Beneil Dariush and Arman Tsaruykan are both chasing the same dream. They’re in the hunt for the same brass ring, if you will.
They’re two high-caliber Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweights, and they’re set to clash. The showdown is set for the UFC on ESPN 52 main event this Saturday at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas. Neither of them wants to back down at 155 pounds, especially with Islam Makhachev leading the pack by a considerable margin.
Dariush, at 34, has a pretty impressive record. He’s won eight of his last nine fights. He last competed at UFC 289, where he lost to Charles Oliveira in the first round of their title eliminator on June 10. His record inside the Octagon is a solid 16-5-1.
Tsaruykan, on the other hand, is riding a two-fight winning streak. The 27-year-old last fought on June 17, where he triumphed over Joaquim Silva in the third round of their UFC on ESPN 47 pairing. His UFC record stands at 7-2, with losses only to Makhachev and Mateus Gamrot.
The question now is, will a true championship contender emerge from their five-round scrap?
But that’s not the only storyline to watch at UFC on ESPN 52. There are four more to keep an eye on.
First up, we have Jalin Turner. He’s 6-foot-3 with a reach of 77 inches – almost unheard-of for a lightweight. He’s subbing in for Dan Hooker to face former King of the Cage champion Bobby Green. Turner is coming off back-to-back losses, but there’s still a sense of possibility surrounding him.
Then there’s Deiveson Figueiredo. The former flyweight champion is moving to the bantamweight division to face Rob Font. Figueiredo has had a tough time lately, going 1-2-1 against Brandon Moreno. Font, meanwhile, has lost three of his last four bouts.
Kelvin Gastelum’s UFC journey has been, well, enigmatic. He’s a tweener, with his optimum weight likely falling somewhere between 170 and 185 pounds. He’s had some great moments, and some not-so-great ones. Now, he’s returning to the welterweight division to face Sean Brady.
Lastly, we have Miesha Tate. Despite a lack of depth and key departures, she’s remained viable in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. She’s looking to rebound from back-to-back losses when she faces Julia Avila.