Lightweight bout: Michael Chiesa (+240) vs Jorge Masvidal (-280) Fight Breakdown: Headlining the UFC on FOX 8 prelims on FX is TUF season 15 winner Michael Chiesa taking on Strikeforce import Jorge Masvidal. Chiesa is currently a +240 underdog ($100 to win $240,) while Masvidal is a -280 favorite ($280 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. Michael Chiesa (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) makes his third octagon appearance in his home-state of Washington after racking up two straight wins against Al Iaquinta and Anton Kuivanen. Chiesa displayed heart, will, hunger, toughness, and determination in both bouts and finished both opponents by rear-naked-choke submission. He won his fights on The Ultimate Fighter season 15 in similar fashion, after wearing out his opponents. His solid chin has benefited him, as well. While Chiesa posesses the traits I mentioned, he has not yet honed his skills as a mixed martial artist. He’s a wrestler first but often can’t implement his wrestling until later rounds when his opponents have begun to lose momentum; he’s a poor striker and an average wrestler, so his best weapon is definetly his cardio. Jorge Masvidal (24-7 MMA, 1-0 UFC) took this fight with plenty of time to prepare, as he replaced an injured Reza Madadi. This will be Jorge Masvidal’s second fight in the octagon after defeating Tim Means in his UFC debut earlier this year and he’s got his sights set on making another title run. Masvidal is now 2-0 since losing a Strikeforce lightweight title-fight to Gilbert Melendez a year and half ago. He posseses great Muay Thai skills and is amongst the best strikers in the UFC’s lightweight division. That said, he’s got a couple of losses which are hard to swallow; Rodrigo Damm, who is currently a featherweight in the UFC, knocked him out. That “fluke,” if you will, has been the only knockout loss in Masvidal’s 10 year MMA career and it was 5 years ago. He’s taken big shots from much more powerful strikers so I don’t question his chin. Damm shouldn’t have been able to knock him out, but it happened; Masvidal got caught. Damm is a more technical, powerful, and superior striker than Chiesa, so I don’t think getting knocked out by Chiesa is a big worry for Masvidal. (Unless somebody cursed him to get knocked out every 5 years by a fighter who shouldn’t otherwise be able to.) The other loss that’s tough to swallow came at the hands of current UFC bantamweight Raphael Assuncao in 2005, which was the first loss of Masvidal’s career. I could not find tape on the fight but it was in Assuncao’s hometown, so I’m gonna give Jorge the benefit of the doubt and just assume that it was a hometown decision! Fight Prediction: Michael Chiesa is making his third trip to the octagon against the most experienced and talented mixed martial artist he has yet to face in Jorge Masvidal. Chiesa is the big underdog going in. He was also a big underdog in the TUF 15 finale against Al Iaquinta, a fight everybody expected him to lose. Not me; I picked Chiesa over Iaquinta and also picked him to defeat Anton Kuivanen in his next bout, in which he was a 2-to-1 favorite. Point being; I’ve been spot-on in predicting Michael Chiesa fights and I say unfortunately for him, his undefeated winning streak will not reach double-digits in his hometown on July 27th as he would hope. Chiesa will count on his cardio and wrestling but when his gameplan of grinding out Masvidal fails due to Masvidal’s noteworthy takedown defense and equally superb cardio, Chiesa will have nothing left to offer. Failed takedown attempt after failed takedown attempt is what we should be expecting from Chiesa. Masvidal will stop the takedowns, keep the fight on the feet, and pick him apart. Michael Chiesa’s heart and toughness won’t be enough this time. Not even in his hometown. Not against Jorge Masvidal. Gabe’s Pick: Jorge Masvidal by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27) is the most likely outcome, but don’t be surprised if Masvidal puts Michael Chiesa’s lights out in front of Chiesa’s hometown crowd. Gabe’s Recommended Play: Jorge Masvidal -280. I feel he should be -600, so I definetly see value in him here. Take the moneyline and collect.