UFC Vegas 26 Preview: Gregor Gillespie – Diego Ferreira

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC Vegas 26, we will see a lightweight showdown between two top 15 contenders. Diego Ferreira (17-3) will look to bounce back as he takes on ‘The Gift’ Gregor Gillespie (13-1).

One thing to note about this contest tomorrow is the fact that Ferreira missed weight. The fighters took to the scales today and Ferreira missed weight badly coming in at 160.5 pounds. 4.5 pounds over the lightweight limit.

The UFC announced that Ferreira would be giving up 30% of his purse and the fight goes on. The last time we saw Ferreira was in February when he took on Beneil Dariush. It was the second time the two men had faced off in the UFC and Dariush won both times.

That loss for Ferreira snapped a six-fight win streak. Prior to that, Ferreira had defeated former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in early 2020. The only two men to defeat Ferreira in his career is Dariush and top contender Dustin Poirier.

Gregor Gillespie is looking to join that list tomorrow night. This is the first time that we are seeing Gillespie in the UFC since his knockout loss to Kevin Lee that took place at UFC 244 in 2019.

Prior to that loss, Gillespie had dominated every opponent he faced inside the octagon. Gillespie is one of the best pure wrestlers in the lightweight division and he’s going to try and use that tomorrow night.

UFC Vegas 26 Prediction

The missed weight for Diego Ferreira adds in a new aspect to this matchup at UFC Vegas 26. You had to know going into this fight that Gillespie is going to look to push the pace early and engage in the grappling.

That’s what Beneil Dariush did and it worked well against Ferreira. I believe that Gillespie has improved striking, but there’s no questioning as to where he wants this fight to take place. Now, Ferreira does have very good submissions as seven of his career wins have come via submission.

However, I’m not sure how he’ll do if he’s on the bottom against someone like Gillespie. The hard weight cut and the pressure from Gillespie might be too much at UFC Vegas 26. If Ferreira wins tomorrow, I think it’s because he pulls off a submission from his back.

I think Gregor Gillespie is going to get this fight to the mat. His wrestling and strength is just too good and I expect him to land takedowns. How Ferreira responds will be the key. He almost locked up Dariush a few times, and he can catch Gillespie if he’s sloppy. However, I don’t see it happening.

Prediction: Gregor Gillespie by Unanimous Decision

UFC books Gregor Gillespie – Diego Ferreira

The UFC has finalized a matchup between two top fifteen lightweights. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report that the promotion was finalizing a matchup between Gregor Gillespie (13-1) and Diego Ferreira (17-3).

The matchup will take place in a few weeks at a UFC Fight Night on May 8th. For Gillespie, this will be his first matchup since November of 2019. Gillespie was supposed to fight a couple of weeks ago, however, due to COVID issues with the opposing corner, the fight was called off.

Gillespie wanted to get rebooked as soon as possible given how long he’s been off. The UFC went to work and found Gillespie a top fifteen opponent in Diego Ferreira.

The last time we saw Gillespie was at UFC 244 when he took on Kevin Lee. That fight was a big step up for Gillespie and it was looked at as his first big challenge inside the octagon. Gillespie had a perfect 13-0 record overall including six wins inside the octagon heading into that matchup.

Of course, we all have seen how that fight turned out. Kevin Lee scored a highlight reel knockout over Gillespie at UFC 244. Gillespie is itching to get back on track towards the top ten and Diego Ferreira is a great place to start.

UFC bounce back for Ferreira

Quietly, Diego Ferreira has been one of the better lightweights in the UFC since he made his debut back in 2014. Since he made his debut, Ferreira has gone 7-3 inside the octagon.

However, the three losses came to Beneil Darius (twice) and Dustin Poirier. The last time we saw Ferreira was back in February when he had his rematch with Beneil Dariush.

Dariush was able to use his superior grappling to pickup the decision win. The loss snapped a six-fight win streak in the UFC for Ferreira. Ferreira went into that matchup coming off of a submission over former UFC lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis.

