Two flyweight title fights featuring Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Cody Garbrandt and Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jennifer Maia have been added to UFC 255.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto broke the news that the world’s leading MMA promotion is planning both of these tittle fights for UFC 255, which will take place on November 21 at a to-be-determined location. UFC president Dana White confirmed both bouts are official. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani later added that Figueiredo has signed a new, six-fight contract with the UFC.
Figueiredo vs. Garbrandt has been heavily rumored in the last few weeks after Figueiredo destroyed Joseph Benavidez in their rematch on Fight Island to win the vacant UFC flyweight title. Not long after Figueiredo won the belt, Garbrandt said that he wanted to move down to flyweight and get an immediate title shot. His manager Ali Abdelaziz was able to get the deal done. Garbrandt, fresh off of a “KO of the Year” candidate against Raphael Assuncao at UFC 250, will now get a chance to fight for a second UFC title.
There will no doubt be criticism directed towards the UFC for giving Garbrandt the title shot over the other flyweight contenders like Brandon Moreno and Askar Askarov. But Garbrandt is by far the biggest name of the bunch and when he became available to fight for the flyweight belt, the UFC decided to jump at the opportunity and book the Figueiredo fight.
As for Shevchenko, she was widely expected to fight Joanne Calderwood for the belt later this year but when she had to delay the title fight due to injury, Calderwood instead took a short-notice fight against Maia. Unfortunately for Calderwood, the risk did not pay off as Maia was able to submit her in the first round. White said that Maia would be next in line to fight for the belt and the UFC has remained true to its word and gave her the title shot.
Who do you think wins: Deiveson Figueiredo or Cody Garbrandt, and Valentina Shevchenko or Jennifer Maia?