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In the co-main event of the evening, we have what might be the best fight on the card, as Michael ‘Maverick’ Chiesa takes on Sean Brady. Checking in at #6 in the Welterweight rankings, Chiesa remains a player in a division full of sharks. He will however need to bounce back from the loss against Vicente Luque in order to keep his position. With four wins in his last five, Chiesa has been an immensely improved fighter since moving up to 170 lbs. Meanwhile, Brady comes into this fight a perfect 14-0, with four of those wins coming in the UFC. Having cracked the division’s top fifteen, Brady not only gets his toughest fight to date, but an opportunity to catapult himself up the rankings with a win.
As coined by Ariel Helwani, this is the people’s main event. In one corner, you have a UFC veteran in Michael Chiesa. The Ultimate Fighter 15 winner in 2012, Chiesa has racked up eleven wins in his sixteen fights. Perhaps the best version of Chiesa though, has come at Welterweight, as he no longer has to kill himself to cut weight. With four wins in the weight class, including huge wins over Rafael Dos Anjos and Neil Magny, Chiesa isn’t too far off from getting his shot at the title. However, he has a tough task in front of him, as you have a rising star in Sean Brady in the other corner. In just four fights inside the octagon, Brady has already cracked the division’s top fifteen. Undefeated in mixed martial arts, Brady has not only shown immense talent, but a style that breaks opponents. With stoppages in back-to-back fights, Brady heads into the biggest fight of his life with momentum.
As for a prediction, I have Chiesa. While Brady has a bright future in the UFC, I believe that the jump from fighting Jake Matthews to Michael Chiesa is substantial. Not that Brady isn’t capable of fighting the likes of Chiesa, but the talent gap between Maverick and Matthews is glaring. However, I still believe this fight will be competitive and that’s more or less due to Brady. The Philadelphian is a well rounded fighter and a real workhorse. Landing nearly five significant strikes per minute and over 2.5 takedowns per fifteen minutes, Brady has several routes to victory. The problem though is that Chiesa is a relentless grappler and grinder. Massive for the weight class, Chiesa will impose his will on Brady and rack up valuable control time. In the end, Chiesa will walk away the victor via decision.