On the preliminary card of UFC on Fox 7, Strikeforce import Jorge Masvidal called upon his wrestling base to snap Tim Means' impressive nine-fight winning streak, earning a unanimous decision victory in his UFC debut.
Here's what we learned from the lightweight contest:
What we'll remember about this fight:
Though this fight had minimal implications in the overall lightweight picture, Masvidal's win sets him in the right direction after a successful stint in Strikeforce. If this fight is remembered for anything, it will be remembered as the launching point of Masvidal's UFC career.
What we learned about Jorge Masvidal:
For starters, we learned that Masvidal is more than able to ride his wrestling into the win column. He's used it before, specifically against former UFC contender Paul Daley, but he rarely utilizes that tool to the full extent.
Tonight he did, earning him a 29-28 sweep on the scorecards.
Yet even with his wrestling game out in full force, Masvidal was able to display his striking prowess on several occasions, outworking Means on the feet while taking some nice shots in the process. His toughness has certainly transferred over from Strikeforce.
What we learned about Tim Means:
Basically, his takedown defense needs work. Or his BJJ.
Something needs to change in order for Means to hang with the higher-ups in the lightweight division.
Masvidal was able to take him down without expending too much energy, and Means was unable to attack with submissions off of his back. But that's not to say he had no offense from the bottom, as he did manage to deliver a great deal of damage from his back by way of elbows, bloodying his opponent up with the violent strikes.
Also, Means showed a great deal of resilience.
With under 20 seconds in a fight that was going any way but his way, "The Dirty Bird" tossed a monkey wrench into Masvidal's plan, reversing the fight with time ticking away. He couldn't do much with the reversal, but we'll give him credit for trying all the same.
What's next for Masvidal:
The victory should put Masvidal in line for a fight with a fellow mid-tier lightweight. Just two-fights removed from a loss to former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez, "Gamebred" still has a ways to go before earning another shot at a major title.
Matching Masvidal against Myles Jury, who decimated Ramsey Nijem tonight, makes the most sense moving forward.
What's next for Means:
A win over Masvidal was Means' opportunity to take the jump to the next level of the lightweight division. Now, he's stuck fighting the newcomers and the lesser-known fighters of the division. However, a fight against Ramsey Nijem, who also lost tonight, certainly could be the match to make.