Featherweights Gabriel Benitez and TJ Brown will square at the UFC Fight Night event on January 15. Benitez is 33-years-old and is 6-5 in the UFC and 2-3 in his last five fights. Brown, 31, is 1-2 in the UFC. His sole win, also his most recent fight, was a split decision victory. Combined, 31 of their professional 37 wins have come by finish.
Benitez vs. Brown betting odds
Gabriel Benitez is a respectable favorite over TJ Brown.
Benitez vs. Brown breakdown
Stylistically and statistically, Benitez should be more successful than 6-5. He is a long southpaw kickboxer with dangerous power in his kicks, especially his left kick to the body. “Moggly” is comfortable fighting off his back foot where he can counter a lazy combination. Benitez has a positive strike differential, a consistent volume, and, despite only stuffing 56% of takedown attempts, a quality submission game, even from his back.
However, Benitez has struggled to find consistent success. Benitez’s core struggle is his fight IQ. He has lost fights after unloading too much volume in round 1, head-hunting a finish, and then gassing out in later rounds. Also, he has engaged in ill-advised firefights in the pocket with fighters who were struggling at range. Furthermore, in those firefights, Benitez, looking for the finish, ignored his own defense, left his chin exposed, and ended up being the one finished. At times, even in a fight he loses, Benitez can look effortlessly impressive- kicking at range, moving laterally, and managing his output. However, when he makes a mistake, it often ends with him being on the wrong end of a knockout or decision.
Brown, similarly to his opponent, also engages in brawls where he is seemingly willing to go toe to toe with his foe until someone drops. This style has resulted in early finishes outside the UFC but has proved less effective in the big show. “Downtown” often looks for an overhand right that does have some pop on the end of it; then, if he misses, Brown will look to shoot a takedown following the momentum of his wild strikes. He averages four takedowns per fight at a 58% clip. But, as with his striking, Brown leaves himself unprotected in the favor of an almost all-offense style of attack. On the feet, or shooting a takedown, Brown will overextend his strikes or leave his neck exposed. This has caused him to be finished six times. If his pressure and blitz style can overwhelm his opponent, we’ve seen Brown find success. However, more commonly, he’ll rush and pressure forward early, then gas out later or get finished after getting himself in a dangerous position.
Benitez vs. Brown prediction
This fight could be fireworks or a sloppy three-round brawl. So long as Benitez doesn’t make another critical error, I see him being able to keep the fight standing, manage his cardio, and keep Brown on the edge of his strikes and catch Brown diving in.
Prediction: Benitez inside the distance
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.