Jussier Formiga’s wrestling and takedowns made all the difference in the world as he served up the first loss of Deiveson Figuriredo’s career at UFC Nashville.
Flyweight’s not dead. At least not yet. That was one takeaway from Jussier Formiga vs. Deiveson Figueiredo even being on the UFC Nashville card. The event, hosted on Saturday night at the Bridgestone Arena in the Tennessee city, was topped by Stephen Thompson against Anthony Pettis at welterweight. The promotion’s smallest, and possibly endangered, weight class was represented, however. With a fight that might have title implications, if the division did stick around.
Formiga had won three straight heading in. Figueiredo was a perfect 15-0 in his career. If Henry Cejudo didn’t stray north to bantamweight for the vacant title there, the winner of Formiga vs. Figueiredo seemed like a lock for a stab at the 125lb belt.
Lots of ifs, but still plenty of action in the octagon. Figueiredo stayed on the outside early, while Formiga whiffed with a kick. No surprise, given they were flyweights, but both men were lightning quick when they did engage. Formiga put a little more power in his punches early, but Figueiredo snuck a counter uppercut in, and Jussier Formiga would need to be wary of getting caught. Figueiredo employed some stance switches and a spinning back kick, only to eat a spinning back fist thrown by Formiga.
The pair would head to the ground next, with Formiga getting on top. However Figueiredo escaped to his feet, and the pair grappled along the fence. Formiga looked to get the fight back down, as Figueiredo battled to disengage, with Formiga holding onto a body lock. It was Formiga who would get the upper hand, securing the takedown and quickly moving to mount to finish the first round.
With Formiga securing at least two takedowns and finishing strong, Deiveson Figueiredo would be looking to turn things around in the second. However an early exchange nearly left him open for another takedown, and he’d have to be wary. Formiga fired off a spinning kick, then connected to the leg a couple of times. A single leg led to a scramble, and again, Figueiredo was on his back, after being just a hair’s breadth away from breaking free. Figueiredo was held in this position for a good chunk of time, looking to throw strikes from the bottom. Eventually, the plan worked. Formiga wound up with a nasty gash on his left temple, right on the hairline.
Formiga, however, would finish the round on top. Just a lot wetter, a lot bloodier than he started the frame.
The third saw the pair stay standing through the first minute, Figueiredo throwing in another uppercut, and looking very wary of the takedown. Figueiredo continued to load up on his shots, at times throwing himself off-balance in the process. With just over two minutes to go, Formiga would score a takedown and take control. While he couldn’t keep the fight there, and was bleeding again when they got back to the feet, it prevented Figueiredo from getting back in the fight.
Jussier Formiga def. Deiveson Figueiredo by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)