Duke’s UFC Fight Night Breakdown and Predictions!!!
SAT AM UPDATE: ANDERS/ARROYO OFF!!! GET THEM OUT OF YOUR LINEUPS
WEIGH IN UPDATES IN RED BELOW!!!
This Week’s Bets
(DK) Rafael Dos Anjos (-200) – 2 to win 1
(Pinnacle) Mayes + Gravely + Murata (+261) 1 to win 2.61
(DK) Quinonez to win (+120) – 1 to win 1.2
(DK) McKenna to win (+180) – 0.56 to win 1.01
This is an insane card already!
Gone is one of the two contestants from the main event and in is a fiery red head who jumped at the chance to main event a card that needed saving. ALSO, we’ve added a fight.
Brendan Allen obviously had his fight cancelled last minute last weekend but gets a chance at glory just one week later. The fight between he and Strickland is so spicy. I can’t wait to break that fight down. Obviously, we dropped a fight as well and we pray for the health of those fighters moving forward.
As always, you’ll get the fight-by-fight breakdown here with some DFS notes at the bottom. Friday after weigh-ins, I’ll update the article with any notes and record the podcast.
It goes without saying that outside of Teixeira’s big win, favorites have been coming in at an alarming clip. I just call them like I see them. If I have a favorite, I’ll take the favorite. If I’m on the dog, I’ll take a stab.
As always, if there is value from a DFS or betting perspective even on a fighter I think will lose the fight, I’ll make you aware of that situation.
Let’s keep it rolling this week!
- November 14, 2020
- UFC APEX, Las Vegas, NV
- ESPN+7:00 PM
- ESPN+4:00 PM
Rafael dos Anjos ($8800) v Paul Felder ($7400)
I wish this fight was booked all along. I know Felder says he’s in great shape and he’s physically peaking but nothing can prepare you for a fight like this over five rounds like a full camp.
Good on Paul Felder for stepping in to save this fight and this card. Now, in saying that, does he have a chance to win? Of course! He has an iron chin, power in his stand up game, the most viscous elbows in the UFC (arguably) and all the experience in the world.
RDA is a legend of the game, but it’s not like he’s been on fire of late. He’s lost four of his last five and only has one finish since 2015!
You look back at RDA’s losses and go, that’s a murderer’s row right there. Khabib Nurmagomedov by decision. Ever heard of him? Eddie Alvarez for the belt. Tony Ferguson by decision over a five round fight. Colby Covington for the title. Kamaru Usman by decision. He’s gone the full five rounds SIX different times. We know his gas tank is epic but what about his game?
Chiesa rag dolled him all over the ring the last time out, landing 6 of 8 takedowns. Leon Edwards took him down at will. That’s just not Paul Felder’s game. He literally has two takedowns since 2015 out of 13 fights. Now, that doesn’t mean he avoids the ground game. We know about his finish from elbows but he prefers to stand and bang.
I don’t love dos Anjos at 170. He’s routinely on the short end of the “strength” side of things. He doesn’t have the power to finish. BUT, here we have Felder stepping in late and likely needing a big weight cut to hit the limit. RDA’s strengths are his wrestling and his gas tank. Paul Felder on short notice will have a tough task avoiding both.
How does Paul Felder win this fight? By landing big shots and stuffing takedowns. RDA didn’t land a single takedown in his last two losses to Chiesa and Edwards. Surely that is his main goal in this fight.
Felder has 61% takedown defense over his career and lands 3.67 significant strikes per minute. Felder has an iron chin and big power in his right hand. Honestly, if this were a scheduled bout, I’d be all over Felder. On short notice, I have to go with the fighter who’s had a full camp.
I expect RDA to trade briefly with Felder before realizing his bread is buttered on the ground. Output is going to win RDA this fight. It’s easy to forget how RDA made his bones at 155.
I’d be shocked if RDA finished Felder. I wouldn’t be shocked if Felder won. If RDA can employ his gameplan he had against Kevin Lee I like him to win this fight.
