UFC Fight Night Report: Deiveson Figueiredo defeats Joseph Benavidez to win vacant UFC Flyweight Championship

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/07/18/ufc-fight-night-report-deiveson-figueiredo-defeats-joseph-benavidez-to-win-vacant-ufc-flyweight-championship/

UFC Fight Night Report: Deiveson Figueiredo defeats Joseph Benavidez to win vacant UFC Flyweight Championship

By: Eric Marcotte

On Saturday night the UFC held their third “Fight Island” card, at the Flash Forum on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The event was headlined by a bout for the vacant UFC Flyweight Championship, between Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez. Earlier this year, Benavidez and Figueiredo fought for the vacant title, but Figueiredo missed weight by 2.5lbs and won the fight by second-round TKO. Due to the weight miss, Figueiredo was ineligible to win the title, and thus, the championship remained vacant. Taking into account the weight miss, as well as the inadvertent clash of heads that led to the finishing sequence, the UFC decided to run the fight back to determine the flyweight divisions champion, and this time, neither man missed weight. In the co-main event, former interim title challenger Kelvin Gastelum, faced the sixth-ranked middleweight, Jack Hermansson.

The commentary team for this card consisted of John Gooden, Paul Felder, and Michael Bisping. Performance bonuses were awarded to Ariane Lipski and Deiveson Figueiredo. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Marc Diakiese and Rafael Fiziev.


*Serghei Spivac def. Carlos Felipe by majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)

*Arman Tsarukyan def. Davi Ramos by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-26)

*Amir Albazi def. Malcolm Gordon by triangle choke at 4:42 of Round 1

*Brett Johns def. Montel Jackson by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Joel Alvarez def. Joseph Duffy by guillotine at 2:25 of Round 1

*Grant Dawson def. Nad Narimani by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 29-27)

*Roman Dolidze def. Khadis Ibragimov by TKO at 4:15 of Round 1

*Askar Askarov def. Alexandre Pantoja by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Ariane Lipski def. Luana Carolina by kneebar at 1:28 of Round 1

*Rafael Fiziev def. Marc Diakiese by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

*Jack Hermansson def. Kelvin Gastelum by heel hook at 1:18 of Round 1

*Deiveson Figueiredo def. Joseph Benavidez by rear-naked choke at 4:48 of Round 1


Filipe was immediately aggressive, rushing forward, throwing strong hooks and body shots. Spivac remained calm and avoided the biggest strikes from Felipe, and he slowed him down a bit with a solid jab. Every time Spivac landed, Felipe would taunt before going back on the attack. Felipe continued to land several solid body shots. Spivak connected with some good combinations throughout the round and continued to block the majority of Felipe’s bigger strikes. Close round, but I gave the edge to Felipe for his bodywork.

Both men landed heavy shots whilst trading in the pocket, and Felipe defended a pair of takedown attempts from Spivac. Later in the round, Spivac snuck in a solid elbow after Felipe defended a third takedown attempt. He landed a pair of jabs, and Felipe responded with a strong hook to the body. After the round, Felipe walked over to Spivac and talked some trash that I couldn’t quite make out. Nonetheless, I thought Spivac took this round, but it was another close one.

Spivac was successful on his first takedown attempt of the round and landed some left hands before attempting to take his back. He was unsuccessful, and Felipe scrambled back to his feet, but Spivac wasted no time in taking him right back down to the cage. Spivac continued to land strong ground and pound strikes and recorded the third takedown after Felipe momentarily found his way up again. Spivac started to lay into Felipe with his ground and pound, and he spent the entirety of the round dominating Felipe from this position. I thought this was a 10-8 round and scored the fight 29-27 Spivac.

WINNER: Serghei Spivac by majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)

After the fight, Spivac and Felipe jawed at each other. The first two rounds were close, but I thought that the final round took a Felipe win out of the equation, and each judge agreed, with 10-8’s across the board in round three. Spivac is now 2-2 in the UFC.


Tsarukyan opened up the fight with several leg kicks. He connected with a spinning back kick. Ramos shot for a takedown that Tsarukyan shook off. Tsarukyan kept throwing kicks at the lead leg of Ramos. Ramos shot in for another takedown, Tsarukyan defended it, and Ramos seemed to pull guard after the exchange, and Tsarukyan began to work from Ramos’s guard with two minutes remaining in the round. He landed decent ground and pound strikes, but eventually stood up and allowed Ramos to return to the feet. 10-9 Tsarukyan.

