Jorge Masvidal vs. Ben Askren
|Date & Time||Saturday July 6, 2019, 11:00 PM (EDT)|
Las Vegas, Nevada
The Line: Masvidal +214 / Askren -256 -- Over/Under:
Jorge Masvidal and Ben Askren fight Saturday during UFC 239 at the T-Mobile Arena.
Jorge Masvidal enters this fight with a 33-13 record and has won 52 percent of his fights by decision. Masvidal has split his last 10 fights and is coming off a March win over Darren Till. Masvidal is averaging 4.11 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 48 percent. Masvidal is averaging 1.16 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 52 percent. Masvidal really put himself on the map by beating Till in England with a vicious second round knockout and then busting Leon Edwards’ face backstage. While Masvidal has been in this fighting game forever, has other notable wins and got his start in the streets of Miami, there’s no doubt he had his coming out party at UFC Fight Night 147 and his stock has never been higher on this stage. Masvidal is a striker at heart with a boxing background and fighting in backyards before he turned pro. Masvidal has very good footwork, has become a lot more patient when he attacks and has true knockout potential as he just showed in his last bout. Masvidal is most known for his standup, but he’s also had great success with takedowns under the UFC banner and does have a wrestling history as well as submission grappling, so he’s far from a one-trick pony and can hold his own on the ground if needed. This will be Masvidal’s fifth career fight in Nevada.
Ben Askren enters this fight with a 19-0 record and has won 37 percent of his fights by decision. Askren has won his last five fights and is coming off a March win over Robbie Lawler. Askren is averaging zero significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of zero percent. Askren is averaging 4.50 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 50 percent. Askren won his UFC debut in a controversial submission where the referee thought he was out when he wasn’t. There was also a point early in the first round where it looked like Askren was going to be finished by knockout after he was dropped on his head. It was a really odd fight that had many twists and turns. Askren is one of the most accomplished wrestlers and top control grapplers in the sport, and that includes gold medals in freestyle wrestling and participating in the 2008 Olympics. Askren is quite physical with his takedown attempts, as he simply picks dudes up and throws them around, and he wears on his opponent with constant grappling. Once Askren gets his hands on you, it’s pretty much over, as he’s going to control the remainder of the fight. Askren also has a respectable chin as he showed in his last bout. The concern for Askren will always be his standup, as his striking is almost nonexistent and puts him at a real disadvantage if he can’t get the fight on the canvas. This will be Askren’s second career fight in Nevada.
Askren should be favored here because he’s so dominant one he gets his hands on his opponent and the fact he’s done nothing but win throughout his MMA career. Until a fighter gives you a reason to doubt, it’s probably best to just have that confidence they’ll find a way to keep winning. With that said, Masvidal has a clear advantage in standup striking and is coming off a fight where he looked to be in terrific shape and had his cardio on point. Masvidal is also above-average when it comes to stuffing takedowns, so it’s not a guarantee this fight will see the canvas. As long as Masvidal keeps this fight at a distance, he’s going to get the job done. Masvidal also mentioned that he truly dislikes Askren as a person, so we could see him go for the kill quickly by rushing in with combinations.
Either way, Masvidal is too polished of a striker to turn down the big plus money.