Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweights Ramsey Nijem and Beneil Dariush went to war on Friday (April 11, 2014) in the opening main card bout of UFC Fight Night 39 from Du Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
See full results for yesterday's event right here.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 13 alum Nijem needed a win to get rid of his inconsistency in UFC. He had his hands full with undefeated Dariush, who came in off a first round submission of Charlie Brenneman in his Octagon debut back at UFC Fight Night 35 this January.
With both Nijem and Dariush having Middle Eastern heritage, each mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter got a huge reaction from the crowd. In the end, it was Nijem who put on a show for the fans by finishing Dariush in the first round.
The bout kicked off with Nijem throwing a high kick. Dariush responded with a left hand followed by a combination. The action hit the ground briefly before it went into the clinch alongside the cage. Dariush showed good dirty boxing, but the action broke.
Nijem then found an opening for a flurry of effective punches, dropping Dariush and going for a tight guillotine. Dariush was in big trouble and eating a ton of shots, but he survived to look for some ill-fated leglocks. Nijem took his back briefly, and then continued to rain down punches until the ref finally stopped the action towards the end of the first round.
It was a huge win and a thoroughly impressive performance from Nijem, who had several question marks about his game. He went a long way toward solidifying himself as a legitimate challenger by handing Dariush his first loss, but his work has just begun.
In his post-fight interview, Nijem stated he felt he is the best 155-pound fighter in the world and is looking toward fighting for the belt. There are a high number of top-level UFC lightweights who would argue vehemently against that statement. Nijem is at least three or four high quality wins away from any outside contention, yet he appears to be improving rapidly. He should receive an opponent toward the bottom of the Top 15 for his next bout.
Dariush looked outclassed in losing for the first time. He appeared to be by far the smaller fighter against Nijem. He doesn't really cut all that much weight, and it showed in Abu Dhabi.
Dariush could benefit greatly from a move down to 145 pounds, because if he can't get past a mid-level opponent like Nijem, he'll have an extremely long and arduous road ahead in a division like lightweight. He'll likely rebound against a mid-level contender to get some more Octagon experience under his belt.
Ramsey Nijem impressed by stopping Beneil Dariush to win his second straight fight in UFC. He made some bold claims about a rise up the UFC lightweight division after the fight. Do you believe he has the skills accomplish those goals?