Fan favorite Charlie Brenneman is returning to the UFC. According to MMAjunkie.com, Brenneman will take on UFC newcomer Beneil Dariush in a welterweight bout at UFC Fight Night 35, which is only just a few weeks away. Brenneman is filling in on extremely short notice after Jason High, who was originally set to fight Dariush, had emergency surgery on a ruptured appendix on New Year’s Day and was forced to pull out of the scrap. I’ve always liked Brenneman as a person and as a fighter so I’m happy the UFC is giving him another shot in the Octagon, but it’s just too bad that 1) he’s taking the fight on short notice and 2) it’s at welterweight and not lightweight, the weight class he has been competing in since being cut by the UFC in October 2012. After compiling a 4-4 UFC record, Brenneman was knocked out by Kyle Noke at UFC 152 and was released just a few weeks later from the organization. At the time many fans and media members felt it was a bad move by the UFC to release Brenneman — who in June 2011 took a fight against Rick Story on one day’s notice to help save the UFC on Versus 4 card — but the move turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Brenneman, as he decided to drop down to lightweight, where he’s since racked up four-straight wins on the regional circuit. I was actually waiting for the UFC to give him a call back to the organization at some point for a matchup on a preliminary card at a Fight Night event, but I was hoping it would be at 155 pounds where he’s much better suited to use his wrestling-heavy skillset. At 170 pounds, Brenneman was just too small to compete in the UFC, and it showed in his losses to Johny Hendricks, Noke, Erick Silva, and Anthony Johnson. As for this matchup against Dariush, it’s a pretty intriguing fight because it’s essentially a grappler vs. grappler matchup and — like many grappler vs. grappler matchups — it might come down to who is the better striker. But if it does hit the ground, it’s going to be interesting to see if Brenneman will be able to deal with Dariush’s superior size, although considering he was able to lay on top of Story for three rounds, it’s definitely possible he can do the same to the newcomer Dariush. As far as a line goes, many bettors will bet against Brenneman considering he’s going up against an undefeated prospect, but I really don’t think this is the fight to fade him. Still, expect the line to be very close and possibly in Dariush’s favor — and considering all the unknowns about this fight, unless either guy is available at good plus money, it’s most likely a total pass situation. Anyways, I’m looking forward to this scrap and to the UFC Fight Night 35 card in general, but I hope that even if he loses Brenneman gets another shot in the Octagon at lightweight, because I really want to see how he does at that weight class.
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