UFC to book Figueiredo-Benavidez rematch
The UFC flyweight title remains vacant, despite the scheduling of a title fight for last weekend. The solution? Run that same fight right back, according to UFC president Dana White.
The UFC will book an immediate rematch between Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez for the flyweight belt, White told local media in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Figueiredo missed weight for the bout by 2.5 pounds and he was unable to win the title if he defeated Benavidez -- which he did by second-round TKO in the main event of UFC Norfolk on Saturday night.
There was also an incidental clash of heads right before the finish that opened a cut on Benavidez's head. Given the circumstances, White said he believes it's only right to give Benavidez another shot.
"I think the head-butt had a lot to do with the knockout, too," White said. "Not taking anything away from [Figueiredo]. It was a great fight. But I think you have to do that fight again."
Figueiredo (18-1) has been on a tear, winning seven of his first eight UFC fights. The Brazilian has finished five of those victories, including the Benavidez bout with a sequence that started with a big right hand. Figueiredo, 32, declared he was the real champion afterward, despite not making weight and not being awarded the title.
Benavidez (28-6), a fan favorite, seemed destined to win the belt. He was in the very first UFC flyweight title fight in 2012, losing by split decision to Demetrious Johnson. Since then, the Las Vegas resident has held serve, beating everyone else in the division aside from Johnson and Sergio Pettis to maintain his standing as a perennial contender.
He lost to Johnson again in 2013 and Saturday was his first title shot since, despite holding a 13-3 flyweight record heading into the bout against Figueiredo. Benavidez won the first round of that fight on every judge's scorecard.
Benavidez also owns a victory over Henry Cejudo, the UFC bantamweight champion who vacated the flyweight title late last year. The 35-year-old was on a three-fight winning streak coming into last weekend.
White did not give a timetable for a return matchup Wednesday. But he said it's all but a sure thing that Figueiredo-Benavidez 2 will happen.
"First of all, [Figueiredo] didn't make weight," White said. "Joe still fought him. There was a head-butt. A lot of controversy in that fight. But it was a great fight. Both guys came to fight. ... We'll do it again. They both deserve it."
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