This weekend's Matthews vs Morales UFC Fight Night matchup could be the most talked about fight of the weekend come Monday.
Jake Matthews and Michael Morales are two young, hungry, underrated fighters who are to eager to prove that they deserve a spot in UFC's welterweight rankings — and there's a good chance that if one of them impresses in the octagon this weekend, they'll see a number next to their name next week.
While Michael Morales' undefeated record can't be downplayed, the UFC experience that Jake Matthews — who is still just 29 years old — has accrued could be a massive advantage for him against his 24-year-old adversary. Then again, Michael Morales has steamrolled every professional opponent that has ever stood across from him.
Why should we expect Matthews to fare any differently? Well, there are a few reasons why, all of which add to this Jake Matthews vs Michael Morales fight's appeal.
UFC Fight Night: Matthews vs Morales Prediction
Jake Matthews Prediction
Considering that we've seen Jake Matthews fighting in the UFC since 2014, it's unbelievable to remember that he isn't 30 years old yet. But while “The Celtic Kid” has logged a lot of high-level fights in his career, there still appears to be many more years of good fighting ahead of him.
Jake Matthews holds a 19-6 professional record, including eight wins by submission and five wins by KO/TKO. Matthews is a well-rounded fighter who has never looked better than his KO victory against Andre Fialho back at UFC 275 in 2022.
This win was the perfect example of the common sentiment that, when Jake Matthews is on his game, he could beat any welterweight on the planet.
But the problem with Matthews' UFC career is consistency. He can put together an impeccable performance and then get finished in his next fight (which is what happened after his Fialho finish). Still, the combination of Matthews' lightning-fast striking, confident demeanor, and UFC experience makes him being the +240 underdog in this Matthews vs Morales fight somewhat head-scratching.
"Staying calm under pressure, that's the biggest difference between an experienced fighter and someone who's a bit younger."
Jake Matthews (@JakeMatthewsUFC) is bringing a calm confidence backed by years of battle into the Octagon this weekend🔊🆙
[#UFCVegas82 | 11amPT / 2pmET]
— UFC News (@UFCNews) November 17, 2023
Michael Morales Prediction
There are a plethora of intriguing welterweight prospects in the UFC right now — but there may be none more impressive than Michael Morales. The 24-year-old, 15-0 Ecuadorian fighter has 11 knockouts on his resume and started his UFC career with two first-round knockouts over high-level opponents before defeating Max Griffin via unanimous decision in July.
One look at Morales' highlight reel will tell you everything you need to know about his octagon gameplan: this kid is seeking knockouts during every second of every fight.
And since Michael Morales still has that air of invincibility that every undefeated fighter has, expect to see him walking Jake Matthews down, dismissing the danger coming back his way, and looking for any opportunity to separate Matthews from consciousness.
Yet, despite Morales entering this Matthews vs Matthews fight as a -300 favorite, Jake Matthews will be the toughest test that he has ever faced — although Morales has never failed a test in the cage before.
Matthews vs Morales Prediction: Expect Ecuador to Celebrate
We predict that Morales will knock out Matthews in the second round.
Since both of these fighters are predominantly strikers, we expect this fight to play out on the feet. And while both Matthews and Morales have enough power in their hands to put each other out, we expect Michael Morales to wade through the fire and add to his highlight reel.
His crisp striking, brutal uppercuts and his ability to mix in a lethal kick right when his foes are least expecting it make for an unpredictable — and uncomfortable — night for every opponent the 24-year-old has faced.
Just ask Adam Fugitt, who was overwhelmed by Morales' striking after just 69 seconds against him in their UFC 277 fight.
Yet, don't dismiss Jake Matthews' chances, either. He won't back down from Morales' power, and will be content to trade punches with Morales in the pocket until one of them proves to have more power.
Nobody knows which one of them that will be — but if Matthews enters the octagon with the same confidence he had against Andre Fialho last year, he'll be very tough to beat.
It's worth noting that seven of Jake Matthews' 13 finishes have come in the second round. For that reason, sprinkling some cash on Matthews +1400 to win in the second round might make your weekend.
As for Michael Morales, four of his 11 knockouts arrived in the second round, so betting him at +450 to win in round two is another appealing bet. Regardless of who you like in this fight, we like the round two finish prop at +350.
While we have to wait until this Matthews vs Morales matchup is over before we know which of these two is the better fighter, the winner will likely earn themselves a UFC ranking after securing the victory. And if not, they'll surely have proven that a ranking — and perhaps much more — is in store for them in the future.