Days before the Flyweight belt is on the line, two divisional competitors take center stage in the UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Ige co main-event. The clash sees 12th ranked Tim Elliott take on Ryan Benoit who has recently slipped out of the rankings. The latter would want to have a number by his name sooner rather than later. However, the former has a lot on the line as he enters his first fight of a new contract.
Elliott left the company in 2015 on the back of 3 successive defeats. He turned his fortunes with a hat trick of wins in Titan FC. However, he has had an unfortunate 2-5 run since returning in December 2016. His last win came via submission over Mark De La Rosa at UFC 219. However, that was at Bantamweight. The 12th ranked contender took down Louis Smolka in April 2017 for his last win at 125 pounds.
After a trio of defeats to higher-ranked contenders in Deiveson Figueiredo, Askar Askarov, and Brandon Royval, Elliott will be very keen to make a long due return to winning ways.
It is evident from how he continued to train in the Las Vegas hotel parking lot in the days leading up to the fighter’s departure to Fight Island.
Elliott has won fights equally in all methods. He has 3 KO’s, and 6 each of submission and decisions. He could go for broke but doing so would leave him vulnerable.
Benoit has claimed 80% of his wins via (T)KO. He moved up a weight class following his win over Ashkan Mokhtarian at UFC: Fight Night Werdum vs Tybura. On that occasion, ‘Baby Face’ missed weight by a monstrous 4 lbs.
However, the move to Bantamweight didn’t convince the fighter enough. He went down via split decision to Alatang Heili at Fight Night: Edgar vs Korean Zombie.
Since signing with the UFC, Benoit has had a pattern of alternating between wins and losses. He is 3-4 in the promotion with just 2 wins coming via finishes. It is a stark contrast to his pre UFC days where he claimed 6 knockouts. On paper, it doesn’t seem likely that he will make it 7 on Wednesday night.
Prediction for UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Ige
This bout is high stakes for both fighters. A loss for Elliott will see him enter the worst losing streak as a professional. Meanwhile, a defeat for Benoit will keep him out of the rankings for a little longer. Furthermore, at 12th ranked on a potential 4 fight skid, the fighter could find himself right on the edge or even out of the rankings picture altogether.
Two of Elliott’s last 3 defeats have come via submission. He won’t have to worry about that against ‘Baby Face’ who last tapped out an opponent 8 years ago. However, the KO threat looms large. Elliott should be able to avoid this as he has suffered a loss in this fashion just once.
If he has done his homework expect him to stay out of range of his shorter opponent who has a greater reach. He last suffered a TKO defeat eleven years ago. This shows that he can sufficiently dodge or absorb fight-ending strikes at will.
The longer the fight goes, the more it favors Elliott. Benoit is 1-4 as a professional in full distance fights. In the UFC, it becomes a 1-2.
Prediction: Tim Elliott to claim a decision victory.
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