Live this Saturday night from the fighting city of London, England, UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ 5 features two welterweights who aren’t scared to stand and trade in Liverpool’s Darren Till and the former backyard Youtube brawler from South Beach, Jorge Masvidal.
If you remember the late Kimbo Slice, who actually gained a great deal of respect from high-level professional MMA fighters throughout his short career, Jorge originally comes from the same “promotion”.
Here’s a short clip of Masvidal earning his nickname of “Gamebred” in a vicious TKO win over “Ray” who packs some serious heat himself but clearly doesn’t possess the same heart as this Saturday’s main event participant.
I remember watching these videos shortly after they came out and reading how the late Kimbo Slice used a swinging freezer door on a refrigerator to practice his bob, weave, and killer left hook.
Little did any of us know that it would be Masvidal who became the most successful to come out of the ghetto backyards of Miami Beach, Florida.
Jorge is celebrating nearly 6 years of fighting in the world’s best mixed martial arts promotion and he has been competing against mostly all top ten guys at the time of their respective scraps.
His opponent Darren Till is coming off the first loss of his career and boy was it an ugly one. I don’t think he scored one significant strike against the recently dethroned former Welterweight Champion of the world, Tyron Woodley who starched the Scouser with his signature right hand as the overconfident Till rushed in, for some reason, to close the distance.
I expect this one to stay standing and I’m sure the British fans would love that as well but even just the threat of a takedown from the more versatile Masvidal could make the difference in this contest.
The co-main features a couple of other welterweights in Leon Edwards and Gunnar Nelson. These two men have opposing styles, although Nelson’s striking game seems to improve with every fight as the Viking splits his training up between his home of Iceland and with the former “Champ Champ” Conor McGregor in Dublin, Ireland.
Spoiler alert: I really like the underdog in this one!
Elsewhere on the fight card, one of only a handful of men that have beaten the aforementioned Conor McGregor, the well-rounded Joe Duffy takes on the Republic of Congo’s Marc Diakiese in a highly interesting matchup stylistically.
I’m very excited about this card!
BetOnline has the goods.
Let’s dive in!
Dominick Reyes vs Volkan Oezdemir
Hey, this is a high-level fight!
It could and probably, as much I think it’s a bad word, should be the co-main event…of the evening…
Sorry, I can’t help but not say those words in a Bruce Buffer voice inside my head.
I bet against Dominick in his last outing opposite the imposing former Tennessee Volunteer football player Ovince St Preux.
Admittedly, I did not know much about him and he seemed a little slim to be able to deal with his larger and thicker opponent.
Reyes was fine, though, and clearly won a 3 round decision.
His opponent this week, Volkan Oezdemir packs a heavier punch in, in my opinion, than the Knoxville native but he is most dangerous on the inside.
He loves to dirty box inside the clinch with tight uppercuts that have dropped some of the toughest guys in the light heavyweight division.
The range at which this fight will take place is more than likely going to tell the story.
Athletes who favor a boxing style tend to stand a little more bladed as opposed to fairly square like a traditional Muay Thai fighter.
If you’re nearly sideways, round kicks are going to eat you alive and that’s exactly what Reyes loves to do. The question will be whether or not Volkan can eat a few of the arms and continue moving forward fast enough to keep the fight in his range.
I think Dominick can keep him away with that southpaw left kick that just comes out of freaking nowhere!
Sorry, I’m having flashbacks to breaking my arm against an explosive southpaw whose round kick came out of nowhere and I blocked with only my arm, not reinforced, and snap.
It still hurts when it gets hit and is a friendly reminder that the big bone almost always beats the little bone.
Joseph Duffy vs Marc Diakiese
Joe Duffy is one of the best all-around fighters in the UFC you may have never heard of and the Congo’s Marc Diakiese can literally hit you with anything from anywhere at any time.
This may end up being the fight of the night!
We aren’t betting on that, though, so let’s break down this undercard matchup.
Both men are 5’10” tall with a 73” reach and only 3 losses on their respective records.
They each dropped their last contest but there is a difference here in their styles. Duffy has a 63% submission percentage and Diakiese has a 50% KO rate in their victories.
What surprises me a bit is the decision percentage from Duffy is only 13%. As a fan, I love that but as a betting man, I will take boring all day long.
Diakiese, on the other hand, has only finished 58% of his wins. He is a very very flashy Taekwondo-based striker yet a bit undersized frame-wise and doesn’t pack much heat in his hands.
That being said, he is still very green in the sport and anyone with that kind of athletic ability can use speed to add power to his punches.
Marc Diakiese has lost three in a row, though, and Duffy’s only losses have come against the gigantic lightweight James Vick and potential future number one contender Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier.
This is not a slam dunk by any means. Diakiese is very dangerous and Duffy hasn’t shown the patience and calculation in his career to be content with grinding out a victory by holding his opponent against the cage and doing just enough.
I believe the Irishman fights smart on Saturday as he has the game to be a top ten fighter in the ever-so-stacked UFC Lightweight division.
Leon Edwards vs Gunnar Nelson
I know Leon Edwards is a very tough fighter but I don’t really understand these odds.
Nelson is a pretty good striker for someone with a world-class ground game and his work on the feet gets better every time he steps into the Octagon.
The Jamaican Edwards does have a 70% takedown defense average but Nelson, who gets his opponents to the mat at a 57% clip, will only need one to finish the fight.
If Leon were more dangerous, I could see him fight off a couple of Gunnar’s shots or single legs but his average fight time is over 14 minutes.
I really don’t think he wants to be in there for the full three rounds because Nelson, as I said, only needs one takedown to change and end the fight.
Darren Till vs Jorge Masvidal
I’ll spare you the Bruce Buffer intro, but this will be the main event of the evening…or afternoon if you’re on the west coast in the states.
This looks like boxing and wrestling versus Till’s Muay Thai and aggression.
I’ll take Till’s striking over that of Masvidal but if the backyard brawler can find it in his ego to possibly take this fight to the mat, he could very well upset the Scouser in front of his home country.
This is a tough call for me because we haven’t seen how Darren will bounce back after such a deflating and arguably embarrassing loss when he got an all too early title shot against “The Chosen One” Tyron Woodley.
Masvidal has a better style for MMA but I don’t know if he is a better talent than Till.
Ugh, tough one.
Jorge, who I have picked against and been wrong a couple of times before however, doesn’t possess the punching power or the wrestling pedigree of Tyron Woodley.
So, I think the Brit pulls it out. Jorge is a vet and has fought some high-level talent in his career, not to mention all the backyard fights down in the county of Dade. His chin may be beginning to go south.
Tune in early as they will be fighting in prime time in London and enjoy these fights. There are some very interesting matchups and some valuable bets to make as well.
- 1. Gunnar Nelson by submission
- 2. Dominick Reyes by decision
- 3. Darren Till by KO/TKO
- 4. Joe Duffy by decision or submission
Get those bets in a team and enjoy the early fights.
Maybe get to bed at a decent hour and hopefully have a Sunday Funday as the weather is starting to break for much of the country.