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UFC Fight Night: Figueiredo vs. Benavidez 2 results and post-fight analysis

Mookie Alexander analyzes and recaps all the action that took place at UFC Fight Island 2 in Abu Dhabi.

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Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC Fight Island 2 is in the books and after a failed first attempt, we finally have a new men’s flyweight champion.

Deiveson Figueiredo won the first fight against Joseph Benavidez but couldn’t get the title because he missed weight. In the rematch, Figueiredo made weight and blew the doors off of Benavidez to get that UFC belt wrapped around his waist. The Brazilian knocked Benavidez down three times with right hands and just hurt him with virtually every clean shot he landed. Benavidez somehow fended off four rear-naked choke attempts on the ground, but the fifth one came after the last knockdown and a billion elbows, and he wasn’t able to defend that one. In fact, he went totally unconscious and suffered his first ever submission loss.

A truly phenomenal title-winning performance from “Deus da Guerra” and I just wonder who’s next for him. Brandon Moreno and Askar Askarov are the obvious top two contenders, with Alex Perez also in the mix. I wouldn’t favor any of them over him at this point, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in those matchups. Keep flyweight alive and let Deiveson deliver more violence!

More thoughts below:

Main Card

  • The ESPN+ stream was complete ass tonight. It kept cutting out repeatedly and I know many others had the same issue, whether streaming on their computer or through a TV app. Thankfully that didn’t happen in the main event.
  • I’d say there’s a good chance that Benavidez just retires after such a brutal loss and the worst one he’s ever received. He’s 0-5 in title fights dating back to the WEC, and while he’s considered by many as one of the best to never win a major title, it looks like it’s not meant to be. He was slow, sloppy, and just thoroughly outclassed by a younger, more dynamic, more explosive, and more durable fighter. Benavidez has had a hell of a career and one that has produced a lot of highlight reel moments and great fights, but there’s no reason to believe he’ll get that elusive championship belt, and there are no legitimate worries about his ability to take a punch.
  • What a win for Jack Hermansson! “The Joker” went for a takedown on Kelvin Gastelum and instead found himself thrown to the bottom. Hermansson threatened Gastelum’s leg the first time and Kelvin was privy to the danger. He still went back into guard and paid the price heavily with a fantastic heel hook. A hell of a lot happened in those 78 seconds. It’s a huge win for Hermansson but it’s also surely a long way back now for Gastelum as a middleweight contender after his third straight defeat.
  • Lightweight Rafael Fiziev was outstanding against former BAMMA champ Marc Diakiese. He fed Diakiese a steady diet of body kicks and leg kicks and Marc just didn’t have any solid answers for him. Fiziev started strongly in the opening round and would not let up. Diakiese’s two-fight win streak is over, whereas Fiziev has the biggest W of his career.
  • Ariane Lipski produced one of the nastiest kneebars I have ever seen. Luana Carolina was screaming in pain and frankly I had to walk for a bit in my living room just to make sure my ligaments were working properly. “Queen of Violence” had a terrible start to her UFC career but the former KSW champ has bounced back in a big way, and that kneebar was as painful as it gets.
  • Alexandre Pantoja was the backup for tonight’s main event but he ended up not even winning his own scheduled fight, as Askar Askarov outlasted him in an entertaining three-round scrap. Pantoja came out super aggressive with his submission hunting in the opening round, and we saw a lot of crazy scrambles and a ridiculous pace that ultimately proved to be Alexandre’s undoing. Askarov had the better and cleaner strikes, and eventually those scrambles that Pantoja was winning steadily went away. We have a new contender at 125 lbs.

Preliminary Card

  • Roman Dolidze had some phenomenal finishes on the regional scene, and the Georgian light heavyweight scored another one in the opening round of his UFC debut. His head kick attempt turned into a knee to the face of Khadis Ibragimov, who went down and ate several punches that left him in a daze and unable to determine where the hell he was. What a way to cap off the prelims!
  • Grant Dawson dominated Nad Narimani through two rounds before a late Narimani rally fell well short in the third. An impressive decision win for Dawson, who appears set on fighting at 150 lbs catchweights or 155 lbs during the COVID-19 pandemic due to needing full training camps to make his normal 145 lbs. Good idea, if you ask me.
  • The collapse of Joseph Duffy as a compelling prospect has been shocking. He just dove right into Joel Alvarez’s guillotine choke and tapped out shortly thereafter. Big upset win for Alvarez and a third straight loss for the Irishman, who was a legitimate talent from Cage Warriors with a win over Conor McGregor on his resume. Afterward, he announced his retirement from MMA.
  • It wasn’t pretty but Brett Johns was able to eke out a decision over the much larger and longer bantamweight Montel Jackson. Johns leaned on his wrestling and grappling as virtually his whole offense, and while Jackson had both a first-round knockdown and more effective strikes, he didn’t exactly have enough offense to clearly win either of the last two rounds.
  • Amir Albazi’s UFC debut was slick and superb. He had full mount and back mount on Malcolm Gordon, lost the position but immediately transitioned to a triangle choke, pulled that head down and forced the tap. The Iraq native picks up the UFC’s first triangle choke win of the year and it’s his own first triangle choke win of his career.
  • Arman Tsarukyan has serious potential to be a lightweight contender. The 23-year-old expertly dispatched dangerous grappler Davi Ramos by unanimous decision, showcasing improved striking along with impressive strength and savvy when he did engaged on the ground with the Brazilian.
  • Moldovan heavyweight Serghei Spivac spoiled the debut of Carlos Felipe with a majority decision win. Spivac dominated the final round and all three judges gave him a 10-8, and Felipe seemed quite upset when I think he’s fortunate to have even gotten a draw on that one scorecard.

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