The UFC has managed to book one of its greatest late-replacement matchups of all time with Jorge Masvidal stepping in against Kamaru Usman in the UFC 251 main event Saturday. After Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19, the promotion managed to resolve its contract dispute with Masvidal and make the welterweight championship fight with Usman happen.
Was it a smart move for “Gamebred” to accept the fight on just six days’ notice, though? MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn, Farah Hannoun and Simon Head debate in the latest edition of Triple Take.
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Mike Bohn: The reward outweighs the risk
The upside for Masvidal here is stupendous, and if he wins he becomes an instant legend.
Even if I tried to search for an argument of why this might not be a good idea for Masvidal, there isn’t a strong one to be found.
The best you could come up with is that if Masvidal goes in there on Saturday and gets finished quickly, or gets washed out by Usman for five rounds, it would kill a lot of his potential prospects going forward. He’d still be a big name and attraction for the UFC, but everything he made for himself with that unreal 2019 campaign would be deteriorated. That’s the worst-case scenario.
If Masvidal loses this fight any other way – be it a competitive bout in which he’s eventually stopped or a thrilling five-rounder in which he falls short on the scorecards – he should be just fine. The fact he took this on six days’ notice, with a good chunk of that time consisting of travel and mandatory quarantines, against an opponent who has been training months for this specific date, gives him something of a built-in excuse if things go awry.
Yes, Masvidal is betting big on himself here. It took him 17 years in the sport to finally fight for a UFC belt and if it goes poorly, another chance may never come around. He seems to have negotiated a solid payday to take this fight, though, and he’s made it clear securing his family’s future is his No. 1 priority over anything else. If taking this opportunity helped him make that happen, then win or lose, he made the right choice.
Next page – Farah Hannoun: They don’t call him ‘Gamebred’ for nothing
This was originally published on www.mmajunkie.com