UFC 259 Preview: Joseph Benavidez – Askar Askarov

Daniel Cunningham
Joseph Benavidez, UFC
USA Today

On Saturday night, we will see arguably the most stacked PPV card in history. Words cannot express how deep and talented the card is for UFC 259. If you need any proof, just take a look at the prelims.

One of the prelims that I’m the most excited about is this contest in the UFC‘s flyweight division. The second ranked contender in the division and former title challenger, Joseph Benavidez (28-7) will be taking on the native of Dagestan, Askar Askarov (12-0-1).

Askarov is ranked third so this is a matchup of two of the UFC‘s top three at flyweight. It’s not even the featured prelim which tells you a lot about this stacked card. For Benavidez, he will be looking to bounce back after a rough 2020.

When 2020 started, it looked like Benavidez finally had his best chance to capture UFC gold. With Henry Cejudo vacating the flyweight title, Benavidez was booked to take on Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) in February.

Benavidez fell short in that one, but since Figueiredo missed weight, the UFC ran the fight back. Unfortunately, Benavidez was dominated in the rematch. Now, he’s looking to reset. Benavidez is one of the greatest fighters in history to have never captured a world title.

He’s one of the best, but he’s going to have his hands full on Saturday. Askar Askarov is one of the more exciting prospects at flyweight. You already know how talented the pool of fighters from Dagestan is. Askarov is no different.

Askarov will be making the walk to the octagon for the fourth time. In his debut, he fought to a draw with top contender, Brandon Moreno. After that draw he’s defeated Tim Elliot and Alexandre Pantoja to earn this shot at UFC 259 against Benavidez.

UFC 259 Prediction

When it comes to this flyweight matchup at UFC 259, I’m very curious to see how Benavidez looks. When you look at the skillsets of both men, Benavidez is going to have the speed advantage on the feet.

For Benavidez to be successful, he’s going to have to jump in and out and have his footwork on point. He needs to use his speed to try and fluster Askarov. For Askarov, he cannot get impatient in this fight.

He needs to be deliberate and he needs to be focused. Askarov is really good at counter striking and he’s going to have the power advantage. If he plots forward due to frustration, I see Benavidez getting the better of the striking while catching Askarov coming in.

However, if Benavidez has to come in all night and Askarov remains patient, I could see him landing a big shot that ends the fight. The grappling should be fun to watch and I’d give the slight advantage to Askarov.

A lot of money is coming in on the undefeated Russian and I understand it. However, it’s still worth noting that Benavidez has only lost to some of the best in the world. I think his speed is going to be enough and I think he just barely edges out a decision on Saturday night.

Prediction: Joseph Benavidez by Split Decision