UFC Fight Night 65 Fight Breakdown: James Vick vs. Jake Matthews

jake-matthews The opening main card bout at UFC Fight Night 65 is a three-round lightweight bout between James Vick and Jake Matthews. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Matthews is a -175 favorite (bet $175 to win $100) while Vick is a +155 underdog (bet $100 to win $155). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Matthews at -190 and Vick at +150, and there has been back-and-forth betting action on this fight as the lines have tightened. I agree this is a competitive fight, but I do lean towards Matthews to get the win and agree with him being favored. Here’s why. Matthews (8-0) is 2-0 in the UFC with submission victories over Dashon Johnson and Vagner Rocha. Prior to entering the UFC, he competed on TUF Nations where he was decisioned by Olivier Aubin-Mercier. At just 20 years of age, the Australian is one of the youngest fighters in the UFC but he has a wealth of potential and keeps getting better and better every fight. He is one of the thicker lightweights on the roster and he uses his size well in his fights to bully his opponents to the mat and finish them there. He has seven finishes in eight career wins, four by submission and three by T/KO. He is a very good wrestler and he excels at getting position on the mat and then either grabbing a sub or going for the ground-and-pound finish. His striking is his weakest point, but it is improving every fight. He is getting a big step up in competition here against Vick, but the UFC clearly thinks highly of him and believes he has a good chance to win this fight, and despite his opponent having more experience in the UFC, I agree Matthews has a good shot here of picking up the best win of his young career. Vick (7-0) is 3-0 in the UFC with a submission win over Ramsey Nijem and decision wins over Nick Hein and Valmir Lazaro. Prior to entering the UFC, Vick was a cast member of TUF 20, where he went 3-1 with wins over Daron Cruickshank, Joe Proctor and Dakota Cochrane and a loss to Michael Chiesa. The 28-year-old American is a tremendous talent and one of the best prospects at 155lbs. At 6’3″, he is one of the tallest lightweights in the UFC and with a 76″ reach he is one of the longest as well. He uses his reach pretty well on the feet and as he continues to improve and gain experience he will begin to use that reach more effectively. He also has some knockout power in his limbs as he showed us against Cruickshank, and he has good submissions on the mat as he showed in his fight against Nijem. He is just very well rounded and gets better every fight. The one flaw I have picked up on from Vick is his chin, as he’s been rocked and dropped in multiple fights, but other than that he’s been quite solid in the UFC, and with a win over Matthews will presumably get a nice step up in competition. This is a tough one for me because I’ve been so high on Vick and have bet on him in nearly all of his TUF and UFC fights, but I think Matthews wins this fight. I’ve been extremely impressed with what I’ve seen from the youngster so far and I am banking on him to continue improving, and showing off those improvements in this fight. With his long reach and his skills on the mat, Vick can absolutely win this fight, but I just think Matthews is going to show the world how talented he is and get a huge win in his home country of Australia. Having said that, the price is a bit too high for my taste because I do see Vick as a very good fighter and don’t think laying so much juice against him is a good idea. I view this more as a Pick’em fight with a slight lean to Matthews, so at the current prices I don’t like it for a bet. But if the line drops in the next few days and gets down near to a Pick ’em price, at that point there could be some value on Matthews for a bet. For now, though, the pick is Matthews but no bet.

Written by Adam Martin.

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