Two lightweights with contrasting styles share the cage for what should be an entertaining scrap on Saturday night.
I love fights where undefeated prospects square off with seasoned vets. It’s sort of like a litmus test for emerging talents. If you’re going to be a contender, these are the types of guys you have to beat along the way.
At the same time, I think they’re great fights for veterans—a chance to show the UFC brass and the fans that they’re the ones poised to make a run. Never mind the new kid on the block, I’m still here, and I’m ready to make a run up the ladder myself.
That’s the type of contest we get Saturday night when Michael Chiesa and Jorge Masvidal pair off in the final fight of the UFC on FOX 8 preliminary card, televised live on FX.
Michael “Maverick” Chiesa (9-0, 2-0 UFC)
Streak: Nine consecutive victories
Last Fight: Win—Anton Kuivanen, submission (rear-naked choke), R2-UFC 157
Notable Victories: Kuivanen, Al Iaquinta
Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal (24-7, 1-0 UFC)
Streak: Two consecutive victories
Last Fight: Win—Tim Means, unanimous decision, UFC on Fox 7
Notable Victories: K.J. Noons, Billy Evangelista, Satoru Kitaoka
Why We Love This Fight
These two fighters couldn’t be more different stylistically, both inside and outside of the cage, and that should make for an interesting fight.
Masvidal is clean and polished, a technical striker with great boxing that comes from one of the biggest and best gyms in the sport, American Top Team. He’s soft-spoken, but as confident as they come, and not one to hand out compliments to his opponents.
Chiesa, meanwhile, looks unkempt heading into his fights, a walking representation of the Pacific Northwest he calls home. There is nothing pretty about his approach in the cage either. While Masvidal has called Chiesa a “watered down Royce Gracie,” the Spokane, Washington, native has expressed his admiration for his upcoming opponent throughout the build-up to this fight, saying it will be an honor to share the cage with someone he respects like Masvidal.
I love the dynamic that their conflicting styles should create on Saturday night.
Masvidal has underrated wrestling and takedown defense, but has been susceptible to submissions (and overconfidence) in the past. He is comfortable being the aggressor, but is even better when he’s countering. He’s quicker than most, and the fact that he’s clean with his technique gives him an edge over opponents that throw wildly.
Chiesa will be looking to get in close, get his hands on Masvidal, and drag him to the ground, and the former TUF winner isn’t afraid to eat a shot or two to get where he wants to be in a fight. Chiesa has also shown (so far) that he’s a finisher, and that he doesn’t need much of an opening to latch on a choke. We saw an active Tim Means nearly catch Masvidal a couple times in their fight, and I expect the same out of Chiesa.
Another reason I love this fight is because the Key Arena is going to be rocking when it’s taking place. I’m looking forward to hearing the deafening reception that the Washington State resident Chiesa gets throughout the contest.
I think Chiesa’s fan support will fire up Masvidal, too, who is better when he’s fighting with a bit of a swagger.
These two guys always deliver action. Chiesa is a proven finisher and a guy who is always looking to end fights, and while Masvidal tends to work to decisions, he’s usually pretty active, especially against opponents who bring the fight to him. We should get an electric back-and-forth for as long as this one lasts.