There’s no denying that Jorge Masvidal has come a long way in his mixed martial arts career. Masvidal, who started from the lightweight division will walk inside the Octagon tonight in his second attempt to secure the UFC’s welterweight championship when he faces off against the Nigerian Nightmare Kamaru Usman inside VyStar Memorial Arena in Florida in front of a live audience for the first time since UFC 248.
Kamaru Usman is fresh off a spectacular TKO win over Gilbert Burns just two months ago at UFC 258. Usman is currently on a 13-fight win streak in the UFC and is already being compared to the likes of Georges St-Pierre. One of the three African champions in the UFC right now, Kamaru Usman will look to register his 18th professional win as he steps inside the cage against a formidable opponent in the form of Gamebred Jorge Masvidal.
Kamaru Usman stats
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Jorge Masvidal stats
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Jorge Masvidal striking
Jorge Masvidal is one of the finest boxers in the world of mixed martial arts today. Needless to say, his ability to finish his opponents makes him a dangerous fight for any fighter. Masvidal is quick on his feet and uses feints to trick his opponents. He has an excellent right hand from a one-two combination and manages distance well.
However, it’s the unorthodox style that comes in Masvidal’s boxing inside the cage that makes him one of the most lethal fighters in the world of mixed martial arts.
Masvidal uses his feints to land huge combinations, often going for the kill. While we can argue that the flying knee against Ben Askren was a stroke of luck, we can’t deny that Masvidal expected a similar approach. Something he said ahead of the rematch against Kamaru Usman where he mocked him for his approach inside the cage which is largely dominated by Usman’s wrestling pedigree.
Jorge Masvidal grappling
As good as a striker Jorge Masvidal is, he is an extremely underrated grappler. Masvidal has had incredible fights with some of the greatest fighters to ever step inside the Octagon in his tenured career as a mixed martial artist.
Masvidal’s recent popularity has a lot to do with the flying knee KO over Askren following the vicious KO win over Darren Till in London, England. However, it would be wrong to say that Masvidal wasn’t preparing for someone as extremely dominating on the ground as Ben Askren. It’s always his ability to what Trevor Whitman in the corner during the first fight back at UFC 251 said, “explode” is what makes him very dangerous.
In his next fight, Jorge Masvidal took on the Stockton Slugger Nate Diaz for the symbolic “BMF” championship at UFC 244. Once again, Masvidal’s found himself standing against an excellent submission specialist in the form of Nathan Diaz. So, to see Masvidal defend Usman’s takedowns for the better part of the first four rounds, even winning the first round, it wasn’t a surprise.
It won’t be wrong to say that Masvidal will walk in much more healthier and efficient than the last fight when he steps inside the Octagon tonight. While it’s hard to predict domination from Masvidal on the ground, Gamebred’s ability to avoid those takedowns, and get on his feet as quick as possible will be very crucial tonight. He has done incredibly well against the likes of Nate Diaz, Demian Maia, Carlos Diego Ferreira, and Michael Chiesa in the past, and needless a lot would depend on how he does tonight.
Kamaru Usman striking
I wouldn’t call Kamaru Usman one of the finest strikers in the welterweight division. There are several fighters in the division who exceeds his skill set in terms of striking, however, it’s Usman’s ability to find angles and land counters that have helped him triumph over some of the best in the division.
In the recent fights, he has also shown an excellent jab which played a crucial role in his emphatic win over Gilbert Burns back at UFC 258. Usman has a rock-solid chin, and explosive power to complement his fighting style. While he may not be the best out there, Usman is always disciplined in his striking. He doesn’t get carried away in the heat of the moment, he is always poised and has an incredible poker face.
Usman doesn’t look to finish his opponents, but believes in discipline and staying out of the danger zone. Now, with Trevor Whitman behind him, it will be exciting to see the more evolved version of Kamaru Usman than the Gilbert Burns fight, when he steps inside the Octagon tonight against a very formidable Jorge Masvidal.
Kamaru Usman grappling
Kamaru Usman is one of the best out there when it comes to grappling. The Nigerian Nightmare announced his presence to the world after pure domination against former champion Tyron Woodley to secure the UFC’s welterweight championship.
Kamaru Usman has a huge physique that it’s hard to believe that he makes the championship weight. However, it’s the strength that he has even at 170 pounds that gives Usman the ability to hold his opponents. He is extremely well near the cage and looks huge for a welterweight division. Usman’s ability to switch between his fighting style is extremely underrated. He wrestled against one of the greatest of all time in the form of Tyron Woodley and completely dominated him on the ground, while it was a striking battle with both Colby Covington and Gilbert Burns.
Usman’s most crucial ability is to gain control time, to achieve what a judge might call Octagon control. As seen in the last fight, even though Usman wasn’t able to do any significant damage to Masvidal during the clinch, he would use the position to maintain control time over the Gamebred while at the same time, keeping him guessing about his next move.
UFC 261 main event prediction
Expect a finer version of Kamaru Usman who will be looking to finish Jorge Masvidal in his effort to “kill his spirit.” However, it will be easier said than done. Masvidal will step inside the cage healthier than the last time he fought him and is extremely confident of revealing the “fraud” Kamaru Usman.
There’s a lot at stake for both the fighters here. While Usman is fighting for his legacy, Masvidal will probably be fighting more for staying true to his words. Needless to say, back-to-back losses would affect his popularity. Additionally, a lot of friends have criticized the UFC for giving Jorge Masvidal a rematch immediately after the loss to the loss to Usman despite Covington coming off a win.
A lot would depend on Masvidal’s ability to avoid the takedowns. If Gamebred is able to avoid the takedowns, it’s safe to say that while he might not finish Usman, he might pick up a decision victory over the Nigerian Nightmare. However, If Usman is able to takedown Masvidal in more than two rounds, there’s every reason to believe that the Nigerian Nightmare gets his hand raised tonight.
Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal UFC 261 prediction: Kamaru Usman by unanimous decision