Deiveson Figueiredo knocked out Joseph Benavidez at UFC Norfolk, but won’t be leaving with the flyweight title.
Within the span of just a few hours, the main event of UFC Norfolk changed drastically. At least, the stakes did, for one half of the main event. When Deiveson Figueiredo failed to make championship weight at Friday morning’s weigh-in, he took himself out of the running for the promotion’s vacant flyweight championship. With the Brazilian ineligible, only Joseph Benavidez had a chance to (at long last) claim gold.
Figueiredo’s failure at the scale didn’t seem to dampen his spirits much at the UFC Norfolk face-off later in the day on Friday. But there were obvious questions, like what a rough weight cut that saw him miss the mark by 2.5lbs might do to his performance.
For Benavidez, meanwhile, he was a step closer to a title at long last. Two opportunities against Demetrious Johnson had seen Joe B come up short. Benavidez had his first crack at gold in the inaugural flyweight title fight in the UFC, way back in 2012, at UFC 152 in Toronto. The split decision loss was the closest he’d come to gold; a rematch with Johnson the following year saw him knocked out by Mighty Mouse.
Since that loss, however, Benavidez had gone 9-1, including a win over Henry Cejudo — the man who vacated the flyweight belt ahead of UFC Norfolk, in order to focus on his bantamweight title.
Figueiredo started things off with a takedown and a very excellent armbar attempt that Benavidez was able to escape. Figueiredo connected on a nice right hand before stuffing a Benavidez takedown attempt. Figueiredo cracked Benavidez with another nice shot and continued to walk Benavidez down. Two big shots connected for Benavidez that seemed to wobble Figueiredo a bit. Both men continued to exchange hard shots as the round came to a close.
A big shot connected for Figueiredo inside the pocket to start the second round off. Benavidez didn’t back down, staying right in the pocket with Figueiredo and throwing right back. There were some big “USA!” chants from the crowd in favor of Benavidez, just before Benavidez was cut terribly. Figueiredo then dropped Benavidez with a huge shot and followed up with ground-and-pound to finish the fight off.
Deiveson Figueiredo def. Joseph Benavidez by TKO (Punches) in Round 2 (1:44)