Deiveson Figueiredo will try to beat Joseph Benavidez for the second time this year as the two battle for the vacant UFC flyweight championship on Saturday night from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi at UFC Fight Night 172.
Henry Cejudo relinquished the flyweight title to focus on defending the bantamweight belt in December.
Figueiredo Makes Weight to Confirm Title Shot
Cejudo didn’t officially drop the belt until Feb. 29. That was the same day Figueiredo (18-1) stopped Benavidez (28-6) in the second round at UFC Fight Night 169.
Figueiredo missed weight that night by 2.5 pounds, meaning he couldn’t claim the title with a win. But when the UFC wanted to set up a new championship bout, it could pick no better matchup than pitting the No. 1 and No. 2 flyweight contenders against each other again.
UFC Fight Night 172 Odds (Main Card)
- Deiveson Figueiredo (-225) vs. Joseph Benavidez (+188)
- Jack Hermansson (-102) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (-116)
- Marc Diakiese (-170) vs. Rafael Fiziev (+138)
- Ariane Lipski (-118) vs. Luana Carolina (+100)
- Alexandre Pantoja (-198) vs. Askar Askarov (+166)
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Figueiredo says he’s looking for another stoppage when he battles Benavidez on Saturday. This time, however, he’d like to give fans a change of pace.
“I’ll try to knock him out, but I’d prefer a submission – he’s never been submitted before,” Figueiredo told MMA Junkie. “Fight fans will absolutely love our rematch.”
Figueiredo also reflected on why he missed weight in the first matchup.
“Not making weight in the UFC was due to errors that I personally committed regarding my diet,” Figueiredo told MMA Junkie. “I arrived much heavier than I should have. Same as before, when I came back home, I reflected on my mistakes…you can be sure I’ll always make weight in all my future bouts.”
Figueiredo kept that promise on Friday, as both he and Benavidez weighed in at exactly 125 pounds.
Benavidez Wants Revenge for Head Butt
Benavidez comes into the title bout with revenge on his mind. He clashed heads with Figueiredo just before the knockout in their first meeting. Now, the 35-year-old will look to finally get a UFC crown in the fourth title shot of his career.
“Figueiredo is a freaking villain,” Benavidez told ESPN. “The way he went about it – he bragged in Portuguese about the fight finishing with a head-butt, and his translator didn’t translate it. Brazilian media contacted me, and they’re like, ‘Do you know he was talking about how he was proud that he head-butted you?’”
Predictably, oddsmakers are favoring the winner of the first fight in the rematch. Figueiredo enters as a -225 pick to win the flyweight title, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, while Benavidez is fetching +188 odds.
A strong co-main event will back up the championship bout. Middleweights Kelvin Gastelum (15-5) and Jack Hermansson (20-5) face off in a battle of two talented fighters looking to prove they belong in the title picture. Gastelum (-116) enters as a very slight favorite over Hermansson (-102).