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Report: Joseph Benavidez vs. Askar Askarov added to UFC 259

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A big flyweight fight is lined up for UFC 259.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Minneapolis-Formiga vs Benavidez David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC is busy filling out its schedule for the first quarter of 2021, and there’s a flyweight matchup that’s on deck for March.

MMA Junkie reported on Tuesday that former flyweight title challenger Joseph Benavidez will take on Askar Askarov at UFC 259 on March 6th. Russian journalist Igor Lazonin first broke the news.

Benavidez (28-7) has challenged for the UFC belt on four occasions but unfortunately has come up on the losing end every single time. He was bested twice by Demetrious Johnson and twice by current champion Deiveson Figueiredo. In his first meeting with Figueiredo, the Brazilian missed weight and thus no belt was awarded after he knocked out Benavidez, but the July rematch was about as one-sided a one-round fight as you’ll ever see. Benavidez was knocked down multiple times before losing by rear-naked choke. His last win came by TKO against Jussier Formiga to cap off a three-fight streak.

Askarov (12-0-1) recently picked up an impressive decision win over Alexandre Pantoja at UFC Fight Island 2. The former ACB champion debuted back in 2019, battling to a draw with upcoming title challenger Brandon Moreno. He also notched a decision victory against former title challenger Tim Elliott at UFC 246. Current rankings have the Russian at #5 and Benavidez at #2, so Askarov can really further his case for a title shot with a win over Benavidez.

No venue or location has been announced for UFC 259. The main card will air live on pay-per-view, with prelims on the ESPN family of networks.