Even many UFC fans may be unfamiliar with Arman Tsarukyan and Mateusz Gamrot. But one of the two men could become a big name in the lightweight division with a win in the main event of UFC on ESPN 38 on Saturday.
DraftKings Sportsbook sees Tsarukyan as the -280 favorite over Gamrot (+235) in the fight at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas.
Two winning streaks on the line
Both men come into Saturday’s fight on winning streaks. Tasrukyan (14-2) has won five straight since dropping a decision to Islam Makhachev back in 2019. Gamrot (20-1) has won three in a row since suffering his only career loss in 2020, a split decision defeat to Guram Kutateladze.
Those streaks have put both fighters just outside the top 10 of the UFC lightweight rankings: Tsarukyan ranks 11th, one spot ahead of Gamrot. Tsarukyan says a win over Gamrot would force the top contenders in the division to take him seriously.
“After this fight it’s going to be very different,” Tsarukyan told reporters. “I’m going to finish Gamrot and it’s going to be a good fight. After this fight I’m going to talk a lot about my division, guys who don’t want to fight with me. And after this fight they cannot [avoid accepting a] fight with me.”
Gamrot agrees that nobody wants to fight Tsarukyan, and says he runs into the same problems. However, his solution isn’t to beat Tsarukyan as quickly as possible. Instead, he plans on putting on a 25-minute long show for audiences.
“I don’t want to finish the fight too early,” Gamrot told reporters. “This is going to be five rounds of violence. This is probably going to be the biggest test for me so far and I’m super ready for this guy.”
Tsarukyan, Gamrot both comfortable on the mat
Both men have shown they can hang with high levels of competition, even within the UFC, and both have added new elements to their games over the past couple years. Tsarukyan has justified his fits of aggression with two early finishes in his last two fights, while Gamrot has shown he can start the action early and take advantage of opportunities rather than just outlasting opponents.
If Tsarukyan has a clear advantage, it comes in his wrestling, which is likely why he’s the favorite in the fight. However, Gamrot has excellent jiu-jitsu skills, and could welcome the challenge of maneuvering on the ground even if Tsarukyan generally starts in superior position.
Fans may not see a lot of standup striking in this battle, but those who love the intricacies of mat work should enjoy this one. And in that case, Tsarukyan is certain he has the edge.
“He’s a good fighter,” Tsarukyan said. “But he’s not on my level. I’m on a different level and I want to show that this weekend.”