It’s the rematch fight fans wanted but didn’t deserve… or something like that. The point is, UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (18-1-0) runs it back against the BMF champion Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal (35-14-0) on Saturday.
The two clashed last summer with Usman decisively beating Masvidal, who was replacing Gilbert Burns on a few weeks’ notice. Now, the Cuban-American gets a full training camp but heads to this rematch as a sizable +325 online sports betting underdog.
Usman will be a -450 favorite. And despite additional training time for Masvidal, it’s hard to envision this fight ending differently. The Nigerian champion has been virtually invincible inside the Octagon and his wrestling-heavy style may not always be attractive, but it is highly effective.
- Date: Saturday, April. 24, 10 p.m. ET
- Venue: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, FL, United States
- Watch on: Pay-per-view
Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal 2
Weight Class: Welterweight (170)
Rounds: Five (Championship Fight Main Event)
Odds: Jorge Masvidal +325, Kamaru Usman -450
Masvidal was a hot bet heading to the first fight. This was a man who was coming off three straight KO victories including 2019’s most viral MMA clip: a five-second flying knee KO over Ben Askren.
— محمد جناحي (@MohamedJana7i) July 7, 2019
But Masvidal became just another one of Usman’s victims as he spent most of the fight defending against getting mauled by the champion. Many UFC rematches have had entirely different results. This could be another one, but the UFC betting odds are calling for a deja vu.
Usman: Keep Flattening ‘Em
As much as Masvidal and the naysayers may want to make fun of Usman constantly “sticking his head between a man’s legs,” that’s the most damage they’ll do to his wrestling.
Usman landed 5-of-16 takedown attempts in the last fight and spent nearly 17 minutes controlling Masvidal. As the fight went on, Masvidal grew weaker and only managed 22 significant strikes for the final three rounds, much less than his first round alone.
There is a reason Usman has double the significant strikes landed per minute (4.66 SLpM) than his significant strikes absorbed per minute (2.33 SApM). He’s able to overwhelm opponents with his wrestling, which has allowed him to push a relentless pace.
This is similar to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s style albeit Usman does not have the same amount of finishes. Either way, Usman has looked peerless since his debut in the UFC and he only gets stronger with each new scalp.
Masvidal: Land the Knockout
Although he has 16 KOs to his name and sees himself as a “violent” individual, Masvidal is not exactly a power puncher. Sure, five of his last wins have come via T/KOs, but only one of them came against a grappler and that was within five seconds of the fight.
Masvidal should know that the longer the fight goes, the more it favors Usman. His best shot here is to hurt Usman quickly within the first round. But he also can’t get too aggressive as that will lead to him getting taken down and ground out by Usman.
Half of Masvidal’s losses in the UFC have come against fighters who used wrestling to neutralize him. Gamebred is a victim of his own success here: few fighters would dare stand and trade against him, including the elite.
Usman is hard to hit, but he’s not exactly Neo from The Matrix or Israel Adesanya for that matter. Masvidal to win by KO is +400 and him to win in round 1 is +1000. Backers should look to throw some on these.
It would be something if Masvidal goes in there and starches Usman within one round. He’d become a bigger star and the matchmaking opportunities will be maddening in a good way. Alas, that’s all but fantasy as Usman will go in there, bulldoze, and win another decision.
Usman is arguably a top-three pound-for-pound fighter in MMA and he’s number-three in our monthly power rankings. We can’t fault him too much for using what’s made him so successful. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” The onus is on Masvidal and his challengers to prevent him from wrestling them.
Bet the chalk on Usman. Additionally, the prop on him winning by decision/points is just -125. This is incredible value as Masvidal is durable and is unlikely to get finished.