Two fighters in the top 15 Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight rankings went toe-to-toe at UFC Fight Night 98. The combatants were Beneil Dariush (14-2) and Rashid Magomedov (19-2).
Dariush got the job done in Mexico City and he did so with effective clinch work.
Immediately, Dariush went for a head kick. He went for another one, but missed. Magomedov slipped as he landed a leg kick. A knee in the clinch found the mark for Dariush. “Highlander” defended Dariush’s trip attempt. Magomedov reversed a takedown attempt and was briefly in top control. He settled for pressing Dariush against the fence. Referee Herb Dean called time as he saw Dariush was hit low. The fight resumed and Dariush’s high kick was blocked. He began to be the aggressor of the round. The two exchanged strikes in the clinch with Dariush landing knees and Magomedov connecting with uppercuts. The round ended with “Highlander” scoring a takedown and moving to half guard.
Round two began and Dariush landed a left hand that got his opponent off balance momentarily. A straight counter punch connected for Magomedov. The two exchanged leg kicks. The two got in the same clinch exchange they had in the opening frame. The knees of Dariush appeared more effective than the short uppercuts. Dariush stood in control of “Highlander” against the cage. Magomedov finally shoved Dariush off, but he was right back in the same position and ate knees to the body as the round ended.
The start of the final round saw the two exchange kicks and punches. Magomedov landed a left hook. Dariush secured a clinch and landed some knees. The two fighters slowed down, but Dariush stood in control. Herb Dean urged Dariush to work before breaking up the position. A high kick was blocked by Dariush. A left hook landed for Magomedov. He then landed a right hand. The final horn sounded after a back and forth exchange.
While commentator and former competitor Brian Stann thought the fight was close, the judges didn’t share those views. Dariush earned a unanimous decision and two judges saw him winning all three rounds.
Final Result: Beneil Dariush def. Rashid Magomedov via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)