UFC books potential title eliminator between Askar Askarov and Alex Perez

The UFC has booked a potential title eliminator in the flyweight division. First reported by BJPenn.com, top flyweights Askar Askarov (14-0-1) and Alex Perez (24-6) will go head-to-head.

The fight is currently scheduled to be the co-headliner of the UFC‘s Fight Night on July 31st. A middleweight contest between Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland is currently scheduled as the main event for the July Fight Night.

For Alex Perez this will be his first fight since UFC 255. Back in November, Perez got a shot at Deiveson Figueiredo and the flyweight title. Perez got the shot after Cody Garbrandt was pulled from the card due to an injury.

Alex Perez was expected to really push the champion, but the fight didn’t last long. After a decent start, Perez was submitted in just under two minutes by Figueiredo. This fight with Askarov gives Perez a chance to stay right in the hunt for the flyweight title.

Since earning a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series, Perez has been one of the best flyweights in the world. In eight fights inside the octagon, Perez has gone 6-2 with his only losses coming against Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez.

UFC’s next Dagestani champion?

Standing across from Perez on July 31st will be the native of Dagestan, Askar Askarov. Askarov will be making his fifth appearance for the UFC. So far, Askarov has gone an impressive 3-0-1 in his four fights inside the octagon.

The lone draw came against the current flyweight champion Brandon Moreno. In his three wins, Askarov has shown just how good he is. Askarov has great grappling, but he also has tremendous standup.

Back at UFC 259, Askarov took on former multiple-time title challenger Joseph Benavidez. Askarov completely controlled Benavidez in a performance that could have earned him a title shot. However, Askarov didn’t make weight and the promotion likely wanted him to get one more fight in while making the weight before giving him a shot.

No doubt about it, Askarov will be taking on Brandon Moreno for the UFC flyweight title should he defeat Alex Perez next month.

What’s next for Cody Garbrandt after UFC Vegas 27?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 27, former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt (12-4) took on Rob Font (19-4) in the main event. This was a pivotal matchup between two top five contenders in the bantamweight division.

Garbrandt was making his first appearance since UFC 250 last June. That night, the former champion knocked out Raphael Assuncao in the second round. That win snapped a three-fight losing streak for the former champion.

After that win, Garbrandt intended to move to flyweight to challenge for the UFC flyweight title. However, a battle with COVID-19 and injuries kept Garbrandt out for a significant amount of time.

After resuming training, Garbrandt decided to stay at 135 pounds for now. Ultimately, Garbrandt said that he wanted to hold two UFC titles at the same time. He was undecided on which division he would pursue.

The former champion looked motivated and focused heading into UFC Vegas 27. However, that focus didn’t translate to the performance. While Garbrandt landed some decent shots, Rob Font beat him to the punch and pretty much dominated on Saturday night.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 27?

After this loss, the former UFC champion is just 1-4 in his last five fights. So, where does ‘No Love’ go from here? Well, a lot of that will depend on which weight class he decides to pursue.

As mentioned, he seemed torn between flyweight and bantamweight moving forward. The UFC has options for him depending on which weight class he decides to pursue and there are options.

If he moves down to 125 pounds, I think a fight with someone like Alex Perez (24-6) makes a lot of sense. Perez is coming off a loss in a title fight and he’s squarely in the mix. If Garbrandt moved down and defeated Perez, he’d likely be right in line for a title shot.

If Garbrandt decides to stay at bantamweight, the UFC could pair him with someone like Marlon Moraes (23-8-1). Moraes is in a very similar position having gone 1-3 in his last four although the one win should’ve been a loss.

Magic Marlon is still ranked sixth in the division so Garbrandt would still be getting a top opponent. Either one of these fights would make sense for the former champion, but it will all come down to which weight class he wants to try next.

UFC books Alex Perez – Matt Schnell

The UFC has finalized a very solid flyweight matchup that will take place in May. First reported by MMA DNA, the promotion has booked a matchup between former title challenger, Alex Perez (24-6), and Matt Schnell (15-5).

