Every fight in mixed martial arts matters. It’s hard to have bigger stakes than two people fighting for money. But, at UFC London, a matchup on the prelims between Joe Duffy and Marc Diakiese has more on the line than most.
There are several fun bouts headed our way this weekend at UFC London. The main event features Liverpool’s Darren Till fighting promotional veteran Jorge Masvidal, the co-main has an interesting stylistic matchup between Gunnar Nelson and Leon Edwards, and that’s after Volkan Oezdemir welcomes Dominick Reyes to the title picture at light heavyweight. There’s a lot going on. While all of those bouts deserve our attention, there’s a fight on the prelims with a lot on the line. That’s the matchup between Ireland’s Joe Duffy and England’s Marc Diakiese.
Both guys are undeniably talented, impressing at various points in their respective careers. While they may be at different places in their MMA journeys, both Duffy and Diakiese have recently struggled to regain the form that previously saw them around the top-15 in the official UFC lightweight rankings. The best cure for a rough patch in MMA is a win, while another loss tends to prolong whatever downward turn a fighter is on.
At lightweight in the UFC, there’s no room for losing streaks. The division is stacked, especially when looking at the top-15. If going through professional struggles in MMA wasn’t hard enough, they’re made that much more difficult to deal with when competing in the UFC’s 155-pound division.
For Duffy, much of the recent rough patch has come outside of the Octagon. He lost his most recent fight, at UFC 217 in November of 2017, when he was TKO’d by James Vick in the second round. That was four months after signing a new seven-fight deal with the promotion.
The 31-year-old Duffy required shoulder surgery the following February, sidelining him for another six months. He was then slated to face Ross Pearson at UFC Adelaide last December, before pulling out due to a rib injury.
Duffy is 4-2 since joining the promotion in 2015, with his lone losses coming to Vick and Dustin Poirier. While that’s not an awful run, the Irishman hasn’t seemed to put it all together since making the move. A victory over a highly-touted prospect in the UK might be the right way to get back on track, along with staying healthy. He’ll have a chance for at least a portion of that to-do list this weekend.
Diakiese, 25, has been fighting in the UFC since 2016. He won his first three bouts, including a 30-second KO victory the last time he fought in London, in March of 2017. He’ll be dealt a tougher test in the form of Duffy this trip, though.
After winning his first three fights in the UFC, the former prospect has gone on to lose three straight. Facing difficult matchups with the likes of Drakkar Klose and Dan Hooker, a stumble from a previously undefeated fighter is to be somewhat expected. But, losing three straight? That’s a different story. One that doesn’t get any better if it’s pushed to four.
As mentioned previously, the lightweight division is loaded. Fighting tough matchups is all you’re faced with when it comes to the top-tier of the 155-pound weight class. It’s not going to get any easier for Diakiese, something made clear when the promotion books you against a guy like Duffy off of a three-fight losing streak.
There’s a lot to like at UFC London. Given the talent, the locale, and their recent runs, no fight has more on the line than Joe Duffy vs. Marc Diakiese. One man will have their rough-run extended, while the other will be on track for a comeback in 2019. When the stakes are that high, with fighters this fun, everybody wins. Well, mostly everybody.
Let us know which fight you’re looking forward to most at UFC London! There’s a lot on the line between Joe Duffy and Marc Diakiese, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Comment below, on Facebook, or reply on Twitter!