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"I think he can take the moment a little further" - Teddy Atlas on how Jorge Masvidal can defeat Kamaru Usman at UFC 261

Teddy Atlas (Left) and Jorge Masvidal during his first fight against Kamaru Usman (Right)
Teddy Atlas (Left) and Jorge Masvidal during his first fight against Kamaru Usman (Right)
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Modified 24 Apr 2021
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Teddy Atlas says there is a high probability that Jorge Masvidal could pull off an upset against champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 261. Masvidal lost to Usman after taking the first fight on short notice in July 2020. The famed boxing coach spoke at length about both fighters on his YouTube channel and hypothesized that fatigue played a major role in Masvidal's loss in the first fight.

While analyzing Jorge Masvidal's performance in the first fight, Teddy Atlas said that there were moments that reminded him of Muhammad Ali's famous knockout win over George Foreman in 1974. After tagging Foreman with a sneaky right hand, Muhammad Ali was able to follow up with a few shots to knock him out and win the fight. Jorge Masvidal landed a similar shot on Kamaru Usman at UFC 251 but failed to string together a combination of punches. Teddy Atlas believes that Gamebred did not have the cardio to execute the sequence after landing the right hand. Teddy Atlas said:

"I noticed that there was a spot... Masvidal was standing in a striking pose and he landed a straight right hand... I saw that right-hand landing and I said, 'oh, there is a window, there's an opportunity for an Ali-Foreman moment.' But no. Because unlike Ali, who could throw those four or five punches to finish the job, Masvidal couldn't do that... He didn't have it in the gas tank to do that."

Kamaru Usman is a well-rounded fighter who brings formidable wrestling and a respectable striking game to the table. However, Usman was hit with clean shots multiple times in his fights against Colby Covington and Gilbert Burns. Jorge Masvidal is an instinctive finisher. He has won his last five fights by knockout, including the highlight-reel finish of Ben Askren in 2019. With a full training camp and preparation, Jorge Masvidal could bridge the gap between knockout opportunities and the physical abilities required to capitalize on them, Teddy Atlas believes.

"He needs to be able to move off to the side and keep Usman reaching, keep Usman from closing the gap and then keep the hands going. If he could do that now, that he's going in there with a full tank of petrol... I think he can take that moment a little further... I've seen Usman hurt. If Masvidal hurts him... He can MAYBE take him to an upset," Teddy Atlas said.

Jorge Masvidal vs. Kamaru Usman will headline the first UFC event with a live audience since March 2019

Jorge Masvidal (35-13 MMA, 11-7 UFC) will challenge UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (18-1 MMA, 13-0 UFC) in the headliner of the UFC 261 pay-per-view event on April 24. It will be the first UFC event to have a full live audience in attendance since UFC 248 back in March 2020. Although UFC was the first major sport to return after the Coronavirus outbreak, most of the events were organized in empty arenas. The only exceptions were UFC 257 and UFC on ABC 1 events in January 2021 that had a limited audience.

Published 24 Apr 2021
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