OFFICIAL PICK: RDA
Abdul Razak Alhassan ($9100) v Khaos Williams ($7100)
Alhassan missed weight. He looked fine but his gas tank is so scary here. I’m moving more shares to Williams with him maybe even winning this fight. Alhassan can win in the first 180 seconds. After that, it’s the Khaos show. Khaos looked big in their face-off too
Who’s going to sleep? This is the massive favorite for the shortest fight of the night. I’m going to attempt to remove the bad taste in my mouth from Alhassan’s fight against Lazzez and give a neutral breakdown of these fighters. Let’s start with Abdul.
Obviously he has monstrous power with (4) 1st round KO/TKOs in the UFC. What we’ve seen consistently is if his opponent can weather the early storm, they can point their way to victory. He lands 4.45 significant strikes per minute but absorbs as many as he gives. That could be his undoing here.
The one theme for Alhassan’s losses revolve around takedowns. When he’s on his back, he’s far less dangerous. Against Lazzez he was taken down on all four of Lazzez’s attempts. Against Akhmedov, it was 6/9. Even in his wins, he gets clipped. In both of the fights against Homasi he was clipped on multiple occasions.
Here’s the problem: I find myself looking for holes in Ahassan’s game. They are there to be seen but it’s so easy to forget all the great things about his game. He has howitzers in both fists. He’s pure power and can KO anyone in the division. He was clipped in both Homasi fights…but he still finished both in the first round. He has serious serious serious power.
Williams is big for the division. He has power but nothing like Alhassan. He throws WIDE, wild punches. There isn’t a ton of technical proficiency in his stand up game. Those looping punches put his chin right out in front, asking to be popped.
Khaos can and should take this to the ground and use some ground and pound to soften Alahassan up, as he did against Holloway. I do think that is his path to victory here. I know he got the big early finish against Morono but after going to the tape, that is more of the outlier than the norm for Khaos. Even in the Morono fight, he was clipped with a straight right and a left hook that if taken from Alhassan, likely would have put him in the ICU.
If we are talking about DraftKings opportunities, there are none better than Khaos Williams. Between the takedowns and the power, he could be in for a big night. However, with his striking style and the power of Alhassan, it’s going to be hard for me to pass up what will likely be a first round KO.
Khaos has never been finished but this is a monstrous jump up in level compared to the opponents he has faced in his career thus far. While this does seem like a great live betting opportunity for Khaos, I’ll go with the UFC vet.
OFFICIAL PICK: Alhassan
Julian Marquez ($9400) v Sparabeg Safarov ($6800)
Stand up vs take down. A tale as old as time in fighting. Marquez is obviously coming off the longest layoff of his career after he suffered a torn latissimus dorsi in his split decision loss to Di Chirico.
Back injuries are nothing to mess with but Marquez has sounded very positive about all of his training during COVID to get to this point and should be at or near 100%. We know he possesses massive power and will look for a quick finish.
Gian Villante was able to stuff the takedowns and get the finish. Rodolfo Vieira took the fight to Safarov and dominated from minute one, getting the finish in the first. Pedro was taken down twice but was still able to grab a kamura and get the first round stoppage. Negumereanu wasn’t able to stop the takedowns. Safarov brutalized him for 3 rounds and won a unanimous decision. Negu Negu Notgonnaworkhereanymore.
He hasn’t fought anywhere since that loss to Safarov.
Marquez is too big, too powerful and too good to lose in this spot. It should be light work for him in his return. Marquez gets the finish.
OFFICIAL PICK: Marquez
Eryk Anders ($8500) v Antonio Arroyo ($7700)
Anders missed weight – 187.5. I still have Anders missing the fight but don’t think he’ll get the finish. I’m mostly staying away from this fight.
These UFC match makers aren’t doing Arroyo any favors. He opens with a tough opponent in Muniz and is following that with Anders? Who’s wife did he sleep with in the big office?
