UFC 188 Fight Breakdown: Drew Dober vs. Efrain Escudero

Efrain Escudero One of the televised prelims at UFC 188 is a three-round lightweight bout between Drew Dober and Efrain Escudero. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Dober is a -155 favorite (bet $155 to win $100) while Esudero is a +135 underdog (bet $100 to win $135). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Dober at -165 and Escudero at +125, and not much action has come in so far as the lines have tightened. This is a close fight, but in Mexico I do slightly lean towards the underdog in Escudero. Here’s why. Dober (15-6, 1 NC) was a competitor on TUF 15, where he lost to Daron Cruickshank to get into the house. Since then, the 26-year-old American has gone 1-2, 1 NC in the UFC with a submission win over Jamie Varner, decision losses to Nick Hein and Sean Spencer, and a controversial No Contest against Leandro Silva. Dober is a tough, gritty fighter. He stands in the pocket and trades, and while he has terrible strike defence he does have a fantastic chin and can eat most strikes without getting rocked or dropped. He does not have much power — only two career T/KO wins — but he does throw a high volume of strikes, which the judges like. His grappling is decent as well, with nine submission wins on his resume. He is a decent lower-level lightweight, but because of his willingness to engage in brawls he won’t ever be fighting for a top-15 ranking. He faces off against Escudero in what should be a pretty competitive fight, but he enters as a slight favorite in his enemy’s home territory. Escudero (23-9) won TUF 8 and has since gone on to post a 4-5 overall record in the UFC over three stints with the promotion. The 29-year-old Mexican is a solid wrestler first and foremost, which he showed off in his last outing against Rodrigo de Lima, where Escudero absolutely mauled his opponent for 15 minutes. He has 12 submission wins in his career which shows he can finish opponents on the ground. However, he only has two knockout wins in his career and overall isn’t much of a threat on the feet. Like Dober, Escudero is a lower-level lightweight and can be beat by the majority of lightweights, but in this spot I am left to wonder why he is the underdog. It’s a decent style matchup for Escudero, and he is fighting in his home country, so as the underdog it’s hard not to find some value in the Mexican fighting on home soil. I just see this being one of those close, grinding-type affairs that results in a close decision on the judges’ cards, and in that situation in Mexico I have to lean towards Escudero. He looked fantastic in his last fight (Albeit against a mediocre fighter) and to be honest I’m surprised he is the underdog here. Dober is a tough, game fighter but he doesn’t really excel at anything. Truth be told, neither does Escudero, but I think he’s the better wrestler here and I think that a few takedowns should be enough to steal rounds. I also think that if the fight stays on the feet Dober is extremely hittable and Escudero definitely has some underrated power. I doubt he knocks Dober out, but it’s possible considering the damage Dober has taken in his young career. For me, all the signs are pointing to Escudero by decision, so at plus money I have to make a small play on him.

Written by Adam Martin.

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