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Francisco Figueiredo Waits His Turn


Francisco Figueiredo patrols the same waters as his more accomplished older brother: current Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight titleholder Deiveson Figueiredo. Even so, he has no plans of ever trying to usurp the reigning champion’s power at 125 pounds, content to wait his turn while his sibling basks in the spotlight a little while longer.

“I would never fight my own brother—never,” the younger Figueiredo said. “I’m confident he’d never fight me, either. I’m sure of that.”

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In front of that backdrop, “Sniper” will toe the line against the once-beaten Amir Albazi as part of the UFC 278 undercard this Saturday at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. Figueiredo owns a 2-1 record inside the promotion, with wins over Jerome Rivera and Daniel Lacerda offset by a July 2021 decision loss to Malcolm Gordon. With his brother perched atop the flyweight division, Figueiredo can focus more on fight-to-fight improvements and less on the need to rise through the ranks.

“I’m focused on Amir,” he said. “With a good win, I’m sure I’ll get ranked. I’ll get to the top one day.”

A Brave Combat Federation and Bellator MMA alum, Albazi hit the ground running in the UFC with back-to-back victories over the aforementioned Gordon and Zhalgas Zhumagulov. The 28-year-old London Shootfighters representative prefers to handle his business on the mat, having delivered more than half (eight) of his 14 career wins by submission. Figueiredo expects a stern test.

“Amir likes to finish fights,” he said. “He has great striking. He’s a very complete fighter. I’ve watched his fight videos from before joining the UFC, as well as the newer ones. I don’t think he has changed much. If he wants to strike or grapple, either one is fine. I’m a jiu-jitsu black belt, and I also like to finish my opponents. I’m ready for him in all areas. I’m not going to make it easy for him.”

Figueiredo believes he has covered all the bases in terms of preparation.

“I have excellent training with a great infrastructure,” he said. “I have a physical conditioning coach. I have muay Thai, jiu-jitsu and boxing training sessions. I have everything I need. Plus, I’m close to my family. I believe I have everything here I need to have a great training camp to be able to face anyone.”

Owner of an impressive 85% finish rate, the 32-year-old Figueiredo does not expect the judges to factor into the outcome—not if he can help it.

“I visualize a fast fight,” he said. “I’m confident I’ll either knock him out or submit him.”
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