UFC On FOX 8 Sneak Peek: Jorge Masvidal (-280) vs. Michael Chiesa (+240) Jul 27, 2013

Jorge Masvidal vs Billy Evangelista

Next weekend’s UFC on FOX 8 card features a number of intriguing prelim matchups, but the preliminary bout that I’m most looking forward to is the lightweight match between Jorge “Gambred” Masvidal and TUF 15 winner Michael “Maverick” Chiesa, a fight that will shoot the winner into the top 15 or so of the UFC lightweight division.

The betting line at 5Dimes Sportsbook currently sees Masvidal as a heavyweight -280 favorite (bet $280 to win $100), while the comeback on Chiesa is a profitable +220 (bet $100 to win $220). If this line seems off to you, it is, but it’s only because the public has taken it this way, as Masvidal was bet up from the 2-to-1 favorite he opened at.

Although I do believe Masvidal deserves to be the favorite in the fight based on his track record and experience at the highest level of the sport, I believe the current line is off and that there is significant value on Chiesa, a fighter who never gets any respect from the bettors. And I’ll tell you why.

Chiesa is one of those guys who doesn’t really look like a fighter on the outside, but who is a fighter all throughout the inside. The 25-year-old native of Washington state (he will have homefield advantage in this fight) built up a solid 7-0 pro record while fighting on the Pacific Northwest regional circuit but first came into the public spotlight on TUF Live. After winning his way into the house, on the very first episode of the season Chiesa learned that his father had passed away. Chiesa was given the option to leave the TUF house, but instead of giving up the chance to earn his UFC contract he stayed in the house and made the most of his experience as he overcame the loss of his father and defeated Jeremy Larsen, Justin Lawrence, James Vick and Al Iaquinta in succession to win the TUF 15 title.

I was extremely impressed with the way Chiesa kept himself composed and focused during a traumatizing personal situation in the TUF house and I’ve been a fan of him ever since, even though many others have been betting against him.

But betting against this guy would have cost you a pretty penny as Chiesa won four fights on TUF as well as his first fight in the Octagon at UFC 157 over Anton Kuivanen — and he was an underdog in three of those fights — and he now holds an official MMA record of 9-0 with seven of those victories coming by way of stoppage (plus a couple more knockouts on TUF).

Yet, for some reason, the public isn’t giving him any respect in this fight with Masvidal, and I can’t understand why.

Like I said, Masvidal is a very talented, well-rounded and well-trained fighter who has fought some of the best fighters in the world. He has solid wrestling, sharp striking, a good fight IQ and knockout power, and he’s also on a roll with four wins in his last five outings. And he looked very good in his UFC debut against Tim Means at UFC on FOX 7, perhaps the best we’ve ever see him in the cage.

But he also has a lot going against him. For one, he’s been submitted twice prior via rear-naked choke — Chiesa’s speciality — and both of those submission losses were to inferior fighters. Masvidal has also been around a long time and although he’s only 28, this will be his 32nd pro bout and many of those were gruelling wars against some of the top lightweights in the world. And he’s also made comments recently where he essentially wrote off Chiesa as an opponent, basically saying it’s an easy fight.

Don’t get me wrong. Masvidal certainly has the tools and may very well win this fight. But -280? It’s too much. At +240, my money is on Chiesa and I recommend you do the same.

Written by Adam Martin

Mixed martial arts journalist. Host of The Parting Shot Podcast with James Lynch. Lead writer for MMAOddsbreaker.com and columnist for MMARatings.net. Also a Social Mediaist for The Toronto Star.

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