The fight will take place on May 15th. For Alex Perez, this will be the first time that he’s fought since his failed attempt at becoming champion at UFC 255. Perez took on Deiveson Figueiredo in the main event that night.

Originally, the champion was supposed to fight Cody Garbrandt that night. However, after Garbrandt had to pull out with an injury, Perez got the opportunity of a lifetime. The chance at UFC gold and a PPV main event.

Perez had won three fights in a row and was 11-1 in his previous 12 fights. He appeared to be a formidable challenge for the UFC champion, however, it didn’t play out that way in the cage. Perez was submitted by Figueiredo in just under two minutes.

Alex Perez entered the contest ranked fourth in the flyweight division and he stayed put after the loss. He will now have a chance to get back on the right track when he takes on another top UFC flyweight in May.

Big UFC Flyweight Matchup

Standing across from Perez in May will be Matt Schnell. Schnell will make the walk in May as the seventh ranked contender in the UFC’s flyweight division. This fight is a massive fight for him in getting to fight a former title challenger.

Schnell made his UFC debut back in 2016 and started his career with the promotion getting finished in two straight fights. With his back against the wall, Schnell then won four fights in a row in the flyweight division.

That winning streak found him fighting Alexandre Pantoja in December of 2019. Pantoja was able to win that fight by knockout in the first round. Schnell made his return just last month when he defeated Tyson Nam by split decision.

It’s very clear to me that Schnell is one of the better flyweights in the UFC. This is his chance to bust into the top five. If he comes out and gets the win over Perez in May, he could be on his way to making some noise in the division.

UFC: State of the men’s flyweight division entering 2021

2020 was a transition year for the UFC‘s flyweight division. When the year got started, Henry Cejudo (16-2) had just vacated the flyweight title. The promotion setup a fight in February to crown a new champion after Cejudo moved to bantamweight.

That fight put Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) against Joseph Benavidez (28-7). Benavidez was always looked at as one of the best fighters in the UFC, but he just could never quite climb the mountain to become a champion.

Many believed that February would be his best chance. However, Figueiredo proved to be too much for Benavidez. Benavidez was completely dominated and stopped in the second round by Figueiredo.

However, Figueiredo missed weight so he didn’t capture the title. The UFC decided to have the two men run things back on Fight Island. This time, Figueiredo made weight and he ended up finishing Benavidez quicker than he did the first time.

Figueiredo has become a star in the UFC‘s flyweight division. After he choked out Benavidez, he defended his title against Alex Perez (24-6) at UFC 255. Figueiredo forced Perez to tap within the first two minutes of the fight.

With taking such little damage, the UFC turned Figueiredo right around to fight Brandon Moreno (18-5-2) at UFC 256. The two men had a war and the fight was ultimately ruled a majority draw.

UFC flyweight in 2021

Dana White said shortly after UFC 256 that the promotion would have Figueiredo and Moreno run things back. The fight was a fight of the year candidate and with no winner declared, he said it make sense to do the rematch.

With that, the odd man out becomes Cody Garbrandt (12-3). The former UFC bantamweight champion decided to drop to flyweight to pursue another title. He was originally supposed to get the title shot at UFC 255.

However, he had to pull out of the fight. He was hoping to face the Figueiredo – Moreno winner in March, however, that’s not likely now. Garbrandt and his team have discussed taking an interim fight at bantamweight while he waits, but that’s not settled.

A very compelling matchup to watch at flyweight is Manel Kape (15-4) and Alexandre Pantoja (22-5). Kape is the former RIZIN champion at 135 pounds and he will be making his UFC debut against Pantoja on February 6th.

Whoever wins that fight will be in excellent position in the flyweight division. Another matchup to watch is Benavidez taking on Askar Askarov (12-0-1). Askarov trains under Khabib Nurmagomedov and he looks like he can be a future champion.

At one point, the UFC’s flyweight division looked like it was going to be closed for business. However, business is booming at the moment with a number of intriguing matchups. Should be a fun year for the promotion at 125 pounds.

