Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 262, Tony Ferguson (25-5) meets Beneil Dariush (20-4-1) in a pivotal matchup in the lightweight division. El Cucuy is looking to snap a two-fight losing streak while Dariush looks to get closer to the UFC‘s top five.
From 2013 to 2019, Tony Ferguson was perfect inside the octagon. El Cucuy was a perfect 12-0 and even captured the interim UFC lightweight title during his run. Ferguson fought and defeated a who’s who of the lightweight division.
Some of the wins on his resume include Edson Barboza, Rafael Dos Anjos, Kevin Lee, Anthony Pettis, and Donald Cerrone. Despite all of these wins and an interim title stint, Ferguson never got his shot at the undisputed UFC lightweight title.
Ferguson was paired with Khabib Nurmagomedov several times, but the fight always fell through. Most recently at UFC 249. Ferguson was supposed to get his shot, but instead, he faced Justin Gaethje for the interim title. Gaethje defeated Ferguson and snapped his winning streak.
At UFC 256, Ferguson was dominated by Charles Oliveira and now El Cucuy finds himself in a difficult spot. Facing his third straight defeat and he has a hungry contender in front of him.
Beneil Dariush comes into UFC 262 having won six fights in a row. His last victory was a split decision over Diego Ferrier back in February. This is the biggest fight of his career and a win of Ferguson would prove that he belongs amongst the lightweight elite.
UFC 262 Prediction
When Tony Ferguson fought Charles Oliveira, he was completely dominated on the ground. At UFC 256, Oliveira took Ferguson down at will and El Cucuy really couldn’t do anything to get up.
That is really concerning when considering this matchup. Dariush fights with a ton of forward pressure and his grappling is very good. If he can ground Ferguson tomorrow night, he might be able to ride out a decision victory.
On the feet, you’d have to give the advantage to Ferguson. Ferguson has been training at Wild Card and he’s really been working on his hands. Dariush has really solid power, but the fluidity of the striking is in favor of El Cucuy.
If you were to ask me who would win this fight a year ago, I would’ve probably laughed. No disrespect to Beneil Dariush, but I considered Ferguson to be the second best lightweight on the planet.
However, I don’t know what were going to get from him at UFC 262. I do know what were getting from Beneil Dariush. We are getting a hungry fighter who has the grappling ability to neutralize Tony Ferguson. If we get classic El Cucuy, I’d pick Ferguson, but the unknown has me leaning towards Dariush.
Prediction: Beneil Dariush by Split Decision