidez came out with a completely different game-plan than their first fight. He decided to stay more defensive with high hands, allowing for Figueiredo to immediately take the center of the octagon. With Benavidez being in an unusual position of getting pressured, as opposed to the usual pressure he sets towards his opponents, he was susceptible to the far superior striking of the now Flyweight Champion.
Figueiredo did exactly what he was supposed to. He pressured forward as soon as he realized his opponent wasn’t going to and he picked his shots perfectly; dropping Benavidez multiple times before locking in the choke.
Benavidez’s multiple knockdowns were a bit concerning. They were definitely hard shots that hit him, but not much harder than ones he has taken many of before. It leads one to wonder if he had been knocked out in training, or if his first fight with Figueiredo had some lasting impacts on his chin.
Regardless of his chin, it is clear that Benavidez is not looking to fight for much longer but isn’t retiring just yet.
Benavidez told MMA Fighting
“I’m not going out like that… I just want to go out with another fight. After that, there’s nothing left for me to do”.
It will be interesting to see who the UFC decides to match Benavidez with for his potential retirement fight.
As for Figueiredo, he is open to many options. The most likely outcome, however, is that he fights the next contenders at Flyweight until a bigger fight shows up on his plate in the future. The flyweights are starting to really gain some steam in the eyes of the MMA fans.
In the co-main event, we saw a quick submission victory for Middleweight contender Jack Hermansson over the veteran Kelvin Gastelum.
“The Joker” executed a brilliant gameplan to quickly force the fight to the ground against the extremely durable Gastelum. Knowing it would be nearly impossible to finish the ex-title contender by strikes, Hermansson looked to finish him on the ground. Hermansson quickly grabbed the heel hook and Gastelum, seemingly unsure how to defend, had to succumb to the strain on his leg.
Hopefully, Gastelum can go back to the drawing board and come back in a new form.
As for Hermansson, he is right back in the top five mix at Middleweight. A good next potential fight for Hermansson could be Yoel Romero. Either way, Hermansson is only a few wins away from claiming his stake at a title shot.
UFC Fight Night Figueiredo vs. Benavidez Results
Deiveson Figueiredo defeated Joseph Benavidez via Rear Naked Choke in Round 1 (4:48)
Jack Hermansson defeated Kelvin Gastelum via Heel Hook in Round 1 (1:18)
Rafael Fiziev defeated Marc Diakiese via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Ariane Lipski defeated Luana Carolina via Kneebar in Round 1 (1:28)
Askar Askarov defeated Alexandre Pantoja via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Roman Dolidze defeated Khadis Ibragimov via TKO (Knee) in Round 1 (4:15)
Grant Dawson defeated Nad Narimani via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
Joel Alvarez defeated Joseph Duffy via Guillotine Choke in Round 1 (2:25)
Brett Johns defeated Montel Jackson via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Amir Albazi defeated Malcolm Gordon via Triangle Choke in Round 1 (4:42)
Arman Tsarukyan defeated Davi Ramos via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Serghei Spivac defeated Carlos Felipe via Majority Decision (28-28, 29-27, 29-27)