Former multi-time flyweight champion Figueiredo (22-3-1 MMA, 11-3-1 UFC) made his anticipated 135-pound debut on Saturday at Moody Center, and he showed much of his skillset translates up a weight class when he beat Font (20-8 MMA, 10-7 UFC) by unanimous decision with 30-27, 30-27 and 30-27 scores.
After a historic and unprecedented four-fight series with Brandon Moreno for the title, Figueiredo fought an opponent other than Moreno for the first time since November 2020. The fresh matchup allowed him to offer a reminder of his talent, because Figueiredo used striking and grappling to shut Font down for the majority of three rounds.
— UFC (@ufc) December 3, 2023
Figueiredo’s difficulty finding the striking range early was evident. Font was able to land from his range, forcing the Brazilian into repeated takedown attempts, none of which resulted in prolonged competition. Late in the round, however, Figueiredo found hind his comfort on the feet, and landed some solid hooks on Font to make it a very close round.
Figueiredo continued his momentum in the second round. He found more confidence in his striking range and started to land various shots. He mixed in takedown attempts, too, leaving Font to moments of serious caution with his offensive output. That only boosted the confidence of Figueiredo, who closed the frame in full control of the action.
Font opened the final round with a more desperate demeanour and managed to shut down an early takedown attempt. He started to work around his jab and move forward, but he walked into a huge left hook from Figueiredo that left him staggered and hurt. Figueiredo tried to pour it on for the finish, but he stayed composed and worked his way into a takedown and top position. Figueiredo tried to force a stoppage with strikes and submission attempts, but Font survived to the final bell.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) December 3, 2023
The American had lost three of his past four coming into the matchup with Figueiredo, but got a crucial win and added the name of a second former UFC champion to his resume alongside his May 2021 victory over Cody Garbrandt.
Although Figueiredo was 1-2-1 in his past four fights – all against Moreno – coming into the bout, the 35-year-old showed he still has life and put a fresh coat of paint on his career with the win. His status as a former champion gives him ammunition to call for something big at 135 pounds, and he didn’t hesitate to do so.
“I feel great representing 135,” Figueiredo said through an interpreter during his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier. “I did some great things at 125, but I felt great at 135. This show tonight was for you.
The triumphant moment for Figueiredo was one of hardship for Font. The American is now 1-4 in his past five fights dating back to December 2021, albeit the level of competition must be noted with the defeats coming against Figueiredo, Cory Sandhagen, Marlon Vera and UFC Hall of Famer Jose Aldo.
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