It’s not that Anders is some unbeatable fighter, far from it. It’s the fact that when Anders wins, he usually does so in devastating fashion. (see his fight with Moreira)
Eryk Anders falls somewhere below the elite level and somewhere above average. He’s not in the top echelon and won’t ever be, at this point in his career. He does have big power and does pick off the lower ranked opponents.
Three of his five wins in the octagon have been by KO/TKO and he has two first round stoppages. He dropped Meerschaert in the first before going on to win a decision and his southpaw stance gave opponents issues.
Arroyo knows he’s not getting paid by the hour in the cage and looks to get his business done early. He has seven first round wins and added a second round submission over Stephen Regmen in the Contender Series back in July of ‘19.
He hasn’t been very active after his loss to Muniz and you have to wonder why. He’s coming up on exactly a year since he last fought and you’d think he’d be hitting the gym hard working on his weaknesses in his game. The guy looks like a million bucks in trunks, but can he get it done?
In truth, Muniz was a much worse matchup than Anders. Muniz wants to roll and flow from submission to submission. Both of these fighters like to stand and trade. Arroyo will come with the heavy kicks and Anders will throw this power left.
Four of the last five Anders fights have gone to a decision. Two of the last three Arroyo fights have gone to a decision. However, I have this one ending in a finish.
Anders has that big power and while Arroyo will try to chop him down early, the small cage lends itself to Anders power. Someone is getting a stoppage and my money is on Anders.
OFFICIAL PICK: Anders
Brendan Allen ($7900) v Sean Strickland ($8300)
I was so bummed to not see Allen last week and while it’s more work for your boy, I love that they’ve added this fight to the card.
Strickland obviously is coming off his big win against Marshman. We figured that would be a walk over and it was but the big Welshman just wouldn’t go down.
Strickland won easily on all three judges’ scorecards and took so little damage that he is fighting just two weeks later. He has a much stiffer test here against Brendan Allen.
As a reminder, here was my breakdown of Allen last week:
Brendan Allen is a DK superstar. He’s scored 90+ points in each of his three official UFC fights. He’s on a seven fight win streak and is still only 24 years old with 18 pro fights to his name.
He’s finished nearly every fight he’s won. He loves a rear naked choke (five submissions) and is so patient with his ground game. He’s not herky jerky while passing guard. It’s not big power actions. It’s technical. It’s methodical.
Then he tries to grab your arm or neck and rip it off your body. He’s extremely powerful. Not in his punches necessarily but his physical body. He’s a fighter who looks better every time he steps in the cage.
I was a touch worried about the sharpness of Strickland coming off a long layoff but his striking looked really good. Marshman offered zero threat of a takedown so Strickland was able to just walk him down and throw combinations.
When I saw Allen open as a big favorite I nearly jumped all over Strickland. Now that we are back to a more reasonable pickem I do think the value here is on Allen. From a DK perspective, he has more paths to a high score and paying this off.
OFFICIAL PICK: Brendan Allen
Kay Hansen ($9200) v Cory McKenna ($7000)
Big change here. I’m moving my pick to McKenna. I was on McKenna from a DFS perspective but I’m taking her to win outright here. Hansen is a tough cookie but McKenna looked strong on the scale.
The little ones will battle it out here in an exciting fight. McKenna has a good top game and loves to inflict damage. She’s light on her feet and has some snap on her punches but she prefers to be on top throwing elbows and big shots.
She’s so young that we do see leaps and bounds in her game every time she steps in the octagon. She earned her way here with a win over Demopoulos on the Contender Series.
We know she has strength. She’s been a power lifter since she was 15 years old. While she is still a touch green, I do believe she has a path to victory here if she can keep this standing.
Hansen is just 21 as well but already has a UFC win under her belt. She’ll carry a 5” reach advantage into the cage and has a ton of potential, but has only been training for a few years. Hansen is a wrestler. McKenna has been taken down in the past and she’ll have to watch the relentless takedowns.
Hansen has a heavy top game but at these salaries, to me, this is a dog or nothing type of fight. McKenna needs to keep it standing and let those hands flow.
