UFC Fight Night 50 Play: Joe Lauzon (+130) vs Michael Chiesa (-150)

The Ultimate Fighter Live Finale: Chiesa v IaquintaUFC Fight Night 50 Date: September 5, 2014 Arena: Foxwoods Resort Casino City: Ledyard, CT Lightweight bout: Joe Lauzon (+130) vs Michael Chiesa (-150) Fight Breakdown: The main card for Friday’s UFC Fight Night 50 in Connecticut will feature a lightweight scrap that will see Octagon veteran Joe Lauzon look to defeat a second consecutive Ultimate Fighter winner when he takes on TUF season 15 winner Michael Chiesa. Lauzon is the betting underdog in this contest at +130 ($100 to win $130), while Chiesa is the favorite to win at -150 ($150 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. Joe Lauzon (23-9 MMA, 10-6 UFC) last saw action at UFC on FOX 9 nearly nine months ago, where he outgrappled Mac Danzig for three rounds of action to pick up a unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards, while simultaneously sending The Ultimate Fighter season 6 winner into retirement. It was a solid way for “J-Lau” to bounce back into the win column, after dropping consecutive unanimous decisions to Jim Miller and Michael Johnson, respectively. Win or lose, Lauzon is generally a very exciting fighter, as he owns six ‘Submission of the Night’ awards, five ‘Fight of the Night’ awards and one ‘Knockout of the Night’ award. He is an exciting fighter who fights for the finish and gives it his all, every single time. The Massachusetts native trains out Lauzon MMA, his gym which he runs with his brother, former UFC fighter Dan Lauzon. J-Lau’s striking is rudimentary, but his ground game is exceptional; he is both brilliant in offensive and defensive submission grappling. He is very capable of submitting opponents from any position, and loves going for submissions from any angle, often giving up position to do so. Lauzon had been notorious for his poor cardio but has shown improvement in the department in recent bouts. That said, he will certainly be at a conditioning disadvantage heading into this 15-minute scrap against The Ultimate Fighter season 15 winner in Chiesa. Michael Chiesa (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is coming off a very dominant and impressive unanimous decision victory over the Brazilian veteran Francisco Trinaldo at UFC 173 in Las Vegas just over three months ago. The victory marked the first time Chiesa has seen the judges’ scorecards in his UFC career. He now enjoys a two-fight winning streak and will be looking to extend it to three when he steps into the Octagon to square off against Lauzon. Chiesa is a very well-conditioned athlete and I believe he will hold that as an advantage over the Massachusetts native when they go toe-to-toe on Friday night. “Maverick” won season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter after going 4-0 inside the house with wins over James Vick, Justin Lawrence, Jeremy Larsen and Jonathan Visante, and then going on to defeat heavy-favorite Al Iaquinta in the finale to take home the UFC contract and TUF trophy. Chiesa is a fighter who has a ton of heart and is constantly improving; his striking is worlds better than it was when he was competing on the reality series, and his wrestling has gotten better, too. He has become more dominant on the mat, as was evident in his last outing against Trinaldo. Generally, he used to be at a disadvantage on the feet, but now he has become a threat there, too, as was evident in his match-up against Strikeforce veteran Jorge Masvidal; though he ended up losing the fight via submission, he hurt Masvidal on the feet in the first round of action, nearly finishing him. That speaks volumes, as I believe Masvidal to be one of the best strikers in the UFC’s 155-pound division. Masvidal remains the lone blemish on Chiesa’s professional mixed martial arts career resume and I’m sure it is one he would like to get back down the road. Gabe’s Thoughts: I see this fight as being a “passing of the torch” of sorts, where Chiesa takes Lauzon’s place as one of the top lightweights in the division. I expect Chiesa to prove that he is the superior mixed martial artist and contrary to popular opinion, I am not expecting this fight to be very competitive. I won’t be surprised to see Lauzon make it a real, close fight, but I feel as though it is going to be all Chiesa, all day (well, 15 minutes, at least). I think Lauzon’s only chance at getting his hand raised is to get lucky and secure a submission, which isn’t that out of the question, as that happens to be his bread-and-butter. That said, I think this is Chiesa’s fight to lose and love him at the current betting line of -150, as I think he should be a -280 favorite in this contest. I think there’s a decent chance “Maverick” finishes this fight with either a T/KO or submission, but if it makes its way all the way to the judges’ scorecards, I see him picking up a comfortable nod there. Gabe’s Call: Chiesa by T/KO (rib injury and/or punches, 4:49 round 2) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Michael Chiesa (-150) 7.5u to win 5u

Written by Gabe Killian

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