- Date & Location: Saturday July 18 @ Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Odds: Figueiredo -205, Benavidez +165
- Prediction: Figueiredo by decision
On July 18, the UFC makes a second effort to name a flyweight champion when top ranked title contenders Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez meet for a second time at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, which also hosted UFC 251. The first fight between these two ended with Figueiredo scoring a second-round knockout. However, Figueiredo was ineligible for the title because he missed weight. Figueiredo came in at 127.5 pounds for the 125 pound matchup.
FIGUEIREDO vs. BENAVIDEZ ODDS
FIGUEIREDO vs. BENAVIDEZ PREDICTION & PICK
The first time these two met, I went with Benavidez based on his experience and offensive output. After seeing how that first fight ended — with a Figueiredo knockout win — I’m going to switch my pick in this rematch. Benavidez landed 46 significant strikes to Figueiredo’s 25, but they did not have much effect on Figueiredo. I think Figueiredo’s power is going to be the difference in this rematch.
Pick: Figueiredo (-205)
BETTING VALUE WITH FIGUEIREDO
Figueiredo is one of the most powerful strikers in the UFC’s flyweight division. He has ended half of his 18 fights by knockout so there is always the chance he could reach double digits in the knockout department when he faces Benavidez on Saturday.
Benavidez has lost six fights. Two of those have been knockout defeats and one — his loss to Figueiredo — came after a headbutt stunned and bloodied Benavidez. Barring another headbutt or something strange, I think Figueiredo wins this one by way of decision, but a knockout bet is not completely out of line.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
The first fight, as brief as it was, showed us a lot. Figueiredo was able to walk through the punches of his opponent while Benavidez got dropped by Figueiredo. Yes, the knockout came after a headbutt, but Figueiredo does have the ability to stun and hurt Benavidez with his power strikes. The same cannot be said of Benavidez.
Outside of their recent meeting, here is how things shake out between Figueiredo and Benavidez.
Benavidez defeated Henry Cejudo in 2016 and then took more than two years off to rehab an injured knee that required surgery. When he returned to action in 2018, he suffered his only loss to a man not named Dominick Cruz or Demetrious Johnson when he dropped a split decision to Sergio Pettis. That loss ended a six-fight winning streak. He has three victories since the Pettis setback with two knockout wins and two “Performance of the Night” bonus awards.
Figueiredo opened his career on a 15-0 run. His sole loss was a 2019 unanimous decision defeat to Jussier Formiga. Since that setback, he is 3-0 with a submission win over Tim Elliott before his win over Benavidez.
FIGUEIREDO vs. BENAVIDEZ
|Deiveson Figueiredo||Category||Joseph Benavidez|
|2.54||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||3.53|
|2.76||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.55|
|1.81||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||1.50|
|2.4||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.6|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Benavidez is one of the best UFC/WEC fighters never to hold a title. He had opportunities to capture gold in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2020. His record since his most recent title shot is 9-2. One of those victories was a split decision win over a pre-championship winning Cejudo. It took Benavidez more than six years to get his back to a title fight. That tells you if he loses on Saturday, his days of title shots are most likely at an end.
As for Figueiredo, this is his second title fight. With a record of 18-1, a loss to Benavidez should not prevent him from working himself back into the title picture.