MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 30 a five-round vacant UFC flyweight title fight rematch between Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez. The event takes place on Saturday, July 18 on Fight Island at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Deiveson Figueiredo (-200)
Figueiredo (18-1) is the No. 1 ranked flyweight in the UFC. The 32-year-old Brazilian is 7-1 overall in the UFC with five stoppage wins and he is currently riding a three-fight win streak. Some of his notable victories include Benavidez, Tim Elliott, Alexandre Pantoja, and John Moraga, with his lone career defeat to Jussier Formiga. Figueiredo is capable of fighting both on the feet and on the mat but he prefers to stand and trade. On the feet, Figueiredo has shown plenty of knockout power throughout his career and no one has been able to stand and trade with him and win. In his lone loss to Formiga, he was taken down and controlled on the mat. That’s the blueprint to beat Figueiredo, so let’s see if Benavidez will be able to implement his wrestling on Saturday night.
Joseph Benavidez (+170)
Benavidez (28-6) is the No. 2 ranked flyweight in the UFC. The 35-year-old American is 15-4 overall in the UFC with notable victories over Henry Cejudo, Ali Bagautinov, Ian McCall, Eddie Wineland, Alex Perez, and Jussier Formiga twice. Benavidez has been one of the best flyweights and bantamweights in the sport for a decade and has been in the Octagon with some of the best the sport has to offer. More than often he’s come away with his hand raised, but for whatever reason, he just hasn’t been able to win a title in the UFC or WEC, going 0-4 in those opportunities. He’s one of the best fighters to never win a UFC title, but that’s the knock on him. With a combination of striking and wrestling, he’s one of the most well-rounded flyweights in the UFC today. But if he will beat Figueiredo, he is most likely going to have to go back to his grappling to get the job done.
Fight Breakdown: We just saw these two fight in February and Figueiredo pretty much dominated the fight. However, due to the accidental headbutt that led to the stoppage and the fact he missed weight, the UFC is giving Benavidez another chance to win a title. I’m ok with the UFC running this one back, but I don’t see it going any different than the first fight. In the first encounter, Figueiredo was getting the better of Benavidez on the feet and he was able to show off his KO power with the finish. Benavidez is a veteran and will certainly make some adjustments for this rematch, but I don’t think it’s going to be enough. If Benavidez wants to win, he will need to wrestle Figueiredo the entire time, because on the feet Figueiredo will be at a huge advantage. I think this fight takes place on the feet and I see Figueiredo getting the better of Benavidez again en route to another TKO win.
Prediction: Deiveson Figueiredo wins via TKO