First-round submissions were the theme of the night at UFC on ESPN+ 30 as three of the five main card bouts ended in that fashion, including Deiveson Figueiredo's victory over Joseph Benavidez for the vacant flyweight title.
Figueiredo and Benavidez were supposed to fight for that belt Feb. 29, but Figueiredo did not make weight.
The fight went on, but Figueiredo was ineligible to win the title even if he won. That ended up being the case via second-round TKO, and a rematch between the two was later set up.
This time around, Figueiredo made weight, won the belt and left no doubt about who the best active flyweight in MMA is today.
Otherwise, Jack Hermansson and Ariane Lipski didn't need more than 90 seconds for their first-round submission wins. Rafael Fiziev and Askar Askarov rounded out the main card victories with unanimous decisions.
Here's a look at the entire night's results as well as some notes and highlights from UFC on ESPN+ 30, which took place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Saturday.
Flyweight (championship fight): Deiveson Figueiredo def. Joseph Benavidez by first-round submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:48
Middleweight: Jack Hermansson def. Kelvin Gastelum by first-round submission (heel hook) at 1:18
Lightweight: Rafael Fiziev def. Marc Diakiese by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Women's Flyweight: Ariane Lipski def. Luana Carolina by first-round submission (kneebar) at 1:28
Flyweight: Askar Askarov def. Alexandre Pantoja by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Light heavyweight: Roman Dolidze def. Khadis Ibragimov by first-round technical knockout (strikes) at 4:15
Catchweight (150 pounds): Grant Dawson def. Nad Narimani by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
Lightweight: Joel Alvarez def. Joe Duffy by first-round submission (guillotine choke) at 2:25
Bantamweight: Brett Johns def. Montel Jackson by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Bantamweight: Amir Albazi def. Malcolm Gordon by first-round submission (triangle choke) at 4:42
Lightweight: Arman Tsarukyan def. Davi Ramos by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Heavyweight: Sergey Spivak def. Carlos Felipe by majority decision (28-28, 29-27, 29-27)
Deiveson Figueiredo def. Joseph Benavidez
Figueiredo dominated this fight from the bell as he quickly got Benavidez to the ground. Benavidez did a tremendous job hanging on for nearly five minutes, but the champion applied a rear-naked choke for the technical submission.
It was a simply dominant performance for Figueiredo, who looks as though he's far clear from the rest of the flyweight field. Any challenger would likely be a massive underdog.
Luke Thomas of SiriusXM Radio explained just how well Figueiredo performed:
And ESPN's Brett Okamoto summed up the fighter quite well with few words:
Figueiredo is now 18-1 as a professional with 16 wins by knockout or submission. This win marks the beginning of his first-ever title reign.
Benavidez fell to 28-7 lifetime. He had won nine of his last 10 fights leading into the first Figueiredo fight, including a win over ex-bantamweight and flyweight champion Henry Cejudo.
Jack Hermansson def. Kelvin Gastelum
The quickest victory of the evening went to Hermansson, who applied a heel hook and submitted Kelvin Gastelum at 1:18.
It was a tough defeat for Gastelum, who had this to say post-fight:
Truly embarrassed guys. I’m sorry. My team, my family @UFC @danawhite @Mickmaynard2 You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so u can know who u are, what u can rise from, how u can still come out of it.
As for Hermansson, he has every reason to believe that he can move high up the middleweight ladder after this bout, and he mentioned who he wants to face next in a post-fight interview on ESPN+:
Hermansson was ranked sixth among middleweights entering the evening, and he just took down the No. 7 middleweight in under a minute-and-a-half. The winner of the Robert Whittaker (No. 1 contender) vs. Darren Till (No. 5) bout could hypothetically end up getting a title shot instead, but Hermansson is destined to face a big name after this one.
Rafael Fiziev def. Marc Diakiese
Fiziev landed 78 significant strikes and somehow evaded a potential knockout kick amid a unanimous-decision win over Marc Diakiese.
Numerous fighters praised the action-packed bout, which arguably served as the night's best and most competitive fight.
Fiziev earned the Fight of the Night bonus for his efforts, and needless to say, he was happy about winning $50,000.
Fiziev is now 8-1 as a pro. Diakiese is 14-4.
Ariane Lipski def. Luana Carolina
Lipski worked quickly and got the victory with a kneebar at 1:28 of the first round over Luana Carolina.
Shakiel Mahjouri of Bloody Elbow gave Lipski credit for her "incredible leverage," and Cejudo said that she should win a bonus:
Lipski did end up winning Submission of the Night, per post-fight comments from president Dana White on ESPN+.
Lipski moved to 13-5 lifetime. Carolina is 6-2.
Askar Askarov def. Alexandre Pantoja
Askarov took down Alexandre Pantoja via unanimous decision in a fun fight between two flyweights looking to climb up the rankings.
Ex-MMA fighter Kenny Florian gave his seal of approval:
Ariel Helwani of ESPN wondered whether Askarov, the No. 7 flyweight, might be next in line to challenge for the flyweight belt against Figueiredo after beating Pantoja (No. 4 heading into Saturday).
If that's the case, then there should be nonstop action and fireworks when those two meet.