Over the weekend, reports were going around as to whether Deiveson Figueiredo would end up making it to “Fight Island” or not on July 18. After a brief scare, he appears to be ready to travel. Only time will tell if he can actually make it to his fight.
Combate was the first to report that Figueiredo (18-1) tested positive for COVID-19. Before his trip from Sao Paulo to Abu Dhabi, Figueiredo would take one of the many tests provided before fight night. Figueiredo’s manager, Wallid Ismail, stated to MMA Fighting that his client tested positive for the virus two months ago. The hope is that he would test negative following another test a few days later.
On Sunday, Ismail confirmed that Figueiredo passed his latest COVID-19 test, allowing him to travel to Abu Dhabi. While he will be allowed to board the UFC plane to Yas Island, he must still pass multiple COVID-19 tests when he lands and before he competes. It is unknown if the previous positive test created any issues, especially if an antibody test was performed.
Now that he is on his way to “Fight Island”, Figueiredo must prepare for his upcoming matchup with Joseph Benavidez. The two will compete in a rematch for the vacant UFC Flyweight Title. Back in February, the two fought for the title, with Figueiredo walking out the winner. A champion was not crowned, however, as Figueiredo missed weight by 2.5 pounds.
According to ESPN, Figueiredo’s weight is around 135 pounds, compared to 145 pounds the same time before the first fight. The flyweight limit is 125 pounds. Landing Tuesday night in Abu Dhabi, he will have to quarantine while also keeping an eye on his weight for Friday’s weigh-in.
Figueiredo is on a three-fight win streak with nine wins via knockout. Making his UFC debut in 2017, the 32-year-old is 7-1 with the promotion.
If Figueiredo is unavailable, there may be a chance that Alexandre Pantoja, who will open up the UFC on ESPN+ main card, could take his place. He is set to face Askar Askarov and Pantoja (22-4) is ranked fourth in the UFC’s flyweight rankings.