This should be a fantastic fight between the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked flyweights, and it's a testament to how deep this pay-per-view event is that it couldn't crack the main card.
Oddsmakers are expecting a close fight with UFC betting lines installing Askarov as a slim -134 favorite while Benavidez comes back at +114.
We bring you our best Benavidez vs. Askarov picks and predictions for UFC 259 on Saturday, March 6 from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Benavidez vs Askarov fight odds
|Method of Victory||Joseph Benavidez||Askar Askarov|
|Win by KO/TKO||+500||+800|
|Win by Points||+300||+150|
|Win by Submission||+750||+700|
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook
Benavidez vs Askarov betting preview
Joseph Benavidez is widely considered one of the greatest UFC fighters to never hold a belt and is coming off back-to-back losses to Deiveson Figueiredo for the vacant flyweight championship.
He's still 28-7 in his career, with four of those losses coming against the greatest flyweight and bantamweights in MMA history in Demetrious Johnson and Dominick Cruz. The 35-year-old has crisp combos and power in his hands, while also boasting strong grappling and scrambling ability.
Askar "Bullet" Askarov is No. 3 in the UFC flyweight rankings and is coming off consecutive unanimous decision victories over Alexandre Pantoja and Tim Elliott. Askarov is the former ACB flyweight champion and is 12-0-1 in his MMA career, with the draw coming in his UFC debut against current No. 1 flyweight contender Brandon Moreno in 2019.
The 28-year-old Dagestan native is a solid technical boxer with excellent wrestling and high-end grappling ability. Seven of his 12 wins have come via submission.
Benavidez vs Askarov tale of the tape
|Joseph Benavidez||Askar Askarov|
|125 lbs||Weight||126 lbs|
|65 inches||Reach||67 inches|
|28-7-0 (8 KO)||Record||12-0-1 (3 KO)|
Benavidez vs Askarov UFC prediction and betting pick
PREDICTION: Fight to go the distance -164 - Like a disgruntled partner in a long-term relationship, the UFC betting public often seems to ask "what have you done for me lately?"
Benavidez was destroyed in his last two fights, which is a large part of why he opened as a -150 favorite but now sits as a +114 underdog. However, Figueiredo is the champ for good reason and Benavidez is still extremely difficult to finish.
Askarov is a dangerous grappler but Benavidez is an excellent defensive wrestler and has some of the best scrambling around. Likewise, while Benavidez has good hand speed and pop in his punches, Askarov has formidable striking defense and excellent cardio.
Keep in mind that between 2014 and 2018, Benavidez had six consecutive fights go the distance. Meanwhile, all three of Askarov's UFC fights have gone to the judges' cards. With how close this fight is expected to be, bet on this going the full 15 minutes.
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