Murat Gassiev vs. Yunier Dorticos Pick

Murat Gassiev vs. Yunier Dorticos Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Saturday, February 3, 2018
Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome, Adler, Russia
Weight Class: Cruiserweight: 200 Pounds
Titles: IBF and WBA Cruiserweight Titles
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper,

Murat Gassiev, 25-0 (18 KOs), Valdikavkaz, Russia,
Yunier Dorticos, 22-0 (21 KOs), Havana, Cuba/Miami, Florida

Betting Odds: Murat Gassiev (-185), Yunier Dorticos (+160)

IBF Cruiserweight Champion Murat Gassiev takes on WBA Cruiserweight Champion Yunier Dorticos on February 3 in a unification bout, which is also the WBSS Cruiserweight Tournament semifinal. It’s a high-level title bout between unbeaten champions, both of whom are dangerous and hard-hitting fighters. To get to this spot, they were both victorious in the quarterfinals of this tournament. Dorticos scored a scary September second-round KO over Dmitry Kudryashov. He has won all of his 22 bouts with all but one being a KO win. Gassiev, meanwhile, scored a quality KO win over longtime cruiserweight standout Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in October to get to this spot. This will be a good one.

The cruiserweight class might be a blind spot for American fans, with most of the very best cruiserweights based in Europe, where the top fights at the 200-pound weight class occur. It’s truly a golden age for the division, with any number of top fighters operating in this division. Gassiev and Dorticos are near the top of the pile. And these cruiserweights are gigantic and one could easily see them fighting at heavyweight one day. Gassiev, just 24, is 6’4,” while the 31-year old Dorticos is 6’3.” This division is going to get really hot and heavy over the next few years and the winner of this fight will position himself well to be a big part of this cruiserweight renaissance.

Gassiev has made a lot of progress over the last few years. After a nice amateur career, he turned pro at 17 in 2011 and quickly established himself as a prospect worth watching. He started taking on more experienced fighters in Europe, as he moved up the ladder. In 2015, he made the move to Big Bear to start working in the same camp as middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin, under trainer Abel Sanchez. He beat some decent American cruisers like Felix Cora, Jr., Isiah Thomas, and Jordan Shimmell. Just after his 23rd birthday, he challenged longtime division stalwart Denis Lebedev, winning the WBA belt with a split 12-round decision. The dominance in which he dismantled Wlodarczyk in October showed he is the real deal. At 24, he has beaten some good fighters and has done it all over the world.


Dorticos is a real slugger with a dash of a mean edge and attitude to his approach. A product of the Cuban amateur system, Dorticos is now based in Miami. He has 7 years on Gassiev, but hasn’t really taken on the same level of opposition, a bit more spoon-fed during his slow rise to the top of the weight class. But with KO wins over guys like Eric Fields and Youri Kalenga, he showed himself to be a potential factor in this division. His KO over Kudryashov was violent, with the fallen Kudryashov discombobulated and a complete mess on the canvas after taking a huge right-hand swat from Dorticos.

Dorticos is more of a free-swinging type. He has a good jab and hook, but his right-hand is a money-punch. He can go to the body, both with hooking shots, but also with straight punches to the midsection. That big right hand of his can come very straight, but Dorticos can vary the trajectory of the punch and make it hard to anticipate for opponents. In any event, when it lands, it’s a problem. He is what you could call a long-range fighter, more able to launch his offense from that long range, while also being more defensively capable at a distance. Again, he does it with passion, as he’s a fighter who is partly fueled by his emotions. The last thing you want to do with Dorticos is let him get on a roll. He picks up momentum when having his way—allowed to operate at long-range and get those big arms extended. He’s not a guy that is easy to outbox. At some point, his respect has to be earned and Gassiev will need to make a stand.

Dorticos’ weaknesses are multifold, but it’s not a knock on him. Still, at the end of the day, he hasn’t taken on the same caliber of opponents that Gassiev has fought. In other words, Gassiev is more of a jump in class for Dorticos than the opposite. He’s not incredibly nimble on his feet. His movements are not the movements of a top athlete. He’s definitely more ungainly than Gassiev. When Dorticos gets down to throwing his haymakers, he can be more irresponsible defensively. Be that as it may, he’s a killer in the ring, possessing equalizers in his fists. He’s most-assuredly a dangerous proposition for any 200-pounder on the planet.

Gassiev is a very well-schooled fighter who has added more polish since working with Sanchez. He’s a huge cruiserweight at 6’4,” but has a certain physical dexterity and inside presence that belies his lankiness. He hides his body and chin very well and is a much smaller target than Dorticos, despite his size. He moves in a more-athletic way than his opponent. On the inside, he’s a better fighter—both offensively and defensively. His upper-body movement is very advanced for a fighter of his age and dimensions.

Gassiev is just a more-together fighter than Dorticos. There is a level of calmness to his game. His feet are nice and his powers of anticipation are superior, allowing him to scoot out of the way when his opponent is poised to launch an attack. Meanwhile, his attacks come very suddenly, punctuated by short punches that do a lot of damage. Though an orthodox fighter, his left is a big punch. His overall offense is simply less-predictable than his opponent. He works the angles and is expert at positioning himself well.

Gassiev is a more-nuanced fighter. He has more routes to victory at his avail and more overall tools. Still, we haven’t seen him stand up to the kind of power that Dorticos brings to the table. In other words, picking against Dorticos after how good he looked in his last fight isn’t something you can feel all that confident about. It’s just that at this level, I prefer the more versatile and together fighter and in that realm, the nod goes to Gassiev.

Loot’s Pick to Win the Gassiev-Dorticos Fight: I’m betting on Murat Gassiev at -185. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Gassiev vs. Dorticos title fight by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you’ll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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