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Long-time flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez gets another crack at UFC gold on Saturday night. He’ll meet Deiveson Figueiredo for the 125lb title which was recently vacated by bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo.
The fight will main event at UFC Norfolk and air live on ESPN+ from the Chartway Arena in Norfolk, Virginia on Saturday night. This will be the promotions second trip to the city after it previously hosting Dustin Poirier vs. Anthony Pettis in 2017.
Benavidez will enter the fight a -125 favourite. Whilst his opponent Figueiredo can be found at odds of +110 to take home the belt. Be sure to check out the best online casino in Canada for all the latest odds, offers and bonuses.
Despite being at the top of the heap for quite some time Benavidez has never been a champion. Although it hasn’t been for a lack of trying. In 2010 he challenged Dominick Cruz for the WEC bantamweight belt and found himself on the wrong end of a split decision.
His next title challenge came against flyweight great Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson. The pair threw down over five rounds for the inaugural UFC 125lb belt in 2012. Once again Benevidez found himself suffering a split decision loss in a super close fight.
Whilst his first two losses are shrouded in controversy Benavidez can have no complaints about his third and final title bout. In December 2013 he rematched ‘Mighty Mouse’ and suffered another tough loss. On that occasion he was caught flush in the first round and knocked out cold, ending the pairs enthralling rivalry for good.
Now, more than six years later 35-year-old Benavidez has finally worked his way back into title contention. He has won nine of his past 10 fights, which includes being the last man to beat Cejudo. Benavidez has only fallen short against Sergio Pettis (again by split decision) at UFC 225 in June 2018. Since that loss he has won three straight beating Alex Perez, Dustin Ortiz and Jussier Formiga.
The Team Alpha Male fighter will be hoping to finally secure UFC gold this weekend and just one man stands in his way. Figueiredo will be confident of causing the upset at UFC Norfolk. He has been super impressive during his climb to the top of the 125lb division. The #3 ranked fighter holds wins over Tim Elliott, Alexandre Pantoja and John Moraga. During his 18-fight career the Brazilian has lost just once, against Formiga who we mentioned earlier.
Not only is the belt is on the line this Saturday night. The future of the division could also be at stake and could be scrapped all together if this fight doesn’t deliver. Over the past year UFC have been scaling back on the 125lb division big time. Cejudo earned his colleagues a reprieve when he knockout out TJ Dillashaw in January 2019. However with ‘Triple C’ now out of the picture, there really is not any stars left in the weight class to help revive it. Let’s hope Benavidez and Figueiredo can put on a show in Norfolk and keep the flyweight division alive.
This article first appeared at LowKickMMA.com
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