UFC 282 Prediction: Chris Curtis vs. Joaquin Buckley
Both Joaquin Buckley and Chris Curtis are looking to make their way back into the win column at UFC 282. Curtis, who stepped in on short notice to fight his highest-profile opponent, Jack Hermansson, in July, lost a unanimous decision which snapped an eight-fight win streak leading up. Joaquin Buckley, similarly, was riding a wave of momentum with wins over Antonio Arroyo, Abdul Razak Alhassan, and Albert Duraev from September 2021 to June 2022. A hard-fought decision loss to Nassourdine Imamov ended his streak, but a win over Curtis puts him right back in good position.
Buckley and Curtis will meet at middleweight at the T-Mobile Arena in Nevada as they open the preliminary card for UFC 282.
Those who look to put $100 on Chris Curtis to win stand to earn a profit of $120 if he pulls off the upset.
- Curtis: +120
- Buckley: -153
Chris Curtis is a southpaw boxer who actually holds a pro boxing record of 2-0 on top of his MMA credentials. While he is a good scrambler with decent jiu jitsu, it’s no secret that given his way he would lean into his boxing in almost any matchup. He utilizes a short stance, high left guard and a loose playful right hand that fights and parries his opponent’s lead. The fact that he typically stands opposite his opponents causes him to often lead his combinations with the rear straight, followed by his right hook, kicks or doubling up to the body. If he is the one throwing first, a lot of the time it’s with the intent to push them back to the cage in a straight line so that he can get inside the pocket and land body shots as they try to circle away from him and off of the cage. If he is not the one throwing first look for him to pressure, anticipate the punches coming at him so he can slip to his inside and land his counter left uppercut to right hook.
Joaquin Buckley’s style is a mixture of traditional karate-like footwork and kicks mixed with a peek-a-boo head movement and ripping punches. From the outside Buckley can move a great distance in his stance, in and out and on angles, which will be very important in keeping distance from Curtis’ boxing range. If he does find himself in close, Buckley has great defensive movement, side to side with his head especially, however he tends to throw too wide when he returns, which is dangerous against Curtis whose inside boxing is so tight and sharp. Given the two pieces to his skillset, Buckley would be wise to keep the distance and rely on his lead leg side kick, jab and cross and his spinning attacks to push back at Curtis’ forward movement. Buckley also has a tendency to switch stances back and forth as he moves laterally which could throw up the rhythm of Curtis’ southpaw weapons.
Although we are likely in for a predominantly striking match, Buckley does have good explosive takedowns. Where he lacks is control once it hits the mat or a significant submission threat although he is continually evolving as a fighter. Regardless, while Curtis also isnt the most dangerous grappler in the UFC, he has incredible takedown defense against most opponents, and if taken down is quick to get off first defensively with his use of butterfly hooks which makes it difficult for anyone looking to smother him. I believe we may see some attempted takedowns from Buckley that score but do not ultimately lead to much damage.
Chris Curtis has a major issue with chasing down his opponents instead of cutting off the cage. He is confident in his ability to march them down and for the most part has been able to bully them into exchanging inside the pocket, but most people don’t have the footwork and athleticism of Buckley. I see Buckley utilizing his kicks and in-and-out movement to frustrate Curtis, and as long as Buckley doesn’t get wild and leave too many openings to get countered he should glide through rounds winning until he potentially finds his opportunity to put a stamp on things. With the combined knockout power between the two, don’t be surprised if we see someone waking up in the octagon.
Prediction: Joaquin Buckley to win