UFC flyweight contender Deiveson Figueiredo is headed to Abu Dhabi after all.
According to his manager, Wallid Ismail, Figueiredo was cleared to fly to Abu Dhabi late Saturday night after testing negative for COVID-19. There was concern the Brazilian would not be allowed to fight next weekend against Joseph Benavidez for the vacant flyweight title after he recently tested positive for the coronavirus.
However, Ismail said Figueiredo, who had COVID-19 two months ago, took another test Saturday morning and passed it, clearing the way for his flight to Abu Dhabi. The belief is now that Figueiredo produced a false positive test.
Figueiredo will fly from Sao Paulo to Paris to Abu Dhabi Monday afternoon, Ismail said. He will arrive in Abu Dhabi late Tuesday evening and will have to weigh 125 pounds come Friday afternoon at the official weigh-ins.
This is significant because when Figueiredo and Benavidez fought in February, Figueiredo missed weight by 2.5 pounds. As a result, Figueiredo was not crowned champion when he knocked out Benavidez the following night, thus leaving the belt vacant and forcing the UFC to book an immediate rematch.
According to Ismail, Figueiredo weighed "a little bit less than 135" pounds on Sunday. The manager said Figueiredo weighed 145 on the Sunday before their first fight.
Upon landing in Abu Dhabi Tuesday evening, Figueiredo will be asked to take two more COVID-19 tests and quarantine in his room for approximately 48 hours. He'll have to take another test following Friday's weigh-ins, too.
The UFC also booked a flyweight fight between Alexandre Pantoja and Askar Askarov on the card as a backup in case something happened to Figueiredo or Benavidez. The belief is Pantoja would be the first to get the call to fight in the main event should the opportunity arise.
The flyweight title fight, scheduled for July 18, will headline the UFC's third event on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi this month.