The UFC flyweight division has a new face in the aftermath of Henry Cejudo's vacating the title last year, and it only took Devieson Figueiredo two victories over Joseph Benavidez to get there. Figueiredo (19-1), who knocked out Benavidez in February but was unable to claim the vacant 125-pound title due to missing weight, delivered a violent exclamation point on Saturday by choking Benavidez unconscious late in Round 1 to become the undisputed champion.
For the 4 minutes and 48 seconds that the main event of UFC Fight Night in Abu Dhabi lasted, Figueiredo dominated nearly every second in an absolute dismantling of the 35-year-old veteran whose likely final shot at a UFC title proved disastrous.
Benavidez (28-7), who scored the first victory in UFC men's flyweight history in 2012 and lost the division's first title fight, was dropped a trio of times by heavy power shots and was forced to fight off upwards of four rear-naked choke attempts until Figueiredo, 32, put him to sleep after busting him open with elbows from the mount.
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"I feel really good and worked really hard for this," Figueiredo said. "I knew that my time was going to come, and this is my time, so I'm going to continue to defend this belt and be an active champion.
"I grew up in a remote part of Brazil. I'm used to growing up with all the wild animals, and I think I got some of that from them. I'm a ferocious guy in the Octagon."
Benavidez was simply no match for the incredible punching power of Figueiredo throughout as he dropped Benavidez hard with a left hook early and set up the finish later in the round with a big right hand that floored him even harder.
The fight was a showcase of all things which make Figueiredo such a dangerous threat, from his boxing skills to his elite grappling and submission skills.
"That's really what I worked for. I have been saying all week I was going to finish this fight in the first round and I wanted to put that first submission loss on his record," Figueiredo said. "I wanted to come here and take this belt to my people, my city and my state. This is it -- I'm here and I'm the champion."
The victory was extra sweet for Figueiredo considering the difficult journey he had in even making the fight. After testing positive for COVID-19 in July, he was forced to endure a six-day quarantine in Brazil and pass multiple follow-up tests to prove it was a false-positive result. He didn't arrive to the United Arab Emirates to get his body acclimated to the time change and heat until the tail-end of fight week, yet was able to make the championship weight of 125 pounds this time around on Friday.
Now, Figueiredo becomes the third undisputed king at 125 pounds in UFC history.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way on Saturday, updating this story with round-by-round results, analysis and highlights, which you can view below.
UFC Fight Night card and results
- Deiveson Figueiredo def. Joseph Benavidez via technical submission (rear-naked choke) to win flyweight title
- Jack Hermansson def. Kelvin Gastelum via first-round submission (heel hook)
- Rafael Fiziev def. Marc Diakiese via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Ariane Lipski def. Luana Carolina via first-round submission (kneebar)
- Askar Askarov def. Alexandre Pantoja via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Roman Dolidze def. Khadis Ibragimov via first-round TKO (knee, punches)
- Grant Dawson def. Nad Narimani via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
- Joel Álvarez def. Joseph Duffy via first-round submission (guillotine choke)
- Brett Johns def. Montel Jackson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Amir Albazi def. Malcolm Gordon via first-round submission (triangle choke)
- Arman Tsarukyan def. Davi Ramos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Sergey Spivak def. Carlos Felipe via majority decision (28-28, 29-27, 29-27)