Weight Class: Lightweight (155lbs)
Beneil Dariush heads into this fight with the veteran Scott Holtzman with plenty of momentum. Dariush – now 31 – is riding a four fight winning streak. This includes his most recent victory, a walk off KO against Drakkar Klose at UFC 248. The KO earned the Iranian born Dariush a performance of the night bonus and a spot in the rankings.
As for Scott Holtzman, he is also coming off of a bonus winning performance. The Tennessee native most recently won a fight of the night scrap with the veteran Jim Miller back in February. The win marked two in a row for Holtzman as well as five of his last six, the last loss being a unanimous decision to Nik Lentz in February of 2019. All told, Holtzman is 7-3 in the UFC with losses to Lentz, Josh Emmett and Drew Dober respectively.
Stylistically, Scott Holtzman is a pressure fighter. He will be content to box and has solid defensive wrestling. The path to victory for Holtzman will likely be to rock Dariush and either put him out or do enough to squeeze out a decision. The path is certainly there, as Beneil Dariush has been rocked as recently as his last fight. Drakkar Klose clocked the Iranian and had him backed up against the fence before a vicious counter hook stumbled Klose. Dariush then pounced on the opportunity and brutally KO’d Klose, knocking his mouthpiece clean out.
So while a great win for Beneil Dariush, it highlighted the potential path to victory for Holtzman. Dariush himself acknowledged this, saying “that was wild, let’s stick to the game plan next time,” in a tweet.
With that aside, Dariush has more elements to his game than Holtzman. His submission offense is top class and he almost submitted Klose in the first after having his back for the entire round. While Holtzman has decent wrestling, I don’t see him being able to defend submissions as brilliantly as Klose did. His path to victory will be via his hands.
On the feet, Dariush has great head movement and quick combinations. He was able to piece up Frank Camacho before employing a take down at the opportune time. This is what makes Beneil Dariush such a good fighter, his high fight IQ. Dariush will likely get some grappling control in this fight and Holtzman will have to be very conscious of the submission threat.
Holtzman will also have to worry about his gas tank more at age 35. While Dariush has also overextended himself at times, I see him being laser focused in this one. He will know what Holtzman’s path to victory will be and will look for the perfect opportunity to implement the ground game.
At these odds, (-178 moneyline with FanDuel Sportsbook), Beneil Dariush is a great value. A double chance, points or submission might be worthwhile, but the line is solid enough to bet as is. This is up from (-152) a few weeks back and I could see it getting close to -200 come close. I’m going with Beneil Dariush moneyline, just more paths to victory for him.