This is a fantastic addition to the card on May 8th. Both of these lightweight contenders need a bounce back win. Whoever walks out of the cage with their hand raised is likely looking at a fringe top ten opponent next.

What’s next for Beneil Dariush after UFC Vegas 18?

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 18, Beneil Dariush (20-4-1) took on Diego Ferreira (17-3) for the second time. The two had previously met back in 2014 and Dariush handed Ferreira his first career loss at UFC 179.

Both men were carrying in five-plus fight winning streaks into Saturday night. Ferreira has improved so much from their first matchup, but there were a lot of questions around his inactivity and if he could deal with Dariush’s style.

The fight on Saturday was very similar to their matchup at UFC 179. Dariush was able to land several takedowns and control the majority of the fight on the ground. However, there were some spots where Ferreira did have some success.

Nevertheless, at the end of the day, Dariush walked away with the split decision. Although, I don’t think anyone outside of those judges believes that this fight at UFC Vegas 18 was all that close. Dariush picked up his sixth straight victory on Saturday night.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 18?

After the fight was over, Dariush made it clear that he wants someone in the UFC’s top five. Originally, Dariush was supposed to fight Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC) in October. However, Oliveira had to pull out of that matchup.

Dariush expressed his frustrations with Oliveira last week. While he’s likely not going to face Oliveira next, there are some top contenders out there for Beneil Dariush. Dariush is now ranked ninth in the lightweight division. 

A couple of options for Dariush are the two guys right in front of him. Dan Hooker (20-10) and Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13) both need opponents. In an ideal world, Dariush would get to face the former UFC lightweight champion, Dos Anjos, next.

However, Dan Hooker might be the more logical opponent. Hooker is coming off of back-to-back losses, but he’s got the name recognition that Dariush needs. Dariush needs a win in the UFC over someone with pop in their name. Pickup a win over Hooker and he’ll get a bump.

Another potential name could be Tony Ferguson (25-5), however, I don’t see that one happening either. No matter what, Dariush needs an opponent ranked above him next. He deserves that opportunity.

What’s next for Diego Ferreira after UFC Vegas 18 loss?

One of the more intriguing matchups this past weekend at UFC Vegas 18 was the lightweight battle between Diego Ferreira (17-3) and Beneil Dariush (20-4-1). Both men carried winning streaks into the cage of at least five on Saturday night.

These two had previously met back at UFC 179 in 2014. That night, Dariush was able to pickup the unanimous decision victory. After that initial fight, Ferreira would go on to lose to Dustin Poirier.

However, after that loss to Poirier, Ferreira won six straight fights heading into Saturday’s rematch. That winning streak found him ranked tenth in the UFC‘s lightweight rankings. A lot of money was coming in on Ferreira prior to Saturday night.

However, the fight would go very similarly to the first matchup. While Ferreira did have some success in the fight, he was mainly neutralized by Beneil Dariush. Dariush used his superior grappling to get timely takedowns which bagged him the rounds that he needed.

After three rounds, the two went to the scorecards at UFC Vegas 18. While it seemed clear to most that Dariush won the fight, the judges were split. However, ultimately the right call was made and Dariush picked up his second victory over Diego Ferreira.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 18?

As mentioned, this loss at UFC Vegas 18 snapped a six-fight win streak for Diego Ferreira. Despite the winning streak, there had been one knock on Ferreira over the last six years and that was his activity level.

Ferreira’s loss to Dustin Poirier came back in 2015. Since the start of 2016, Ferreira has only competed in the UFC seven times which means he’s barely averaging more than one fight per year. Ferreira has dealt with injuries, but he needs to become more active.

He just turned 36 years old and if he has any title aspirations in the UFC’s lightweight division, he needs to get more active. From here, the promotion has a couple of options, but I believe they’ll match him up with someone in the top 15.

Two options for Ferreira would be Kevin Lee (18-6) and Gregor Gillespie (13-1). Both of these contenders rank outside the top ten, but they are still in the top 15. Both are also coming off of losses just like Ferreira. I believe the UFC could matchup Ferreira with either of these contenders and it’d make for a great fight.