2020 UFC Fighter of the Year

The UFC has officially completed all of their business in this crazy 2020. Despite a global pandemic, the promotion had an incredible year that saw tremendous growth and new fans coming to the sport of MMA.

The UFC hosted many successful events and saw a number of fighters burst onto the scene in 2020. One of those fighters being the rising superstar, Khamzat Chimaev (9-0). Chimaev made his debut with the UFC back in July.

He rose to fame with his incredible dominance through his first three fights. In his first three fights with the UFC, Chimaev has scored finishes in all three while absorbing just a few strikes total.

He’s been catapulted into a main event on January 20th in a fight that could be a title eliminator. While Chimaev’s UFC rise has been remarkable, he’s not quite the fighter of the year in my opinion.

Another fighter who broke through this year was Kevin Holland (21-5). After losing his last fight in 2019, Holland completely transformed himself in 2020. Holland had arguably the best year out of anybody with the promotion.

He went an astonishing 5-0 with four finishes in 2020. Even more remarkable was the fact that he didn’t fight for the first time until May. However, despite his incredible year, Holland was not ESM’s UFC Fighter of the Year.

2020 UFC Fighter of the Year

Looking at everything for 2020, the UFC‘s Fighter of the Year was a clear choice for me. That clear choice is the flyweight champion of the world, Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1). Figueiredo started out 2020 as the top contender at flyweight.

Back in February, he took on Joseph Benavidez for the vacant UFC flyweight title. However, Figueiredo missed weight for the fight which caused him to lose his opportunity to capture the belt. Yet, the fight still went on.

Figueiredo was completely dominant and he won the fight by second round knockout. In July, Figueiredo had a rematch for Benavidez for the UFC title. This time Figueiredo made weight and he stopped Benavidez in the first round to capture the title.

Looking to close out the year strong, Figueiredo was booked to defend his title against Alex Perez at UFC 255. Figueiredo submitted Perez in less than two minutes to successfully defend his title.

Because of his quick work, the UFC turned him around quickly to headline UFC 256 against Brandon Moreno. The two had an absolute war that was a fight of the year candidate. In the end, the two men fought to a draw.

Granted, Figueiredo would have won had he not been docked a point at UFC 256. It was later revealed that Figueiredo had spent time in the hospital the night before his title fight against Moreno.

Yes, his record was not technically perfect, but Deiveson Figueiredo is the clear Fighter of the Year. Four sensational performances in essentially four title fights. Figueiredo emerged as the superstar flyweight needed in 2020 for the UFC.

UFC: What’s next for Cody Garbrandt?

Former UFC bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt (12-3), is still waiting to make his debut in the flyweight division. The former champion made a successful return to the octagon in June when he knocked out Ralphael Assuncao.

That fight took place at bantamweight, but it was announced shortly after that Garbrandt would be dropping down to flyweight. After Deiveson Figueiredo won the flyweight title in July, the UFC booked the two up for a title fight.

Originally, Garbrandt was set to face Figueiredo at UFC 255 in November. However, Garbrandt tore his bicep and he’s been dealing with lengthy symptoms from COVID. As a result, Alex Perez got the shot against Figueiredo.

Of course, Figueiredo was able to win by first round submission. The champion quickly turned around to fight Brandon Moreno at UFC 256. The two had a fight of the year candidate that resulted in a draw.

After the fight was over, Dana White announced that the UFC would be booking the rematch between the two. Garbrandt said on Twitter that he’d be ready to fight by March. However, it now appears that he won’t be getting a title shot next.

What does the UFC do with Garbrandt?

If Cody Garbrandt wants a UFC flyweight title shot in his divisional debut, he’s going to be waiting a while. After the war that Figueiredo and Moreno had at UFC 256, I think it’s safe to say that fight won’t happen until April or May.

With that timeline, Garbrandt would have to sit out over a year in between fights. I think the smart thing would be for him to take a fight at flyweight in the meantime. He’s never fought at 125 so taking a fight would allow him to go through the process and get his feet wet.

