At UFC Fight Night 39, Beneil Dariush (7-0) will take on Ultimate Fighter 13 runner-up Ramsey Nijem (9-4) at the du Arena in Abu Dhabi. Both fighters are attempting to establish themselves among the lightweight division, and a victory for either combatant will move him closer to that goal.
Although Nijem possesses twice as many fights as his opponent, Dariush brings a more complete, well-rounded game to the Octagon that may lead him to victory on April 11. Unlike his first fight in the UFC, when he was presented with less than two weeks to prepare, Dariush benefited from a full training camp this time around and is more than confident in his matchup at UFC Fight Night 39.
In an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report, Dariush stated, “I’m always confident, but it’s been great to have a full (training) camp.” Regarding his matchup against Nijem, the Iranian-born fighter exclaimed, “I’m going to win, because I’m more prepared (than Nijem) and trained harder. My strength lies in my mindset.”
The executive vice-president of World Series of Fighting, Ali Abdel-Aziz, appears to agree with Dariush's mindset, and praised the fighter via Twitter on April 9. He stated:
Dariush is an undefeated MMA fighter and world-class Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner. In that, the 24-year-old’s elite grappling and methodical stand-up game has left him the favorite heading into UFC Fight Night 39.
Dariush is one of the most decorated grapplers in the UFC today. The upcoming talent has placed in over 50 Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitions. He won the silver medal at the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships as a blue, purple and brown belt. From there, he went on to become the no-gi world champion at the previously mentioned belt levels as well. As a result, his grappling was on significant display when he faced MMA veteran Charlie Brenneman at UFC Fight Night 35.
Dariush secured his opponent’s back, and locked in a rear naked choked for the win. The 24-year-old’s stardom began just as quickly as the matchup between him and Brenneman ended (one minute, 45 seconds of the first round)—in a flash.
Dariush’s grappling skills far exceed those of his opponent at UFC Fight Night 39. The most intriguing fact surrounding Nijem is that he has been submitted just twice. In that, both of those submissions came within the very first minute of the first round--58 seconds and 21 seconds, respectively.
Based on grappling alone, Nijem will more than likely face one of his greatest challenges in Dariush at UFC Fight Night 39.
Dariush’s stand-up game is technically sound. His strikes are calculated and mostly delivered on point. Right before his submission of Brenneman at UFC Fight Night 39, Dariush floored his opponent with a devastating left hook to the face. Over half of the Iranian-born fighter’s victories have come by submission. However, Dariush has set those wins up with methodical striking, putting down his opponents before submitting them.
Nijem’s two other losses have come by knockout, the last of which occurred at UFC on Fox 7 against another undefeated fighter in Myles Jury. In his breakdown of UFC Fight Night 39, Bleacher Report’s own Riley Kontek stated, “Don't blink: Dariush could end Nijem's night early and violently.”
Dariush’s status as an undefeated fighter, accompanied by his spectacular UFC debut, has generated a tremendous amount of momentum as he enters UFC Fight Night 39. If the Ralph Gracie protege is able to capitalize on his sophomore effort in Abu Dhabi, he’ll be one step closer to his ultimate goal of becoming, according to Dariush, the “greatest fighter” ever.
*All quotes were given directly to Bleacher Report, unless otherwise noted.