The co-main event at UFC 262 in Houston, TX on Saturday found two lightweights facing off, in very different circumstances.
For Tony Ferguson, once the uncrowned king of the 155lb division, it was must-win territory. Two straight losses had all but removed his name from title contention. A third would drive the final nail in that coffin.
Beneil Dariush, meanwhile, had a chance to make a statement win against one of the most popular and enigmatic fighters in the company. And to extend his win streak to seven.
Before the fight got underway, the Houston fans let the world know who they were behind with “TONY, TONY” chants. The pop for Ferguson was frankly electric. That, however, may have been the highlight of his night.
An early takedown from Beneil Dariush put Tony Ferguson on his back for the majority of the first round. Dariush had a lot of control on the ground with some ground-and-pound, putting Tony Ferguson in defense mode until the horn sounded to end the round.
Round two opened up with Beneil Dariush being locked in a d’arce choke by Tony Ferguson, but with patience, Beneil Dariush broke free. After a few scrambles on the feet, the fight made it to the ground with Beneil Dariush sinking in a heel hook. Ferguson grimaced in agony but did not tap and got free from the submission attempt. Tony Ferguson seemed to fade heading into Round three, and Beneil Dariush looked to be up two rounds.
Beneil Dariush took the fight right back to the mat, starting off the third round with another takedown and with the displeasure from the fans chanting for the ref to stand the fight up. A questionable request given Ferguson’s leg was compromised. But Beneil Dariush continued to control Tony on the ground, where the fight ended at the final horn and we went to the judges’ score cards for the unanimous decision.
Make that 7️⃣ in a row!
— UFC (@ufc) May 16, 2021
Official Result: Beneil Dariush def. Tony Ferguson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)