UFC 251: How Masvidal can Beat Usman.
So UFC 251 fight island is finally here, and stepping into the main event against Kamaru Usman for the UFC Welterweight title is Jorge Masvidal. Usman is a huge favourite and rightly so but let’s just take a look at the ways the heavy underdog can pull off the upset.
How good is Kamaru Usman.
If you are a fan of the UFC then you know how good the Welterweight Champion Kamru Usman is, he is not the champion by accident or fluke he is a monster. Most believe that Masvidal will have an edge in the striking but that is no guarantee.
Usman has underrated boxing, from orthadox stance his defence is what stands out to me, his defense remains tight and effective. He also has an excellent straight right hand that when fired from the orthadox stance is extremely effective, ask Colby Covington about Usman’s straight right. Against Cobly Covington, Usman used the straight right hand to break Covington’s jaw.
Usman mixes his striking into takedowns as well as anyone in the sport, usually if he plans to initiate a grapple from the clinch he likes to loop the left jab over. Sometimes doubling up keeping his patterns varied.
When Usman closes the distance with his striking he loves to use a very effective right uppercut to the body, it is very effective. Combine this with a lot of other strike variation and grappling on just 6 days notice Jorge Masvidal has a mammoth task on his hands.
Kamaru Usman is not invincible, is it going to be very difficult for Masvidal to get the win? Of course it is but it should never be easy to defeat the Champion. But is it impossible? No, no I don’t think it is.
Having gone back through both fighters back catalogues to take a closer look there are going to be opportunities for Masvidal to win this fight. It is no secret that Masvidal is going to want to try and keep this standing to damage Usman as much as he can and either take the decision or ideally get the stoppage.
As mentioned above on the feet Usman is actually very technically good, especially from orthadox stance. However Usman does really like throwing the right front kick to the body. And why not it is very effective, body shots tire your opponent and force errors that you can take advantage of.
I mention the right front kick to the body because as noted earlier Usman is very good from othadox stance. When he throws the right body kick he changes to southpaw, where he is still effective offensively but his defence really starts to show holes.
During the Usman vs Covington fight, Covington had a lot of success when Usman was in a southpaw stance. Colby really lit him up when Usman went to southpaw and was not far from finding a finnish on more than one occasion, and going into round 5 most people had that fight even at 2 rounds each, so it was a close fight.
Things to exploit for Masvidal
Colby was finding a lot of success with left hooks and looping punches, Masvidal has an excellent left hook. Masvidal certainly has the power to end this fight, his left hook to KO Darren Till is an excellent example of this.
One opening is that when Usman initiates the grappling he likes to loop the left jab over the top. This does leave openings for counters that Masvidal can certainly take advantage of such as a straight right down the middle.
Another opening that can present itself is when Usman goes for that right uppercut to the body, now the most likely outcome is that Masvidal takes a nasty shot to the ribs. However when throwing that shot Usman’s right side is exposed, Masvidal has some very good high kicks, maybe a left high head kick is on the cards.
Now realistically the sensible bet is to take Usman by KO/TKO, that is the most likely outcome in my opinion. Usman is bigger, stronger and will likely look to grapple nullifying the kicks that I am hoping to possibly see from Masvidal.
That being said, with the limitations in training we have seen some strange things happen all over sport. Usman is the favourite for good reason but they call Jorge Masvidal Street Jesus, and we may well see a miracle on Saturday night.