Beneil Dariush makes it 2-0 over Diego Ferreira at UFC Vegas 18

After kicking off 2021 in Fight Island, the UFC returned to their home APEX tonight for their 18th fight night. The second fight on the main card was a lightweight showdown and a rematch between Beneil Dariush (19-4-1) and Diego Ferreira (17-2).

The two men previously fought back in 2014 at UFC 179. That night, Dariush was able to walk away with a unanimous decision victory. Diego Ferreira is so much better than he was at UFC 179, but has he done enough to surpass Dariush?

Ferreira was riding a six-fight win streak heading into UFC Vegas 18. Only Dariush and Dustin Poirier have been able to defeat Ferreira. Meanwhile, he has wins over the likes of Anthony Pettis and Mairbek Taisumov.

Much like Diego Ferreira, Dariush also carried a winning streak into UFC Vegas 18. Dariush had won five fights in a row and he’s finished four straight opponents. Both men were looking to take that next step towards the lightweight elites this evening.

UFC Vegas 18 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 18 lightweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Ferreira got the striking stared with a body kick and Dariush threw a leg kick of his own. Dariush pushed forward and landed a solid 1-2 on Ferreira.

A minute into the round and Dariush shot in for a takedown. Ferreira defended well but let the fight go to the ground while he looked for a submission. After that didn’t work, the fight went back to the feet.

Both men were just standing in the pocket and trading. Dariush landed a massive knee to the body that buckled Ferreira. Ferreira folded and Dariush ended up on top, but he wasn’t able to get the finish.

Dariush settled into Ferreira’s guard with two minutes left in the round. Big shots were landed in the guard from Dariush. Ferreira was able to get to his feet with 30 seconds left in the round. He landed a massive right that wobbled Dariush, but it’s 1-0 Dariush at UFC Vegas 18.

Round 2

The second round at UFC Vegas 18 started with another touch of the gloves. Immediately both men started throwing heat. Dariush was heavy with the pressure in the opening minute of the round.

Ferreira was getting off better to start round two. Dariush shot in for a takedown, but Ferreira initially defended well. However, when they got along the fence, Dariush landed the takedown and got on top.

Ferreira tried to get up, however, Dariush was doing a good job of controlling him on the ground. Halfway through the round and Ferreira worked his way up, but he couldn’t get off the fence. Two minutes left in the round and Ferreira was able to separate.

However, Dariush immediately shot in and landed another takedown. This time, Ferreira was able to get right back up. After a brief exchange, Dariush landed another takedown. Dariush controlled Ferreira the rest of the round and it should be 2-0 Dariush at UFC Vegas 18.

Round 3

Heading into the final round at UFC Vegas 18 and Ferreira looked like he needed a finish. Ferreira did appear to be the fresher fighter entering the final round. He opened the striking with a couple of crisp shots up top.

Dariush was trying to keep Ferreira at range with his jab. One minute in and Dariush shot in for a takedown, but couldn’t get it. Once they were back striking, Dariush threw a body kick, but it landed low which paused the action.

Dariush was breathing heavy as the action resumed. However, he threw a couple of strong kicks once they were striking. Ferreira defended another takedown attempt well and the two kept striking. Dariush landed a massive left that snapped Ferreira’s head back.

However, Ferreira seemed to be getting the better of the striking. Ferreira kept looking for his 1-2 but he couldn’t find his power shots. Dariush looked gassed entering the final minute. However, he shot in deep for a takedown and landed it.

Dariush was able to get Ferreira’s back once the two men were on the ground. However, Ferreira was able to get back to his feet just before the round ended. Razor thin final round that I lean towards Ferreira. However, I think Dariush gets the nod at UFC Vegas 18.

