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New York Post
2 Dec 2023


NextImg:UFC Austin predictions, main card picks: Arman Tsarukyan vs. Beneil Dariush

After a week off, the fighting returns to UFC Austin, where we have a sneaky loaded card featuring several guys who have main-evented cards in the past.

The main event on Saturday likley will be a title eliminator between Arman Tsarukyan and Beneil Dariush.

One of those two fighters should have a title bout in the near future, so expect this to be a high-level war.

We’ve fallen on hard times on our last two betting picks pieces, but this card features tons of fights that I am giddy to wager cold-hard cash on.

Below, we preview UFC Austin with picks and predictions for most of the main card.

Star grappler Arman Tsarukyan has been a massive favorite in nearly every fight he has had. Once upon a time, Tsarukyan was a -1000 favorite against Joaquim Silva and has been at least -200 in seven of his nine fights.

He comes into this bout with Beneil Dariush as a -295 favorite on FanDuel, one of the better prices we’ve seen on him in some time. Dariush fought and beat Mateusz Gamrot last year, and his road map to victory is going to be takedown defense and purposeful striking damage.

Gamrot successfully completed just four of his 19 takedowns and only logged 2:07 of control time. That’s just simply not going to cut it and won’t win you any decisions.

Beneil Dariush was knocked out by Charles Oliveira last time out. Zuffa LLC

Dariush does a wonderful job avoiding dicey positions in the grappling department and threatening submissions in some spots. My issue with backing Dariush as a big underdog is Tsarukyan’s cardio, the man is truly built differently in terms of his ability to grapple for extended periods.

Expect a more prolonged fight here; bet over 3.5 rounds at -130 on BetRivers, and there’s a good line hanging on Tsarukyan by decision at +260 on FanDuel.

Jalin Turner missed weight and then put on weight as a 6-foot-3, 155-pound freak of nature. The powerful grappler and striker is among the biggest lightweights the sport has ever seen.

What’s concerning is the weight cut he goes through to get down to that weight, he looked horrible on the scales on weigh-in day.

Now he must face Bobby Green a solid striker who hasn’t been submitted in the UFC since 2009. Sure, Turner could sinch up a neck and submit Green. But Turner, as a -215 favorite, is bordering the lines of crazy.

Turner is on short notice here. Bet Green to win this weekend (+172) and by decision at +400 on BetMGM isn’t too shabby either.

Deiveson Figueiredo is the former flyweight champion going up in weight.

Deiveson Figueiredo is the former flyweight champion going up in weight. Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The former flyweight champion, Deiveson Figueiredo, jumps up in weight for a bout with bantamweight contender Rob Font.

Font has fallen on hard times recently, losing three out of four and Figueiredo is a violent man to deal with next.

This is a pretty binary fight, where if it’s a striking war, Font will have the volume and cardio edge. The issue with that is Figueiredo is a dangerous submission threat (nine submission attempts in his last six fights) and Font is easily taken down.

Figueiredo to win by submission is +550 on FanDuel Sportsbook, and the major question is whether his grappling will translate to a new weight class.

I’ll take a stab at yes with his submission prop, but it’s definitely worth betting his moneyline at +122 on Caesars.

Not too long ago, Kelvin Gastelum knocked out Michael Bisping and had champion Israel Adesanya on the ropes in a title fight.

Now he faces Sean Brady, who is coming off of a loss and is still an underdog. The MMA world comes at you quickly.

Gastelum is coming back down in weight to welterweight for this bout, so he hopes to be a bully in there and avoid submission attempts from Brady.

Brady is an elite grappler, so any ground exchanges occurring likley would mean Brady looks like a -300 favorite.

Gastelum’s size makes me less weary of this, making me favor this fight to go the distance at +100 on Caesars Sportsbook.