This time, Deiveson Figueiredo left little doubt.

In a rematch of their controversial bout earlier this 12 months, Figueiredo knocked down Joseph Benavidez 3 times after which choked him out at 4:48 of the primary spherical in the primary occasion of Sunday’s UFC Battle Night time in Abu Dhabi. With the win, Figueiredo claimed the vacant UFC flyweight championship.

Figueiredo clipped Benavidez with a proper hand within the opening seconds, then tried to cinch in a rear-naked choke on the bottom. Benavidez valiantly fought it off and obtained to his ft. However he couldn’t do {that a} second time. Figueiredo blasted him with a whipping proper hand within the remaining minute of the primary, then pounced and locked within the submission to earn the title victory. Benavidez did not faucet — he went unconscious and referee Marc Goddard known as the combat.

“I mentioned I used to be going to interrupt Benavidez, and that is precisely what I did,” Figueiredo mentioned. “I gave him his first submission on his file, and the combat itself was an incredible present. I gave everybody a present. He did not shock me in any respect tonight.”

Coming in, ESPN had Figueiredo ranked as its No. 2 MMA flyweight on the earth, and Benavidez No. 3. Figueiredo is now simply the third flyweight champion in UFC historical past, following the legendary Demetrious Johnson and the lately retired former double champ Henry Cejudo.

Benavidez and Figueiredo first fought on Feb. 29 in Norfolk, Virginia. The bout was imagined to resolve the vacant title, however Figueiredo missed weight by 2.5 kilos. Because of the weight miss, Benavidez was the one one who may win the belt within the combat — however Figueiredo ended up stopping Benavidez by TKO within the second spherical.

There was some dispute there, too. Figueiredo’s end got here proper after a conflict of heads that rocked Benavidez, who had received the primary spherical. The circumstances led to the UFC granting Benavidez a right away rematch.

Sunday’s bout came about on the lately constructed Flash Discussion board on Yas Island, which has been dubbed “Battle Island” by the UFC for this month’s slate of occasions in Abu Dhabi. This was the third UFC card on the venue in eight days, with yet one more coming July 25.

Figueiredo had a wierd street over the previous two weeks. He initially examined constructive for COVID-19 earlier than leaving his native Brazil, and didn’t get on the UFC constitution flying out of Sao Paulo. On July 11, he was examined once more, the end result got here again as destructive and he took a flight out final Sunday night time to Abu Dhabi.

As soon as on Yas Island, Figueiredo handed a number of extra COVID-19 assessments and obtained cleared by the UFC. He efficiently made weight — in contrast to earlier than the primary bout with Benavidez — on Friday, simply hours after he was launched from quarantine.

“I used to be capable of overcome all that,” Figueiredo mentioned. “I used to be capable of are available in right here, and I am the champion now; it should be a really exhausting time for anybody that comes after me.”

Since Figueiredo’s UFC debut in 2017, he has probably the most wins (8) and probably the most finishes (6) within the flyweight division, in response to ESPN Stats & Info analysis.

Benavidez was capable of survive Figueiredo’s early onslaught. Figueiredo dropped him with a proper hand behind the ear initially after which tried to get him in a choke on the mat. Benavidez someway fought off the choke try and obtained to his ft with 2:16 remaining within the spherical.

As soon as standing up, Benavidez mounted some offense. He landed a four-punch mixture, then a physique shot and exhausting proper. However Figueiredo dropped him once more with a proper. Benavidez obtained to his ft, however seconds later Figueiredo put him down for the ultimate time, then choked him out. It was the primary submission lack of Benavidez’s 14-year profession.

“I additionally needed to place that first submission loss on his file,” Figueiredo mentioned. “I completed him within the first spherical. That is precisely what occurred.”

Figueiredo (19-1) is likely one of the finest finishers within the historical past of a division not identified for finishes. The Brazilian has six stoppages in eight UFC wins and has received 4 straight general. Figueiredo, 32, has only one loss in his profession, to countryman Jussier Formiga in 2019.

Benavidez (28-7) is likely one of the finest MMA flyweight fighters of all time and a fan favourite, with many rooting for him to lastly win the belt that had eluded him 3 times beforehand. The Las Vegas resident competed within the first UFC flyweight title combat, falling to Johnson — who went on to turn into the longtime champion — in 2012.

Benavidez, 35, is tied for probably the most wins in UFC flyweight historical past (13, with Johnson), has probably the most fights within the division (18) and probably the most knockouts (5).

Cejudo vacated the UFC flyweight title final December when he made it clear he was specializing in defending his second belt, the bantamweight title.

“I am out there for whoever the UFC desires to place in entrance of me. Anybody at my stage,” Figueiredo mentioned. “However you must be at my stage, as a result of I am a knockout artist, I’ll knock you out. I am going residence tomorrow, and we will begin celebrating with all Brazilians on the flight again, and as quickly as I land in Brazil everybody goes to be taking photos and congratulating me, so it should be an incredible get together.”



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