UFC 239: Askren vs Masvidal Preview
By Ben Jessop
The UFC once again heads to Las Vegas to host the most anticipated card of 2019. UFC 239 is stacked from top to bottom.
The man many people call the GOAT, Jon Jones, takes his chance for a record of UFC title defences against the merciless Thiago Santos and the undisputed female GOAT, Amanda Nunes defends her title against Holly Holm.
Even the prelims are stacked, with the likes of Gilbert Melendez against England’s very own Arnold Allen.
But for now I’m going to focus on the welterweight battle between Jorge Masvidal and Ben Askren.
There is a huge amount riding on this bout, with Askren ranked #5 and Masvidal at #4, the winner of this showdown is almost certainly going to get a title shot in the near future.
With Usman as the current champ, Tyron Woodley at #1, Colby Covington at #2 and Rafael Dos Anjos at #3 it’s one of the most stacked and active divisions in the entire promotion.
Specifically, when looking at Masvidal vs Askren, you have to look at the difference in fighting style. Askren is renowned for his wrestling ability and Masvidal is an all-rounder with dangerous striking power, and coming off the back of that win against Darren Till in London, he’s going to be as confident as ever at getting the finish.
This is only Askren’s second UFC appearance, he’s coming off of a controversial win over Robbie Lawler back in March where he proved that he has one hell of a chin, as well as the ability to come back from an almost impossible position so Masvidal will have to produce something special to stop him.
Masvidal will be looking to keep Askren at distance, he should not be engaging in any clinch work or ground game with Askren otherwise there’s a huge possibility that Askren will dominate him on the ground and just beat him until the fight is stopped. But Askren will need to be cautious about attempting to close down that distance with Masvidal.
The fight IQ of Masvidal is almost unparalleled and there’s every chance he’ll connect as Askren goes for the takedown.
It’s a hard fight to call, with both fighters having something to prove. Askren needs a dominant win on his record, the hype train that followed him into the UFC needs to see some actual, undisputable wins.
Masvidal on the other hand, has been on this grind for a long, long time and realistically his time left in the game is limited, if he falls short now, I’m not too sure he’ll get another chance to be in contention for the belt.
UFC 239 takes place this weekend and can be watched on BT Sport Box Office.