Gilbert Burns employed individuals to examine him and rivals, while Jorge Masvidal is more astute than believed

Gilbert Burns has been strategically honing his approach to fights by enlisting the help of a scout to assess potential opponents. Ahead of his UFC 287 bout against Jorge Masvidal, Burns told the Trocação Franca podcast of how scout Daniel Mendes’ analytical approach has helped him understand Masvidal’s fighting style better.

Part of Mendes’ job is to collate extensive footage of opponents, including identifying and tracking their tendencies and performance patterns. Burns said that having access to these tendencies allows fighters to focus their energy on areas where their efforts will have the greatest impact, highlighting that Masvidal has well-known strengths in defensive takedowns and is a strong striker with a range of techniques.

Recruiting a scout is not new to Burns. He first did so following his knockout defeat by Dan Hooker in 2018, hiring Mendes for his fight against Olivier Aubin-Mercier, which he won via decision. Burns has subsequently continued to work with the coach, who has also broken down Burns’ own fights to identify weaknesses that Burns can then address.

Burns credits this approach with his improved defense and mobility. He believes that some fighters may struggle with having their judgments or tendencies analysed in detail, but for him, the increased understanding of his own shortcomings has been worth the discomfort of seeing his weaknesses exposed.

Regarding his fight against Masvidal, Burns sees taking him down and exploiting his weaknesses on the ground as his path to victory, but also concedes that Masvidal has a solid defense against takedowns, meaning that Burns has had to develop complementary strategies, including attacks on the feet.

If Burns’ initial game plan against Masvidal fails, Burns is confident that the effort that Masvidal will have expended up to that point will leave him fatigued, creating more opportunities for Burns to take advantage of.

The fight will take place in Miami, which is Masvidal’s hometown, and Burns expects to face a vocal and partisan crowd. Nevertheless, Burns remains confident that he can win over the crowd with some well-executed moves in the octagon, which could change their loyalties during the fight.


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