I don’t like messiness, I don’t like it when there isn’t any movement in an MMA weight division for a long time. 125 pounds in the UFC is just such a division right now, because as much as I love Henry Cejudo for his sporting accolades and his classic cringey wit, he has not been a very active Flyweight champion.
Now Cejudo has had some genuine reasons to be out for a while, as he was getting surgery for an injury and shaking off some general wear and tear of his ascension to the Flyweight and Bantamweight titles.
But as we have seen recently Cejudo has been stripped of his Flyweight title due to inactivity, which now means that we will be sorting out tonight who is the new king at 125 pounds when long time title challenger Joseph Benavidez faces off against the devastating Deiveson Figueiredo who has been on an impressive streak since joining the UFC.
I see Figueiredo having a supreme advantage on the feet, but I think Benavidez should have an advantage on the ground with his excellent wrestling, grappling and scrambling, although Figueiredo is a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, he tapped out Tim Elliot quick in his last fight. Benavidez hasn’t actually won by submission since 2014 and Figueiredo went the full 15 mins against BJJ specialist Jussier Formiga and still wasn’t submitted in his only loss. Benavidez may have a cardio edge over Figueredo, no matter how good someone’s cardio is, your chin cannot be conditioned to have stamina and Figueiredo tests everyone’s chin at Flyweight.
So I feel strongly that due to the stylistic implications Figueiredo will beat Benavidez and become the next Flyweight champion, but anything can happen in a fight so lets see how it all unfolds. However, Benavidez’s experience could still take over in the fight and the fact that Figueiredo missed weight yesterday could give the psychological edge to Benavidez who has already got 20% of Figueiredos purse and even if Figueiredo wins he won’t be crowned the champion, only Benavidez will be if he wins. Should be a great fight.
The rest of the card
It’s a bit of a thin card tonight honestly, here’s the whole fight card:
- Joseph Benavidez vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
- Felicia Spencer vs. Zarah Fairn dos Santos
- Ion Cutelaba vs. Magomed Ankalaev
- Megan Anderson vs. Norma Dumont Viana
- Grant Dawson vs. Darrick Minner
- Luis Pena vs. Steve Garcia
- Gabriel Silva vs. Kyler Phillips
- Brendan Allen vs. Tom Breese
- Marcin Tybura vs. Sergey Spivak
- Jordan Griffin vs. T.J. Brown
- Aalon Cruz vs. Spike Carlyle
- Ismail Naurdiev vs. Sean Brady
- Mike Davis vs. Giga Chikadze
There should be entertaining fights on this fight night, but outside of the main event there isn’t much name value or divisional relevance. But im particularly looking forward to seeing: Ion Cutelaba vs Magomed Ankalaev, Grant Dawson vs Darrick Minner, Ismail Naurdiev vs Sean Brady and teh return of Tom Breese against Brendan Allen.
In this new era of ESPN UFC we have to expect more cards like this, fight night cards that we should perhaps view as filler cards and cards to watch out for young prospects building their name and building to one or two divisionally relevant fights.
Of course we all love a great pay per view filled with loads of meaningful and hyped up fights, but i still love watching these fight night cards which often can deliver some great fights, because many of the fighters on these kind of cards are building their name. Therefore, the fighters aren’t getting paid much money and thus winning in spectacular fashion, giving absolutely everything to win to become a bigger name in the UFC and get more money can create some great fights.
Let’s hope tonight delivers.
Will it ever be different for Flyweight?
What annoys me is how few people seem to care about Flyweight in terms of fans and particularly the UFC owners, where there seems to be a weird and naive consensus judgement that because Flyweight men are of smaller stature, that it means it can’t be taken as seriously or something?
Some people must have blinked when Demetrious Johnson was proving for years how amazing elite Flyweight fighters are, or when Henry Cejudo stormed the division and became the first ever fighter to hold two UFC titles and an Olympic gold medal, a truly amazing feat- and im telling you right now any pro Flyweight MMA fighter could whoop up on most guys on the street twice or three times their size, which I have seen in many gyms as an example.
Ok sure Flyweights don’t have the punching power of Heavier weight classes, but that’s not what I love Flyweight for, what makes Flyweight so entertaining to me is how fast all the fighters are, how quickly they can move, shift and counter in the striking and grappling exchanges.
Everything is so technical and done at lightning speed, the striking volume is so high also the stamina of the fighters at Flyweight is often absolutely off the charts. If Heavyweights struck and grappled as fast and as often as Flyweight they would be so knackered and sore in less then a round, which is something you notice as you go up to the Heaviest divisions.
The human body simply cannot move as quickly the more mass you carry, which is why Heavyweights while so much more stronger physically and entertaining in their own right, will never be able to move as fast as a Flyweight. In a real fight speed is often just as important as Power, so it completely baffles me why the UFC owners seem to want to keep Flyweights on Prelims and small Fight night cards. There really is rarely many Flyweight fights that make the main card of a Pay per view card, and some stupid fans seem to like to taunt and judge Flyweight fighters its really disrespectful.
Anyone in the UFC Brass and any fan who struggles to respect Flyweight MMA fighters, really needs to start regularly going to a solid local Jiu-Jitsu school. Because I guarantee there will be some Flyweight sized fighter at your local Jiu-Jitsu gym who will be able to whoop up on a bigger opponent over and over, because in Jiu-Jitsu everything is based on technical leverage, therefore size doesn’t count for as much as say in striking arts.
I am more a Featherweight in terms of my size as im 5 ft 8 and walk around about 150 lbs, I have seen so many fighters my size or smaller down to the Flyweight levels that have whooped so many bigger opponents in the gym so go and see that for yourself, wake up people, Flyweight is an amazing division, so entertaining in its own unique way, so it must be respected and appreciated as any division end of.
That’s all folks, let’s hope for some quality action tonight.