UFC 262 Tony Ferguson vs. Beneil Dariush Odds, Pick & Prediction: The Value in Saturday Night’s Co-Main Event (May 15)

UFC 262 Tony Ferguson vs. Beneil Dariush Odds, Pick & Prediction: The Value in Saturday Night’s Co-Main Event (May 15) article feature image
Credit:

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC fighter Beneil Dariush.

  • One of the most violent fighters the UFC has seen, Tony Ferguson, will face Beneil Dariush in the co-main event of the evening at UFC 262.
  • The odds suggest Ferguson is not the fighter he once was (+135 underdog) against a skilled grappler in Dariush.
  • Sean Zerillo previews the fight, including the best that is showing the most value.

Tony Ferguson vs. Beneil Dariush Odds

Ferguson Odds
+135
Dariush Odds
-165
Over/Under
2.5 (-190 / +140)
Venue
Toyota Center
Time
Approx. 11:30 p.m. ET
Channel
ESPN PPV
Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings.

Tony Ferguson was originally slated to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the Lightweight title (as a +220 underdog) at UFC 249 last April in Brooklyn, but that event was postponed to May as a result of the pandemic. Ferguson suffered a life-changing beating (absorbed 100 significant strikes to the head) at the hands of Justin Gaethje, putting an end to his 12-fight winning streak.

After getting subsequently dominated (as a -175 favorite) by Charles Oliveira last December, Ferguson now clearly looks to be on the downside of his career — the question is how far he actually is from the end of the line.

The betting odds imply that Ferguson is washed up. Beneil Dariush is a terrific, well-rounded, and intelligent fighter — but based upon his prior run of opponents, this is a step up in competition (on paper). Just one year ago, it is hard to imagine Ferguson being anything less than -200 (implied 66.7%) in this matchup.

Below I  preview the matchup and odds for Saturday’s fight. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate.

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Tale of the Tape

Ferguson Dariush
Record 26-5 20-4-1
Avg. Fight Time 11:06 8:56
Height 5’11” 5’10”
Weight (pounds) 155 lbs. 155 lbs.
Reach (inches) 76″ 72″
Stance Orthodox Southpaw
Date of birth 2/12/1984 5/6/1989
Sig Strikes Per Min 5.46 4.0
SS Accuracy 45% 49%
SS Absorbed Per Min 3.94 2.72
SS Defense 59% 59%
Take Down Avg 0.45 2.03
TD Acc 42% 32%
TD Def 70% 81%
Submission Avg 1.1 1.0

On the Dariush side, my primary concerns are durability and stamina. Beneil has suffered three knockout losses and seemingly gets hurt in each of his fights, but he still pressures forward and comes after opponents.

Dariush is at his best when he mixes in grappling (2.03 takedowns per 15 minutes, 32% accuracy) with his striking. Unfortunately, he initially missed weight for Saturday’s bout and may have had a difficult weight cut, leading to additional concerns regarding his three-round cardio.

He will have opportunities to finish Ferguson — but “El Cucuy” is notoriously durable, and I think Dariush has to win at least two of the rounds to win the fight.

That being said, Ferguson was unable to stuff takedowns from Oliveira (3-for-3) in his last fight. When the pair hit the mat, Ferguson looked completely lost (11:39 of control) — ending all discussion concerning the Khabib rivalry.

If Dariush was able to control a third-degree blackbelt like Carlos Diego Ferriera (5-of-15 takedowns, 7:23 of control) on the mat, I’m confident that he’ll do the same to Ferguson. One takedown could secure an entire round.

While he’s a bit stiff on the feet and very hittable, Dariush combines excellent power with intelligent techniques. And his jiu-jitsu game is top-notch.

Even if Ferguson looks better than he did against Oliveira, Dariush has the skills on the mat to beat him. However, if Tony’s striking looks sharper, he does offer a path to victory — either with volume (+1.52 to +1.28 strike differential) or a violent finish.

Ferguson vs. Dariush Pick

A soft opener had Ferguson as a -125 favorite (implied 55.6%) in this matchup, but the line quickly flipped to +147 (implied 40.8%) and has mostly stayed in that range.

I projected Dariush as a 60% favorite, so I don’t see much value on either side of the moneyline.

However, I show slight value both on the distance prop (projected -171, listed -152) and Dariush to win by decision (projected +121). I would play Dariush to win by decision at +130 or better since my projection aligns with my initial read on the bout.

The Pick: Beneil Dariush to win by Decision (+138, 0.5 units)

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