Explosive athlete Tony Gravely (23-7; 4-2 in the UFC) is set to fight talented prospect Javid “The Show Leopard” Basharat (12-0; 1-0 in the UFC) in the Apex Arena in Las Vegas.
Tony Gravely, having a well-rounded game rooted in D1 wrestling background, is quietly 2-0 in 2022, and a win here will earn him a three-fight win streak and potentially a fight for the rankings in 2023. Meanwhile, Javid Basharat is looking to continue to be a highly touted prospect among the hardcore UFC fans but also put forth a breakout performance for those who do not yet know his name.
Gravely vs. Basharat is one of the preliminary fights on this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 210 card. Subscribe to ESPN+ to watch every UFC fight live.
Javid Basharat is a -165 favorite over Tony Gravely.
Tony Gravely is an explosive fighter who has a slept-on background in high-level wrestling.
Prior to making the transition to a fighter, Gravely was a three-year wrestler at Appalachian State University where he appeared in two NCAA Tournaments and won a Southern Conference Tournament Championship. I bring his wrestling background up, although he has ample fight data to analyze because not many people know he has the wrestling background that justifies his style of fighting once the octagon cage door closes.
From a fighting perspective, Gravely does a smart job using his wrestling and natural athleticism to find success on the feet. Rather than having crisp boxing or elite footwork, Gravely uses sound in and out movement and throws hard once in range. He is able to have success doing so because he can throw freely without fear of having a level change taken place by his opponent because if done, Gravley enters his comfort state of scrambling.
Often, his opponent, understanding Gravely has strong wrestling, does not seek to do a takedown, rather, uses footwork and sound technique on the feet to keep the distance and fight at range. But, if a fighter lacks strong attacks from the outside, Gravely can rush in with an overhand right, and then, wrestle his way to a victory. This style of fighting, with throwing an overhand into a takedown, is quite effective for him, but, when facing a dangerous striker who is comfortable defending the takedown, Gravely has difficulty with using sound technique contrary to his bread and butter style of wrestle-boxing his way to a win.
Using sound technical striking with good takedown defense are attributes associated with Javid Basharat. In his lone UFC fight, Basharat showcased a plethora of techniques on the feet, whereby he threw with precision over all-out power, worked the body with both hands and knees, and showed danger at range with damaging kicks to his opponent’s head. Moreover, he showed an ability to defend the takedown, a good chin, and very good cardio in his fight against an explosive athlete who can wrestle in Trevin Jones.
Knowing Basharat just successfully fought an explosive athlete who has an affinity to wrestle, one may question why this fight is taking place, particularly when knowing the UFC likes to throw categorical tests at young prospects, i.e. fight a wrestler, then fight a veteran, then fight an elite striker, and so on and so forth. The answer to that logical question is that while Basharat showed ample skills, the disparity in performance between him and Jones was not as stark as one would originally forecast – this is not an indictment on Jones, rather, Basharat having a significant arsenal at his disposal that should quickly create a disparity between him and his opponent. So, the biggest question in this fight is not if Basharat can defend against a better wrestler in Gravely, nor is it if his cardio can hold up once more, instead, will Basharat’s continual plan of choosing precision over power on the feet separate himself enough to show a clear disparity in talent between he and an explosive, dangerous fighter.
Basharat is one of the newer age fighters that grew up in MMA contrary to a singular fight discipline. The benefit of that is him having strong techniques wherever the fight ensues, but the detriment can be fighting too pretty of a bout, contrary to treating this contest as a one-on-one fight. While this is a concern, along with him potentially lacking that severe power needed to scare off a wrestler from continually shooting takedowns, Basharat simply has too many skills for me not to back him in this fight.
Particularly, Basharat should find ample success on the outside with elite footwork and strong strikes at distance, and, knowing Gravely will likely shoot from an unsafe range, I would not be surprised if a knee is timed once a takedown ensues. Even if this forecast does not come to fruition, his strong takedown defense, comfort in the clinch, and ability to outpoint Gravely on the feet should afford him to win against an explosive wrestle-athlete once more.
Bet: Javid Basharat to win (-165 odds at BetUS)