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Benoit Saint Denis of France celebrates his TKO victory over Gabriel Miranda of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at The Accor Arena on September 03, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
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The Furious Rise Of Benoît Saint Denis

Former Paratrooper Benoît Saint Denis Has Been One Of The Fastest Rising Fighters In The Lightweight Division. Take A Look At Why “God Of War” Is A Must-See Fighter Ahead Of His UFC 295: Procházka vs Pereira Bout With Matt Frevola

It’s only taken five fights in the UFC for Benoît Saint Denis to showcase that he’s one of the true rising contenders in the lightweight division.

The 27-year-old French mixed martial artist and French Army Special Forces veteran made his debut up a weight class on short notice, and since competing at his natural weight class, he’s undefeated in the Octagon.

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    Let’s take a look at how “God of War” climbed his way into the lightweight rankings ahead of his highly anticipated bout with Matt Frevola at UFC 295: Prochazka vs Pereira on November 11, 2023.

    Saint Denis Gets His Foot In The Door

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    Making your UFC debut on short notice is always a high-reward situation. Sure, there’s risk involved, but when you get the contract to fight in the UFC for the first time, you sign it.

    Saint-Denis got the call to fight up a weight class against a very talented veteran in Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos in Abu Dhabi on a PPV – talk about a tough debut. At UFC 267, Saint Denis was nearly finished in the second round by the Brazilian, but he gutted it out and was able to make it to the judge’s scorecards.

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    It was far from perfect, but Saint Denis wasn’t completely disappointed in his performance. He took the lessons from that fight and made sure he wouldn’t be in those situations again.

    And he hasn’t looked back since October 2021.

    The Run Begins At The UFC APEX

    Benoit Saint Denis of France punches Niklas Stolze of Germany in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 04, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
    Benoit Saint Denis of France punches Niklas Stolze of Germany in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 04, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

    Saint Denis’ next fight came against Niklas Stolze at lightweight, a whole fifteen pounds less than his fight in Abu Dhabi.

    Saint Denis looked phenomenal as he put together a good showing on the feet, dropping Stolze multiple times in the first round. If not for the round ending, Saint Denis might have finished the fight then. But that was just a sign of what was to come in the second round. 

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    Saint Denis took Stolze’s back after the German attempted his own choke and submitted him at the 1:32 mark.

    The Moment Of A Lifetime In Paris

    UFC’s first ever event in France was a massive success, with thrilling fights and excellent performances from fighters throughout the card. 

    Benoit Saint Denis of France celebrates his TKO victory over Gabriel Miranda of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at The Accor Arena on September 03, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
    Benoit Saint Denis of France celebrates his TKO victory over Gabriel Miranda of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at The Accor Arena on September 03, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

    Saint Denis was the first French fighter to make the walk that night and he became the first French fighter to win on French soil, and he did so in emphatic fashion, beating Gabriel Miranda by knockout early in the second round.

    The two were fighting at a crazy pace and not afraid to take a shot to give one in the first, but Miranda couldn’t hold that pace with the Paris native. Saint Denis took over by the end of the first round, and just seconds into the next frame, he unloaded a barrage of strikes that put an end to the fight.

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    The crowd went wild, and the French Army Special Forces veteran soaked in the moment. The “God of War” had arrived.

    Redirecting The Hype

    Ismael Bonfim had one of the best debuts in recent memory, as his stunning knockout win over Terrance McKinney put the Brazilian contender right in the spotlight. So, Saint Denis saw the golden opportunity to showcase his level against someone with the shine, and he took it. 

    Benoit Saint Denis of France punches Ismael Bonfim of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 01, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
    Benoit Saint Denis of France punches Ismael Bonfim of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 01, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

    He was all over Bonfim from the opening bell and he worked his body kicks before the fight hit the canvas. Once the fight was on the ground, Saint Denis attacked submissions before locking up a neck crank finish before the first round came to a close.

    That victory extended Saint Denis’ finish streak to three in a row and signaled he was ready to face the upper echelon at 155 pounds.

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    Another Massive Win And A Fight Of The Night Bonus To Boot

    With a hat trick of finishes under his belt, Saint Denis faced Thiago Moisés in front of another amazing crowd in Paris, and Saint Denis delivered what might just be his most impressive performance to date.

    Benoit Saint Denis of France punches Thiago Moises of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at The Accor Arena on September 02, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
    Benoit Saint Denis of France punches Thiago Moises of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at The Accor Arena on September 02, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

    Saint Denis handled all the challenges that a talented competitor like Moisés brings to the Octagon. He didn’t let the Brazilian jiu jitsu ace execute his gameplan, and he took the fight to him.

    The first round was intense, as Saint Denis landed great body kicks before cutting Moisés up with an elbow. The two went back-and-forth to end the round. The second round was just a continuation of the first, with Saint-Denis pouring on power strikes at a breakneck pace that Moisés just couldn’t withstand.

    That put Saint Denis at four finishes in a row and set him up for a big fight with No. 14 Matt Frevola at UFC 295: Prochazka vs Pereira, live from Madison Square Garden. It’s sure to be a great fight and a true test to see if one of Paris’ finest can continue his epic run. 

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    UFC 295: Procházka vs Pereira took place live from Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 11, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass