UFC 259: Joseph Benavidez vs Askar Askarov- Prediction and Fight Analysis

Published 03/05/2021, 3:09 PM EST
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 17: Joseph Benavidez poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 17, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Flyweight legend Joseph Benavidez returns at UFC 259 to fight the undefeated Askar Askarov. Benavidez is coming off 2 losses currently, having lost both his fights against current champion Deiveson Figueiredo in 2020.

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Askarov is currently on a 2-fight winning streak. Since his split draw against Brandon Moreno in 2019, the Russian has won back-to-back unanimous decisions against Tim Elliott and Alexandre Pantoja.

Benavidez’s losses against Figueiredo were nothing less than brutal. It’s tough to think one can come back from those kinds of beatings.

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Especially against an undefeated fighter like Askarov. The Russian has a solid base of grappling. So, it will be tough for Benavidez to surprise him with that too.

Feb 29, 2020; Norfolk, Virginia, USA; Joseph Benavidez (red gloves) fights Deiveson Figueiredo (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chartway Arena. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Joseph Benavidez vs Askar Askarov in numbers

Benavidez has an exceptional professional record of 28-7. Dominick Cruz, Deiveson Figueiredo, Sergio Pettis, and Demetrious Johnson have been the only men to beat him inside the Octagon.

He holds notable wins over the likes of Henry Cejudo, Jussier Formiga, Eddie Wineland, and more. Askarov is undefeated, but he has competed only 3 times in the UFC so far.

His promotional debut was a split draw against Brandon Moreno. He is a dangerous fighter with 12 professional wins under his belt.

Out of Askarov’s 12 wins, 10 have come by finishes. He has 3 T/KO, and 7 submission wins in his resume. Benavidez on the other hand has 17 finishes under his belt. He has 8 wins by T/KO, and 9 by submission.

Benavidez is a versatile fighter and is comfortable wherever the fight takes place. He lands 3.45 signature strikes per minute and absorbs 2.54 in the process. Askarov’s stats on the feet are almost identical. However, the Russian tends to average 2 takedowns per 15 minutes.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 19: (L-R) Askar Askarov of Russia punches Alexandre Pantoja of Brazil in their flyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 19, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

So, both fighters are very well matched in terms of skillset. But Askarov has the confidence of an undefeated fighter. For Benavidez, if he is over the traumas of his fights against Figueiredo remains a mystery.

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It’s tough for any fighter to come back from such losses. Especially in the second fight, Figueiredo came up with one of the most savage performances inside the Octagon to date.

Askarov will look to springboard to title contention with a win over a legend in Benavidez. Whereas, Benavidez will hope Brandon Moreno wins the rematch against Figueiredo so he can get another shot at the belt given he wins this weekend. However, all things point towards a victory for Askarov

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Final Prediction: Askar Askarov by unanimous decision.

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Apratim Banerjee

615 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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