There are a couple of fights that would be fun for Garbrandt in the UFC‘s flyweight division. One fight that I would personally love to see is Garbrandt against Manel Kape (15-4). Kape was the backup at UFC 256 after his fight with Alexandre Pantoja fell through.

Kape is one of the best in the world at 125 pounds. A fight between those two would be a lot of fun. The UFC could also pair Garbrandt against Alex Perez (24-6) who just lost in the title fight at UFC 255.

No matter what they decide to do, I think the promotion needs to give Garbrandt a flyweight fight. Let him make the weight and get a win in the division as opposed to shelving him and waiting for the title shot.

What’s next for Alex Perez after UFC 255?

This past weekend at UFC 255, Alex Perez (24-6) got his shot at the flyweight championship when he took on Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1). Perez started the contest off pretty well landing some decent shots.

He then shot in for a takedown on the UFC flyweight champion. Perez was deep on a single leg, but Figueiredo rolled to a leglock to get out of the position. Once Perez was out of the leglock, he followed Figueiredo to the ground.

However, Figueiredo did an incredible job of transitioning to a guillotine choke as soon as they hit the mat. Perez almost appeared out of the choke, but the UFC champion synched it up even tighter and Perez was forced to tap just two minutes into the fight.

It was an incredibly disappointing fight for the Dana White Contender Series veteran. Perez was the first fighter from the contender series to appear in a UFC title fight. However, it ended very quickly and with great disappointment.

After UFC 255, Perez will be forced to go back to the drawing board. The fortunate thing for him is that he really didn’t take any damage in the fight. Because he was submitted and didn’t really get hit, he should be able to turn around quickly.

What’s next after UFC 255?

In looking at the UFC’s flyweight rankings, there are a few good options out there for Alex Perez. One of the options that jumps out to me would be a fight with Askar Askarov (12-0-1) who is actually ranked ahead of Perez.

Askarov is coming off of a victory back on Fight Island over Alexandre Pantoja. The flyweight contender from Dagestan could honestly be one of the next in line for the title, however, there’s a bit of a log jam in the UFC‘s flyweight division.

We already know that Brandon Moreno will be getting the next title shot at UFC 256. Following that fight, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Cody Garbrandt fight the winner seeing as Garbrandt was originally supposed to fight Figueiredo at UFC 255.

With that, Askarov needs an opponent. Both him and Perez currently rank inside the top five so the matchup makes sense to me. Either way, I would expect a pretty quick turnaround for Perez given the way that the fight went on Saturday.

Cody Garbrandt wants the UFC flyweight champion in March

Tonight at UFC 255, Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1) completely dominated his first challenger in Alex Perez (24-6). Figueiredo showed beautiful skills on the ground on his way to pulling off a guillotine choke in the first round.

It was a dominant performance by the UFC‘s flyweight champion. However, he didn’t fight the guy he was originally scheduled to face. Originally, Figueiredo had a different challenger. A former world champion.

That former world champion was former UFC bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt (12-3). Garbrandt was scheduled to take on Figueiredo in the main event of UFC 255. However, a torn bicep forced Garbrandt off the card.

Garbrandt was going to be making his flyweight debut fighting for the title. Back in the summer at UFC 250, Garbrandt snapped a three fight losing streak with a highlight knockout over Raphael Assuncao.

After the knockout, rumors started circulating around what Garbrandt wanted to do next. He decided he wanted to drop down and try to capture a second UFC title. He’s been healing up and he has a timeframe on when he wants his shot.

UFC flyweight title fight in March?

After the event concluded tonight, Garbrandt told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, “Alex Perez was just someone they gave Figueiredo to build up our fight more. I knock that guy (Figueiredo) out in the first or second round. I’ll be ready by March.”

It appears that Garbrandt has laid down the time table for his return to the UFC. The promotion has not said anything regarding Garbrandt’s status as a top contender since he fell out of this fight with the torn bicep.

After UFC 255, Dana White announced that Figueiredo would likely be fighting again in a few weeks. He told the media that he wanted Figueiredo to defend his title in December against top contender Brandon Moreno.