Tsarukyan started the second round aggressively, and Ramos landed a strong counter hook. Tsarukyan responded with a beautiful hook to the body not long after. Ramos was finding success when they traded in the pocket, but Tsarukyan was picking him apart at the range. Tsarukyan took Ramos down with a double leg, but Ramos threatened a heel hook and they scrambled right back up. Tsarukyan mixed in a right hook with a sharp kick to the body. Both men kept active in this round, both finding success with quick hooks. Ramos defended a late takedown attempt from Tsarukyan. This round was much closer than the last, but I still gave the edge to Tsarukyan.

Both fighters seemed fired up to begin the third, but the action was quickly paused as Tsarukyan readjusted his cup. Michael Bisping took this time to take a shot at Anderson Silva for knocking him down with a flying knee while Michael was concerned about his mouthpiece. Tsarukyan knocked Ramos down with a right hand, but he recovered instantly. Tsarukyan was starting to light Ramos up with his counterattacks, mixing in some head kicks for good measure. As the round continued, it seemed as though Tsarukyan was finding a home for every strike he was throwing. He connected cleanly with a spinning back kick to the head. Ramos was cut open near his right eye, and the referee brought the doctor in to check on the cut. Ramos landed a solid right hand as he rushed forward when the action resumed. He grabbed Tsarukyan’s neck, dropped to the ground, and attempted a Hail Mary choke, but he couldn’t get it, and the fight went the distance. 30-27 Tsarukyan.

WINNER: Arman Tsarukyan by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-26)

This was a fun, high paced fight, and a great showcase for Arman Tsarukyan, who looked fantastic against a very tough opponent in Davi Ramos. By the third round, he was showing the potential that many people saw in him back in his UFC debut against Islam Makhachev. Tsarukyan has faced a very high level of competition thus far into his UFC run, and he has impressed. He is now 2-1 in the UFC.


Both fighters were active early, gauging each other’s timing on the feet. Albazi landed a kick to the body, and not long after, he got Gordon down in the center of the octagon with a well-timed single leg. Gordon tied Albazi up in half guard for a while, but eventually, Albazi was able to transition to full mount. Gordon scrambled out from under Albazi, but he got caught in a triangle choke and was forced to submit.

WINNER: Amir Albazi by triangle choke at 4:42 of Round 1

Albazi looked slick on the ground and immediately capitalized on what looked to be a moment of success for Gordon. This was his UFC debut, and he took the fight on very short notice. Somewhat shockingly, in the post-fight interview, Felder pointed out that this was the first triangle choke of the year (in the UFC).


They exchanged leg kicks to begin the fight. Jackson defended an early takedown attempt from Johns. Johns continued to pursue the takedown by looking for trips against the cage but ended up tripping himself, allowing Jackson to jump on top of him. It took Johns seconds to pick himself back up, and then he succeeded in taking Jackson down, who promptly escaped to the feet himself. Johns kept on the pressure, attempting to neutralize Jackson’s size advantage, but Jackson knocked Johns down with a straight left hand as he broke away from a clinch exchange, and followed him to the ground with a series of elbows. Johns attempted an armbar late in the round that Jackson avoided. 10-9 Jackson.

Johns wasted no time in closing the distance and bringing Jackson back to the fence. Jackson was doing a very good job of defending Johns takedown attempts but was still being controlled for the opening minutes of the round. He eventually broke away from the clinch, landed some body shots, and tripped Johns to the ground as he continued to press forward. Johns popped up and succeeded in bringing Jackson to the ground, and this time he managed to take his back. Jackson defended the position well, and ended the round on top, in the guard of Johns. I had it 19-19 going into round three.

Jackson defended an early single-leg attempt from Johns. Once again, Johns spent the vast majority of the round trying to take Jackson down against the cage. He was eventually successful, but Jackson escaped to his feet quickly and created some separation. Johns attempted a guillotine choke with about a minute left, but Jackson rolled out of it and stood up. 29-28 Johns on my scorecard.

WINNER: Brett Johns by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

Brett Johns came into this fight with a very clear game plan, and it paid off with the unanimous decision win. Johns had a lot of difficulties getting much going against Jackson but managed to neutralize him nonetheless for the vast majority of the fight. He is now 5-2 in the UFC.


Duffy landed a solid body kick in the opening seconds. They exchanged some hard kicks to the leg. Duffy shot for a double leg takedown and Alvarez caught him with a tight guillotine, forcing Duffy to tap out.

WINNER: Joel Alvarez by guillotine at 2:25 of Round 1

Alvarez was known for his submission skills before debuting in the UFC, and Duffy made the mistake of engaging Alvarez where he is most comfortable. Alvarez is now 2-1 in the UFC, and he has finished all 17 of his professional wins. For Joe Duffy, this was another tough loss for the once highly touted prospect, and he has now lost three in a row.

