August 27, 2018

UFC Fight Night 135: Deiveson Figueiredo Could Be the Next Big Thing At Flyweight

By Adam Martin

One of the best up-and-coming fighters in the UFC's flyweight division picked up another impressive win this past weekend when Deiveson Figueiredo earned a second-round TKO victory over veteran John Moraga on the undercard of UFC Fight Night 135, which took place this past Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. The win pushed Figueiredo's MMA record to an impressive 15-0, with a 4-0 record since entering the UFC. 13 of his wins have come via stoppage.

Those are mighty impressive numbers for a flyweight, and it stands to reason that Figueiredo could soon make a run for the UFC flyweight title currently held by new champion Henry Cejudo. The UFC is desperate to find new contenders in the flyweight division, and out of nowhere Figueiredo has emerged as someone who could soon compete for a title. Since entering the UFC, Figueiredo has picked up TKO stoppage wins over Moraga, Marco Beltran, and Joseph Morales, as well as a split decision win over Jarred Brooks. Most of those fighters aren't household names by any means, but becoming just the second man to finish Moraga with strikes (John Dodson was the first) should show the MMA world and the UFC brass that Figueiredo is for real.

With Cejudo winning the belt from Demetrious Johnson earlier this month at UFC 227, the flyweight division is as open as it's ever been. Cejudo's victory opened the doors for a slew of new (and old) fighters to challenge for the title. The division had become stale under Johnson's long reign, but now all of a sudden it seems exciting again with Cejudo as the champ and with fighters like Figueiredo emerging as possible contenders. Considering Figueiredo is a latecomer to MMA just like Cejudo (the Brazilian's first pro MMA fight came in 2012 and he's now 30), the UFC would be smart to fast track him in the flyweight division, and move him up the ladder as soon as possible. The win over Moraga guarantees Figueiredo a top-10 ranking at 125 lbs, and if the UFC was smart, the matchmakers would give him a top-five opponent for his next fight.

The flyweight division has always been criticized as boring by fans, but with fighters like Deiveson Figueiredo, Alex Perez, and Sergio Pettis emerging as young potential title challengers for the new champion Cejudo, that has changed somewhat. I don't know if it was "Mighty Mouse" losing his title or what, but it seems like flyweight has become more exciting all of a sudden. It's now up to the UFC to put together the proper matchmaking to have these fighters succeed in the Octagon. So far, things are looking good, and in the next few months we'll see if even more flyweights can emerge. Fighters like Figueiredo are ensuring that fans rethink their ideas on the division, not to mention ensuring that the division isn't scrapped entirely.

UFC Fight Night 135
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. John Moraga: Deiveson Figueiredo def. John Moraga via TKO (body punch and strikes) at 3:08 of Round 2.

UFC Fight Night 135: Gaethje vs. Vick (formerly UFC Fight Night 135: Gaethje vs. Iaquinta) took place August 25, 2018 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Click HERE for more UFC Fight Night 135 Post-Fight Analysis

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