Jussier Formiga vs. Joseph Benavidez
|Date & Time||Saturday June 29, 2019, 11:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Benavidez -181 / Formiga +159 -- Over/Under:
Jussier Formiga and Joseph Benavidez fight Saturday during UFC on ESPN 3 at the Target Center.
Jussier Formiga enters this fight with a 23-5 record and has won 57 percent of his fights by decision. Formiga has won eight of his last 10 fights and is coming off a March win over Deiveson Figueiredo. Formiga is averaging 1.37 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 40 percent. Formiga is averaging 1.97 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 40 percent. Formiga is 4-0 since moving from Brazil to Florida to join American Top Team, easily the best stretch under the UFC banner, and that includes a performance of the night against Ben Nguyen. Formiga now looks for five straight victories for the first time since 2011-12. Formiga is an athletic fighter who has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Judo, so his takedown ability and ground game is top notch and eight of his 10 career submissions have ended via the rear-naked choke. Formiga has never lost a fight through submission and he’s a well conditioned fighter who is built for the long haul. Formiga has never produced a knockout, but he’s a better striker than some give him credit for and has landed some creative shots that have dropped his opponents. Formiga’s standup has always potential and shouldn’t be overlooked, especially those elbows when breaking out of the clinch. This will be Formiga’s second career fight in Minnesota.
Joseph Benavidez enters this fight with a 27-5 record and has won 41 percent of his fights by decision. Benavidez has won eight of his last nine fights and is coming off a January win over Dustin Ortiz. Benavidez is averaging 3.40 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 33 percent. Benavidez is averaging 1.49 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 30 percent. Benavidez has won his last two fights since his close loss to Sergio Pettis, and that includes a performance of the night knockout over Alex Perez in The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale. While soon to be 35 years old, Benavidez is still the wild, fast and aggressive fighter he’s always been, as his standup is very unpredictable and on the fly. Benavidez will rush his opponent with big combinations that aren’t always accurate but the work rate gives him an edge, and he loves flying knees and leg kicks. Benavidez isn’t always the sexiest or most fundamentally sound fighter in the world, but his aggressiveness looks good to judges on the cards and he only needs one thing to land for him to finish things. Benavidez also has a background in wrestling and five of his nine career submissions hav come via the guillotine choke. This will be Benavidez’s first career fight in Minnesota.
This is an interesting rematch from 2013 in UFC Fight Night 28, a fight Benavidez won in the first round due to a hard knee to the body and then finished with ground and pound. Formiga is a much more confident fighter with his change in his training, and Benavidez has been the model of consistency these last eight years where he’s only lost three times and two of those losses came at the hands of Demetrious Johnson. Formiga is an underrated fighter who can never be overlooked due to his ground game and conditioning. He’d have the edge in this fight if it goes to the canvas. The problem is Benavidez is the more balanced fighter who can not only hold his own on the ground due to his wrestling background, but he has a clear, clear edge in standup striking. Benavidez is far more polished and accurate with his hands, and his use of his knees and legs gives Formiga more things to think about. Benavidez is just the better all-around fighter and it’s a coincidence he’s had the more consistent career.
Benavidez won the fight meeting and he should win the rematch.