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 Arman Tsarukyan of Georgia reacts after his victory over Joaquim Silva of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 17, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
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Fight By Fight Preview | UFC Austin

Outlining The Action That Is About To Hit The Octagon As The UFC Returns To Austin On Saturday

“Everything is bigger in Texas!”

While that didn’t necessarily apply to fight cards originally, it does this weekend, as Saturday’s Fight Night event at the Moody Center is absolutely loaded with crucial matchups across multiple divisions and several additional pairings featuring established names, ascending talents, and fighters looking to get things moving in the right direction to close out the year.

It’s an outstanding kickoff to the final month of action inside the Octagon in 2023, and we’re here to set the table for this smorgasbord of cage-fighting awesomeness coming up this weekend.

Main Event: Beneil Dariush vs. Arman Tsarukyan

Location: Moody Center — Austin, Texas

Where to Watch: ESPN / ESPN+

Other Main Card Matches:

  • Bobby Green vs. Jalin Turner
  • Rob Font vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
  • Sean Brady vs. Kelvin Gastelum
  • Punahele Soriano vs. Dustin Stoltzfus

Prelim Matches:

  • Clay Guida vs. Joaquim Silva
  • Miesha Tate vs. Julia Avila
  • Zach Reese vs. Cody Brundage
  • Drakkar Klose vs. Joe Solecki
  • Steve Garcia vs. Melquizael Costa
  • Rodolfo Bellato vs. Ihor Potieria
  • Wellington Turman vs. Jared Gooden
  • Veronica Hardy vs. Jamey-Lyn Horth

Main Event: Beneil Dariush vs. Arman Tsarukyan

Beneil Dariush of Iran punches Mateusz Gamrot of Poland in a lightweight fight during the UFC 280 event at Etihad Arena on October 22, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Beneil Dariush of Iran punches Mateusz Gamrot of Poland in a lightweight fight during the UFC 280 event at Etihad Arena on October 22, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Beneil Dariush and Arman Tsarukyan collide in the main event in Austin, as the Top 10 lightweights look to solidify their place in the division ahead of the holidays.

Dariush was on the cusp of title contention after besting Mateusz Gamrot last October in Abu Dhabi, but a first-round stoppage loss to Charles Oliveira at UFC 289 in June set him back a step. Now the 34-year-old, who had won eight straight prior to that, returns with visions of getting things moving in the right direction right away.

Arman Tsarukyan of Georgia reacts after his victory over Joaquim Silva of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 17, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Arman Tsarukyan of Georgia reacts after his victory over Joaquim Silva of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 17, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

For Tsarukyan, this is the kind of matchup he’s been seeking for some time — a date with a Top 5 opponent that could carry him into contention if he’s victorious. Though he dropped a close decision to Gamrot three fights back, it didn’t lessen his stock any, and since then, he’s posted dominant efforts against Damir Ismagulov and Joaquim Silva to remind everyone that he’s ready for an opportunity like this one.

Stylistically, this should be all kinds of fun, as both men are excellent grapplers, but perfectly happy exchanging on the feet, as well. There is a great deal at stake here for each man, so expect both Dariush and Tsarukyan to be dialed all the way in and ready to rock from the jump, with this serving as a climatic capstone to a terrific night of action in the Octagon.

Other Main Card Fights

Bobby Green vs. Jalin Turner

The Always Authentic Bobby Green | UFC Austin
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The Always Authentic Bobby Green | UFC Austin
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Bobby Green issued a challenge to the lightweight division for someone to step up when Dan Hooker was forced out last week, and Jalin Turner answered, setting up what should be an all-action battle in the co-main event.

One of the preeminent “truth machines” in the UFC, Green proved that fact last time out, extending his unbeaten streak to three with a 33-second knockout win over surging prospect Grant Dawson. He’s made 23 starts inside the Octagon, posting 12 victories and five finishes, with two of those coming in his two previous appearances this year, and has faced a veritable who’s who at 155 pounds over the years.

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The 28-year-old Turner came into the year on a five-fight winning streak, having registered finishes in each of those outings. He’s dropped back-to-back split decisions to Gamrot and Hooker in fights that were ultra-close and absolutely thrilling, and a bounce-back win over Green on short notice would be an incredible way to reset things to wrap up the year.

Rob Font vs. Deiveson Figueiredo

Rob Font punches Adrian Yanez in a bantamweight fight during the UFC 287 event at Kaseya Center on April 08, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Rob Font punches Adrian Yanez in a bantamweight fight during the UFC 287 event at Kaseya Center on April 08, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Bantamweight stalwart Rob Font welcomes former flyweight boss Deiveson Figueiredo to the division in this captivating main card clash.

