Currently the #6 ranked welterweight in the UFC and 20-7 overall, Vicente Luque is 9-1 in his last 10 fights. One spot above him in the rankings and 18-4 overall, Michel Chiesa has only lost two fights since 2015. Both men are experts at their style of fighting and are adept at getting finishes. Of their combined 38 victories, 29 have come via finish. High-level and highly dangerous men, Luque and Chiesa look to move one step closer to a title shot with a win Saturday night.
Luque vs. Chiesa betting odds
Nearly at even odds, Luque is currently the slight favorite over Chiesa.
Luque vs. Chiesa breakdown
Despite recently gaining notoriety for his exciting, and bloody, stand-up wars, Luque is a very well-rounded mixed martial artist. With 11 KO/TKO and 7 submission wins, Luque is not only comfortable but confident wherever the fight goes. This is important to take note of because Chiesa’s bread and butter is to wrestle his opponents all fight. If that happens, Luque will not simply lay and wait; while on the mat, he will hunt submissions from his back. If the fight stays on the feet, Luque is dangerous. He’s never been KO’d despite his chin having been tested, a lot. With a negative strike differential (absorbing more than he lands), Luque relies on his granite chin. It seems like he could be hit with a truck and keep moving. Offensively, Luque moves forward predatorily, unleashing powerful and technical strikes that often leave his opponent staring up at the lights.
Chiesa implements a much different approach compared to Luque. As one of the best grapplers and wrestlers in the UFC, “Maverick” has a singular mindset in the octagon— get the fight to the ground. He averages 3.6 takedowns per fight; and, once the fight gets to the ground, it tends to stay there for the rest of the round. On the feet, Chiesa is serviceable offensively, and sound defensively. However, his striking stats are minimal because he shoots a takedown as quickly as the opening presents itself. With 11 submission wins, this approach has proved successful.
Luque vs. Chiesa prediction
In his last fight, Chiesa rag-dolled Neil Magny, who is a technical striker and has excellent takedown defense. He could go out and put on another wrestling masterclass against Luque; however, I don’t anticipate that happening. While Chiesa might get a takedown, Luque is much more dangerous from his back than Magny, which forces Chiesa into more challenging positions. On the feet, Luque should be able to pick apart Chiesa with shots that stun and/or stagger “Maverick.” I’m very excited to see how this fight goes, both fighters are impressive; but, I see Luque with the edge. He has the skills to dish out the most damage while also possessing the defense to test Chiesa’s wrestling.
Prediction: Luque to win
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.