Both fighters had a first round finish at UFC 255. If the promotion does book that fight, Garbrandt seems primed to welcome the winner around March or April.

Deiveson Figueiredo subs Alex Perez in the first at UFC 255

Tonight in the main event of UFC 255, the men’s flyweight title was on the line. Deiveson Figueiredo (19-1) was looking to defend his title for the first time against contender series veteran, Alex Perez (24-5).

Originally, Figueiredo was supposed to face former UFC bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt, in tonight’s main event. However, an injury to Garbrandt gave Perez the opportunity of a lifetime at championship gold.

Since fighting in the contender series a few years ago, Perez has only lost once in seven appearances in the UFC. He came into tonight on a three fight winning streak including an impressive TKO over Jussier Formiga in his last fight.

However, he had a tall order tonight in the flyweight champion. Figueiredo is an absolute monster and he’s really shown that in his last couple of wins. Figueiredo finished Joseph Benavidez twice in a row to capture UFC gold. He has all the makings of someone who can reign for a long time.

UFC 255 Recap: Figueiredo – Perez

Round 1

As the main event of UFC 255 got underway, Perez immediately opened with a big kick that missed. Figueiredo then landed a big power body kick to start the striking. Perez pushed forward with a combination but wasn’t able to land anything.

Figueiredo then landed a couple of additional big kicks. Perez shot in for a takedown and was working really hard to land it. Perez had Figueiredo’s legs high up in the air but then Figueiredo rolled for a leg lock.

Figueiredo couldn’t lock it in, and Perez ended up on top. However, he went right into a guillotine choke. It’s tight, but Perez comes close to getting out. Figueiredo locks it up even tighter and Perez is forced to tap.

Deiveson Figueiredo def. Alex Perez by Submission (Guillotine Choke) – Round 1

UFC 255 Preview: Deiveson Figueiredo – Alex Perez

Tomorrow night at UFC 255, the promotion is showcasing both the men’s and the women’s flyweight divisions. Both champions will defend their titles and in the main event of the evening Deiveson Figueiredo (19-1) takes on Alex Perez (24-5).

The fight will mark the first official title defense for the UFC champion, Figueiredo. Back in February, Figueiredo knocked out Joseph Benavidez in a fight that was supposed to be for the UFC title.

However, Figueiredo missed weight and the title wasn’t on the line. Figueiredo then fought Benavidez again in July for the title and ran through him after making weight. Deiveson Figueiredo looks like an absolute force at flyweight.

Figueiredo is very big for the weight class and he has great skills everywhere. He’s got good striking with tremendous power and he’s incredibly slick on the ground. Figueiredo can lull you to sleep with his deliberate pace but his long arms and power catches opponents off guard.

Standing across from the champion will be contender series veteran, Alex Perez. Perez earned his shot in the UFC back in 2017 and has only lost to Joseph Benavidez since in seven fights with the promotion.

Perez also has a very well rounded skillset and he has tremendous leg kicks. Back at UFC 250, Perez finished Jussier Formiga with a heavy dose of calf kicks. Perez definitely has the skills to put up a fight against the champion.

UFC 255 Prediction

The UFC 255 main event should be a fun one for however long it lasts. Both Figueiredo and Perez are very well rounded fighters so I think it should be relatively even during some of the exchanges.

However, I think there’s a clear favorite in this one and that would be the champion. I’m expecting Perez to come out and try to start fast, but I expect Figueiredo to just be waiting and picking his shots.

There is no one at flyweight that possesses the power of Figueiredo. He also has this killer instinct and he seems to be taking his career seriously. I’m expecting Perez to have some moments early, but those will only come as Figueiredo is figuring out the fight.

I think in the second round, you’ll see the champion really start to settle in. Expect a back and forth early, but I see a big shot closing the show late in the second round tomorrow night. Figueiredo will retain his UFC title tomorrow night.

Prediction: Deiveson Figueiredo by TKO – Round 2