Dubai: Some strong statements were delivered at UFC Fight Night on Sunday morning at the sheltered Flash Forum arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, where several contests were wrapped up inside the distance, including the main event and the only women’s fight on the card.
Brazil’s Deiveson Figueiredo needed less than five minutes to submit Joseph Benavidez and become only the third men’s 125lb titleholder in UFC history, following the great Demetrious Johnson and Henry Cejudo.
And he showed himself to be a worth member of that elite group with a totally domineering performance over a shell-shocked Benavidez.
In the short span of 4 minutes and 48 seconds, Figueiredo (19-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) landed 35 significant strikes and dropped his opponent to the mat twice before securing a technical submission.
“I feel really good. I worked really hard for this. I knew my time would come, and this is my time. I am going to be an active champion,” said the 5ft, 5ins fighter, who was securing a third straight victory is his 16th career finish.
“I said I was going to break Benavidez and that’s exactly what I did. I gave him his first submission on his record and the fight itself was a great show, I gave everyone a show. I’m available for whoever the UFC wants to put in front of me, anyone at my level, but you have to be at my level because I’m a knockout artist, I’m going to knock you out.”
It’s a little too early to see who will be thrown in the Octagon to face Figueiredo, but seveth ranked flyweight Askar Askarov (12-0-1 MMA) showed himself to be a potential challenger after his unanimous decision victory over the experienced Alexandre Pantoja (22-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) on the same card on Sunday.
The flyweight division is not the strongest on the UFC roster and Figueiredo could reign long just as Johnson and Cejudo have done.
Meanwhile, the women’s flyweight bout between Ariane Lipski and Luana Carolina ended in a gruesome leg submission that saw Carolina tapping out in pain, and just short of having her knee snapped.
Lipski is known as the ‘Queen of Violence’ and she more than lived up to her moniker with a performance that has caught the attention of the UFC and called out for more respect to the women’s flyweight division.
It may have been a brutal finish and one that came too soon in the fight, but it went a long way to showcase the high-level of women fighters competing in the UFC.
“I have much more to show than what I just showed,” said the 26-year-old Brazilian, flashing the seriously coloured black finger-nail polish.
“I feel very, very happy. I was very, very confident for the fight. I was went to the Octagon and just enjoyed and did my best. I just want to get back as soon as possible.
“I have no injuries, I’m healthy, I’m young and I’m hungry, very hungry for more victories.”
Lipski picked up a $50,000 bonus for Performance of the night.
Another contest that stood out was in the men’s lightweight division where Kyrgyzstan’s Rafael Fiziev (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) scored a unanimous decision victory over Marc Diakiese (14-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) an English MMA fighter of Congolese descent.
Fiziev’s impressive performance earned him a $50,000 bonus for Fight of the Night.
“I’m happy for my second win in the UFC. Just happy, you know? Thank you for my opponent, for this perfect fight. I had a plan to break his heart, break his body and show perfect technique, show what I know, you know? I hope people like it,” said Fiziev.
Sunday’s fight card was the third of four UFC Fight Island events scheduled to take place on Yas Island in July 2020, following on from UFC 251 (July 11) and UFC on Fight Night (July 15).
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On Sunday he settled the score in emphatic fashion and said during his post-fight interview: “I feel really good. I worked really hard for this. I knew my time would come, and this is my time. I am going to be an active champion.”
This was Figueiredo’s third straight victory is his 16th career finish while Benavidez lost his second straight fight. He has suffered seven career defeats including four in the UFC.
Sunday's fight card was the third of four UFC Fight Island events scheduled to take place on Yas Island in July 2020, following on fromU FC 251 (July 11) and UFC Fight Night (July 15).
The last of the cards takes place on July 25 where the main event is a contest between between former UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker and former UFC Welterweight Championship challenger Darren Till.
The following fighters received $50,000 bonuses on Sunday — Fight of the Night: Rafael Fiziev v Marc Diakiese; Performances of the Night: Deiveson Figueiredo and Ariane Lipski
Division: Flyweight — Deiveson Figueiredo (19-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC), def. Joseph Benavidez (28-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) via technical submission (rear-naked choke) — Round 1, 4:48
Division: Middleweight — Jack Hermansson (21-5 MMA, 8-3 UFC) def. Kelvin Gastelum (16-6 MMA, 10-6 UFC) via submission (heel hook) — Round 1, 1:18
Division: Lightweight — Rafael Fiziev (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) def. Marc Diakiese via (14-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Division: Women’s flyweight — Ariane Lipski (13-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) def. Luana Carolina (6-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) via submission (kneebar) — Round 1, 1:28
Division: Flyweight — Askar Askarov (12-0-1 MMA, 2-0-1 UFC), def. Alexandre Pantoja (22-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Division: Light heavyweight — Roman Dolidze (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), def. Khaddars Ibragimov (8-3 MMA, 0-3 UFC) via TKO (strikes) — Round 1, 4:15
Division: 150-pound catchweight — Grant Dawson (16-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC), def. Nad Narimani (12-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
Division: Lightweight — Joel Alvarez (17-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC), def. Joe Duffy (16-5 MMA, 4-4 UFC) via submission (guillotine choke) — Round 1, 2:25
Division: Bantamweight — Brett Johns (17-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) def. Montel Jackson (9-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Division: Flyweight — Amir Albazi (13-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), def. Malcolm Gordon (12-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) via submission (triangle choke) — Round 1, 4:42
Division: Lightweight — Arman Tsarukyan (15-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) def. Davi Ramos via (10-4 MMA, 4-3 UFC) unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Division: Heavyweight — Serghei Spivac (11-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) def. Carlos Felipe (8-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) via majority decision (28-28, 29-27, 29-27)