After a controversial first bout, Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo meet again as they highlight UFC Fight Island 2, as they fight for the vacant title. Here is our Benavidez vs Figueiredo preview.
Who Are the Contenders?
Formerly of Team Alpha Male, founded and run by UFC vet Urijah Faber, Xtreme Couture is the new home of Benavidez. A long-time UFC perennial contender, ‘Joey B’ has worked towards 3 title shots in his UFC tenure. 2 of them coming against one of the greatest of all time, Demetrious Johnson. Benavidez showed his grit and talent in both of those, taking “Mighty Mouse” to decision twice. His third, back in March, seemed set up for him to win.
The whole ‘third-time lucky’ thing seemed to ring true for Benavidez back in March. He had his third title shot, against Deiveson Figueiredo, who happened to miss weight, rendering him unavailable to win the title. It was set up for Benavidez to get his crowning moment. The fight didn’t go as planned, with a sloppy entry into a flurry from Benavidez causing a headbutt to cut him open and causing him to lose his whereabouts. Figueiredo, ever the finisher, stalked the wounded Benavidez and ended it with a straight right. It seemed as though the Vegas native had received his last loss in a title fight.
Fast forward 3 and a half months, and the fight is being run back. Again, for the vacant title. With 26 fights in the UFC or WEC, nobody can argue Benavidez doesn’t deserve one last go at it. Especially with the headbutt being a major factor in the last fight.
Figueiredo had a much longer stint on the regional scene than Benavidez did. With only 8 UFC fights to date, the Brazilian has still endeared himself to the fans. A certified mad man, its Figueiredo’s lifestyle outside of the cage, and the way he conducts himself, as well as his fighting style that has made him a fan-favourite.
Coming from Soure, Brazil, Figueiredo is no stranger to the rough side of life. An area known for its gang violence, sitting on the bank of the Amazon River, Figueiredo has had to steer his life in the right direction. Using fighting as his method of escaping the local violence, it was BJJ and boxing that gave him something to work towards.
His UFC tenure started with some wins, with John Moraga being his biggest win until he faced #1 Jussier Formiga. Formiga proved to be too much for Figueiredo, however, its’ his performances since then that have had everybody take notice. Next was Alexandre Pantoja. He earned a dominant Unanimous Decision, dominating on the feet. Next up was former title challenger and fantastic grappler, Tim Elliott. This time, Figueiredo stopped him with a guillotine choke.
In the last fight, Figueiredo had a 2-fight winning streak and came into it like a man possessed. He ate a few bombs from Benavidez and still won the majority of exchanges before finishing the fight with a fantastic straight right that rendered Benavidez unconscious.
How Will the Rematch Go?
With a round already of these two fighting, it helps with breaking down how it will go. Both guys prefer to strike, both guys prefer their hands, but both guys have distinct differences in styles. Benavidez has a very in-and-out style. Lunging into range to land a few strikes, then exiting.
As seen above, Benavidez can be very reckless with his lunges. Whilst being a fantastic striker with brilliant technical abilities, his will to trade shots sometimes gets in his way.
Benavidez fights best when he is calm, collected, and fluidly switching stances. When doing this, his ability to land shots from awkward angles are a delight to watch. He has fantastic head movement, with a brilliant lead uppercut. Often a risky shot to start a combination with, Benavidez has perfected the art. Usually followed by a sharp left hook or a straight left, Benavidez lands it beautifully. Whilst being difficult to figure out on the feet, his one tell are usually kicks. He will almost always switch to orthodox and throw a body kick or a front kick to the midsection. Not the most flashy, or even creative strikers, Benavidez usually uses them as a decoy for another rush-in flurry that he is set to unleash.
Figueiredo, on the other hand, fights a slower pace, but more ferocious. Every single punch is intended to kill. There are no half-power shots for distance from Figueiredo, or not that I’ve seen yet. It tends to be a short, sharp and fast 2-3 punch combination. All thrown with the ferocity of someone 20lb heavier but maintaining the flyweight speed.
Another man to throw an uppercut with venom, Figueiredo will go to the body as well as the head. Dropping John Moraga with a beautiful uppercut to the solar plexus.
As well as the bodywork and ruthless boxing, Figueiredo has power everywhere, another clip from the Moraga fight, Figueiredo broke down Moraga with ruthless elbows and a sickening right hook to finish.
This fight will be based on whether Benavidez can avoid being clipped in on the lunges, pick apart Figueiredo, and work the body, slowing down the harder, more powerful puncher in the later rounds. The wrestling is always an option for Benavidez, but with submissions like Figueiredo does, it might be one to avoid.
For Figueiredo, he needs to pick his shots, work the body, slow down Benavidez. If he comes out looking for the instant kill, it will most likely end in the Brazilian punching himself out and being exposed as the fight goes on. If he can stay calculated, calm and composed, he can pick Benavidez off, and work the knockout shot.
I think it’s another second-round TKO for Figueiredo. I can see Benavidez getting a late stoppage/decision victory, but I’m still leaning towards a 2nd round TKO/KO by Figueiredo.
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