Why Betting on Jorge Masvidal (+250) isn't that Crazy
Updated: Sep 8
Kamaru Usman opened up as a 3-1 favorite over Masvidal earlier this week for good reason. In his last 2 performances he completely dominated Tyron Woodley, a man who was in the conversation for one of the greatest Welterweights of all time, and he finished Colby Covington who was coming off a near-perfect win against Robbie Lawler. The betting markets have since adjusted more towards Masvidal, at the time of writing the best-paying odds I can find for him are +209 at sportsbetting.ag but most books have him +180-+190. Here are a few reasons why I believe Jorge Masvidal can win this fight:
In the graph above, the lighter color represents total strikes attempted and the darker color represents significant strikes landed.
While Usman is the more active fighter, and typically more active fighters win fights, what stands out here is that Masvidal doesn't really get hit much. In the Nate Diaz fight, Diaz attempted 194 strikes and only landed 43 significant blows. Compare the 22% to Covington's 36% against Usman; and even though Woodley only landed 34 significant strikes, he only attempted 79 making his conversion 43%. Masvidal doesn't need to bring high pressure to defeat Usman, he just needs to land his heavy shots.
One of the main reasons people seem to think Usman matches up well against Masvidal is his wrestling. Similar to how some experts thought the Ben Askren fight would go for Masvidal, experts are predicting that Usman will be able to use his wrestling technique to smother his opponent. This may not be the case.
Usman has become much more of a striker as of late. In 2019, Usman only attempted 6 takedowns and completed 2 of them. The argument here for his lower takedown attempts could be that he was going up against higher level grapplers and he preferred striking. Experts could be expecting Usman to go back to his Rafael Dos Anjos strategy but keep in mind that he was originally preparing for Gilbert Burns, a 3 time grappling World Champion and World Cup gold medalist.
Masvidal's takedown defense is nothing to shrug at either:
3 years ago, Demian Maia was 4 for 12 on takedowns against Masvidal - that's probably the best performance of the group. Usman may find success with the takedown, but he is taking a huge risk in gassing out in a 5 round fight. What is really telling is that Ben Askren, known for his wrestling ability, didn't even want to attempt at takedown when the two met (It's a bad joke but it's still a joke).
Data provided by www.UFCStats.com
Lines provided by www.DraftKings.com