Jorge Masvidal vs Billy Evangelista The main event of the UFC on FOX 12 televised prelims is a three-round lightweight bout between Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal and Daron “The Detroit Superstar” Cruickshank. The current betting line for the fight at 5Dimes Sportsbook lists Masvidal as a -235 favorite (bet $235 to win $100) while Cruickshank is a +215 underdog (bet $100 to win $215). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Masvidal at -300 and Cruickshank at +220, and so far the action has mostly been on the dog Cruickshank. I’m not surprised bettors are on Cruickshank, but I like Masvidal in this matchup and expect him to win this fight. Here’s why. Masvidal (26-8) is one of the top 15 lightweight fighters in the UFC. Masvidal is 3-1 in the UFC with wins over Pat Healy, Tim Means and Michael Chiesa and his only loss came to Rustam Khabilov. The 29-year-old American trains at ATT in Florida and training alongside all those amazing fighters has really helped him get to a near-elite level in the sport. He has excellent striking on the feet, very underrated wrestling, solid cardio, and a submission game that doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves. He does have some issues with his striking defence and his chin isn’t the greatest, which has cost him against other top-level strikers, but for the most part he’s been very consistent and is usually a good bet. He has been given a fair matchup against Cruickshank this weekend, and as long as he doesn’t leave his chin exposed he should win the fight as stylistically he should absolutely be the favorite heading into it. Cruickshank (15-4) is one of the most underrated lightweights in the UFC. The 29-year-old American is 5-2 in the UFC with wins over Erik Koch, Mike Rio, Yves Edwards, Chris Tickle and Henry Martinez and his losses were to John Makdessi and Adriano Martins. A second-degree black belt in taekwondo, Cruickshank is known for his vicious kicks and he’s won three UFC bouts via head kick knockout, an incredibly impressive feat. In addition to his amazing kicks, Cruickshank also has decent hands and he has some nasty ground and pound too. As well, he has underrated wrestling. However, the biggest flaw for Cruickshank is his chin as he’s been knocked out numerous times in his career. If he can avoid getting hit with the big shot then he has a chance at pulling off this upset, but if he gets hit on the button he’s likely to go down, and going up against a striker with power like Masvidal, it makes sense he’s the dog. Although one cannot count out the possibility of a Cruickshank knockout blow with one of his kicks, more times than not I believe Masvidal will be able to avoid the powerful kicks of Cruickshank and use his boxing skills and underrated wrestling to outpoint Cruickshank for a decision win. At -235 there could be some value in Masvidal as the first leg of a two-team parlay, with a hedge of Cruickshank by T/KO at +525 a good way to protect the bet in case he does get finished.


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