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Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis UFC 223 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 4/7/18

Pettis vs. Chiesa

UFC: Saturday, April 7, 2018 (Barclays Center)

The Line: Pettis -115 / Chiesa -105 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: PPV

Michael Chiesa and Anthony Pettis fight Saturday during UFC 223 at the Barclays Center.

Michael Chiesa enters this fight with a 14-3 record and has won 71 percent of his fights by submission. Chiesa has won seven of his last 10 fights and is coming off a June loss to Kevin Lee. Chiesa is averaging 2.18 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 37.4 percent. Chiesa is averaging 2.71 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 40.5 percent. Chiesa is coming off a really poor performance in which he was dominated from the beginning and forced into a submission in the first round. Chiesa now hopes to redeem himself and avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in his career. Chiesa has built a reputation of having one of the top ground games in the lightweight division, as he has 15 takedowns at the UFC level and is deadly once he gets his opponent on the canvas. Chiesa scrambles well and has above average takedown defense. Chiesa is an elite submission artist and has forced submissions nine of his last 11 victories. Chiesa also lands 70 percent of his strikes standing up, so he can hold his own in that department as well if needed. This will be Chiesa’s first career fight in New York.

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Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis UFC 223 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 4/7/18

USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Pettis enters this fight with a 20-7 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by knockout. Pettis has lost five of his last seven fights and is coming off a November loss to Dustin Poirier. Pettis is averaging 2.81 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 45.3 percent. Pettis is averaging 0.82 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 54.5 percent. Pettis is another guy who is coming off a rough loss, as he was taken down five times and knocked out in the third round due to a rib injury. Pettis has now won just two fights in his last three years and has lost that steam, as it wasn’t long ago when he was considered one of the best pound for pound. When in good form, Pettis is an athletic fighter who can attack from a variety of angels and flip things quickly if a fight goes to the canvas. You’re never safe when fighting a guy like Pettis, as he’s creative with his strikes and has produced finishes in 16 of his 20 career victories. Pettis is a balanced fighter who can hold his own either standing up or on the canvas, and he’s always a valuable bet given his ability to end things at any moment. This will be Pettis’ first career fight in New York.

I’ve given Pettis the benefit of the doubt for years now and said he’s still young, there’s no reason why he can’t break out of this funk. But at what point does that stop? Pettis hasn’t had a knockout in five years, he’s been knocked out in two of his last three fights and has struggled to finish fights strong, giving him losses in decisions. Pettis isn’t the same guy he was a few years ago. Chiesa was exposed in his last fight, but this is a guy with a great ground game and is the longer, more craftier fighter who is sure to give Pettis issues. At this point, Chiesa is in better form and probably should be considered the favorite.

So, based on the value, I’m picking Chiesa to win this fight, as I’m not laying the more expositive price with Showtime.

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