Just when you thought we were getting a little break from the circus that currently is the UFC Lightweight Division, UFC Vegas 18 comes right along and adds another wrench to it. That’s right, just fourteen days after the amazing UFC 257 Pay-Per-View event, we have two more top fifteen Lightweights ready to go to war this coming Saturday. I’m talking about number ten-ranked Diego Ferreira and thirteen-ranked Beneil Dariush. Oh, and if this fight isn’t already important enough, it is a rematch over six years in the making. Let’s take a closer look at how these two stacks up against one another!
UFC Vegas 18 may just feature one of the most underrated fighters, not only in the UFC Lightweight Division but the entire roster. A true veteran, at 36 years old, Diego Ferreira holds a professional record of 17-2 (8-2 in the UFC). He has finally cracked the top ten of what very well may be the most stacked weight class in all of the mixed martial arts. However, the road to get here did not come easy.
A native of Brazil, Diego carried a lot of momentum into his UFC debut, with a record of 9-0, and kept the hype going. He secured two back-to-back wins to begin his career with the UFC, both via finish. However, this is where the competition started to get more difficult. In his third UFC bout, he was given the task of taking on Beneil Dariush. Something about these rematches happening six years later these days huh? Anyways, Beneil put a stop to Diego’s undefeated record, by securing a Unanimous Decision victory back at UFC 179. Following his first professional loss, Diego then had to go up against the man of the hour at UFC 257, Dustin Poirier. Again, Diego would come up short and this time getting beat by KO to one of the hardest hitters in the division. Now all of a sudden, Diego who had been so used to getting his way thus far in his career, was on a two-fight skid and needed a bounce-back win, and he has done that plus more.
Since dropping those two fights to Beneil and Dustin, Diego has gone on a six-fight win streak, with three coming via finish. A few to mention along this streak were the likes of Jared Gordon, which came via TKO in the first round. Another, and by far the biggest win on Diego’s resume, came against former WEC and UFC Lightweight champion, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. This came back at UFC 246 in January of 2020 and Diego was able to secure a big submission victory. This was huge for Ferreira because he was finally able to add that big name to his list of wins and it just so happened it also got to come on a Conor McGregor Pay-Per-View. Like I mentioned in my Marina Rodriguez vs. Amanda Ribas preview, all eyes are on you when part of a McGregor card and Diego capitalized on that opportunity. In addition to securing this win, Diego was even featured on the countdown show, that showcases the biggest fights of each PPV, so this really introduced him to a lot of people and the win that followed, added to it.
Now we are here, over a year since Ferreira last competed in the UFC octagon and it is against a familiar foe. This is a big stepping stone for Diego, not only to avenge his loss in their first meeting but to add another big name to the win column. With a win here at UFC Vegas 18, Diego can definitely expect a top-ten ranked opponent in his next fight, but it will not come easy against someone as tough as Beneil Dariush.
The Iranian-born Beneil Dariush is looking to go 2-0 against Diego Ferreira at UFC Vegas 18 and crack into the top-ten of the Lightweight Division in the process. With a record of 19-4-1 (13-4-1 in the UFC), Dariush has shared the octagon with some very stiff competition thus far in the UFC. Entering the organization back in 2014, Beneil began his UFC career similar to Diego, undefeated and with a submission victory in his debut. He would suffer defeat in his second octagon outing, but that did not delay him long because he followed that loss up with a five-fight win streak. This included wins over the aforementioned Diego Ferreira, Jim Miller, and Michael Johnson. All of the sudden, Beneil quickly became one of the biggest prospects in the UFC Lightweight Division.
He could not quite take the win streak to six, however, after suffering a submission loss to UFC Fight Island 8 main event winner, Michael Chiesa. Dariush did pick up two wins after this, with one coming against James Vick via KO, but then went on the only losing streak of his professional career. With losses against Edson Barboza and Alexander Hernandez, both coming by way of KO and a draw sandwiched in the middle, the UFC career of Dariush was looking a little grey. However, much like his UFC Vegas 18 opponent, Beneil did not let the losing streak detour him but instead use it to fuel another big win streak.
Entering the octagon this Saturday with five straight wins, Beneil is looking to add a sixth to the list and stop Diego’s own six-fight win streak. This streak includes wins over Thiago Moises, top fifteen ranked Drew Dober, and an incredible victory over Scott Holtzman which came via spinning back fist KO in his most recent bout at UFC Vegas 6! Beneil is no stranger to exciting contests and I look for this one to be much of the same. With Diego being so well rounded, with a very strong Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game, Dariush will have his hands full, but if the past is any indicator, he will be up for the challenge at UFC Vegas 18.
Diego Ferreira vs Beneil Dariush Prediction
This is a very interesting fight at UFC Vegas 18 and very important for where both of these guys could go next in the division. They each are so diverse in their skills and very well rounded. However, I do feel the route to victory for each may be quite clear. For Diego, he is going to want to keep this fight at his pace, which is a little slower than what Beneil is used to. He will look to land clean shots and I would imagine implementing his strong grappling and BJJ skills. But, Beneil is no easy win by taking him down and in fact has eight submission wins of his own, when compared to the seven that Diego has.
On the feet, I do think the advantage goes to Dariush. He has proven time and time again he is not afraid to bite down on the mouthpiece and throw down. This will be something Diego looks to avoid at all costs if I had to imagine. I am not saying Ferreira cannot compete on the feet, but as the fight goes on, I do believe Beneil will continuously land the better shots if it does indeed stay standing.
So, who do I see taking this one? That is a very tough question and truthfully wish both men could win. However, that’s not how it goes when you get locked in the octagon. One person will exit the winner and one the loser… outside of the occasional draw, I guess. I really do see this being a technical battle, especially at the start. If it goes into the third round, I will be curious who it will benefit more and in terms of their cardio as well. I see this fight ending by way of a finish, no matter which fighter comes out on top. I believe that after this, we will have yet another legitimate threat in the UFC Lightweight Division and that is what excites me most about this fight. One thing is for certain, the UFC apex should all but deliver once again when the lights come on at UFC Vegas 18!
UFC Vegas 18 Fight Prediction: Beneil Dariush via KO/TKO in Round Three