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Deiveson Figueiredo misses weight for UFC title fight

Updated February 28, 2020 - 7:00 pm

Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo will meet in a flyweight championship bout in the main event of UFC Fight Night 169 on Saturday in Norfolk, Virginia. But only Benavidez can win the vacant belt.

Figueiredo missed weight Friday by 2.5 pounds, making him ineligible . The fight will go on, with Benavidez getting 30 percent of Figueiredo’s purse and becoming champion with a win.

The title, vacated by bantamweight champ Henry Cejudo, will remain unclaimed if Figueiredo wins.

His manager, Wallied Ismail, said Figueiredo was cutting weight appropriately under the supervision of a doctor, nutritionist, physiologist and his coaches when he became ill with a gastrointestinal problem.

“It was discussed with his doctor and, alongside his team, we chose to preserve the athlete and interrupt the weight cut and rehydrate, with the support of the UFC’s nutritionist,” Ismail said in a statement. “The decision, although difficult, as we were aware that it would not be possible to make weight after rehydration, was made both to preserve the athlete and honor the commitment to the promotion and the opponent.”

Benavidez, a Las Vegan who is 0-2 in UFC title bouts and will fight for the belt for the first time since 2013, said he never thought about withdrawing after Figueiredo missed weight.

“It’s just more conviction that he wasn’t going to ever win the belt anyway,” Benavidez told USA Today. “Obviously, I was the only one who was going to win it. I’m the only one who came to win it. It doesn’t change what I’m going to do.”

The fight headlines a main card that will stream on ESPN Plus at 5 p.m. Preliminary fights will begin at 2.

Adesanya apologizes

Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya took to social media to apologize for a comment he made at a news conference promoting his March 7 title defense against Yoel Romero at T-Mobile Arena.

Adesanya was comparing Romero’s imposing stature and perceived invincibility as being akin to trying to kick steel when he triggered online outrage with a comparison to the Twin Towers.

Adesanya responded on Instagram. “I never made a joke about people dying or made light of the tragic event that was 9/11. I was simply rambling, and my brain worked faster than my mouth in a moment to choose the wrong euphemism. … I’ll be more careful in the future with my words.”

UFC 248 bout scrapped

Unbeaten featherweight Mosvar Evloev has withdrawn from his UFC 248 bout after suffering injuries in a motorcycle crash.

His team posted a photo of extensive scraping and cuts on his skin in announcing his withdrawal on social media. “Car crashed into his motorbike,” the post read.

Giga Chikadze will replace Evloev and fight Jamall Emmers.

Aldo to challenge Cejudo

UFC president Dana White confirmed that Cejudo will defend the bantamweight title against Jose Aldo in the main event of UFC 250 on May 9 in Sao Paulo.

Aldo’s inclusion in the title fight was controversial, as his bantamweight debut resulted in a split-decision loss to Marlon Moraes in December. White and Cejudo thought Aldo should have won the fight.

Aldo has lost two straight and four of six. Cejudo is a -180 favorite at the Westgate sportsbook.

The card is expected to include the return of former heavyweight champ Fabricio Werdum in a bout against Alexey Oleynik.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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