After picking up a win in his promotional debut on Fight Island earlier this year, Francisco Figueiredo was looking to make it two in a row inside the octagon at UFC Vegas 31. He was also fighting under the shadow of his brother’s recent loss to Brandon Moreno, adding a little extra pressure to Figueiredo’s bout with Malcolm Gordon on Saturday’s preliminary card.
Canada’s Gordon, a former TKO flyweight champion, had dropped his first two fights inside the octagon, putting him in must-win territory at UFC Vegas 31. Arguably even more pressure rested on his shoulders Saturday.
Perhaps with that in mind, Gordon went straight for a takedown literally seconds after a quick glove touch. Gordon put Figueiredo against the fence, but Figueiredo escaped. Gordon took Figueiredo down, and quickly, Figueiredo reversed and got right on top of Gordon. Not much action followed, except for transitioning by Figueiredo. Figueiredo landed a couple of punches, but Gordon defended by grabbing his opponent. With just over a minute left in the round, Figueiredo threw a nasty elbow. One minute left, and Figueiredo went for a heel hook. Gordon defended and then escaped. Gordon got into full guard and ended the round on top, landing a few elbows.
Figueiredo appeared to have claimed the opening frame. Gordon started round two exactly the way he did in round one, by running at Figueiredo. Gordon attempted a takedown, but Figueiredo defended. Gordon shot for another takedown, but Figueiredo sprawled. Canada’s Gordon then put Figueiredo against the fence, but Figueiredo escaped. Figueiredo threw a front kick, and Gordon landed a punch which made Figueiredo back up. Two unsuccessful takedown attempts by Gordon kept both men standing. Figueiredo landed a straight left hand. Gordon landed a nice uppercut, and Figueiredo landed a knee to the body in response. Figueiredo landed a body kick with 30 seconds left, and Gordon landed to takedown to end the round.
Heading into the third, it felt like a 19-19 affair. Figueiredo threw a flying knee to start round three. The knee missed, and Gordon landed a takedown. Figueiredo tried to escape a few times, but Gordon kept him down. Figueiredo finally freed himself with a little over two minutes left and tried to lock up a standing rear-naked choke. Gordon went for another takedown and put Figueiredo against the fence. Figueiredo reversed Gordon on the fence and took Gordon down. Figueiredo tried to lock up a last-minute triangle armbar, but Gordon escaped.
By UD! 🗣
🇨🇦 @Malcolm_X_MMA emerges victorious after 3 rounds!
— UFC (@ufc) July 18, 2021
On the scorecards, the judges gave it to Gordon. That was the right call in a close fight, but a 30-27 score from one judge was a puzzler. Either way, Malcolm Gordon appears to have bought himself more time in the promotion with the win.
Official Result: Malcolm Gordon def. Francisco Figueiredo by unanimous decision (30–27, 29–28, 29–28)