The New England Cartel representative has spent the last several years stationed in the Top 10, facing off with ranked opposition every time out. Since rattling off victories over Sergio Pettis, Ricky Simon, Marlon Moraes, and Cody Garbrandt, Font has stumbled to a 1-3 record over his last four outings, dropping decisions to Jose Aldo, Marlon Vera and, most recently, Cory Sandhagen, making this a crucial matchup for the Massachusetts native.

 Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil battles Brandon Moreno of Mexico in their UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 270 event at Honda Center on January 22, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil battles Brandon Moreno of Mexico in their UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 270 event at Honda Center on January 22, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Figueiredo touches down in the 135-pound weight class at an interesting time in his career. He turns 36 in a couple weeks and is just 1-2-1 over his last four, though each of those were championship matchups with Brandon Moreno, so it’s hard to knock him too much for faltering in two of those outings.

This is the deepest, most competitive division in the sport and this one feels like a potential referendum on where each man stands at the moment and what the future could hold for both of them, regardless of how things shake out.

Sean Brady vs. Kelvin Gastleum

Sean Brady trains at Marquez MMA in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 5, 2022. (Photo by Maddyn Johnstone-Thomas/Zuffa LLC)
Sean Brady trains at Marquez MMA in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 5, 2022. (Photo by Maddyn Johnstone-Thomas/Zuffa LLC)

Sean Brady returns to action for the first time in over a year, welcoming Kelvin Gastelum back to the welterweight division for the first time in more than seven years.

The Philadelphia native Brady is a compact dynamo with solid striking and excellent grappling that has produced a 15-1 record thus far. But that lone setback came last time out against Belal Muhammad at UFC 280 and he’s battled myriad injuries and delays since, making him a massive question mark in the division at the moment.

MORE: The 10 Year-End Moments Inside the Octagon

Gastelum went 6-2 in the 170-pound ranks after winning Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter, but he struggled to consistently make the divisional limit. After a dozen fights at middleweight where he amassed a 5-6 record with one no contest, the 32-year-old moves back down with designs on immediately re-establishing himself as a contender.

Punahele Soriano vs. Dustin Stoltzfus

 Dustin Stoltzfus shoots for a takedown against Dwight Grant in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UBS Arena on July 16, 2022 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Dustin Stoltzfus shoots for a takedown against Dwight Grant in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UBS Arena on July 16, 2022 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Middleweight graduates of Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) meet here as Punahele Soriano faces off with Dustin Stoltzfus.

Soriano pushed his record to 8-0 with stoppage victories in each of his first two UFC appearances, but after getting bounced from the ranks of the unbeaten by Brendan Allen, he’s struggled to get back on track, sandwiching a win over Dalcha Lungiambula between two additional setbacks.

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Similarly, Stoltzfus touched down in the UFC with a 13-1 record, only to drop three straight before finally collecting his first victory. That was followed by a 19-second loss to Abus Magomedov last fall in Paris, and now the Season 4 alum returns hoping to hand Soriano another loss and pick up his second UFC win.

Preliminary Card Fights

Clay Guida vs. Joaquim Silva

Joaquim Silva Finishes Ronson With Ground And Pound In Round 2 | UFC Fight Night: Dern vs Yan
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Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

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Joaquim Silva Finishes Ronson With Ground And Pound In Round 2 | UFC Fight Night: Dern vs Yan
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Clay Guida and Joaquim Silva face off in the final preliminary card bout of the evening.

The wildly popular Guida makes his 36th UFC start, entering off a loss to Rafa Garcia and having alternated results through his last six appearances. Silva stepped up on short notice to face Tsarukyan last time out and hurt the headliner in the second round before getting finished in the third. After earning wins in his first three trips into the Octagon, the Brazilian has gone 2-4 since.

Miesha Tate vs. Julia Avila

Miesha Tate battles Marion Reneau in their bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 17, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Miesha Tate battles Marion Reneau in their bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 17, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Miesha Tate and Julia Avila clash here in a bout between returning, ranked bantamweight fighters.

Tate tried a move to the flyweight division last summer, but it didn’t go well, as the weight cut was daunting and she landed on the wrong side of a lopsided decision against Lauren Murphy. Avila returns for the first time since beating Julija Stoliarenko in June 2021 after having her first child in October 2022, looking to build on that effort and a 9-2 record overall.