Beneil Dariush def. Diego Ferreira by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

UFC Vegas 18 Preview: Diego Ferreira – Beneil Dariush

Kicking off the main card of UFC Vegas 18 is a banger in the lightweight division. Top 15 lightweights will battle it out in a rematch as Diego Ferreira (17-2) takes on Beneil Dariush (19-4-1).

The two of these men originally fought back at UFC 179 in 2014. That night, Dariush was able to pickup the unanimous decision. Dariush will carry a five-fight win streak into UFC Vegas 18.

It’s not just that Dariush has won five in a row, but it’s the fact that he’s finished four of those fights that’s been impressive. Dariush is one of the most underrated lightweights in the UFC.

The division is so stacked that people often forget about him. However, he’s banging on the door of the top ten and he has a good matchup in front of him to get him through that door. However, Diego Ferreira is not the same guy he was almost seven years ago when they first fought.

Like Dariush, Ferreira will also carry a win streak into UFC Vegas 18. However, Ferreira has won six in a row. Ferreira’s first career loss came against Dariush. After that fight, he was knocked out by Dustin Poirier. However, he hasn’t lost since then.

The win streak that Ferreira is on has been incredibly impressive. He’s defeated the likes of Anthony Pettis, Rustam Khabilov, and Mairbek Taisumov. Ferreira is so much better than he was when they first fought, but has he closed the gap enough since UFC 179?

UFC Vegas 18 Prediction

The odds for this lightweight matchup at UFC Vegas 18 are essentially a toss-up and for good reasons. Both of these lightweight contenders are carrying in a ton of momentum and both are incredibly talented.

When looking at the two of them, I believe that Dariush has more advantages. Ferreira has looked sensational in his last few fights, however, I’m not sure he has the striking style to beat Beneil Dariush.

Dariush is very good with striking from range and he carries a ton of power in his hands. Ferreira is more of a volume guy and he’s very square when he closes the distance which could be a problem against a guy like Beneil Dariush.

Another problem Ferreira is going to have is in the grappling. We’ve seen his pressure-like style chained together with his grappling frustrate opponents. However, that’s not going to be as effective in a fight against the better grappler in Dariush.

When these two meet at UFC Vegas 18. I see Dariush getting his hand raised. Overall, he’s the better striker and he showed in the first fight that he can out-grapple Ferreira. I believe he will still hold those advantages and I actually believe we will see a fifth straight Dariush finish tomorrow night.

Prediction: Beneil Dariush by TKO – Round 3

UFC: Beneil Dariush feels disrespected by Charles Oliveira

This weekend at UFC Vegas 18, Beneil Dariush (19-4-1) and Diego Ferreira (17-2) will battle it out in a rematch from 2014. That night, Dariush became the first man to defeat Ferreira in his professional career. The only other man do beat him is Dustin Poirier.

Dariush will enter the contest having won five fights in a row. He’s currently ranked thirteenth in the UFC‘s lightweight division while Ferreira is coming in at tenth. Should Dariush pickup the win, he will definitely receive another top ten opponent in his next fight.

One of the top ten contenders that Dariush wants to fight is Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC). Oliveira is on an eight-fight win streak and he’s currently ranked third in the UFC’s lightweight division. Oliveira is coming off of a big win against Tony Ferguson in December.

However, Ferguson wasn’t the original opponent for Oliveira in late 2020. Originally, Oliveira was supposed to fight Islam Makhachev at UFC 254. However, Makhachev had to pull out of the fight and that is where Dariush came into the picture.

The UFC ended up booking Oliveira – Dariush for October. Oliveira ended up pulling out of the fight. Once that happened, Dariush was left in limbo waiting for the Oliveira fight to come back together. That is where the frustration stems from in Dariush.

Could Dariush get back to Oliveira in the UFC?

Dariush had an interview with ESPN where he discussed his frustrations. He said, “One thing that really bothered me is that I was hearing he had some problems at home. I said, ‘I get it, I’ll wait, no problem.’ But at the same time, on his social media, this guy is calling out Tony Ferguson.”

We of course know that Oliveira ended up getting the fight at UFC 256 against Ferguson while Dariush remained on the sidelines. Dariush said he felt disrespected by the entire situation.