Later in the night, Joe Duffy announced his retirement from MMA on Instagram.


Dawson was attacking the lead leg of Narimani early. Narimani countered with some decent jabs to the body. Dawson seemed to slip after throwing a leg kick, but he popped right back up and nailed Narimani with a flying knee. Dawson took Narimani down and began to work with about three and a half minutes remaining. He transitioned to Narimani’s back and tried to find the rear-naked choke, but couldn’t sink one in before time expired. 10-9 Dawson.

Dawson opened the second round with a pair of calf kicks and another flying knee attempt but ate a right hand from Narimani. Dawson took Narimani back down with a single leg, with plenty of time to work. He spent the next couple minutes working from half guard, landing right hands that cut Narimani open. He took his back once again with a minute and a half remaining in the round. Once again, Dawson couldn’t find the finish, but he was racking up the control time. He was up comfortably going into the third round.

Narimani was having trouble finding the range and was getting stopped with calf kicks and knees down the middle from Dawson. By the mid-way point of the round, you could tell that Narimani was feeling the accumulation of those leg kicks. This final round took place entirely on the feet, and Dawson still held a considerable advantage. In the final thirty seconds, Narimani landed some good shots, including a right hand that backed Dawson up, but he couldn’t get the finish, and I scored the fight 30-27 Dawson.

WINNER: Grant Dawson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 29-27)

Grant Dawson turned a very impressive performance and showed considerable improvement to his striking game in this fight. Outside of the final thirty seconds, this fight was all Dawson, who was doing a ton of damage with his leg kicks from the opening seconds. He is now 4-0 in the UFC.


Ibragimov was throwing mainly leg kicks in the opening round. One of them got checked by Dolidze, and Ibragimov felt it. Dolidze attempted an ill-advised ax kick, and got pushed down and hit in the calf a few times for his troubles. Not long after they returned to the feet, Dolidze connected with the knee of a head kick he threw Ibragimov’s way, and Ibragimov was out. Dolidze landed some follow up strikes, but they were unnecessary, this one was over from the second that knee landed.

WINNER: Roman Dolidze by TKO at 4:15 of Round 1

This fight was slow while it lasted, but it ended with a vicious highlight finish for Dolidze. There is not too much to discuss coming out of a fight like this one, but Dolidze is now 7-0 and has finished all of his fights. This was his first UFC appearance. Ibragimov is now 0-3 since debuting in the UFC last year.


Pantoja jumped on a guillotine almost immediately, and after Askarov shook him off, he attempted submission after submission after submission. Askarov seemed unintimidated by these attempts and defended them all. Askarov pressured Pantoja against the cage and tried to take his back, but he couldn’t quite get it. Pantoja managed to sneak around to Askarov’s back, and began searching for the rear-naked choke. He couldn’t find it, and time expired. Very entertaining round, 10-9 Pantoja.

Pantoja landed a heavy kick to the body and defended a takedown attempt from Askarov. Askarov was successful on his next attempt, but Pantoja scrambled up when Askarov attempted to pass his guard. They reached a stalemate in the clinch against the cage. Askarov took Pantoja down and took his back near the end of the round. Pantoja slipped right out of it and found his way onto Askarov’s back not long thereafter. Askarov shook him off to end the round. I had it 19-19 going into round three.

Pantoja was looking tired to begin the third, and Askarov was landing his best strikes of the fight. It seemed neither man had the energy for the high paced grappling exchanges that dominated the first two rounds. Neither man pulled away with this round, and it was incredibly close. I gave the edge to Askarov, who looked a bit fresher and landed some good strikes near the beginning of the round.

WINNER: Askar Askarov by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

I think the difference-maker in this one was Askarov’s gas tank. He was able to keep up an incredible pace during the first two rounds, and by round three Pantoja was exhausted. Still, it was an incredibly close fight, and I was surprised that we didn’t get a variety of scorecards from the judges. Askarov is now 2-0-1 in the UFC, and he isn’t all that far from a title shot after beating the fourth-ranked Pantoja. I doubt he will pass Alex Perez or Brandon Moreno (who he fought to a draw last year) for title consideration, but one more win should be enough to warrant a title fight for Askarov.

The UFC announced the return of the Contenders Series on August 4th, where the first card will be headlined by a lightweight bout between Cameron Church and Jose Flores.


Lipski landed a hard body shot while Carolina was off-balance, and Carolina went down to the floor. She seemed to be searching for a heel hook to make Lipski give up her top position, and she was almost successful, but Lipski began to hunt for the kneebar, and she found it. Carolina was in clear agony from this submission, and she tapped out.

