This first weekend of December is a Texas-sized weekend of competitive violence. Between Golden Boy Boxing in Houston at Toyota Center and the UFC in Austin at Moody Center, you’ll have two cards on the same big night. Our focus today is on the latter.
The world’s top MMA promotion has a light December planned this year with only three shows remaining before recessing for a holiday break necessitated by television partner ESPN airing a majority of the team-competitive bowl games in college football. It starts this Saturday in the home city of The University of Texas and the Texas Longhorns with another UFC Fight Night on ESPN proper.
Live coverage of Saturday’s event begins with the prelims at 4 pm ET/ 1 pm PT on ESPN+, before the main card is simulcast on the subscription-based streamer and cable network at 7 pm ET/ 4 pm PT. All told, UFC Austin, also known as UFC on ESPN 52, features 13 total bouts.
Lightweights Clash in UFC Austin Main Event
Highlighting the night’s activities is a battle at 155 lbs. in the UFC Austin main event. No. 4 contender Beneil Dairush (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) meets up with No. 8 contender Arman Tsarukyan (20-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) for the headliner. As with all UFC main events, this one is an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.
We're bringing a loaded card to the Lone Star State this weekend 🤠
— UFC (@ufc) November 29, 2023
UFC Austin Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds
Heading into the UFC Austin main event on Saturday night, Beneil Dairush stands as the taller man at 5-foot-10, compared to the 5-foot-7 frame of Arman Tsarukyan. The latter owns a half-inch reach advantage (72 1/2 inches to 72 inches even) over the former, with Dairush having a one-inch leg reach advantage (40 1/2 inches to 39 1/2 inches) over Tsarukyan.
As of Thursday afternoon, the oddsmakers have Arman Tsarukyan installed as a -320 favorite on the money line, with Beneil Dairush installed as a +250 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.
Dairush Looks to Get Back in Win Column
Beneil Dairush has posted a record of 4-1 in his last five fights. Back in June, he saw an eight-fight winning streak dating back to November of 2018 snapped with a first-round knockout by Charles Oliveira (34-9, 1 NC MMA, 24-9, 1 NC UFC) during UFC 289 (ground and pound shots.)
Recently, he talked with Michael Bisping about his main event spot on Saturday. This time, he wants to dish out the pain:
“I really want a finish,” Dairush told Bisping. “He’s never been finished before, and I want a finish. In order to pull that off, I’ve got to come at him pretty hard. I have to put the pressure on and not stop.”
Beneil Dairush is a man who had glowing words about Arman Tsarukyan. In the interview with “The Count”, Dairush called his opponent “young and hungry.” To that extent, Dairush is hungry in his own right in the UFC Austin main event.
This is a man who took his talents to the pay-per-view spotlight slightly under six months ago and sustained a defeat. Can Dairush stop Tsarukyan in Austin on Saturday night?
Tsarukyan Dealing with Backstage Drama in Run-Up to UFC Austin Main Event
In the other corner, Arman Tsarukyan has posted a mark of 4-1 himself across the last five contests. At the present time, he’s on a two-fight winning streak.
Back on June 17, he stopped Joaquim Silva (12-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) during UFC on ESPN 47 in the co-main event of the evening (third-round knockout: ground and pound shots). Tsarukyan should be focused on his opponent as Saturday night’s main event draws closer, but during Wednesday’s media availability, Tsarukyan’s teammate got into a physical altercation with co-headliner Bobby Green.
Green will face off with Jalin Turner in a battle of the No. 12 and No. 13 contenders at lightweight in the UFC Austin co-main attraction on Saturday. The confrontation was set off after Bobby Green criticized Arman Tsarukyan’s fighting style recently.
This will undoubtedly add more fuel to Arman Tsarukyan’s fire for the bout this weekend. He’ll have to tune out the distractions and focus on the fight itself, something easier said than done.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the UFC Austin main event looks to favour Arman Tsarukyan, a Master of Sport in both MMA and freestyle wrestling, compared to Beneil Dairush, who owns black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay-Thai.
Watch for Dairush to Secure a Submission
Given that Beneil Dairush is a BJJ black belt, it stands to reason that he’ll try and take his opponent down to the mat in a fight and score a submission as he did vs. Frank Camacho in Singapore four years ago.
During the first round of a scheduled three, Dairush pieced Camacho up with a variety of strikes before he dumped him, taking back mount. He applied the torque under Camacho’s chin to lock up a rear-naked choke in just over two minutes.
Look for Beneil Dairush to open up with shots in the UFC Austin main event on Saturday night. Once he lets his fists and kicks do the talking, he can shoot for a takedown. If he takes Arman Tsarukyan down, this fight is his, but Tsarukyan is a tough customer at the shop.
Tsarukyan Can Go Deep Into a Fight if Needed
In the other corner, if the situation calls for it, Arman Tsarukyan will work late into a fight to secure a victory. One need look no further than the third round of his last fight against Silva in June.
Roughly halfway through the period, both men traded body shots before Tsarukyan landed a takedown and immediately went to work with a surge of ground-and-pound strikes. Tsarukyan’s speed of the punches was too much for Silva, despite him occasionally defending against the attacks. Ultimately, the ref halted the contest with a minute and 35 seconds remaining.
With this upcoming fight being five rounds in length, Tsarukyan going deep into the water might be a challenge, but if he secures a takedown, look for him to punch his way to the winners’ circle in the UFC Austin main event.
We know there are a couple of great conference championships in college football in primetime on Saturday night. Take time out from the gridiron and enjoy the UFC Austin main event. It could be an amazing fight.
Prediction: Beneil Dairush by Unanimous Decision.