Positive COVID-19 Test by Deiveson Figueiredo Has Flyweight Title Fight in Limbo

Deiveson Figueiredo, UFC
Deiveson Figueiredo, UFC Norfolk ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

Another athlete expected to take part in Fight Island has tested positive for COVID-19. And this time, it’s main event flyweight Deiveson Figueiredo, who was expected to rematch Joseph Benavidez at UFC Fight Night 172 on July 18.

That’s the third of four Fight Island shows planned for Yas Island, Abu Dhabi this month.

MMA Fighting was first to report news of Figueiredo’s test results, citing the fighter’s manager, Walid Ismail. According to Ismail, himself a former UFC fighter, Figueiredo had tested positive for the disease two months ago, after displaying symptoms. However, the Brazilian was believed to have beat the virus — and Ismail believes a faulty test could be the reason behind the positive.

Figueiredo (18-1) had been expected to fly to Abu Dhabi, but the positive test has him grounded until the results of a second COVID-19 test can be determined. Should that come back positive, the fight will likely be off — at least on July 18.

Benavidez (28-6) and Figueiredo first met in February 2020 at UFC Norfolk. Figueiredo won the fight, with an emphatic TKO in the second round. However, he’d missed weight for the fight, and missed out on earning the vacant flyweight title as a result.

The UFC soon signaled its intention to schedule a rematch. Which is now in limbo as a result of Figueiredo’s positive test.

As part of its stint on Fight Island, the UFC has ramped up its COVID-19 protocols. Per a media guide released by the UFC prior to the Fight Island events, athletes, staff, and event personnel may be subject to at least 5 COVID-19 tests:

  • 1 test pre-departure to Abu Dhabi
  • 1 at the airport upon arrival in Abu Dhabi
  • 1 at the hotel upon check in followed by a 48-hour quarantine period
  • 1 test prior to the event
  • 1 test post-event pre-departure from Abu Dhabi

The promotion anticipated that approximately 3,300 pre-departure and on-site COVID-19 antigen tests for UFC athletes and event personnel would take place.