The flyweight division of the UFC, once tarnished by being too small of fighters and too lethargic, has been completely replaced by the nickname “God of War” on its head.
In the main event of UFC 255 in Las Vegas to retain the UFC Flyweight title, Davison Figueiredo completed Alex Perez in 1 minute, 57 seconds of the first round Saturday night via a guillotine choke.
The incredibly sharp, explosive Figueiredo found Perez’s neck in a scuffle, locked in a choke and squeezed until Perez was ejected. This was Figueiredo’s first title defense.
“I came to knock in the flyweight division to present to everyone,” Figueiredo said. “To bring back the excitement, show the world the power of the flyweight division. I always thought that I was going to save this weight class, because people don’t know my power.”
In 2017 and 2018, there were whispers that the UFC could finish the flyweight division. The UFC traded Demetrius Johnson, considered by many to be the biggest flyweight ever for the Asia One Championship in 2018.
But Figueiredo and his dynamic, all-action style reinforce the 125-pound weight class.
“If you don’t like this guy, stop watching the fights,” said UFC President Dana White. “If you don’t like watching him then you need to find a new hobby.
“Obviously I’m glad we didn’t [get rid of flyweight]. The division required a bit of reconstruction. We’ve rebuilt it, and this is the result. “
White said in a postfight news conference that Figueiredo would not return to Brazil after this fight and would instead stop in Las Vegas to defend his title again in December. The top contender for the Figuiredo Fight in the scheme, White said, is Brandon Moreno, who defeated Brandon Royval in the UFC 255 prelims.
Figueiredo asked for Moreno in his postfight interview.
“Dana, do that,” Figueiredo said. “That’s the fight I want to be.”
Figueiredo vs. Perez was a complete sprint. Perez landed a hard body kick and then shooting for a takedown on Figueiredo, who defended well. Figueiredo attempted to dive for a leg lock from a legdown attempt. Perez washed his hands out of trouble, but in the transition Figueredo lay down on a guillotine choke. It seemed that Perez was close to slipping his head out, but then he had to tap.
“This position is my ‘ABC’ – I started training in that position,” Figueiredo said in his postfight interview through an interpreter. “That was the biggest mistake he could make, and that was the biggest mistake a person can make in the Octagon.”
Going in, ESPN placed Figuevedo at No. 2 (behind Johnson) and Perez at No. 5 in the world at flyweight. ESPN also ranked Figueiredo 8th in the world in its pound-for-pound ranking.
The UFC 255 card did not appear in front of any fan at the UFC Apex, a facility across the street from the corporate campus of Promotions.
Figueiredo’s manager, Walid Ismail, said at a postfight news conference that Figueiredo was “very disappointed” he did not win the $ 50,000 performance of the Saturday Night Show. Ismail said that Figueiredo was so upset that he wanted to go back to Brazil, but he has since calmed down and will likely stay to fight Moreno.
Ismail pointed to UFC 256 as the likely event and fight date on 12 December.
Figueiredo (20-1) defeated Josef Benavidez in the first round to win the flight title in July. It was his second straight win over Benavidez, but the title was not on the line in February as Figuerido lost his weight.
Figueiredo, 32, has won five straight fights and is 9–1 in the UFC. The Brazilian slugger has 17 stops in 20 Pro wins, spreading the notion that flyweight does not end fights. It was Figueiredo’s seventh UFC flyweight finish, which ties Johnson most often.
Perez (24-6) had won three straight and 11 of his last 12. The California native was filling Saturday for former player bantweight champion Cody Garbrand, who was a challenger to flightweight and Figview at UFC 255.
28-year-old Perez was coming out of Jusir Formiga’s first round TKO via leg kicks on UFC 250 in June.