The co-main event of UFC Fight Night 63 is a three-round lightweight bout between Jorge Masvidal and Al Iaquinta. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Masvidal is a -135 favorite (bet $135 to win $100) while Iaquinta is a +115 underdog (bet $100 to win $115). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Masvidal at -190 and Iaquinta at +150, and bettors came in early on Iaquinta to knock the line down to where it is now. I agree with the action that came in on Iaquinta early on as I believe he will win this fight. Here’s why. Masvidal (28-8) is 5-1 in the UFC with wins over Michael Chiesa, Tim Means, James Krause, Pat Healy and Daron Cruickshank with his lone loss in the Octagon coming to Rustam Khabilov. The 30-year-old American is extremely well rounded and is one of the best lightweights all of MMA. On the feet he has very tight, accurate boxing, he has extremely underrated wrestling, and he has a really slick submission game that no one talks about. He has a tremendous level of experience, having fought a who’s who of the UFC lightweight division. He also has good cardio and has a tremendous chin, routinely eating big shots and surviving through them. However, you have to wonder if taking all that damage will eventually catch up. Overall, though, he is an excellent fighter, and a dark horse contender at 155lbs. This fight against Iaquinta is a very close fight and Masvidal’s best path to victory will be to take the fight to the ground, but he has to be careful of Iaquinta’s power, because if he gets hit clean on the chin this could very well be the fight where Masvidal finally goes down. Iaquinta (11-3-1) is 6-2 in the UFC with wins over Joe Lauzon, Ross Pearson, Rodrigo Damm, Kevin Lee, Piotr Hallmann and Ryan Couture with his losses coming to Mitch Clarke and Michael Chiesa. The 27-year-old American is currently riding a three-fight win streak — all wins coming by way of knockout — and mentally he seems to be in a very good place. His boxing has never looked better and he has shown huge power as of late. He comes from a wrestling background and with his ability to stop the takedown he can dictate where his fights take place and that’s a huge advantage in any fight he’s in. Obviously his kryptonite is on the ground, as Iaquinta has been subbed out three times in his career, but if he has learned from those mistakes and can stay away from the ground he’s going to be a tough guy for anyone to beat. He is improving rapidly from fight to fight, and if he can take out Masvidal he’ll jump into title contention at 155lbs. This is a really tough fight to call, but ultimately I lean towards Iaquinta. He has improved drastically within the last year alone and riding into this fight with Masvidal on a three-fight knockout streak, he’s going to be super confident he can get the win, even over a top lightweight like Masvidal. I believe if he can keep this fight standing he can outland Masvidal on the feet and possibly even knock Masvidal out. If Masvidal can turn this into a grappling match then he’ll probably win it just because Iaquinta has so many holes in his submission defence, but I feel like Iaquinta learned from the Clarke fight and I think he’ll do everything he can to keep this on the feet. This is not a fight that I’m confident enough to make a bet on, but overall I do lean towards Iaquinta to pull off the upset win.
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