You have to feel for Dariush in this situation. The UFC called him and asked him to step up to take the Oliveira fight. Of course, he did then he was held out because of it while Oliveira got a massive fight with Tony Ferguson. Dariush has his chance now to make a big statement on Saturday night.

2021 UFC Breakthrough Candidates

UFC, Dana White

This past year, the UFC has seen a few fighters come out of no where and become household names. The two names that stick out the most are Kevin Holland (21-5) and Khamzat Chimaev (9-0).

Holland was already with the UFC when the year got started. However, Holland was just 3-2 in his first five fights. He came into 2020 coming off of a submission loss to Brendan Allen, but he showed in 2020 how special he could be.

Holland went a perfect 5-0 in 2020 with four finishes including one over Jacare Souza at UFC 256. Kevin Holland was a very popular pick for fighter of the year and he was our breakout fighter of the year.

Nobody really knew who Khamzat Chimaev was when 2020 started. There was some hype surrounding him in the Middle East, but to the mainstream public, nobody really knew who he was.

Chimaev made his UFC debut on Fight Island in July. He ended up fighting twice in ten days scoring two finishes in extremely dominant fashion. Chimaev followed those performances up with a knockout over Gerald Meerschaert in 17 seconds in September.

Khamzat Chimaev has gone from unknown to a superstar in just a few months. He was supposed to face Leon Edwards in January, but that fight has been pushed back due to Chimaev’s recovery since coming down with COVID-19.

2021 UFC Breakthrough Prospects

The mixed martial arts world and even the mainstream public knows Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland after 2020. So who are some candidates for breakthrough fighters in the UFC as we enter 2021?

One of the guys I have my eyes on is bantamweight, Jack Shore (13-0). The bantamweight from Wales has fought twice in the UFC and he’s scored two submissions wins. Out of his 13 professional wins, only one has gone to the scorecards.

He last fought back in July on Fight Island. That night, Shore took on Aaron Phillips and he used his superior grappling to dominate the fight. Shore has all the makings for a contender who can breakthrough for the UFC in 2021.

The next guy I have my eyes on is another fighter from Wales. This one is the two-division Cage Warriors champion, Mason Jones (10-0). Jones is scheduled to make his UFC debut on January 20th against Mike Davis (8-2).

There is a lot of hype surrounding Mason Jones. The last two-division Cage Warriors champion to breakthrough in UFC is Conor McGregor. Thus, you can see why a lot of people are interested in this young man.

Jones is just 25 years old, but he is incredibly talented. The UFC is not giving him a layup in his first fight however. Mike Davis is a very tough opponent who’s only two losses have come to Gilbert Burns and Sodiq Yusuff.

Ranked Fighters to Watch

While Jones and Shore are my two prospects that I’m watching, there are a couple of more established fighters I have my eyes on as we enter 2021. One of those fighters being Jimmy Crute (12-1).

The Australian light heavyweight is currently ranked 12th in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. He has dynamite in his hands and he’s very good on the ground. He bounced back from his first loss in 2019 to score two first round finishes in 2020.

Crute is just 24 years old and looks incredibly gifted. I would not be shocked to see Crute inching towards the top five once 2021 is over. The other fighter I have my eyes on is Diego Ferreira (17-2).

Okay, I’ll admit it, Ferreira is 35 years old and he’s been with the UFC for a long time. He doesn’t really fit in with the other three fighters I’ve listed so far. However, I have him on this list for a reason.

Ferreira is a guy that seems to get lost when folks talk about the lightweight division. The most exciting division in the sport is incredibly stacked. It’s so stacked that people forget that Ferreira is on a six-fight winning streak in the UFC.

He last fought in January and submitted Anthony Pettis in the second round. Ferreira is taking on Beneil Dariush (19-4-1) in February where he will look to avenge his first career loss. Outside of Dariush, the only man to defeat Ferreira inside the octagon is Dustin Poirier.

