The second fight on the ESPN prelims for UFC 259 was the flyweight contest between Joseph Benavidez (28-7) and Askar Askarov (13-0-1). Askarov missed weight by one pound which forced him to forfeit a portion of his fight purse to Benavidez.
For Benavidez, he was looking to turn things around after a rough 2020. 2020 started with Benavidez getting a shot at the UFC flyweight title. Benavidez was stopped in the second round, but Deiveson Figueiredo missed weight so the title was still up for grabs.
The UFC decided to have the two rematch in July and Benavidez was dominated even more by the now champion. Having lost two in a row, Benavidez needed a win to get back on the right track. He is still the second ranked flyweight contender in the world.
Coming in at number three in the rankings was his opponent, Askar Askarov. As mentioned, Askarov missed weight for UFC 259. This is the fourth time Askarov is making the walk to the octagon. So far, he’s 2-0-1 with wins over Alexandre Pantoja and Tim Elliot.
UFC 259 Recap
The UFC 259 flyweight kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Both men started flat footed just trying to gauge the time. Askarov starts the striking with a strong front kick. Benavidez looks for a 1-2 but he was a bit out of range.
Benavidez pushes forward with a big left that misses. Askarov pops Benavidez with a big right cross. Another powerful front kick lands for Askarov. Benavidez was winding up looking for big shots, but he was throwing a little too far away.
Askarov pushes forward and Benavidez lands a beautiful counter right hand. Benavidez then lands a nice 1-2, but Askarov counters with a massive right hand. That right hand looked like it hurt Benavidez.
Both men then exchanged calf kicks. Benavidez closes the distance and lands a couple of shots. Askarov then lands a couple of big counter shots. A couple of jabs from Askarov land and he uses that to chain into a clinch.
Benavidez forced a scramble, but the two ended up back against the fence. Askarov slams Benavidez to the ground just before the round ends. It’s 1-0 Askar Askov at UFC 259 after round 1.
The two top UFC flyweights went right back at it to start the second round. Benavidez was using more feints to start the second and he starts his striking with a big low kick. Another big calf kick lands for Benavidez.
A couple of massive shots land for Benavidez against the fence. He starts swinging for the fences, but a massive counter shot lands for Askarov. Benavidez is wobbled, but stays on his feet. A couple of additional big shots land for Askar Askarov.
The two then clinched and Askarov slammed Benavidez to the ground. Benavidez used the fence to work his way back up to his feet, but Askarov put him right back down. Again, Benavidez worked his way back up along the fence.
Askarov was looking for the rear-naked choke while the two were against the fence. However, Benavidez was showing off great submission defense. Every scramble that Benavidez tried didn’t work and Askarov stayed on top of him. Second round comes to a close at it’s 2-0 Askarov at UFC 259.
Entering the final round at UFC 259 and Joseph Benavidez needed a finish. Benavidez starts the striking with a low kick. A clean head kick lands for Askarov, but he didn’t throw a ton of power behind it.
Another calf kick lands for Benavidez. Benavidez was looking for an entry, but couldn’t find one. Askarov lands a clean left straight and he started showing off a bit. A nice jab lands for Askar Askarov.
Benavidez throws a big power shot, but it doesn’t land. Askarov makes him eat a 1-2 for his troubles. Halfway through the round and Benavidez needs to get something going. Another headkick lands for Askarov.
Benavidez was looking very frustrated in the cage, but he lands another calf kick. He steps forward and lands a big right hand. Askarov pops him with a jab as they get back to distance. One minute left in the fight and Benavidez was struggling with the distance.
Benavidez was pushing forward trying to find a finishing shot. The two come together and Benavidez lands a big right hand, but it didn’t phase Askarov. Nothing significant lands in the final thirty seconds. The final round could go either way, but this is a clear win for Askar Askarov at UFC 259.
Askar Askarov def. Joseph Benavidez by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)