UFC Vegas 82 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Michael Morales vs. Jake Matthews: Co-Main Event’s Total Worth a Gander (Saturday, November 18)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC welterweight Michael Morales of Ecuador
Michael Morales vs. Jake Matthews Odds
The UFC Vegas 82 co-main event in Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon features an intriguing welterweight encounter between Michael Morales and Jake Matthews.
Morales, who is an undefeated prospect out of Ecuador, has made Dana White's decision to sign him look good since the 23-year-old made the jump from the Contender Series.
That said, Morales will be taking another step up the proverbial ladder when he meets Matthews in the ESPN+ co-headliner.
Matthews is also a fighter who had his time in the sun as one of the UFC's young prospects, but trying to find consistency has been a key hurdle for the Australian in the last five or so years of his career.
Let's break down the fighter and look at my Morales vs. Matthews prediction and betting pick.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||11:19||11:11|
|Weight||171 pounds||170.5 pounds|
|Reach||79 inches||73 inches|
|Date of birth||6/24/1999||8/19/1994|
|Sig Strikes Per Minute||5.17||3.27|
|SS Absorbed Per Minute||3.5||2.3|
|Take Down Avg||1.7||1.7|
Despite coming from grappling bases, both fighters seem to prefer sorting things out on their feet.
Matthews, who stepped onto the scene as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu grappler who was tapping out black belts, has steadily found his footing within the striking realm.
Although the Australian wields some underrated kicks and the ability to switch up his stance a bit, Matthews has made some real strides in his boxing game.
— UFC (@ufc) November 15, 2023
Whether Matthews exercises an educated lead hand or changes things up to the body, he demonstrates a solid shot selection that a fighter like Morales will have to respect.
Morales appears the better wrestler of the two given his freestyle background, so he should have some offensive takedowns he can go to if he doesn't like what he sees standing.
That said, I'm not sure how much Morales will want to grapple with the superior on-paper grappler in Matthews – at least early.
He's undefeated in the Octagon and he's back this weekend! 👏
You can watch Michael Morales in the co-main event at #UFCVegas82!
[ Watch LIVE on ESPN+ | 2pmET / 11amPT ] pic.twitter.com/P9rAUXiWtb
— UFC (@ufc) November 16, 2023
Luckily for Morales, his athletic dynamism translates seamlessly to his offensive striking.
Although Morales' defense leaves a lot to be desired, the Ecuadorian has excellent eyes in exchanges that allow for his patent right hand to find its home amid the chaos.
From counter crosses off the backfoot to uppercuts coming forward, Morales' right hand will be the weapon to watch for in this fight.
Morales vs. Matthews Pick
The oddsmakers and the public are heavily favoring the Contender Series product, listing Morales -310 and Matthews +230 as of this writing.
Despite officially siding with the odds-on favorite, I have a hard time getting on board with Morales at these prices.
Even without the market inflation, Morales essentially opened within parlay territory – and I'm not even sure I can recommend him for that given that we still need to see more from this kid.
Say what you will about Matthews' inconsistencies over the years, but at least we've seen the Aussie against a slew of top-tier competition, and he's still showing signs of improvement at just 29 years of age.
However, between Matthews getting dropped by right hands in two of his last three fights to the fact that he's 0-2 inside of the UFC Apex (and 1-3 in Las Vegas overall), I can't help but side with the superior athlete in Morales.
But whether you like Morales or Matthews, I suggest taking a gander at the under 2.5 rounds total for this fight.
Although a competitive 15-minute affair is not out of the question, I suspect that each fighter's defensive holes line up too well with his opponent's offense to not take a stab at the under (e.g. Morales' susceptibility to body shots and Matthews' propensity to eat right hands).
Add in the violence that is encouraged by the smaller octagon of the UFC Apex, and I think that this total offers you the best value when it comes to a coverage versus price ratio.
The Pick: Morales vs. Matthews Under 2.5 Rounds (-136 at FanDuel) | Bet to -150
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