Beneil Dariush and Diego Ferreira will meet once again in what projects to be an absolute banger of a fight at UFC Vegas 18. Both fighters have improved drastically since their first clash back in 2014. Dariush, who is currently ranked #13, emerged victorious via unanimous decision in the first match-up. Though it was unanimous, the fight was very close. For the second match-up, both fighters are on a great run in the lightweight division and a win here could propel either fighter to a bout with a top five opponent.
Ferreira is actually higher up in terms of the rankings, currently holding down the #10 spot. The Brazilian heads to Vegas riding a six fight winning streak, having last picked up a win over Anthony Pettis last January. Ferreira won via submission in round two but was never really in trouble. He has also knocked out Kyle Nelson and Jared Gordon on his current run to go along with unanimous decision wins against Rustam Khaboliv and Mairbeck Taisumov.
Though once known primarily for his grappling, Ferreira has excellent kickboxing and has really put it together over the last few years. He should have an edge in volume over Dariush and keeps consistent pressure while keeping his guard high. On the ground he has dangerous submissions, though the jiu-jitsu of these two will likely cancel out.
As for Dariush, he heads to Vegas with an impressive winning streak of his own. “Benny” Dariush has won five in a row, including two highlight reel knockouts over his last two. He last knocked out Scott Holtzman via spinning backfist in August, a fight in which his striking looked as good as it’s ever looked. The Iranian is very dynamic on the feet and will mix up his attacks very well. He also has great power and I’d have to give the power edge to him in this one as well.
Prior to the win over Holtzman, Dariush secured one of the most insane comeback victories in recent memory when he KO’d Drakker Close at UFC 248. Dariush was wobbled before returning with a combination of his own, punching Klose across the Octagon and then knocking him out flush with a hook. As a result, there is a-lot of momentum on Dariush right now, who also picked up wins over Drew Dober and Thiago Moises on this current run.
This is a tough fight to pick between two very evenly matched fighters, but I have to go with Dariush. He has more tough to measure dynamics on his side, such as activity level, momentum and most importantly, opponent quality. Both of these guys belong in the top 15 and have notable wins, but the current winning streak for Dariush is next level impressive. An over the hill Anthony Pettis is the most notable win for Ferreira, which can’t be discounted, but it’s a mixed bag before that.
Either guy could find a way to submit the other here, and I do think that Ferreira could land more, but Dariush sets up his power shoots expertly. I do think he will be landing the highlight blows of this fight and will either get another knockout or win via decision.
Gambling wise, this fight is essentially a pick em’. Money has come in on Dariush, who currently sits as a (-118) moneyline favorite on FanDuel. I like this a-lot for a straight bet and actually managed to get him at evens.