Jake Matthews is an interesting fighter but he’s very raw.
He came on to TUF Nations at 19, having been trained by his dad in a shed, where he got absolutely tooled by Oliver Aubin-Mercier in his first fight. That’s not the end of the world on its own but my belief is that he is a bully or be bullied type of fighter at this stage in his career. I’d never seen him fight before today but I watched the line come in on Vick and I thought there must be a reason for that, so I just spent 3 hours scouting fights.
Matthews’ two fights in the UFC proper have been against fighters he significantly outsizes and he basically bullied them. His first fight was against a 145lb typical “unbeaten prospect” who’d faught opponents with a combined record of about 5-100. The guy was listed as a boxer but Jake couldn’t take him down against the cage…. UFC’s website lists his takedowns as a strength. His takedowns against the cage are dreadful.
Anyway, enough of the negative. What he does well: He hits hard, is confident, has good cardio, is very composed. He has creative BJJ and uses it to get into good offensive positions, however he does not seem to have the technique to finish from those positions. I believe this comes from training where he does and the fact he’s still trained / coached by his dad. Maybe if he goes stateside to a high quality gym he can tidy this up… but for now, this is a big issue. In the 5 or so fights I watched he’s had people in armbars, triangles, omoplatas, RNCs… but he’s only finished anyone with VERY rudimentary RNCs… one was basically a headlock and one he had his leg over their shoulder from the back. These were brute force finishes, not technique.
James Vick is an ENORMOUS lightweight. 6 foot 3, to Jake Matthews’ 5 ‘9… though he was listed as 6 foot on TUF. He’s probably somewhere in the middle. Anyway, Vick fights differently in each fight I watched. First fight he was basically a lunatic and ploughed forward. Second he was a lot more careful and used his range well against a shorter fighter.
He seems to have a solid chin, a good straight right with good power, a decent jab, good TDD against the cage, excellent sweeps / reversals. Matthews finishes his combos nicely with an outside leg kick but Vick checks leg kicks well. Conversely Matthews doesn’t seem to check leg kicks.
Basically I just think Vick has so many more ways to win. Matthews might catch him and knock him out but I don’t think he will…. maybe a knockdown from which Vick could recover but I don’t see a knockout. Vick I could see picking Matthews apart and even getting a knockout. Matthews did get stunned by a much smaller fighter in his first UFC fight. Moreso, I see Vick able to dominate on the ground and control the action against the fence.
I see Matthews trying to land an overhand right and leg kicks but Vick using is lateral movement to frustrate Matthews. I see Matthews trying to take it down against the cage but not getting anywhere with it. I also see me with a few heart in the mouth moments during the fight but in the end, Vick comes out with a W due to superior technique and experience. Probably a decision but also he has possibilities for both a KO and a submission on the too-raw Matthews.