The Ultimate Fighter: Live Semifinal Betting Preview

The Ultimate Fighter: LiveThe original field of 32 lightweight fighters will be cut down to the final two this Friday night when Episode 12 is televised live on FX starting at 10 p.m. (ET). Last week saw betting favorites Al Iaquinta and Vinc Pichel advance to the semifinals, and they will square off against each other this week. Also on deck is the other semifinal bout featuring James Vick versus Michael Chiesa. The two winners will move on and face off at The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada in the season finale on June 1 with a UFC contract on the line. The fight between Team Faber’s Iaquinta and Team Cruz’ Pichel is up first. Iaqunita is a moderate -190 favorite (bet $190 to win $100) according to the MMA odds, which makes sense considering his impressive run in the tournament thus far. Most recently, he defeated Andy Ogle in the quarterfinals to earn his spot in the semis. Iaquinta picked him apart on the feet before landing a vicious elbow to earn the TKO stoppage in Round 1. Look for the Wantagh, New York native to use a similar sprawl-and-brawl strategy this week, as he’ll need to avoid the dangerous ground game of his opponent. The well-rounded Pichel enters the contest as a +150 underdog (bet $100 to win $150) off the heels of a controversial decision win over Chris Saunders. The first round was close but saw Saunders get the better of the action while the second round clearly went to Pichel. However, only one of the three cage side judges saw it this way, with the other two giving both rounds to Pichel, thus awarding him a majority decision. His takedown game will have to be sharper this time if he wants a place in the finals since Iaquinta possesses strong takedown defense and striking skills. While Pichel is no slouch on the feet, he’ll likely be at a disadvantage as long as the fight stays standing. The one area where he does have an edge is submission skills, but he’ll have to be extremely persistent if he wants to get in a position where he can use them. On the opposite side of the semifinal bracket, Team Cruz’ Vick faces Team Faber’s Chiesa. Vick has been an underdog in all of his fights this season, including his last match vs Joe Proctor, but that trend has ended with the oddsmakers pegging him as a slight -165 favorite here. In his last fight, Vick continued to show why many have called him the most improved fighter in the house, as he scored a two-round unanimous decision by winning the striking battle with his superior reach while keeping the fight standing with solid defensive wrestling. Those factors will be key in this bout as well because he’ll need to stay off his back against a dangerous submission fighter. He must use his reach, footwork and takedown defense to keep his adversary at bay while scoring with strikes. Chiesa will enter the cage as a +135 underdog and look to score his second straight upset victory. He was a 3.5-1 dog vs. Justin Lawrence two weeks ago but managed to get full mount in the third round and earn a come-from-behind win via TKO. Much like in that match, Chiesa will need to get in top position in order to win here. His lack of both offensive and defensive stand up skills is a major liability against anyone, but even more so vs the rangy strikes of Vick. Chiesa is the better Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, but if he can’t close the distance and secure the takedown, he’ll be an easy target on the feet. This is a clear striker versus grappler matchup that will be won by whoever can dictate the location of the fight.

Written by Staff

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