UFC Fight Night: Figueiredo vs. Benavidez 2 preview
In what could be the last chance for a storied gatekeeper to win a world title, Joseph Benavidez prepares for a high-stakes rematch against former conqueror Deiveson Figueiredo on Saturday, July 18 from Yas Island. These fighters might be small, but the implications of this fight are just as big as any other in the sport. BetAmerica has the inside take on what should be another savage night of action.
Sun, July 19 2020, 2:00 AM
Benavidez had no chance in their bloody first encounter
Though Figueiredo missed weight and was assisted by a brutal headbutt that led to his 2nd round KO victory, there was nothing in the first fight that suggested Benavidez was going to turn things around. He was getting soundly beaten on his feet and nearly submitted to an armbar when he was able to take Figueiredo down. For Benavidez, there was simply no avenue to victory.
That looks to be the case for this rematch. Unless Figueiredo is so physically exhausted from cutting weight and from the mental stress of testing positive a second time for COVID-19, he’s going to enjoy the same physical and stylistic advantages in the first fight. As an added bonus, Figueiredo also comes into this one knowing that he took Benavidez’s best shots in good stride and was still able to overpower him.
Benavidez must adopt a hit-and-run approach
For Benavidez to pull the upset, he’s going to have to test Figueiredo’s conditioning early with a hit-and-run approach that will emphasize quantity over quality. Flurries on the inside followed by a cautious retreat is the only way he’ll get this done. He can’t overpower Figueiredo on the ground, and any prolonged exchanges will only be to his detriment.
If it sounds like Figueiredo is holding all the cards here, it’s because this is his fight to lose. Though Benavidez is scrappy and will definitely do his best to show up for what could be his last shot at a world title, he needs to fight a perfect fight from beginning to end against an opponent who is just all wrong for him. All Figueiredo has to do is cut off the ring, pin him down in the corner, and blast him with his harder shots until the stoppage comes.
Deja vu all over again
A spirited effort by Benavidez might see him fare better in the early goings, but he’ll inevitably give Figueiredo the opening he needs to close up shop early. Expect Figueiredo to eventually overpower Benavidez, perhaps dropping him when they trade shots, and batter him on the ground in what should be a mirror image of their first fight.