Sunday, June 25, 9pm. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
MICHAEL Chiesa takes on Kevin Lee at Chesapeake Energy Arena this Sunday night in the hopes to move up the rankings in the UFC lightweight division.
It hasn’t been the typical trash talking lead-up like many lightweight fights warrant, with current fight favorite Kevin Lee giving respect to his opponent.
The 15-2 fighter and current #11 ranked fighter in the division, Lee has said its unlikely that he will knock Michael Chiesa out, but it is Lee that will have the advantage if the fight goes the full five rounds.
“He’s going to stay in there for 25 minutes. I think that’s going to play even more into my game. It’s going to let me really showcase my skills. I think I’m built for five rounds,” Lee said.
“When you get into those championship rounds, skill sets everything apart. It’s no longer how fast, how strong you are, because you’re both tired. It’s going to be the skill, and the skills are going to shine.”
Lee is probably right with one aspect – it will likely go the distance as neither fighter is a knockout specialist. Lee has won only one fight via knockout and Chiesa has never defeated an opponent via the highlight reel.
Instead, both fighters will be searching for takedowns which will lead to a submission attempt. Chiesa comes into this on the back of two post-fight awards where he submitted Jim Miller and Beneil Dariush.
He doesn’t fight often, but since appearing on The Ultimate Fighter, Chiesa has worked on his strategy and Lee will have his work cut out for him.
Lee has been on a tear of late, winning all four fights since April last year and he has been able to submit some known strikers, but he’s questionable against an equally-talented wrestler.
Lee is the current favorite at -131, but we think the value resides with Chiesa at +106 at 5Dimes.
Chiesa has the height advantage which will matter in this match up and in an even fight, we’ll take the better value on offer.
Boetsch vs. Hendricks fight pick
Johny Hendricks is the commanding favorite at -225 after beating Hector Lombard at UFC Fight Night in February.
That win was much-needed for Hendricks who had lost his past three fights and was close to falling off the radar. In all three fights he was drastically out-worked, especially against Neil Magny where he landed only 18 strikes compared to 50.
His work rate will need to be upped if he’s to beat Tim Boetsch, who will be looking for an early knockout.
Boestch lost via submission coming into this fight, but his previous two fights were knockout wins in round one and round two. He doesn’t muck around inside the Octagon and we think this fight will end before the judges scorecards are presented.
There’s little value betting Hendricks straight up, so take “No” in the Will the fight go the distance markets. That pays +100 with bookmakers.
Herrig vs. Kish fight prediction
Both fighters are priced at -111 which shows how close this fight will be.
The more experienced Felice Herrig (12-6) takes on the undefeated Justine Kish (6-0) and despite Herrig’s nickname being “Lil Bulldog” it’s clear that Kish is the more aggressive.
Kish lands just over four strikes per minutes, compared to 2.72 landed by Herrig, and they hit with a much better accuracy.
This will be Kish’s third UFC fight after winning her previous two by unanimous decision and although neither fighter will likely score via knockout, Kish also has a takedown game which got her the win against Nina Ansaroff.
Kish landed only 72 strikes compared to 92 from her opponent, but she managed to score three takedowns and that’s where she will have the advantage over Herrig.
Herrig has good submission qualities, but is unable to get the more aggressive fighters to the canvas. Expect Kish to frustrate Herrig into making mistakes.
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