MMA Record: 12-2
UFC Record: 3-2
Notable Wins: Dan Hooker, Drakkar Klose
Notable Losses: Frankie Perez, Teemu Packalen
Last Fight: Submission loss to Dan Hooker
Fighter Profile: Formerly a top prospect at 155lbs, Diakese started off his MMA career with 12-straight wins and won his first three UFC bouts, including a brutal KO win over Teemu Packalen that had people talking about him as a future contender. Since then, though, it’s been hard times for Diakese as he’s lost back-to-back fights to Klose and Hooker. Sure, those are really good fighters, but Diakese’s performances in both fights were disappointing. He’s still only 25 so he has plenty of time to improve and get better, but if he’s going to make a run for the top-15 he’s going to have to do it now in the sharktank that is the UFC lightweight division.
MMA Record: 8-2
UFC Record: 0-1
Notable Wins: None
Notable Losses: Marcin Held
Last Fight: Decision loss to Marcin Held
Fighter Profile: A top prospect out of Germany, Haqparast came to the UFC on an eight-fight win streak with all of the wins by knockout only to see his wrestling exposed in a loss to Marcin Held, who is no longer with the organization. Only 22, Haqparast is training at TriStar Gym in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and should show some improvements from that bout. He’s very young and has a lot of skills, particularly when it comes to finishing guys, but in a crowded lightweight division he needs to get a win now.
Fight Breakdown: Haqparast is still a solid prospect in my eyes even despite the loss to Held, but I think this is a tough matchup for him going up against a guy in Diakese who is more experienced and who has fought a higher level of competition. The majority of Haqparast’s wins have come by knockout but if he goes into a striking battle with Diakese I don’t think that’s a good spot for him as I believe Diakese is the more talented fighter when it comes to the standup department. Although many of Diakese’s wins have come by knockout, I think after his last couple of losses he will play it safe a bit here and look to outwork Haqparast and take home a decision win to get back on track and back in the win column.
Prediction: Marc Diakese via decision