UFC Fight for the Troops 3 Bet: Jorge Masvidal (+135) vs Rustam Khabilov (-155)

Jorge Masvidal vs Billy EvangelistaUFC Fight Night 31: Fight for the Troops 3 Date: November 6, 2013 Arena: Fort Campbell City: Fort Campbell, K.Y. Lightweight bout: Jorge Masvidal (+135) vs Rustam Khabilov (-155) Fight Breakdown: The main card for Fight for the Troops 3 will feature a lightweight contest between two of the toughest guys looking to climb their way up the division, as Strikeforce veteran Jorge Masvidal enters the Octagon to square off against the Russian suplex machine, Rustam Khabilov. Masvidal is currently an underdog heading into this match-up at +135 ($100 to win $135), while Khabilov is the favorite at -155 ($155 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. JORGE MASVIDAL (25-7 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is coming off an impressive second round submission victory over Michael Chiesa at UFC on FOX 8 just over five months ago, where he got Chiesa to tap to a D’arce choke in front of his hometown with only one second remaining in the second round. The win makes it two in a row in the Octagon, and three in a row since losing a Strikeforce lightweight title fight to Gilbert Melendez nearly two years ago. Masvidal has excellent Muay Thai and is amongst the best strikers in the UFC’s lightweight division. He has tremendous takedown defense and is also talented on the mat, as displayed in his last outing against Chiesa. He has a decent chin, although Chiesa was able to hurt him for a moment, and he’s also been knocked out a couple of times throughout his career. That said, his chin generally holds up, and he recovers fairly well. Training out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, F.L., Masvidal is a well-conditioned fighter who is prepared to go three hard rounds, and with a win here, he will look for a top 10 opponent, as he has his eyes set on the 155 gold. RUSTAM KHABILOV (16-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) made a big splash in the UFC’s lightweight division in his promotional debut, where he defeated Vinc Pichel via first round TKO. Pichel stood no chance, as Khabilov grabbed hold of him like a child, and began suplexing him, eventually knocking him out with a suplex. The knockout earned him SporTV’s 2012 Knockout of the Year award. The UFC called it the eighth best UFC debut of all time. He followed that impressive performance up with another first round TKO victory over Yancy Medeiros at UFC 159 six months ago. He began suplexing Medeiros until Medeiros broke his thumb while trying to prevent a slam with his hand. Khabilov now gets not one, but several steps up in competition, as he enters the Octagon against the best fighter he has yet to face in Jorge Masvidal. The Russian has found a new home on US soil at Jackson-Winklejohn MMA in Albuquerque, N.M. under the tutelage of Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn, the latter of which has helped Khabilov make strides in his striking, though it has yet to be put into display inside the Octagon. Khabilov is a very well-conditioned fighter who will be able to put the pressure on for all fifteen minutes of action. Fight Prediction: Khabilov is an extremely talented grappler who owns several championship titles in Sambo. He has used his superior grappling to dominate previous opponents, and now against his toughest challenge to date, we will see him really get tested. Whether his grappling will be enough, or if he’ll have more tools to display, will be known, but at this point, there are way too many question marks to really be able to predict how this fight will go. I would not be surprised, regardless of the outcome, but more often than not, I think this one makes its way to the judges scorecards. Gabe’s Pick: Rustam Khabilov by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-29, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Plays: Fight Starts Round 3 (-170) for 3u, Masvidal +3.5 (-140) for 1u… I’m looking at the Draw prop at +8000 and considering a stab, but eh…

Written by Gabe Killian

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