This time around, there was no controversy.
Deiveson Figueiredo decimated Joseph Benavidez, putting him to sleep at the 4:48 mark of the very first round in a much-anticipated rematch. Benavidez hit the canvas three times in less than five minutes of action, each time dazed and confused, but somehow managed to remain in the fight. With the win, Figueiredo claimed the vacant UFC flyweight championship.
The first time he got dropped with a right hand, he fought off a rear-naked choke. Miraculously Benavidez got to his feet. But moments later took another dominant right hand to the face. This time he wasn’t able to toughen out the submission attempt. His body stretched out, trying to fight Figueiredo’s grip when his body went limp. With his eyes staring into blankness, referee Marc Goddard called the fight.
“I knew my time would come and this was my time. I’m going to defend my belt and be an active champion,” Figueiredo said after the fight.
Coming in, ESPN had Figueiredo ranked as its No. 2 MMA flyweight in the world and Benavidez No. 3.
In February, both fighters fought for what would have been the vacant UFC flyweight championship. However, Figueiredo missed weight by 2.5 pounds. As a result, Benavidez was the only one who could win the belt. Figueiredo beat Benavidez by TKO in the second round.
During the first round of their Feb. 29 bout, all three judges had Benavidez winning. But during the second round, an accidental head butt rocked Benavidez. Figueiredo took advantage and unloaded a flurry of punches that led to the stoppage of the fight.
Figueiredo (19-1) is one of the best finishers in the flyweight division. Since his 2017 UFC debut, he has had six finishes in eight fights, including four straight. He has some serious power for a weight class, not known for having heavy punches.
Benavidez (28-7) is one of the best flyweights in the world. He is currently tied for the most wins in UFC flyweight history (13, with Demetrious Johnson), has the most fights in the division (18) and the most knockouts (5).
Before the main event, Askar Askarov defeated Alexandre Pantoja via unanimous decision. Ariane Lipski finished Luana Carolina via first-round submission. Rafael Fiziev beat Marc Diakiese via unanimous decision. And Jack Hermansson submitted Kelvin Gastelum in the first-round.
UFC Fight Island 2 took place at the recently handmade Flash Forum on Yas Island. Dubbed by the UFC as “Fight Island,” it was the third of four events in Abu Dhabi. The final event will be next weekend, July 25.