It took some deft last-minute dealing by the UFC to sign Jorge Masvidal to struggle Kamaru Usman right after the leading “Fight Island” primary party was jeopardized when Usman’s unique opponent, Gilbert Burns, was pulled thanks to COVID-19.
Masvidal at first experienced been negotiating for the opportunity to battle Usman but was unable to get to arrangement with the UFC in contract talks. That was then, however. Now, this bout is scheduled to be the most important party on a UFC 251 card Saturday evening from Abu Dhabi that functions three championship matches.
Usman was the -250 favorite at BetMGM as of Thursday night to keep his welterweight (170-pound) title. Masvidal backers could get +200.
Masvidal, 35, took this battle on six days’ discover, which looks insane. Still he has been fighting skillfully given that 2003 and in higher-octane “fight club”-style competitions for a long time right before that.
Just centered on his pedigree and background, I perspective Masvidal as far more well prepared for a shorter-notice fight than any one in the organization now or beforehand, Gracie spouse and children excluded.
Masvidal will make up for being a contact undersized for the division with catlike movement, a savant’s battle IQ, precision striking and genuine killer instinct. He was preparing for Usman just before the negotiation snafu, and reportedly has remained in the gymnasium given that then, which I feel is legitimate — to an extent.
Masvidal requirements to use motion, quickness and unpredictability early and generally to retain the ahead-pressing Usman at length. In room he may well use kicks, strikes, knees and elbows to check out to capture the advancing champion.
Masvidal lands 4.33 strikes for each moment and will have to have to use that quantity to pepper Usman and get details, but I really do not imagine he’ll have the cardio to execute that approach for a full five rounds because of the brief notice.
I’m remaining with the effect that Masvidal requires another strategic strategy, as he used towards Darren Till, or even one more gimmick, like his KO of Ben Askren, or he’ll inevitably be dominated on the mat by Usman.
Usman will be impacted by the quick see, much too, for Masvidal provides pretty different resources to this tussle than did Burns. With a comprehensive camp, actual physical benefits of an inch of top and 2 inches of arm and leg reach additionally the unrelenting pressure wrestling he employs, Usman earns the place of large beloved. Usman’s striking has been steadily improving, and though Masvidal has fluidity, pace and precision, Usman will use ahead tension and power placing.
Usman’s strategy will be to eliminate any area for Masvidal — smother him, bully him up in opposition to the fence and then to the ground for leading control. Usman’s measurement, devastating floor assault and potential to maintain superior work for 25 minutes independent him from most other fighters in the division.
Masvidal has been performing this for years and has built it very clear he desires to get compensated just after compiling a 35-13 experienced document. In my judgment, fame, riches and private jets seem at minimum element of Masvidal’s commitment soon after all the many years he served groundbreaking this activity. And in this bout, he is the beneficiary of staying in a earn/earn scenario.
If Masvidal will get smoked, he goes from critic to savior for the UFC and continue to will get compensated in long term marquee bouts. If he defeats Usman, his burst will become even brighter.
There is no implication Masvidal won’t give all the things he has. I believe he’ll use each ruse he is informed of and will benefit from each individual advantage he can muster to test to defeat Usman. But I believe that Masvidal may be productive for only a brief time right before Usman’s physicality takes over.
The full is 4.5 rounds, with -110 odds on either aspect.
Betting recommendation: Lean to the About