Pre-fight Analysis

Vicente Luque vs. Michael Chiesa – UFC 265 Preview

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Vicente Luque vs Michael Chiesa is the feature bout at UFC 265 on Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

The event is headlined by Houston’s own Derrick Lewis, as he gets shot at interim heavyweight gold against France’s Ciryl Gane. The co-main event will see Jose Aldo take on Pedro Munhoz in a bantamweight match-up between two Brazillian UFC veterans.

The lead-in to the feature attractions is a UFC welterweight bout between No. 5 ranked Michael Chiesa and No. 6 ranked Vicente Luque. Michael Chiesa comes in with an 11-4 record in the UFC, since making his debut back in 2012. Vicente Luque is 13-3 since making his UFC debut back in 2015. The two square off in a clash of styles match-up that will have major implications atop the UFC welterweight rankings.

Vicente Luque vs Michael Chiesa Preview

Vicente Luque comes in riding a three-fight winning streak, with all three wins coming by way of stoppage. In fact, across his 13 wins in the UFC, all but one has come inside the distance. Luque has only gone the distance four times in his UFC career, with all three of his UFC losses coming by way of decision. If Michael Chiesa is going to win this fight, it will likely come by way of decision, as Vicente Luque has never been stopped in his UFC career.

As for Chiesa, the 33-year-old fighting out of Spokane, Washington is riding a four-fight win streak, with his last three wins coming by way of decision. Chiesa is no stranger to ending fights before the judge’s scorecards, with 6 of his 11 UFC wins coming inside the distance. Unlike Vicente Luque, Michael Chiesa has been stopped four times in his UFC career, three by way of submission and one doctor stoppage.

While Chiesa is sitting on three straight decision wins, he has shown to be incredibly dangerous as a grappler and has fight-ending Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills on the mat. Chiesa will be in tough against Vicente Luque, who has trained with the likes of Gilbert Burns, who is a high-level BJJ practitioner himself and is coming in with the much more formidable skill set when it comes to overall striking.

The path to victory for Chiesa will be to stay out of the pocket against Luque for as long as possible. Chiesa will have to time his entries very carefully against the heavy-handed Brazillian fighting out of Sanford MMA. While Chiesa’s striking does not match up well against Luque, his ability to slip in hooks and defensively nullify the threat of Vicente Luque is what’s going to be the make-or-break factor in this match-up.

If Luque can connect and do damage on Chiesa in what little time he will have in the pocket then this fight is his to win. Otherwise, if Chiesa is able to get in on the hips of Luque and take his back at will, we will more than likely see Chiesa add to his streak of decision wins.

UFC 265 Betting Odds: Vicente Luque vs Michael Chiesa

Vicente Luque opened as the -175 favorite when this fight was announced back in May. Since then, a storm of money has come in Michael Chiesa, pushing the line to an almost pick’em price of near even money on both sides.

Michael Chiesa has been lined as the betting underdog in 7 of his 15 UFC appearances, holding a 5-2 record in those spots. Vicente Luque is nearing the best betting odds of his career, having never closed as the underdog in his 16 UFC appearances.

Vicente Luque vs Michael Chiesa Prediction

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It’s a simple breakdown for a not so simple match-up. If Vicente Luque manages to keep the fight standing, the law of averages is on his side. If Luque can avoid grappling with Chiesa, and can keep the fight in open space, it’s only a matter of time before Luque connects and puts the fight away. However, if Chiesa is able to close the space and get the fight to the mat, he could make short work of Luque once it gets there.

When considering the finishing power of Luque, and the dangerous submission game of Chiesa, you can surely say with confidence that this fight won’t go the full fifteen minutes. Although, stranger things have happened. Prediction: Vicente Luque by T/KO

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Al Mac is a Canadian combat sports writer specializing in betting odds and historical betting trends. Follow on Twitter @AlMacOdds

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