Beneil Dariush — the forgotten 155-pound contender — was out to prove once again that he deserves a title shot, colliding with Mateusz Gamrot this afternoon (Sat., Oct. 22, 2022) on UFC 280’s pay-per-view (PPV) main card from inside Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
While his win over Tony Ferguson hasn’t aged well, Dariush has still more or less dominated seven straight opponents. That’s no easy task, but between Alexander Volkanovski and Michael Chandler’s attempts to leapfrog him, it’s safe to say Dariush needs an impressive finish on “Fight Island.” Gamrot, meanwhile, has quietly climbed the Lightweight ladder quickly. The former KSW Featherweight and Lightweight champion brought a strong resume into his UFC debut in 2020, and after a mild hiccup, he’s strung together four strong wins to prove himself a Top 10 talent.
So, in the end, something had to give, and when the dust finally settled, the No. 9-ranked Gamrot could not steal Dariush’s thunder, who won a very comfortable unanimous decision.
Both fighters touched gloves and we were off, with Gamrot firing a right hand and Dariush countering with a high kick, which was blocked. Moments later, Gamrot reached in for a single and Dariush got to his feet after a superior technical scramble on the ground. In the exchanged, Gamrot’s cauliflower ear appeared to pop, with blood streaming down his back. Dariush with a right hand, low kick combination, which Gamrot used to drive him into the fence. Dariush angled for a leg lock on the ground, hitting Gamrot with hammer fists at the same time. Gamrot finally kicked himself out of danger and Dariush immediately scrambled to his feet. Undeterred, Gamrot continued with the intense pressure early, spamming Dariush with incessant takedown attempts. Dariush was able to get to the fence in a sitting position, tying up Gamrot with a kimura so he could get upright once again. Another kick from Dariush that Gamrot caught, but this time he just let it go. Two boday kicks from Dariush closed out a competitive opening frame.
Front kick from Gamrot to start the second stanza, then a takedown attempt as Dariush sprawled and spun to avoid the maneuver. Dariush pawing a jab and faking takedowns, content to just chip away at Gamrot with heavy kicks to the midsection. Gamrot attempted another takedown, but Dariush appeared to be figuring him out, remaining on the feet and staying behind his jab. Midpoint of the fight and both fighters exchange hard, simultaneous jabs. Low kicks and knees from Dariush, who punished Gamrot with hard shots on another failed takedown attempt. Big overhand left for Dariush, followed by a heavy low kick, who appears to be pulling away a bit at this point in the fight. Nevertheless, Gamrot still putting on the pressure, landing a nice flying knee at the bell and a messy takedown.
Third and final frame, and it’s anyone’s guess who is winning on the judges scorecards. Immediately, Gamrot went for another takedown and, in the scramble to escape, Dariush landed a solid head kick in transition. Low kick from Dariush, then and overhand left as Gamrot continued to push a pace that he didn’t seem like his body could handle. Midway through the round and Gamrot attempted a takedown along the fence in a panic, but Dariush, once again, calmly worked his way out of any type of danger (he stuffed 13 of 16 takedowns with two minutes to go in the fight). Nice body kick from Gamrot, then he tried to trap him in a corner, and Dariush dropped him with a huge left hand. Gamrot rolled backward and was ready to defend himself, but Dariush did not pursue him down to the ground. Nice combination from Dariush, who fought off another takedown before falling over Gamrot’s back.
In the end, the judges rightfully awarded Dariush the decision win. But, with Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, still in his rear-view mirror, it’c unclear if Dariush will be awarded a title shot moving forward.
He’s certainly earned the opportunity.
Final result: Dariush def. Gamrot via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 and 29-28)
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