Deiveson Figueiredo will try to solidify his hold over the UFC’s flyweight division when he defends his title against Alex Perez in the main event of UFC 255 on Saturday at the company’s Apex facility in Las Vegas.
Figueiredo (19-1) won the vacant flyweight championship when he choked out Joseph Benavidez late in the first round of their rematch in July.
Figueiredo: Title ‘Changed My Life’
That was the second fight between the top two names in the division. Figueiredo also beat Benavidez in February, but weighed in at 127.5 pounds, making him ineligible to win the flyweight title at the time.
While Figueiredo took a long path to the title, he says that the benefits of winning the belt were well worth the wait.
“[Being the champion] has changed my life so much and I have a lot more comfort and a lot more contentment in my life,” Figueiredo told Yahoo Sports. “I have the structure to my training that I want and I can help my family the way I have wanted to do.”
Figueiredo initially expected to fight former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt who pulled out of the fight due to a torn bicep in early October.
Perez (24-5) stepped up to take the headlining opportunity. He enters the fight as the No. 4 contender in the flyweight division, having won six of his seven bouts since joining the UFC after winning on season one of Dana White’s Contender Series. His only loss came to Benavidez.
Perez earned the nod as Garbrandt’s replacement over No. 3 contender Brandon Moreno, a decision that raised some eyebrows in the MMA world. But Perez says he was the logical choice to battle Figueiredo.
“I felt like I was next in line just based on my performance against [Jussier] Formiga,” Perez said at the UFC 255 virtual media day. “Everyone says Brandon Moreno, but we both fought the same guy. He went to decision while I finished him.”
Maia Sees Upset Opportunity at UFC 255
Figueiredo comes into the fight as a -300 favorite over Perez (+230), according to PointsBet. While Perez could find success on the ground, it’s likely that Figueiredo will pick and choose his spots and find an opportunity to end the fight at some point, as he has done so many times in the past.
Women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko (19-3) defends her title against Jennifer Maia (18-6-1) in the UFC 255 co-main event. Shevchenko has dominated the division since returning to flyweight after losing to Amanda Nunes by split decision in a bantamweight title fight back in 2017. Since then, she’s won five times, most recently finishing Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 247 in February.
|UFC 255 Odds (via PointsBet)|
|Deiveson Figueiredo: -300||Alex Perez: +230|
|Valentina Shevchenko: -2000||Jennifer Maia:+825|
|Mike Perry: -155||Tim Means: +125|
|Katlyn Chookagian: +205||Cynthia Calvillo: -270|
|Mauricio Rua: +150||Paul Craig: -190|
Shevchenko comes into the fight as a massive -2000 favorite over Maia (+825). Maia says that she’s not worried by those odds, and that she thinks she has a path to victory on Saturday.
“Valentina is a great fighter. No one is disputing that, certainly not me,” Maia said, via Yahoo Sports. “But she’s human. She’s not invincible. Everyone can be beaten.”