Only three events remain for MMASucka staff picks in 2023.

Kicking off the month of December sees UFC on ESPN 52 set to take place later today, Saturday the 2nd, from the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s fifth stop to the state capital in company history and the first since last year’s UFC on ESPN 37 featuring a five-round, split decision “Fight of the Night” between winner Josh Emmett and opponent Calvin Kattar. Today’s stacked event sees the preliminary card, featuring a headliner between Miesha Tate and Julia Avila, beginning at 4:00pm ET (1:00pm PT) followed by the main card at 7:00pm ET (4:00pm PT). All fights are available to watch on ESPN+ with the main card available to cable viewers on ESPN.

Stay tuned for UFC on ESPN 52: Dariush vs. Tsarukyan picks here at MMASucka.

The Fights

Top lightweight contenders Beneil Dariush and Arman Tsarukyan will target a big win in the night’s featured main event.

Dariush steps in prepared for what will already be his 23rd octagon fight dating back to his promotional beginnings in January of 2014. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu and grappling ace out of Kings MMA looks to return to the win column after a first-round knockout loss in June to Charles Oliveira snapped his impressive eight-fight win streak. Dariush’s opponent, Tsarukyan, continues to show evolution to his game at just 27 years of age. Two dominant victories over Damir Ismagulov in December of last year and a third-round stoppage of Joaquim Silva have propelled the Master of Sport in MMA and Freestyle Wrestling to his second main event; his first being a debatable decision defeat last year against Mateusz Gamrot.

Originally in the night’s co-main slot was a special five-round matchup between former two-divisional King of the Cage Champion Bobby Green and former Australian Fighting Championship Title holder Dan Hooker. However, after Hooker suffered an injury forcing his removal, he was replaced by #12-ranked lightweight finisher Jalin Turner. In turn, Green and Turner will fight across only three five-minute rounds.

Two athletes aiming for strong returns see Former CES MMA Featherweight Champion Rob Font taking on the 135-pound debut of former two-time UFC Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo.

Former Cage Fury Fighting Championships Welterweight Champion Sean Brady saw his undefeated run of 15 professional wins snapped to Belal Muhammad by knockout in October of last year. He returns tonight following a plus-year hiatus to battle The Ultimate Fighter 17 tournament victor Kelvin Gastelum who returns to welterweight for the first time since his UFC 200 fight with Johnny Hendricks in July of 2016.

Opening the ESPN and ESPN+ main card sees a middleweight clash between 2019 and 2020 Contender Series contract winners Punahele Soriano and Dustin Stoltzfus, respectively.

Due to the late main card addition of a lightweight fight between 35-fight octagon veteran Clay Guida and The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4 semifinalist Joaquim Silva, this will not be included. Find our staff picks and predictions for UFC on ESPN 52: Dariush vs. Tsarukyan further below.

2023 Staff Picks

MMASucka staff picks are composed of five promotions: the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator MMA, ONE Championship, the Professional Fighters League (PFL), and Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS). UFC and Bellator events feature picks from only main cards. PFL will feature select fights from the main and/or preliminary card while DWCS sees all fights counted from the event. ONE Championship returns to picks for the first time since 2020 and will feature only mixed martial arts (MMA) fights selected from cards with a minimum three matchups.

The WINNER of staff picks at the end of 2023, who picked the most victorious fighters, will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or a chain from Championship Chains. Staff picks in 2022 was won by Wesley Riddle with a record of 264-135.

Who are the MMASucka staff picking to win at UFC on ESPN 52: Dariush vs. Tsarukyan?


Staff Records after PFL 10 2023 World Championships:

1. Ben Jamieson: 289-144
2. Michael DeSantis: 280-149
3. Nate Freeman: 276-157
4. Jeremy Brand: 272-161
5. Wesley Riddle: 271-162
6. Frazer Krohn: 261-165
7. Julio Monteros Jr.: 240-131
8. Andrew Benjamin: 203-170
9. Jack Goodwillie: 148-83
10. Brian Knight: 140-84
11. Tim Wheaton: 105-60
12. Roemello Reyes: 62-34
13. Jonathan Andrade: 31-24
14. Brandon Joint: 12-9
15T. Andrew Harbaugh: 10-7
15T. Chris De Santiago: 10-7
17. Joshua Yule: 7-6
18. Antwyn Jackson: 5-6

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*


Punahele Soriano (9-3), -340
vs.
Dustin Stoltzfus (14-5), +270

Middleweight Division
– 185 LBS. ~ 83.9 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Soriano via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Soriano via Round 1 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Soriano via Round 1 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Soriano via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Soriano via Round 2 TKO
Nate Freeman: Soriano via Round 2 TKO
Julio Monteros Jr.: Soriano via Round 2 TKO
Ben Jamieson: Soriano via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Soriano: 8
Staff picking Stoltzfus: 0


Sean Brady (15-1), -120
vs.
Kelvin Gastelum (18-8, 1 NC), +100

Welterweight Division
– 170 LBS. ~ 77.1 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Brady via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Gastelum via Split Decision
Michael DeSantis: Brady via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Gastelum via Round 1 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Brady via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Gastelum via Round 2 TKO
Julio Monteros Jr.: Brady via Majority Decision
Ben Jamieson: Brady via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Brady: 5
Staff picking Gastelum: 3


Rob Font (20-7), -130
vs.
Deiveson Figueiredo (21-3-1), +110

Bantamweight Division
– 135 LBS. ~ 61.2 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Font via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Font via Unanimous Decision
Michael DeSantis: Font via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Figueiredo via Split Decision
Frazer Krohn: Font via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Font via Split Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Figueiredo via Split Decision
Ben Jamieson: Font via Round 3 TKO

Staff picking Font: 6
Staff picking Figueiredo: 2


Jalin Turner (13-7), -180
vs.
Bobby Green (31-14-1, 1 NC), +145

Lightweight Division
– Co-Main Event –

– 155 LBS. ~ 70.3 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Turner via Round 3 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Green via Split Decision
Michael DeSantis: Turner via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Green via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Turner via Round 1 TKO
Nate Freeman: Turner via Split Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Green via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Turner via Round 1 TKO

Staff picking Turner: 5
Staff picking Green: 3


Beneil Dariush (22-5-1), +245
vs.
Arman Tsarukyan (20-3), -305

Lightweight Division
– Main Event –

– 155 LBS. ~ 70.3 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Dariush via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Dariush via Split Decision
Michael DeSantis: Tsarukyan via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Dariush via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Dariush via Split Decision
Nate Freeman: Dariush via Unanimous Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Tsarukyan via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Tsarukyan via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Dariush: 5
Staff picking Tsarukyan: 3

UFC ON ESPN 52 FEATURED IMAGE:

Embed from Getty Images



Akash Mahi, a dedicated enthusiast of the game, is a recognized expert in the domain of tennis balls. With a keen understanding of materials and aerodynamics, he has contributed to the evolution of tennis ball design, enhancing playability and performance. Mahi's expertise continues to impact both casual players and professionals alike.