Abu Dhabi – UFC continues its run of shows on UFC FIGHT ISLAND with a vacant flyweight championship bout that will see No. 1 ranked contender Deiveson Figueiredo rematch No. 2 Joseph Benavidez. In an exciting clash of middleweight contenders, No. 6 ranked Jack Hermansson takes on No. 7 Kelvin Gastelum. All events on UFC FIGHT ISLAND are the result of a partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
UFC Fight Night on ESPN+: Deiveson Figueiredo vs Joseph Benavidez 2 will take place Saturday, July 18 at Flash Forum on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. The main card begins at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT in English and Spanish on ESPN+. The preliminary card will kick off at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ (English and Spanish). The event will be closed to the public and will be produced with only essential personnel in attendance.
Figueiredo (18-1, fighting out of Soure, Pará, Brazil) scored a controversial TKO win over Benavidez in February, but was deemed ineligible for the vacant championship due to missing weight. Arguably the hardest hitting flyweight on the roster, Figueiredo holds spectacular victories against Tim Elliott, Alexandre Pantoja and John Moraga. Figueiredo now looks to do right by his second title opportunity and prove his win over Benavidez was no fluke.
Considered by many to be among the greatest fighters to never win a UFC championship, Benavidez (28-6) fighting out of Las Cruces, N.M. has a fresh opportunity to make his dream a reality. Over the course of his tremendous career, he has earned impressive victories against Jussier Formiga (twice), Henry Cejudo and Tim Elliott. Benavidez now hopes to even the score with Figueiredo and capture the UFC flyweight championship.
Known for his heavy ground-and-pound attack, Hermansson (20-5) fighting out of Oslo, Norway has proven to be as tough and gritty as they come at middleweight. Victorious in four of his last five outings, he has netted exciting wins over Jacare Souza, David Branch and Thales Leites. Hermansson now aims to re-assert himself as a title threat by taking out another former UFC title challenger.
Winner of The Ultimate Fighter season 17, the resume of Gastelum (16-5 1NC) fighting out of Yuma, Ariz. features the top names at middleweight and includes a classic five-round battle against champion Israel Adesanya. He also holds sensational wins over Michael Bisping, Jacare Souza and Tim Kennedy. Gastelum now hopes to continue his climb up the ranks by taking out Hermansson.
Additional bouts on the card include, in an exciting lightweight bout, Marc Diakiese (14-3) fighting out of Doncaster, England meets Rafael Fiziev (7-1) fighting out of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan by way of Phuket, Thailand. Ariane Lipski (12-5) fighting out of Curitiba, State of Paraná, Brazil aims to build off her most recent win when she takes on Luana Carolina (6-1) fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil. In a pivotal flyweight contenders’ bout, No. 4 ranked Alexandre Pantoja (22-4) fighting out of Arraial Do Cabo, Brazil squares off with unbeaten No. 7 Askar Askarov (11-0-1) fighting out of Khasavyurt, Dagestan, Russia.
Undefeated Roman Dolidze (6-0) fighting out of Odessa, Ukraine makes his UFC debut against Khadis Ibragimov (8-2) fighting out of Saint Petersburg, Russia. Grant Dawson (15-1) fighting out of Lee’s Summit, Mo. meets Nad Narimani (12-3) fighting out of Bristol, England in a 150-pound catchweight bout. Joe Duffy (16-4) fighting out of Donegal, Ireland returns to take on Joel Alvarez (16-2) fighting out of Asturias, Spain. Brett Johns (16-2) fighting out of Swansea, Wales goes for another highlight-reel finish when he takes on Montel Jackson (10-1) fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisc.
UFC flyweight newcomers collide when Malcolm Gordon (12-3) fighting out of London, Ont., Canada squares off with Amir Albazi (12-1) fighting out of London, England. Davi Ramos (10-3) fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil meets Arman Tsarukyan (14-2) fighting out of Krasnodar, Russia, by way of Phuket, Thailand in a battle of gritty lightweight grapplers. Heavyweights kick off the evening when Carlos Felipe (8-0) fighting out of Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil squares off with Serghei Spivac (10-2) fighting out of Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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