Two Big Title Fights Set For UFC 255
The end of the year is starting to shape up nicely for the UFC.
President Dana White ended up telling ESPN that UFC 255 on November 21 will feature two huge title fights, both in the flyweight division. Deiveson Figueiredo will defend his UFC Flyweight Title against Cody Garbrandt while Valentina Shevchenko will defend her title against Jennifer Maia.
This will be Figueiredo’s first defense of the belt since winning it back at the second “Fight Island” event for the UFC a month ago. It was his second win in a row against Joseph Benavidez. Back in February, Benavidez (28-7) and Figueiredo (19-1) were chosen as the flyweight contenders after Henry Cejudo relinquished the title. Figueiredo entered the fight 2.5 pounds over the flyweight limit and would win the fight via TKO, but would not win the title.
In the rematch, Figueiredo submitted him with the rear-naked choke, this time making weight. He is on a four-fight win streak after getting his undefeated streak snapped against Jussier Formiga in March 2019.
This will be the first flyweight bout for Garbrandt, who won his first fight since 2016 back at UFC 250. He ended up beating Raphael Assuncao with a last-second shot in round two. It ended a three-fight losing streak for the former UFC Bantamweight Champion. Garbrandt expressed a desire to fight within the flyweight division, even if Figueiredo wasn’t a fan of him receiving a title shot.
Shevchenko (19-3) is on a five-fight win streak. The multiple-time Muay Thai medalist last fought at UFC 247 in February, beating Katlyn Chookagian via TKO. It was her third defense of the flyweight title. She was supposed to fight Joanne Calderwood at UFC 251 but had to back out due to a leg injury.
Maia (18-6-1) was able to take this spot from Calderwood after the latter competed in a last-minute affair. Viviane Araujo tested positive for COVID-19, leaving Maia without an opponent. Calderwood stepped up, knowing her shot was on the line. Maia would end up forcing her to tap via armbar. White stated it would make sense for her to get a title shot next following the win.
A former Invicta FC Flyweight Champion, Maia joined the UFC in 2018. She is 3-2 with the promotion and 3-1 in her last four fights.
A location has yet to be revealed for UFC 255. Las Vegas and “Fight Island” are currently in the mix.