Diego Sanchez (+500) vs. Jake Matthews (-700)
It’s always an occasion whenever 38-year-old Diego Sanchez is part of a card, and the veteran hopes to pull off one of the biggest shocks in recent memory with a win over Jake Matthews in Abu Dhabi.
“The Nightmare” (30-12) has posted a patchy record in recent years but now boasts three wins in his last four, even if the most recent of those—against Michel Pereira in February—was awarded due to an illegal knee from the latter.
Matthews is 12 years Sanchez’s junior, a youthful advantage that has helped him climb into a -700 favorite spot with William Hill, making him the firmest front-runner on Saturday’s card. Sanchez, on the other side, comes in as a near impossibility at +500, though that’s been the tale for much of his recent career.
Sanchez vs. Matthews Prediction: Matthews via decision
Far from the verbal venom of his most recent bout with Pereira, Sanchez was labelled an idol of Matthews’ growing up, giving reason to believe he’ll give his opponent the proper respect:
.@JakeMatthewsUFC finally gets a chance to fight childhood "idol" Diego Sanchez this weekend.— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) September 23, 2020
"I remember watching Diego win 'The Ultimate Fighter.' I was Grade 5, so I was 11 years old." #UFC253 | Full interview: https://t.co/0LFOiuQGgY pic.twitter.com/ykvJUlYdqY
“The Celtic Kid” has collected seven submission wins during his career and is +380 to become the first fighter to make Sanchez tap. Out expectation is to see the fight last all three rounds, however, with value to be had in Matthews winning over the judges at +100.