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UFC Fight Night: Mendes vs. Lamas - Idiot's Guide Preview to Michael Chiesa vs. Mitch Clarke

David Castillo breaks down the three things you need to know about two 11-2 lightweights in Michael Chiesa vs. Mitch Clarke.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

This April 4, 2015 lightweights Michael Chiesa and Mitch Clarke keep the Fox Sports 1 main card going for Mendes vs. Lamas Fight Night at the Venue Patriot Center in City Fairfax, Virginia

The Match Up

Lightweight Michael Chiesa 11-2 vs. Mitch Clarke 11-2

The Odds

Lightweight Michael Chiesa -400 vs. Mitch Clarke +325

3 Things You Should Know

1. Chiesa's story continues to inspire, and his presence in the TUF house has been one of the few bits of compelling television offered by the program, but it's clear he's not just an 'interesting story'.

Chiesa's future in the UFC is probably as secure as anyone not named Gleison Tibau. He's a massive LW, and a uniquely well rounded one at that. But losing to Joe Lauzon seems like a step back for a fighter who was on the cusp of finishing Jorge Masvidal of all people. It'll be interesting to see if losing to Lauzon was reflective of where he's headed, or if it was simply a blip on his dos Anjos-ian radar.

2. There's not much that comes out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan that involves anything other than hockey. Mitch Clarke might end up being "not much", but after beating Al Iaquinta, those words don't apply right now.

Say what you want about Clarke's win over Iaquinta, whether lucky or fortunate, but it was nothing if not unexpected. However, unexpected and earned can coexist. Still, it'd be a little disingenuous to argue that Clarke is a fighter trending up. Al took it to him in round 1, and we're talking about a guy who started his UFC career with back to back losses against Anton Kuivanen, and John Cholish.

3. The MMA gods are pretty vindictive once you've used you've swiped your underdog wanderdust debit card. Clarke better tread carefully.

It would be one thing if Clarke were fighting above his head, but here Clarke is fighting well above his own head literally (not sure that word goes there, so cue the Bad Santa exchange for reference) given Chiesa's height, and metaphorically in terms of caliber. Clarke is a submission fighter in a somewhat classical sense, whereas Chiesa is a submission fighter in the neo sense.

In addition, Chiesa is immovable in close. There's not a whole lot to analyze. Chiesa has Clarke beat in every aspect from a physical and technical standpoint. Having said that, Chiesa isn't perfect by any means. He sometimes gets a little foolish trying to pressure with conviction, and his cardio could use a tune up. However, this is exactly the kind of matchup where Chiesa's vices can be virtues as Clarke will offer little to threaten with unless it's late in the fight and Clarke has Chiesa mounted.

Prediction

Michael Chiesa by TKO, round 2.