Lightweight Showcase as Dariush and Tsarukyan Throw Down
The UFC is closing out 2023 strong, with its first event in December being a showcase of its lightweight division featuring a multitude of lightweight contests. Bobby Green is fighting despite having his first opponent drop out, and Miesha Tate steps back into the cage after more than a year out.
International Lightweight Main Event in Austin
The main event here at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, is an international collision as the Iranian-born Beneil Dariush fights Arman Tsarukyan, a man born in Georgia but who represents Armenia and occasionally Russia. Dariush is the number four ranked in the lightweight rankings and wants to keep climbing those rankings, having suffered a loss last time out against Charles Oliveira at UFC 289 in a bout that got a lot of traction from MMA news websites.
The tri-national fighter across the other side of the cage, Tsarukyan, is currently ranked as the eighth fighter in the division. Unlike his adversary, Tsarukyan is on a two-match winning streak, having defeated Joaquim Silva and Damir Ismagulov in the past 12 months. If he can extend his record to 21-3, he will no doubt take a step up in the divisional stature.
Green Gets Fight with Turner
Dan Hooker was supposed to fight Bobby Green in the co-main event of this fight but had to pull out due to injury. Despite conjecture and the MMA latest updates floating around about the fight being scrapped, Green is very much competing as Jalin Turner has stepped in at late notice. The two fighters are ranked #12 and #13 respectively in the lightweight division, so it will be an acid test to see which one can make the next step in their career.
It was a no-brainer for Turner to take the fight as he desires to stop the rot from two consecutive split decision losses this year and close the annum out with a W. Green however might feel a little short-changed from the re-booked bout as Hooker is the #8 lightweight and Green will have wanted to break the top 10 spots with a win over him.
Figueiredo Moves on After Tetralogy Series
Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno fought four times between December 2020 and January 2023 in their epic rivalry for the UFC Flyweight Championship. After losing the last fight making the series 2-1-1, it’s time for all parties to move on, and Figueiredo is set to reinvent himself. He’s now going to compete in the bantamweight division.
His first opponent in this run is the #8 bantamweight, Rob Font. The American has been incredibly lackluster in his most recent fights, having won one of four, which altered his overall record to a less handsome 20-7. He was in the main event of those Fight Night cards for the three he lost. Potentially, a step away from the limelight here will help him recover his form.
Clay Guida Embarks on 62nd Pro Fight
Do you remember Clay ‘the Carpenter’ Guida? The guy who broke into the UFC back in 2006 (having started MMA three years prior) and has been with Dana White’s promotion ever since. He’s now 41 years old and not challenging as often as he used to for silverware. It might not be MMA breaking news to beat Guida anymore, but any lightweight worth his salt still wants a fight with Guida on their resume. The veteran is 3-3 in his last six fights as he’s alternated between wins and losses, adding to his overall 38-22 record.
The next man in line trying to put another L on Guida’s resume is Joaquim Silva. The Brazilian doesn’t have nearly as much fight experience, with only 16 prior fights before this bout. His last outing ended in defeat to the man headlining the card, Arman Tsarukyan. Can he get back to winning ways against this MMA stalwart?
Tate and Avila Return to the Cage
Miesha Tate commands a lot of respect in the UFC. Back in the early 2010s, she was a primary figure in the entirety of the women’s fighting division. She fought Ronda Rousey in a Fight of the Night back in 2013 and went on to capture the Bantamweight Championship after defeating Holly Holm three years later. However, she’s not had as much success recently, with just one win in her last five matches – which included a hiatus between 2016 and 2021. Tate hasn’t fought since losing against Lauren Murphy in July 2022 via a decision in the flyweight division.
Now she’s back to bantamweight, and she’s taking on Julia Avila, who is also returning after a long layoff from the sport. Avila last fought back in 2021 when she defeated Julija Stoliarenko. Despite both fighters being relatively inactive, they’ve remained within the UFC’s bantamweight rankings as number #12 and #13 respectively. The winner will surely be in contention to climb into the top 10 shortly.
Undefeated Horth Fights Hardy on Prelim Card
One of the more interesting fights in the earlier part of the night is the clash between Veronica Hardy (previously Veronica Macedo before getting married) and the 6-0 Jamey-Lynn Horth. Hardy gets her new surname from her husband, Dan Hardy, who was a former participant in the UFC and is now an MMA analyst working for the PFL and DAZN. There’s no doubt he will be giving her some pointers as she looks for her second win of the year.
Horth has the distinction of heading into the octagon undefeated. This is her seventh pro fight and second in the UFC. The Canadian’s prior fights were all decided by stoppage as she ended multiple fights in the BFL with her hard strikes that more than rocked opponents. She’ll be hoping to do just that to Hardy in this fight and continue to get more exposure on MMA news sites.
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