There are no titles up for grabs this weekend in the latest edition of UFC Fight Night, but there are still a number of compelling matchups and big names set to square off in the octagon as the fighters converge on Austin, Texas.
The evening begins at 4 p.m. ET with seven preliminary matches followed by six matchups on the 7 p.m. ET main card. We’ll focus on the most compelling battles on the main card, breaking down the matchups and concluding with a pick.
Beneil Dariush (+240) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (-300)
Dariush had been on a clear upward trajectory and was ready to challenge for a UFC Lightweight Championship, but that came crashing down in June when he was defeated by Charles Oliveira in the first round of their matchup. There should be some optimism he can rebound, as he had won his previous eight fights dating back to 2018.
…Tsarukyan is a well-rounded fighter, comfortable working as both a striker and grappler. Dariush would prefer to get on the ground, as much of his success as a professional fighter has come as grappler.
However, he’ll face a stiff challenge in Tsarukyan, who also has a strong history in UFC, having gone 6-2 since 2019. He is viewed as a long-term stalwart. This is another high-profile spot for him to prove those perceptions correct.
As the odds indicate, Tsarukyan is a well-rounded fighter, comfortable working as both a striker and grappler. Dariush would prefer to get on the ground, as much of his success as a professional fighter has come as grappler. Overall, we have converging factors: Dairush seemingly having all the momentum of his career being pulled away from him in June, against Tsarukyan’s rising profile and well-rounded skillset. That leads us to siding with the favorite.
The pick: Tsarukyan
Jalin Turner (-210) vs. Bobby Green (+170)
— UFC (@ufc) November 29, 2023
We should start this preview by noting that Turner wasn’t originally scheduled to be in this fight, but he stepped in to take the place of Dan Hooker, who suffered an arm injury. Despite that, Turner checks in as the favorite, which is interesting considering he lost to Hooker via split decision in his last fight.
Meanwhile, Green had an announced retirement date in April but spurned that and is still accepting fights. He lacks the power that he had during his prime, so he’ll likely need to drag the fight out to try to get a decision – coincidentally the way that Turner has lost each of his last bouts.
That said, each fighter will have a clear strategy. Turner will be trying to use his power and reach advantage to land significant blows, while Green will likely try to effectively defend and counter while selectively getting aggressive to work his way to a positive decision. The Turner model is more likely to lead to success.
The Pick: Turner
Rob Font (-135) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (+115)
This matchup features a pair of fighters who each face some unique challenges. We’ll start with Figueiredo, who is moving up in weight class from flyweight to bantamweight for the first time. That’s a tough ask to begin with, but the degree of difficulty only increases considering that he’s almost 36 years old.
On paper, Figueiredo has an advantage as a grappler, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll have that as a viable path to victory against a larger opponent.
Meanwhile, Font has experienced plenty of success in the UFC, but has fallen on hard times of late by losing three of his last four bouts.
That said, each of these men enters this fight with something to prove. On paper, Figueiredo has an advantage as a grappler, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll have that as a viable path to victory against a larger opponent. Overall, moving up in weight class at this advanced point in his career creates too many questions, despite Font’s shaky recent history.
The Pick: Font
Sean Brady (-115) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (-105)
Both Brady and Gastelum are returning from injury to take part in this matchup. Brady has been sidelined for the past 13 months and withdrew from his past two scheduled fights. The exact nature of his latest injury is unknown, though at one point he dealt with a groin issue.
Gastelum is returning from a facial fracture, and has had a horrific recent history, losing five of his last seven fights dating back to 2019. His spot in UFC was in question before he defeated Chris Curtis in April. With the exception of one submission, each of the seven bouts in question were concluded by decisions.
On the other side of things, Brady was undefeated as a pro fighter until dropping a TKO decision to Belal Muhammed last October. His UFC sample is far smaller than Gastelum, but given the latter’s recent history, that’s not really a disadvantage or a reason to shy away from backing Brady. I give Brady the slight advantage for that reason, but there’s a more interesting trend here from a UFC betting angle. We talked about Gastelum’s history of reaching the final bell, and Brady has also done so in three of his six fights in the UFC. That history tells us this one will take a while to decide, regardless of the victor.
The Pick: Over 2.5 rounds (-125)
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