These are four fighters that I truly believe can establish themselves in the UFC this year. When I say establish, I mean become household names to not just the MMA world, but the general public. Keep your eyes on these fighters in 2021.

UFC books Beneil Dariush – Diego Ferreira 2

The UFC has booked another entertaining fight for their fight card on Super Bowl weekend. First reported by ESPN, lightweights Beneil Dariush (19-4-1) and Diego Ferreira (17-2) will go head-to-head.

This fight is actually a rematch from 2014. Their first fight took place back at UFC 179 and Dariush was able to pickup the unanimous decision victory. That was the first career loss for Diego Ferreira.

After that loss to Dariush, Ferreira would also lose his next fight which came against former UFC interim lightweight champion, Dustin Poirier. However, since that Poirier fight, nobody has defeated Ferreira inside the octagon.

The Brazilian lightweight has strung together six consecutive wins including wins including one over Anthony Pettis. This six-fight winning streak has found Ferreira ranked ninth in the lightweight division.

This is a big fight for Ferreira as he can avenge his first career loss and continue his march up the division’s rankings. Both men will be seeking an opponent near the UFC‘s top five if they are able to win on Super Bowl weekend.

UFC lightweight battle

Dariush will bring his own UFC winning streak to the octagon on February 6th. He has been able to win five straight fights, but the most impressive thing is that he will carry a four fight finishing streak into the cage.

Dariush did miss weight in his last fight against Scott Holtzman, but he made up for it in the eyes of the promotion. He had a brilliant spinning backfist knockout near the end of the first round back in August.

Dariush hit a little speedbump in his career a few years ago when he went 0-2-1 in three fights against some good competition. However, he’s really turned it around and he’s looked better than ever over the last couple of years.

As mentioned, this rematch is a big fight for the UFC‘s lightweight division. Whoever wins will be in a really good position in arguably the most exciting and dynamic division in the sport.

Paul Felder not going anywhere after UFC Vegas 14

Throughout 2020, fight fans didn’t know if they’d see Paul Felder in the UFC outside of the commentator’s booth. Back in February after he lost to Dan Hooker, Felder hinted that he would probably retire from the sport.

However, Felder never fully closed the door. Less than a week before UFC Vegas 14, one of the headliners in the lightweight division fell out. The UFC was forced to scramble for a last minute opponent for Rafael Dos Anjos.

RDA was making his lightweight return after spending a few years in the welterweight division. The UFC wanted a ranked opponent for his return and Felder was on tap to commentate the fights.

The UFC called upon Felder, and the Irish Dragon took the fight on five days notice. He didn’t ask for a catchweight and he also said he would be willing to go the full 25 minutes despite not having any camp.

The lack of MMA training hurt Felder in the grappling during the fight. RDA’s takedowns and ground control ended up giving him the win, but Felder was incredibly impressive. He looked very sharp and fast on his feet.

Felder took a bunch of good shots of his own, but he busted RDA up on the feet. He outstruck the former UFC champion despite having no camp. After the fight, Felder addressed the fans letting them know that he wasn’t going anywhere.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 14?

“I have not stepped foot into an MMA gym in four months. But I can tell you guys with certainty, I’m not going anywhere right now. I lost my passion for this sport pretty bad, but I’m not done,” Felder told Michael Bisping in his post-fight interview.

Felder saved the day for the UFC and it looks like he found his passion for the sport all in one evening. That is great news for the promotion as Felder is one of the more exciting fighters in the lightweight division.

So the big question is, what’s next for Paul Felder? I think the UFC doesn’t have to look too far around the rankings to find some good potential matchups. I think the promotion could book him against either Diego Ferreira or Al Iaquinta.

Personally, I lean a little towards booking him against Al Iaquinta. That would be a very fun matchup for the fans and both men are coming off of back-to-back losses. However, both are still inside the UFC‘s top ten at lightweight.

Time will tell what the promotion does next with Felder, but it’s nice to know that we will be seeing the Irish Dragon back inside the octagon.