UFC 255: Figueiredo vs Perez Preview

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Clear favourites in the title match-ups but plenty of good underdog prospects in the latest UFC event.

Deiveson Figueiredo wins his UFC title

If you have a thing for 125-pound MMA fighters, then this weekend’s UFC 255: Figueiredo vs Perez is the fight card for you. There are no less than five flyweight fights taking place Saturday, almost half of the 12-fight slate going down at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.

It’s topped by two flyweight title fights – Deiveson Figueiredo vs Alex Perez for the men’s belt, and Valentina Shevchenko vs Jennifer Maia for the women’s. If the betting lines are any indication, one fight should be close; the other a blowout.

First Title Defence for Figueiredo

On the men’s side, this will be Figueiredo’s first title defence after winning the vacant belt this past July against Joseph Benavidez (he would have won it in February, but he came in overweight for that fight). ‘Deus Da Guerra’ (God of War) has been a terror in the UFC, only losing one of his nine fights (his only pro loss in 20 fights, actually). He has scary power and is huge for the 125-pound weight class (hence missing the weight limit two fights ago). He’ll also have three inches of reach over his challenger Perez, which will come in handy for his explosive striking sequences.

Perez, despite only getting this opportunity due to original challenger Cody Garbrandt pulling out due to injury, is no slouch in his own right. He’s five years younger than the champ and has only lost to the aforementioned Benavidez since entering the UFC three years ago (he’s 6-1 in the big show, 24-5 overall). Like Figueiredo, he’s a huge flyweight with scary power – he won his last fight via leg kicks TKO.

So, while I’m liking Figueiredo to retain (I like him beating any flyweight put in front of him currently), I’m not liking his 4/13 betting line that much. Regardless, he’s my pick to win.

Shevchenko Expected to Retain Title

As for the women’s title fight, the outcome of it is not in question. Current champ Valentina Shevchenko will retain her title, and probably go on to fight the woman’s GOAT, Amanda Nunes, for a third time (Nunes is the only person to beat her in the UFC – twice). Jennifer Maia will get a chance to knock her off her throne on Saturday based on a massive one-fight winning streak, while going 3-2 in her last five. It’s just a matter of “right place, right time” for her – they were looking for a fight for Shevchenko and she was available. ‘Bullet’ will win, but whether the current 2/55 line on her is worth your time is your decision.

However, it is worth your time to pay some heed to the live dogs I have pegged for this weekend. That’s where the real money is. ‘The Dirty Bird’ Tim Means is 6/5 in his fight against the erratic Florida Man, Mike Perry. Means has the veteran smarts, length, and cardio to outlast Perry and win this one.

In the Battle of the Brandons, probably for the right to challenge next for the flyweight belt, I’m leaning towards the underdog. Brandon Royval is 6/4 for his fight against Brandon Moreno. Both are grappling whizzes, but Royval has the chops to come out ahead in this battle and prove he is the superior 125-pound Brandon.

Also take a look at Jordan Wright at 2/1 against viral knockout star Joaquin Buckley. I think Buckley is being overpriced due to his spinning kick KO last month making him a household name. ‘The Beverley Hills Ninja’ has plenty of fancy stuff in his arsenal, as well, and will be the bigger of the two combatants.

Finally, newcomer Jared Gooden is 6/5 against returning veteran Alan Jouban. Jouban has been out of action for 18 months due to various injuries and will be turning 38 next week, so I think the younger (12 years!), bigger fighter is a live one here.

Updated: UFC 255 Results

  • Deiveson Figueiredo def. Alex Perez via submission (R1, 1:57) 
  • Valentina Shevchenko def. Jennifer Maia via UD 
  • Tim Means def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision
  • Katlyn Chookagian def. Cynthia Calvillo via UD (30-27 x3)
  • Paul Craig def. Mauricio Rua via second-round TKO (3:36)
  • Brandon Moreno def. Brandon Royval via first-round TKO (4:59)
  • Joaquin Buckley def. Jordan Wright via second-round KO (0:18)
  • Antonina Shevchenko def. Ariane Lipski via second-round TKO (4:33)
  • Nicolas Dalby def. Daniel Rodriguez via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28x 2)
  • Alan Jouban def. Jared Gooden via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
  • Kyle Daukaus def. Dustin Stoltzfus via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)
  • Sasha Palatnikov def. Louis Cosce via third-round TKO (2:47)

Our expert Jeff Fox correctly predicted 3 out of 6 results.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

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