Flyweight Championship Main Event
Our main event promises to be an exciting fight between two well-rounded fighters at 125. Deiveson Figueiredo is looking to secure the first successful defense of his flyweight championship belt, following his first-round finish of Joseph Benavidez in July. Figueiredo is a winner of five straight fights, putting him at an astounding 25-1 including 16 professional finishes. He has seven finishes in the UFC, four knockouts, two submissions and a corner stoppage.
Alex Perez threatens to be a tough test, coming into this championship contest on a three-fight win streak, one of those wins by first round knockout of Jussier Formiga, the only fighter to beat Figueiredo in his professional career. Perez is 24-5 in his career, but is 11-1 in the last four years, 6-1 in the UFC with four finishes, and his only loss over that span came at the hands of the aforementioned Joseph Benavidez.
Figueiredo appears to be hitting the peak of his already outstanding career. He’s one of the most well-rounded fighters in this division, if not the most well-rounded. He’s a dangerous and intelligent striker with knockout power and a plethora of different looks on his feet, and a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt who is more than comfortable fighting on the ground.
He’s a patient and athletic switch stance striker who looks to keep his distance and catch opponents chasing him. He has excellent footwork and head movement, and strong counter hooks. All of this adding up to Figueiredo not taking very much damage and, when his opponents do land, they rarely land flush due to Figueiredo’s constant movement.
Figueiredo’s right hook is deadly. As mentioned, he does most of his damage countering but is extremely dangerous when he gets his opponents chasing him. He has devastating hooks and uppercuts and his timing as at an elite level. Once he has opponents hurt, he is relentless in chasing the finish. He throws nasty hammerfists and elbows on the ground and, if the fight doesn’t get stopped, he immediately transitions into chokes.
He has excellent single leg takedowns to compliment the rest of his sound wrestling fundamentals. He transitions smoothly into submission attempts and chains together his jiu jitsu better than anyone else in the flyweight division. His takedown defense is as good as it gets and, even if he does end up on his back, he has plenty of tools to work with and get back to his feet or find submissions, if his opponents aren’t careful.
The only potential hole n Figueiredo’s game is his conditioning. He throws everything he has into every strike, and can sometimes tend to slow down as fights go on. If Jussier Formiga is the example of how to beat Figueiredo, Perez will have to keep his distance and force Figueiredo to lead the action early, mix in a healthy amount of wrestling, extend the fight into the later rounds, and pressure him.
Alex Perez has a strong wrestling background but is an impressive kickboxer. He throws nasty low kicks which are what won him his most recent fight against Formiga. He’s active and athletic on his feet and usually looks to control the center of the octagon and move forward into his attacks. He feints with his jab and then usually starts his combinations with it. He throws 3-4 shots at a time and is selective in his striking despite throwing in high volume.
Though he looks to land first, he doesn’t have to in order to be successful. Perez has excellent counter hooks and overhands and is dangerous returning fire. He has very good level changes and takedowns, both to the legs and using body locks. He has some submissions on his record but he should not expect to have the advantage in this match when it comes to jiu jitsu.
It’s no secret that this fight is going to be finished early, likely by Figueiredo. He is simply going to outclass Perez in this fight and likely finish it by the end of the second round. As a safe play, we like this fight to go under 2.5 rounds at -200. Figueiredo to win inside the distance is another safe play at -195. In Perez’s five losses, he has been submitted five times and knocked out once.
A very valuable play here could be Figueiredo by submission at +450. He’s far more advanced in jiu jitsu than Perez and Perez has been submitted four times in his career. If Figueiredo wobbles him and doesn’t get the knockout, he’s going to go for the neck and likely get the tap.