UFC 185 Fight Breakdown: Daron Cruickshank vs. Beneil Dariush

BeneilDariush One of the prelims at UFC 185 is a three-round lightweight bout between Daron Cruickshank and Beneil Dariush. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Crucikshank is a -140 favorite (bet $140 to win $100) while Dairush is a +120 underdog (bet $100 to win $120). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Cruickshank at -190 and Dariush at +150, and so far the majority of the betting action has come in on the dog Dariush. Another competitive fight on the UFC 185 card, but once again I lean towards the underdog Dariush. Here’s why. Cruickshank (16-5, 1 NC) was a cast member on TUF 15 and has since gone on to post a 6-3, 1 NC overall record in the UFC with wins over Anthony Njokuani, Erik Koch and Yves Edwards, amongst others. The 29-year-old American comes from a taekwondo background and he uses it well in MMA. He has some of the flashiest and deadliest kicks in the game and even has three wins in the UFC via head kick. He doesn’t have great boxing, but his kicks are extremely good, and may only pale to Edson Barboza in the entire division. Cruickshank also has underrated wrestling and generally can dictate where his fights take place. However, he has a bit of a shaky chin and has been knocked out and submitted in the past, and that’s a concern against someone aggressive like Dariush. Cruickshank’s key to victory here will be to keep this fight on the feet, stay on the outside, and land brutal kicks, but if he gets taken down by the BJJ black belt Dariush he could be in trouble, so while he enters the fight as the favorite, he is not a lock by any means. Dariush (9-1) is 3-1 in the UFC with stoppage wins over Charlie Brenneman and Tony Martin and a decision win over Carlos Diego Ferreira and a TKO loss to Ramsey Nijem. The 25-year-old Iranian is an extremely aggressive, well-rounded fighter with knockout power in his hands, submission ability on the ground, and the wrestling skills to dictate where his fights take place. He is a finisher who has won seven fights by stoppage and overall this is a guy who doesn’t like going the distance. In his only loss to Nijem he was surprisingly knocked out, but he’s bounced back since with two-straight wins and overall I think he has looked great in the UFC. He is taking on a striker here in Cruickshank and he’s going to have to watch his chin, but if he can implement his wrestling game and get this fight to the mat he will be at a huge advantage as he will be able to use his BJJ black belt skills. The key to Dariush’s success here will rely on his wrestling, and after seeing him outwrestle a very tough fighter in Ferreira, I have a feeling he can have that success and pull off the mini upset Outside of the Nijem fight, Dariush has looked fantastic in the UFC and I really think he has the chance to get the upset victory here over Cruickshank. There’s no doubt Cruickshank is a flashy striker, a fun guy to watch, and with his striking and wrestling skills a dangerous opponent for anyone in the division, I just feel like he leaves too many defensive openings and I feel like Dariush can capitalize on them. I think this fight could play out similarly to Cruickshank’s fight with Martins, where Martins knocked Cruickshank down and later submitted him. I’m not sure if Dariush knocks Cruickshank down or wrestles him to the ground, but I expect him to find a way to get this fight to the mat and lock in the submission for a big win. At the current plus money odds, I see some value on Dariush here, but ideally I’d like something closer to the +150 opener before I pull the trigger. But I definitely think Dariush has a really good shot to win this fight as the dog and I’m absolutely picking him to win.

Written by Adam Martin.

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