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UFC 255 preview: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Alex Perez


UFC 255 preview: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Alex Perez

Another title bout is coming up in the UFC as Deiveson Figueiredo and Alex Perez face off for the Flyweight Championship at UFC 255. Will defending champion Figueiredo succeed in his first attempt to retain the belt, or can Perez pull off a fourth successive victory to become the new champion? Read on to inform your Figueiredo vs. Perez predictions.

Event: UFC 255

Date: November 21, 2020

Venue: UFC APEX (Las Vegas, US)

Figueiredo vs. Perez: Tale of the tape

Deiveson Figueiredo

Fighter

Alex Perez

32

Age

28

165 cm

Height

168 cm

57 kg

Weight

56 kg

173 cm

Reach

165 cm

8-1-0

UFC record

7-1-0

19-1-0

Overall MMA record

24-5-0

52%

Striking accuracy

49%

Champion

UFC ranking

#4

Figueiredo was initially slated to take on former UFC Bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt for this bout, until the latter was forced to withdraw due to a bicep injury. Perez was promoted to the headline bout on October 2, having been originally listed to fight Brandon Moreno at this event himself.

This is the first bout at which Figueiredo has attempted to defend the Flyweight Championship since claiming the vacant belt at the expense of Joseph Benavidez at UFC Fight Night 172 in July. That fight was actually the second time this year that Figueiredo had to beat Benavidez to become champion, having initially done so on his first attempt at UFC Fight Night 169 in February before being denied the title as he came in 2.5 pounds overweight.

These two victories mean that Figueiredo’s nine UFC and 20 MMA bouts to date can sport just a solitary defeat and moved him into the top 15 of the men’s pound-for-pound rankings for the first time at #14. Figueiredo’s current four-fight winning streak has also produced a Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night award apiece.

Meanwhile, despite occasionally flirting with Bantamweight bouts, Perez has slowly but surely established himself as a daunting Flyweight opponent and enters this fight ranked #4 in the division and following back-to-back Performance of the Night awards. Benavidez is the only man to best Perez in a UFC Flyweight bout and five of his seven UFC victories to date were secured in the opening round.

Figueiredo has been in particularly boastful form in the build-up to the fight, claiming: “They put Alex Perez in and I don’t see many qualities in him. Based on what I’ve seen, Alex Perez’s style favours me. He’s slow and I see no danger in him, and that’s why I’m training to knock him out in the first round.”

On the contrary, Perez has predicted that proceedings will last longer: “I think it’s going to be the Fight of the Night. I don’t take a step back and he doesn’t either, so I’m expecting a five-round war. I’ve been five rounds before, so I know the cardio can hold up, and I’ve seen him go to a decision a few times. It’s going to be a standup battle I think.”

Analysing the Figueiredo vs. Perez odds

Figueiredo is the favourite with just under a 73% likelihood of emerging victorious according to the market at 1.323*, whereas Perez is priced at 3.500*, equating to an approximate 27% chance.

Figueiredo has been priced shorter than the average closing odds for his last five bouts of 1.83. Of those, he was favoured on three occasions, winning two, and beat his opponents in both of the fights when he was the underdog. Notably, Figueiredo’s odds are largely unaccustomed to significant movements – for four of his last five fights, they moved between open and close by a margin of 0.1 or less.

However, irrespective of whether his odds back him to win the fight, more often than not they lengthen ahead of fight night. This suggests you may secure narrowly better value by holding off on any bets until nearer November 21.

Conversely, Perez’s odds put him in uncharted territory. He closed at a significantly shorter average of 1.632 for his last five bouts (which produced four wins and the aforementioned loss to Benavidez), among which he was favourite on every occasion. Furthermore, a price of 3.500* indicates he has a weaker chance of defeating Figueiredo than any of his last five opponents.

Similarly to Figueiredo, Perez’s odds generally avoid substantial fluctuations, and have not exceeded a movement of 0.2 between open and close ahead of his last five fights. They tend to shorten more often than they lengthen, suggesting those confident of an apparently unlikely victory should place their bets sooner rather than later.

Figueiredo vs. Perez: Fighting styles analysed

Figueiredo adopts an Orthodox stance with a broadly straightforward style which involves attempting to punch out his opponent, leading almost exclusively with his fists and aiming for his opponent’s head with 69% of his attacks. This regularly pays dividends – just three of Figueiredo’s 19 MMA victories thus far lasted the distance, and none of his nine knockout wins progressed further than the second round.

When not knocking out his competitors, this strategy often proves effective at flooring them, at which point he is capable of deploying his decent grappling skills. Figueiredo has earned seven MMA submission victories and is yet to lose in such a manner, and he boasts a knockdown ratio of 1.03 and 2.27 submissions per 15 minutes compared to 0.87 and 1.16 respectively for Perez.

However, it is worth noting that Figueiredo’s all-out approach is led by a palpable reliance on quality over quantity. He records just 2.43 significant strikes landed per minute alongside a striking accuracy of 52%, indicating that he feels he doesn’t require many hits on his opponent to cause significant damage.

His defensive abilities are also deceptively impressive. While significant strike and takedown defence rates of 56% and 59% respectively aren’t much to shout about on the surface, he has frequently proved his capability to punch his way out of threatening situations.

As his quotes suggest, Perez is an arguable specialist at crafting out victories over the distance and half of his 24 MMA victories were achieved via decision. He tends to opt for an aggressive approach with the intention of controlling the fight, almost doubling Figueiredo for significant strikes landed per minute with 4.69 and attempting an average of 3.20 takedowns every 15 minutes.

Perez records a similar striking accuracy (49%) and grappling accuracy (50%) to Figueiredo, meaning the most useful weapon in his arsenal for this bout could prove to be his impressive defensive stats. While he absorbs more significant strikes (3.27 per minute), he easily bests his opponent with significant strike and takedown defence rates of 62% and 88% respectively and has lost just once in his last 12 fights.

With this in mind, it would be unsurprising to see Perez adopt an approach where he predominantly focuses on landing more hits on Figueiredo throughout the bout in a bid to land a points victory. While he would be somewhat justified to feel confident about restricting Figueiredo’s opportunities to take the fight to the floor, he will nonetheless require a composed defensive performance to avoid the wrath of his awesome fists.

A potentially important component of the bout could also be how effectively both fighters react to the change in line ups, and the fact that they will now have only half the time than originally planned to analyse their opponent. Perez’s arguably superior versatility could hand him a small advantage on this front.

Figueiredo vs. Perez: Where is the value?

Figueiredo’s status as firm favourite can largely be attributed to the fact that he is simply very good at what he does best. He is undoubtedly the most formidable puncher within the Flyweight division and has an established track record of combining this attribute with developed wrestling abilities to devastating effect. Perhaps more obviously, he has won all but one of his fights to date.

For those confident he will comply with market expectations, an early knockout win seems the obvious value bet. There is nothing significant to suggest he will deviate from his preferred strategy of attempting to punch out his opponent as quickly as possible, and just one of his last 10 MMA wins lasted the distance. In the same run, he earned five TKO punch-led victories.

Likewise, a Perez win and the bout being settled by decision seem well-placed to go hand-in-hand. Not only is it Perez’s most promising route to victory, but his adaptable skill set should enable him to begin to control proceedings if he successfully navigates Figueiredo’s initial onslaught. However, this will require a near flawless performance in every department.

*Odds subject to change

 

 


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