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Vicente Luque vs. Bryan Barberena - 2/17/19 UFC on ESPN 1 Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Game
Vicente Luque vs. Bryan Barberena
Date & Time Sunday February 17, 2019, 9:30 PM (EST)
Location
Talking Stick Resort Arena
Phoenix, Arizona
The Line
The Line: Luque -336 / Barberena +294 -- Over/Under:
TV Channel
ESPN
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Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Vicente Luque and Bryan Barberena fight Sunday during UFC on ESPN 1 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.

Vicente Luque enters this fight with a 14-6-1 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by knockout. Luque has won seven of his last eight fights and is coming off an October win over Jalin Turner. Luque is averaging 3.71 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 51 percent. Luque is averaging 1.48 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 50 percent. Luque has lost just one fight since The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale and each of his last seven wins have been finishes. Luque is one of the more underrated and exciting fighters in all of the UFC and should start gaining serious traction if he can continue this hot streak he’s been on as of late. Luque is a pressure stand up striker where he lands 77 percent of his shots, and he has pure knockout power in his hands. However, Luque also has a background in Luta Livre, so he’s highly effective with his knees and elbows while having experience in catch wrestling where he can find unique submission holds. At just 27 years old, Luque is a fighter who could soon be challenging for a title shot in the welterweight division. I’m high on Luque’s potential. This will be Luque’s first career fight in Arizona.

Bryan Barberena enters this fight with a 13-5 record and has won 77 percent of his fights by knockout. Barberena has won seven of his last 10 fights and is coming off a August win over Jake Ellenberger. Barberena is averaging 4.98 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 49 percent. Barberena is averaging 0.34 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 40 percent. Barberena is coming off an impressive first round knockout and seven of his last eight victories have been finishes. Barberena is an accurate, volume striker who is just as effective landing powerful shots in the clinch and on the ground. Barberena is able to trade strikes in the middle of the ocotogn due to a very strong chin, and he’s only been finished once in his career, which was a submission loss against Derek Smith, back when he first started MMA professionally. An issue I do have with Barberena is his conditioning, as he can ware down over time and he’s lost four of his six career decisions. This will be Barberena’s third career fight in Arizona, the state he’s fighting out of.

Barberena will have his chances in this bout given his raw punching power and his chin that has yet to fold despite eating some clean shots. Barberena is a tough American fighter with a football background, and he’s more than willing to trade some shots. The problem is Luque is the more balanced, polished fighter of the two, who not only has more variety to his strikes but is also quite creative in finding submission holds and can end a fight out of nowhere. As I mentioned previously, I’m highly impressed with what I’ve seen from Luque and think he can be champion at some point.

Luque wins this fight, but predicting this bout doesn’t go the full three round distance provides us with a better price.

Pick:
Fight Won't Go 3 Round Distance -165

Randy Chambers has been with Sports Chat Place since 2014 and covers everything from the NFL to WNBA and tennis. Nobody works harder in this business in terms of content produced and amount of sports covered. Formerly a lead college football writer with Bleacher Report and has had his work featured at Fox Sports, CBS Sports and various other outlets.

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