Deiveson Figueiredo, Valentina Shevchenko Retain Flyweight Championships Atop UFC 255

By Brian Knapp Nov 21, 2020

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Deiveson Figueiredo’s otherworldly squeeze was a mountain too high for Alex Perez.

Figueiredo retained the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight title, as he submitted Alex Perez with a guillotine choke in the first round of the UFC 255 headliner on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Perez (24-6, 6-2 UFC) conceded defeat 1:57 into Round 1, his bid to claim the 125-pound throne denied with resounding authority.

After eating a pair of powerful body kicks from the champion, Perez swooped in for a potential takedown. Figueiredo (20-1, 9-1 UFC) initiated a scramble with an attempted leg lock, then caught the guillotine when the Team Oyama rep made his move toward top position. A replacement for the injured Cody Garbrandt, Perez struggled vigorously to free himself but could not break out of the Brazilian’s clutches.

Figueiredo has posted five straight wins, four of them finishes.

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Shevchenko Turns Away Maia

Valentina Shevchenko kept her stranglehold on the women’s flyweight championship with a unanimous decision over a game but outclassed Jennifer Maia in the five-round co-main event. Shevchenko (20-3, 9-2 UFC) swept the scorecards with 49-46 marks from all three judges, as she extended her current winning streak to six fights.

Maia (18-7-1, 3-3 UFC) grounded and controlled the heavily favored champion in the second round but failed to establish any legitimate momentum. Shevchenko took down the former Invicta Fighting Championships titleholder and kept her guessing in the first, third and fourth rounds, hitting the accelerator with her standup when the situation called for it. She tore into Maia with blistering combinations, lightning-quick jabs, a few spinning backfists and jarring elbows in the clinch. By the time it was over, there was again no doubt in regards to the identity of the world’s premier flyweight.

Shevchenko, 32, still has never lost a fight at 125 pounds.

Replacement Means Handles Perry

Clean multi-punch combinations, sneaky standing elbows and exceptional lateral movement spurred former King of the Cage champion Tim Means to a unanimous decision over Mike Perry in a three-round welterweight feature. A short-notice substitution for Robbie Lawler, Means (31-12-1, 13-9 UFC) was awarded 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 scores by the judges.

Perry (14-7, 7-7 UFC) — who missed weight for the match by a whopping 4.5 pounds — surprised the Fit NHB product with a takedown inside the first minute, progressed to the back and hunted a rear-naked choke. Means withstood his efforts, pushed the fight deeper and let his superior all-around skills do the rest. He spent the second and third rounds chewing up Perry’s face with sharp punches from both hands and a variety of other weapons, including a consistent and ever-present jab. Means even obliged “Platinum Mike” with a few wild exchanges on the feet, living to tell the tale.

Means has rattled off three victories across his past four outings.

Chookagian Outstrikes Calvillo to Decision

Onetime Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder Katlyn Chookagian won for the fourth time in six appearances, as she laid claim to a unanimous decision over Cynthia Calvillo in a three-round women’s flyweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for Chookagian (15-4, 8-4 UFC).

Calvillo (9-2-1, 6-2-1 UFC) elected to engage in a standup battle with a superior kickboxer. Chookagian leaned on her length, skill and experience, as she peppered the California native with punches to the head and front kicks to the body. Calvillo had her moments, but her decision to abandon the top-notch grappling skills that originally brought her to the UFC proved costly.

The setback was Calvillo’s first in almost three years.

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Craig Wrecks Shopworn ‘Shogun’

Former British Association of Mixed Martial Arts champion Paul Craig struck Mauricio Rua into submission in the second round of their featured light heavyweight rematch. Rua (27-12-1, 11-10-1 UFC), who fought “Bearjew” to a split draw at UFC Fight Night 164 a little more than a year ago, raised the white flag 3:36 into Round 2.

Craig (14-4-1, 6-4-1 UFC) executed a pair of takedowns in the first round, threatened with an anaconda choke and continued to build confidence against an all-time great. He delivered another takedown in the middle stanza, moved to the back, flattened out Rua and forced the 2005 Pride Fighting Championships Middleweight Grand Prix winner to tap to unanswered punches.

The 32-year-old Craig has won back-to-back bouts.

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