The UFC's next flyweight champion was supposed to be decided this weekend following Friday's UFC on ESPN+ 27 official weigh-in from Norfolk, Va. Now, however, only one man has a shot at the belt.
In a division that was once on the chopping block, Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo will square off in the UFC Norfolk main event. The winner was expected to become the next 125-pound champion, taking the spot that former dual-division titleholder Henry Cejudo vacated.
Following Friday's weigh-in, Benavidez is the only fighter that can win the belt after Figueiredo failed to make weight on his initial attempt. He was given an additional hour to try and make weight, but did not make a second attempt to weigh in.
Benavidez was the first fighter to the scale, easily making weight at 124.5 pounds. Figueiredo was the final fighter to the scale, keeping everyone in suspense, especially after Grant Dawson missed weight just before him. Dawson's miss eventually proved to be a precursor to Figueiredo's flyweight title fight flop.
With roughly 25 minutes on the weigh-in clock, Figueiredo looked drained as he stepped on the scale weighing 127.5 pounds, a full 2.5 pound above the limit for a flyweight championship bout.
Commission officials noted that Figueiredo would have one hour to continue cutting weight in an attempt to save his championship aspirations. The fighter's condition when he stepped on the scale, however, would indicate that he'd be unlikely to shed an additional 2.5 pounds in an hour. Couple that with the fact that his camp certainly knew he would miss weight when he stepped on the scale well before the closure of the weigh-in window, and it added up to the extremely unlikely circumstance that he would be able to make weight in an hour.
Figueiredo's manager initially told ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto that they were going to try to continue cutting weight, but the odds were certainly stacked against Figueiredo.
About 20 minutes into his additional hour, Figueiredo's camp called it, saying that he would not continue to cut weight, leaving Benavidez as the lone fighter eligible to win the UFC flyweight championship on Saturday. Figueiredo agreed to forfeit 30-percent of his fight purse to Benavidez to keep the fight intact. If Figueiredo wins the bout, he would not claim the title; it would remain vacant.
Having made his way to the UFC via Dana White's Contender Series, Dawson stepped on the scale with about 35 minutes left in the official weigh-in window. He weighed 149.5 pounds for his scheduled featherweight contest with late replacement Darrick Minner.
If Minner agrees to the bout, Dawson would likely forfeit a portion of his show money to Minner.
UFC on ESPN+ 27: Benavidez vs. Figueiredo Weigh-in Results
Main Card (8 pm ET on ESPN+)
- Joseph Benavidez (124.5) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (127.5)*
- Felicia Spencer (145) vs. Zarah Fairn (146)
- Ion Cuțelaba (204.5) vs. Magomed Ankalaev (204.5)
- Megan Anderson (145) vs. Norma Dumont (146)
- Grant Dawson (149.5)* vs. Darrick Minner (145.5)
Preliminary Card (8 pm ET on ESPN+)
- Luis Peña (154.5) vs. Steve Garcia (155)
- Gabriel Silva (135.5) vs. Kyler Phillips (135.5)
- Brendan Allen (185.5) vs. Tom Breese (185)
- Marcin Tybura (246) vs. Serghei Spivac (234)
- Jordan Griffin (145) vs. T.J. Brown (145.5)
- Aalon Cruz (145.5) vs. Spike Carlyle (145.5)
- Sean Brady (170) vs. Ismail Naurdiev (170)
*Deiveson Figueiredo and Grant Dawson missed weight