Longtime flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez will look to capture his first UFC title when he faces Brazilian contender Deiveson Figueiredo in the main event at “UFC Fight Island” on Saturday night.
Benavidez (28-6 MMA, 15-4 UFC) will face Figueiredo (18-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) for the vacant 125-pound strap at UFC on ESPN+ 30, which takes place Saturday at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The event will stream live on ESPN+.
Ahead of their flyweight title rematch, we take a look at four fights that have helped define Benavidez’s MMA career to date.
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Demetrious Johnson at UFC 152 – Sept. 22, 2012
The UFC’s inaugural flyweight title fight was a superb battle, as Benavidez and Johnson turned in five breathless rounds of action. But, after a highly-competitive affair went all the way to the scorecards, it was “Mighty Mouse” whose hand was raised in victory.
Benavidez had some good success with his punches in the early going, but Johnson adapted superbly during the matchup as he used his speed and footwork to counter Benavidez’s power.
Despite conceding a slight speed advantage to Johnson, Benavidez remained dangerous throughout and was a constant threat with his punches. He enjoyed a strong round in the second, then dropped Johnson with a right hand and mounted his man before locking up a guillotine choke.
It put the fight in the balance heading into the final round, but Johnson did just enough to edge the final frame and run out the split-decision winner with scores of 48-47, 47-48 and 49-46.
It was an agonizingly close defeat for Benavidez but proved that he was undoubtedly a championship-caliber athlete.
Next up: Winning the battle of the TUF coaches
Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/07/ufc-on-espn-30-joseph-benavidez-defining-fights/