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Where: Chartway Arena – Norfolk, Va.
When: Saturday, February 29, 8 PM EST
How (TV): UFC Fight Pass, Watch on ESPN+ here!
Height: 5 ft. 4 in.
Reach: 65 in.
After roughly six years, Joseph Benavidez will finally be fighting for the flyweight title once again.
After losing his first shot at the belt to former champion Demetrious Johnson in December of 2013, Benavidez has climbed back to the top and stayed there, losing just one fight in his last ten.
One of those wins even came against current bantamweight and former flyweight champion Henry Cejudo.
Benavidez most recently fought last summer. He took on Jussier Formiga and beat him by TKO in the second round. He was awarded performance of the night bonus for his efforts – his second in his last three fights.
Fighting professionally since 2006, Benavidez, born in Texas, recently left the Team Alpha Male gym and now trains with the Elevation Fight Team. His career has spanned across three different weight classes. He has a brown prajied in muay thai under Duane Ludwig. He has been ranked as the number-one contender in the division for much of the past two years.
Height: 5 ft. 5 in.
Reach: 68 in.
When Deiveson Figueiredo joined the UFC in 2017, he immediately made waves.
He won his first four fights in a row for the promotion against the likes of Marco Beltran and John Moraga.
His streak was eventually snapped by the man his opponent most recently defeated: Jussier Formiga. It is the only loss on Figueredo’s record. He bounced back by winning two in a row, the most recent win coming last October – a first-round submission victory over Tim Elliott.
The Brazilian-born fighter currently trains at Benavidez’s previous gym – Team Alpha Male.
He comes into this fight three years younger, one-inch taller, and with a three-inch reach advantage over his opponent.
Known as a striker, Figueiredo has a capoeira-heavy fighting style. He has been active in mixed martial arts since 2012 and comes into this fight ranked as the UFC’s third-best flyweight.
Height: 5 ft. 6 in.
Reach: 68 in.
Jumping ship from Invicta FC to the UFC in the spring of 2019, Felicia Spencer has already had a wild UFC run.
Making her debut last year, Spencer fought and defeated Megan Anderson via first-round rear-naked choke submission.
Because of the lack of depth in the women’s featherweight division, Spencer was then given a shot against the women’s champion at that time, Cris Cyborg, last July at UFC 240. Spencer would last for all five rounds but would lose the bout via unanimous decision.
The Canadian fighter actually trains out of Florida with head coach Mike Lee at Jungle MMA. A former Invicta FC champion, Spencer boasts credentials such as a black belt in taekwondo and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. She has been fighting professionally since 2012.
Height: 5 ft. 10 in.
Reach: 73.2 in.
This will be Zarah Fairn’s first fight since last October when she made her UFC debut against Megan Anderson at UFC 243. Fairn lost the fight to Anderson when she tapped out to a rear-naked choke in the first round. The French fighter is affiliated with the Platinum gym and comes into this contest with a four-inch height advantage and a staggering 5.5-inch reach advantage over Felicia Spencer.
Ion “The Hulk” Cutelaba (15-4, 1 no-contest)
Height: 6 ft. 1 in.
Reach: 75 in.
This will be Ion Cutelaba’s eighth appearance in the octagon. At just 26-years of age, Cutelaba is coming off of the most marquee victory of his career – a win over Khalil Rountree, Jr. last September.
He won the fight by first-round TKO. Prior to that, Cutelaba has had trouble against bigger names, losing to the likes of Glover Texeira, Jared Cannonier, and Misha Cirkunov during his time with the UFC. He is 4-3 with the promotion.
Born in Moldova, Cutelaba is known for his grappling, training in the styles of judo, sambo, and Greco-Roman wrestling. He trains out of his home country with the Timoshkov Sport Club and has been fighting professionally since 2012.
Height: 6 ft. 2 in.
Reach: 75 in.
Magomed Ankalaev has been a part of the UFC since the spring of 2018. He made his debut against Paul Craig but tapped out to a triangle choke in the third round with just one second left on the clock. Since losing his debut, however, Ankalaev has gone on to win his next three-fights in a row and his three-fight winning streak is now on the line against Cutelaba.
The Dagestani fighter comes into this fight one-year older and one-inch taller than his opponent. He trains out of Russia with Gorets gym. Like his opponent, he has a lot of judo experience, boasting a master of sport in the discipline. He also has an international master of sport in MMA. He has been fighting professionally since 2014 and is a former WFC Akhmat light heavyweight champion.
Height: 6 ft.
Reach: 72.5 in.
Since joining the UFC promotion in 2018, Megan Anderson has struggled to gain any momentum.
Losing her debut against former champion Holly Holm, Anderson has gone 2-2 in the UFC. Her most recent fight came last October at UFC 243 where she faced off against Zarah Fairn Dos Santos.
Anderson won the fight in the first round via triangle choke submission. Prior to that win, Anderson had lost via submission to this event’s co-headliner Felicia Spencer (who, coincidentally, is facing the woman that Anderson most recently defeated).
Standing at 6-feet tall, Anderson will stand five inches taller than her opponent. The Australian fighter trains with Glory MMA and has a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. She is also a former Invicta FC featherweight champion.
Height: 5 ft. 7 in.
Not much is known about Anderson’s opponent, Norma Dumont Viana, as she will be making her UFC debut Saturday night after having just four professional fights under her belt. With that said, she has won all four of her fights, two via decision and two via submission. The Brazilian-born fighter trains in her home country with the Gordin Fight Team and all of her fights to date have taken place in Brazil. She will be at a height disadvantage and updated statistics about her reach could not be found. Viana has not fought since the summer of 2018.
Gabriel “Gabito” Silva (8-1)
Height: 5 ft. 4 in.
Reach: 71 in.
Gabriel Silva is a Brazilian fighter who will be fighting in the second UFC bout of his career this Saturday. Silva was undefeated before joining the UFC, but he came up short in his debut where he was defeated via unanimous decision by former title challenger Ray Borg. Silva trains out of Rio de Janeiro with the Team Nogueira gym. He has a one-inch reach advantage in this fight but stands four inches shorter than his opponent.
Height: 5 ft. 8 in.
Reach: 70.5 in.
Kyler Phillips is a California-born fighter who will be making just his second UFC appearance this Saturday. Phillips was featured on Dana White’s Contender Series, where he had a first-round TKO victory.
He would lose his UFC debut in early 2018 by majority decision to Brad Katona. He then fought outside of the UFC, going 1-1 in his last two fights. He is coming off of a first-round head kick knockout for the LFA promotion. He fights out of Phoenix, Arizona, and trains with the MMA Lab.
A featherweight bout between Chas Skelly and Grant Dawson canceled once before, was rescheduled to this date, but it was announced that Skelly was injured during training and forced to pull out. The UFC is searching for a replacement opponent for Dawson.
Dan Hooker def. Paul Felder via split-decision.
Jimmy Crute def. Michal Oleksiejczuk via kimura submission (Round 1).
Yan Xiaonan def. Karolina Kowlakiewicz via unanimous decision.
Moarcos Rogerio de Lima def. Ben Sosoli via TKO (Round 1).
Brad Riddell def. Magomed Mustafaev via split-decision.
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Ryan Bristlon is a Canadian writer currently residing in Hamilton, Ontario. He studied print and broadcast journalism at Humber College and has been a lifelong fan of the sport of hockey and the NHL.
Email: [email protected]More info on Ryan Bristlon
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