WINNER: Ariane Lipski by kneebar at 1:28 of Round 1

This was a violent submission, and Carolina still wasn’t walking by the time the decision was being read. I’m no doctor, but that knee looked hyperextended. Nonetheless, this marked Lipski’s first finish in the UFC, and she has now won two consecutive fights after dropping her first two UFC bouts.


Diakiese was letting the kicks fly early. Fiziev took Diakiese down after a hard kick to the body and began to work from half guard. Diakiese made his way back to the feet but ate another huge body kick. Fiziev just slid out of the way of a Diakiese head kick and landed yet another brutal kick to the body. Diakiese shot for a takedown, which Fiziev stuffed. He landed another body kick and there was no doubt Diakiese was feeling these brutal body shots. Dominant round for Fiziev.

Fiziev dodged another lighting quick kick from Diakiese. He was starting to let the hands go a bit more in this round as well. Fiziev was looking miles ahead in the striking department, which isn’t something many people can say against Marc Diakiese. He defended a takedown attempt from Diakiese late in the round. Fiziev was not finding the same body shots he did in the first, but he still won the round, and he was doing an excellent job of avoiding all of Diakiese’s biggest strikes.

Both men started the third round aggressively, throwing solid combinations. Fiziev went back to the bodywork he found success in the first with. He stuffed another takedown from Diakiese. Diakiese landed a solid straight right that was unquestionably his best shot of the fight. Diakiese was hunting the finish near the end of the fight, but he couldn’t find it, and this one went to the scorecards. 29-28 Fiziev.

WINNER: Rafael Fiziev by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Fiziev looked incredible during the first two rounds. I was very impressed by his last performance against Alex White last October, and he looked even better here, against a tougher opponent. This fight was a ton of fun, and both men were throwing bombs from the beginning. Those body kicks from the opening round sounded brutal. Fiziev is now 2-1 in the UFC, and he is certainly a lightweight prospect to keep your eyes on.


Hermansson attempted to take Gastelum down early, and Gastelum reversed it to end up on top. Hermansson grabbed one of Gastelum’s legs, and he committed to a heel hook, locking it in, and Gastelum tapped out not long thereafter.

WINNER: Jack Hermansson by heel hook at 1:18 of Round 1

Wow. This was a huge win for Jack Hermansson, becoming only the second man to finish Kelvin Gastelum, with a heel hook of all finishes! Coming off a rough loss to Jared Cannonier, Hermansson immediately reinserted himself in title contention with this win. He called out the winner of Robert Whittaker and Darren Till in his post-fight interview, which is a matchup I agree with.

For Gastelum, this was undoubtedly a tough loss, as he is now riding a three-fight losing strike. It’s tough to say what’s next for Gastelum, who has gone 3-3 (and 1 NC) since moving to the middleweight division. Perhaps the winner of the Edmen Shahbazyan/Derek Brunson fight would be a sensible next matchup for him.


Figueiredo and Benavidez fought earlier this year for the vacant title, a fight that Figueiredo won by second-round TKO. He missed weight for that fight, however, and was ineligible to win the title.

Figueiredo knocked Benavidez down with a right hook in the opening minute and took his back. He was fighting hard for the rear-naked choke, and Benavidez somehow defended three consecutive attempts. Benavidez made his way back to his feet with two and a half minutes remaining. Figueiredo sat Benavidez down later in the round with a clean right uppercut, but Benavidez popped up quickly. Not long after that, Figueredo dropped Benavidez a third time with a right hook, but this time Figueiredo was successful in securing the rear-naked choke, and Benavidez passed out in the hold.

WINNER: Deiveson Figueiredo by rear-naked choke at 4:48 of Round 1 to win UFC Flyweight Championship

This was complete domination from Deiveson Figueiredo, who dropped Benavidez three times and submitted him in the first round. Every time he connected cleanly in this fight; Benavidez went down. While Joseph Benavidez has lost before, it’s never looked quite like this. Figueiredo has had no shortage of impressive performances, but this one is in a league of its own. He is now the undisputed UFC Flyweight Champion, and I imagine he will be a heavy favorite no matter his next opponent.

For Joseph Benavidez, this was his fourth shot at the UFC Flyweight Championship and his fourth loss. It seems likely that this was his last opportunity at UFC gold, and it wouldn’t shock me if we are at, or near, the end of his career. If he does choose to retire, he should undoubtedly be remembered as one of the greatest flyweights of all time, as well as one of the greatest fighters to never hold a championship, regardless of gender or division.