Deiveson Figueiredo Retains Title with Submission Win vs. Alex Perez at UFC 255

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2020

Deiveson Figueiredo, left, of Brazil, fights Marco Beltran of Mexico during their UFC bantamweight mixed martial arts bout in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Jun. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Leo Correa/Associated Press

Deiveson Figueiredo claimed his first successful title defense against Alex Perez with a first-round submission win in the main event of UFC 255 from the Apex facility in Las Vegas. 

The two flyweights got off to a frenetic pace, but Perez made a crucial mistake during a scramble and gave the champion his neck. Figueiredo turned and locked in a guillotine choke as his squeeze did the work from there, drawing the tap. 

The Brazilian's win was notable for a few reasons. First, it marks the return of a Brazilian champion on the men's side who has defended his belt and second, it's among the fastest finishes in men's flyweight history, per Ariel Helwani of ESPN. 

Figueiredo seems interested in striking around at flyweight too. He called out fellow flyweight Brandon Moreno in his post-fight interview. 

If you believe in the adage that a fighter isn't a true champion until they defend their belt, then Figueiredo has officially validated himself. He had to essentially beat Joseph Benavidez twice to capture the title. He missed weight for their first fight, so he was ineligible to take the belt. 

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The win extends Figueiredo's winning streak to five, although his last loss was in 2019. He has been a busy fighter but is quickly building the profile of a dominant champion. 

What's next for Figueiredo is an interesting question for the UFC. He was originally set to square off against former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, but he suffered a torn bicep and was forced off the card. The champion is willing to make that fight happen but is dubious No Love can make the weight. 

"Garbrandt needs to fight somebody at flyweight, but if Dana [White] really thinks I should fight him or [Henry] Cejudo, I'll be ready to fight with whoever," Figueiredo said, per Danny Segura of MMA Junkie.

Cejudo's absence has left few challengers in the flyweight division with much name recognition to put the champ in the spotlight. Should he decide to return from his retirement, that would also be a match to make for the current titleholder. 

Moreno, who also picked up a win on the UFC 255 prelims, could be next as he has a five-fight unbeaten streak.