Zach Reese vs. Cody Brundage

) Cody Brundage punches Tresean Gore in their middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 09, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
) Cody Brundage punches Tresean Gore in their middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 09, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Texas native and recent DWCS grad Zach Reese makes his promotional debut in a showdown with Cody Brundage on Saturday.

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Th 29-year-old Reese pushed his record to 6-0 with six first-round finishes with his submission win over Eli Aronov in August, earning a contract and establishing himself as an intriguing new addition to the middleweight division in the process. Brundage has struggled since earning consecutive first-round stoppage wins to begin his 2022 campaign, dropping three straight before registering a DQ win over Jacob Malkoun after getting hit with an illegal elbow to the back of the head last time out.

Drakkar Klose vs. Joe Solecki

Drakkar Klose punches Beneil Dariush in their lightweight fight during the UFC 248 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Drakkar Klose punches Beneil Dariush in their lightweight fight during the UFC 248 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Veteran lightweights Drakkar Klose and Joe Solecki share the cage in what should be a competitive clash on Saturday night.

Klose enters on a two-fight winning streak but is competing for the first time in well over a year after suffering an ACL injury prior to a fight with Mark Madsen last October. Solecki has also earned back-to-back wins, pushing his record to 5-1 in the UFC with a Performance of the Night bonus for his submission win over Carl Deaton III in February.

Steve Garcia vs. Melquizael Costa

Melquizael Costa of Brazil punches Austin Lingo in their featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night at UFC APEX on July 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Melquizael Costa of Brazil punches Austin Lingo in their featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night at UFC APEX on July 15, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Steve Garcia and Melquizael Costa face off in a battle in the featherweight division on this weekend’s preliminary card.

Garcia has posted consecutive stoppage wins over Chase Hooper and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke after an uneven three-fight stint at lightweight to begin his UFC tenure. Costa was submitted by Thiago Moises in his short-notice promotional debut at 155 pounds but returned to the win column with a unanimous decision victory over Austin Lingo in his most recent appearance.

Rodolfo Bellato vs. Ihor Potieria

 Rodolfo Bellato of Brazil reacts after his TKO victory against Murtaza Talha of Russia in a light heavyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season seven, week nine at UFC APEX on October 03, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Rodolfo Bellato of Brazil reacts after his TKO victory against Murtaza Talha of Russia in a light heavyweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season seven, week nine at UFC APEX on October 03, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Z

It’s an explosive pairing in the light heavyweight division as DWCS grads Rodolfo Bellato and Ihor Potieria collide in Austin.

Bellato scored a second-round stoppage win to earn a contract in his second Contender Series appearance this summer, pushing his record to 11-2, with each of those two setbacks coming against rising star Vitor Petrino. Potieria, who earned his spot on the roster as a member of the Class of ’21, has split a pair of starts this year, stopping Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 283 in January before getting stopped by Carlos UIberg in May.

Wellington Turman vs. Jared Gooden

Jared Gooden Knocks Out Stolze In Just Over A Minute | UFC Fight Night: Hall vs Strickland
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Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

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Jared Gooden Knocks Out Stolze In Just Over A Minute | UFC Fight Night: Hall vs Strickland
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Wellington Turman and Jared Gooden cross paths in the welterweight division early in the evening, with each man looking to get back into the win column.

Still just 27, Turman is 3-5 across two divisions inside the Octagon, entering Saturday’s contest after dropping consecutive outings to Andre Petroski and Randy Brown. Gooden went 1-3 over four starts during his initial UFC run and was out-worked by Carlston Harris in his short-notice return to the Octagon in March.

Veronica Hardy vs. Jamey-Lyn Horth

Jamey-Lyn Horth of Canada kicks Hailey Cowan in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 29, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Jamey-Lyn Horth of Canada kicks Hailey Cowan in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 29, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

A fascinating flyweight bout opens the show on Saturday, with Veronica Hardy and Jamey-Lyn Horth going head-to-head inside the Octagon.

Hardy ended a three-year hiatus with an impressive decision win over Juliana Miller in March, showcasing improved movement and striking, as well as looking much more comfortable physically in the 125-pound weight class. A champion in both the LFA and BFL prior to arriving in the UFC, Horth pushed her record to 6-0 with a unanimous decision win over Hailey Cowan up a division in her promotional debut at the end of April.

UFC Fight Night: Dariush vs Tsarukyan took place live from Moody Center in Austin, Texas on December 2, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass