Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight contenders Beneil Dariush and Mateusz Gamrot will square off this weekend (Saturday, October 22, 2022) at UFC 280 inside the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, UAE United Arabs.
Dariush almost feels like the forgotten contender at 155 pounds. Sure, his biggest win over Tony Ferguson doesn’t age very well, but Dariush still crushed seven straight foes. It’s no easy task, but between Alexander Volkanovski and Michael Chandler’s attempts to pass him, it’s safe to say Dariush needs an impressive finish here. Conversely, Gamrot is rapidly moving up the lightweight ladder. He brought a solid resume to his UFC debut in 2020, and after a slight hiccup there, he’s string together four solid wins to prove he’s a Top 10 talent.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key wins: Carlos Diego Ferreira (UFC Vegas 18), Tony Ferguson (UFC 262), Drakkar Klose (UFC 248), Rashid Magomedov (UFC Fight Night 98), Drew Dober (UFC Fight Night 146)
Key losses: Edson Barboza (UFC Fight Night 106), Alexander Hernandez (UFC 222), Michael Chiesa (UFC on FOX 19)
Keys to Victory: Dariush entered the UFC as a jiu-jitsu expert with a surprisingly strong fight. Under the tutelage of Rafael Cordeiro, he developed some naughty Muay Thai fairly quickly to complement his skills on the ground, and he is now very capable of cold punching his opponents.
For my money, Dariush is the best kickboxer here. It certainly hits harder! Gamrot has the smoothest movement, but the answer to this problem lies in Dariush’s brutal left kick. Gamrot actively changes stance and feint, but a few well-timed low kicks could discourage that part of his game. Or, Dariush could look to time Gamrot’s orthodox change with a kick to the liver.
Either way, Dariush is more consistently able to hurt opponents on their feet with his multitude of attacks from the left side. If he’s the one to win the kickboxing rallies, that puts extra pressure on Gamrot to shoot. Both men can fall out with anyone in the division, but if Gamrot is forced to take some bad shots, that’s probably Dariush’s easiest path to the top spot.
Registration: 21-1 (1)
Main wins: Arman Tsarukyan (UFC Vegas 57), Carlos Diego Ferreira (UFC Vegas 45), Scott Holtzman (UFC Vegas 23), Jeremy Stephens (UFC Vegas 31)
Key losses: Guram Kutateladze (UFC Fight Island 6)
Keys to Victory: Gamrot rises through the ranks with talent and style. He can wrestle as well as anyone in the division, but Gamrot sets up his shots from different angles and seamlessly transitions from kickboxing to wrestling perhaps better than any of his peers.
Dariush is not an easy man to outsmart. In fact, he ends up eliminating many wrestlers who expect to impose this game plan on him. Probably, these two are going to have a hard time landing and securing takedowns on each other. That doesn’t mean Gamrot shouldn’t give it a try though.
Perhaps Gamrot’s biggest advantage in this game is conditioning and pace. Dariush doesn’t come to fights out of shape, but he’s never been one to use rhythm as a weapon. He has already slowed down in three fights.
Conversely, Gamrot cocked his cardio to great Tsarukyan effect, finding more success in the second half of the fight than the first. He’ll probably have to do the same here, constantly forcing Dariush out until the tide turns in his favor.
Maybe it’s a title eliminator?
Lightness is complicated. There should be a champion by the end of this weekend, but even so, the order of contenders is unclear. Volkanovski has a legitimate case for jumping the line, and maybe it’s happening? Alternatively, Chandler has the star power to jump if he beats Dustin Poirier, and Conor McGregor could confusingly find himself in a lightweight title fight at any time.
The winner of this fight certainly deserves a shot at undisputed gold more than anyone. Both men are off to considerable winning streaks and in their early 30s, clearly at the peak of their careers. Let’s hope no politics interfere, because any combination of Dariush, Gamrot, Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev sounds electric!
At UFC 280, Beneil Dariush and Mateusz Gamrot will go to war. Which man will be victorious?
remember that MMAmania.com will provide live, round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 280 fight card right herestarting with the first ESPNEWS/ESPN+ Online “Preliminaries” matches, which are due to start at 10 a.m. ET, then the rest of the undercard (also on ESPNEWS/ESPN+) at 12:00 p.m. ET, prior to the PPV main card start time at 2:00 p.m. ET on ESPN+ VPP.
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