Hansen, on the back of a full camp instead of the week notice she had last time, needs to get this to the ground and stay heavy. I’d love to take a crack on McKenna in DFS but I’ll take Kay grinding this one out.
Kay Hansen McKenna
Ashley Yoder ($8000) v Miranda Granger ($8200)
Both women looked fine on the scale. I’m 50/50 here but will stick with Granger. If she can stuff the takedowns and keep it standing she can use that length. Don’t love it but here we are!
Yoder is 7-6 overall but 2-5 in UFC. She’s beaten no one of consequence. She did go the distance with Mackenzie Dern and Angela Hill. She’s typically the taller, longer fighter but she’s matched in most areas here with Miranda Granger.
Granger will stand and trade but does the majority of her damage by submission. She’s finished nearly 86% of her wins by submission with all five of those finishes in the first round.
Yoder can land that left kick. She was able to hang with the takedowns of Dern. If you love either of these fighters please hit me up and explain why because I simply can’t get excited here. This is a battle but I have Granger with the advantage in most facets of the fight.
OFFICIAL PICK: Granger
Alex Morono ($8900) v Rhys McKee ($7300)
Seems like a dog or nothing spot for DFS. Morono needs to circle away from the power and get inside that reach. Both make weight.
If you want to watch complete domination, put on the tape of McKee v Chimaev. TKO in the first and the striking stats were hilarious. Chimaev – 68. McKee – 0.
Credit to McKee who tried to tough it out. He escaped several half-hearted submission attempts and took his beating like a man but I struggle to see what his big weapon is at this level.
He’s tall, rangy and has seven finishes to his name but he doesn’t possess big power or speed. He was humiliated on the ground. I’m lost with him.
Morono is a big time UFC vet. With 10 UFC fights to his name, he comes in as the big favorite here and rightfully so. He’ll have to get inside the 6” reach advantage of McKee but once he does, he’ll inflict damage at will.
Morono has good speed on the counter and enough power to finish the fight, but I have this one going the distance.
He’ll struggle to get to 90 points without a finish here. Big bounce back spot for Morono after the loss to Khaos.
OFFICIAL PICK: Morono
Jose Quinonez ($7800) v Louis Smolka ($8400)
Smolka missed weight by a mile coming it at 139 and didn’t even look good at that weight. I’m moving off him and going to Quinonez.
Big bounce back spot for both of these fighters who lost to UFC studs in their last fights. Vegas has this one going the distance, but Smolka has finished nearly 90% of his wins.
Quinonez fights one way: throw a punch, take a shot. His ceiling is limited in this division and he’d have to fight above his level to win this fight. We know that strikers don’t like being on their backs and that is Jose’s path to victory.
Even in his win over Ishihara, he was rocked at the end of the first round from a big left hand and was taking damage in the second. He’s very hittable. Obviously, O’Malley showed that with an early KO after being off for two years. O’Malley is on a different level, but Quinonez was miles off with his punches in the fight before losing.
I love Smolka’s story. He’s been a fighter forever. He was in the UFC, got cut and made his way back to the promise land. He’s still young, at just 29, and presumably hasn’t even entered the prime of his career.
Smolka looked bad against Schnell. He lost the speed battle and worked through several submission attempts by Schnell until he finally fell to a triangle.
He bounced back against MacDonald, looking like the terminator just walked forward and punishing the body before he went upstairs and put him down.
Obviously, I’m a touch worried about the takedowns of Jose here but Smoka has heavy hands for the division and a good submission game on the ground. I’d love to see him get it done inside the distance, but if Quinonez lands one of these takedowns, he can drain the clock.
Randa Markos ($7600) v Kanako Murata ($8600)
Randa comes in off the back of two losses and three of the last four. Oddly enough, her last win was over Yoder who’s on this card as well.
The issue is, she’s looked bad in these losses. She was brutally beaten by Amanda Ribas. She got suckered into a ground battle with Mackenzie Dern where she was completely on the defensive for the entirety of the short fight. She wasn’t in the same stratosphere as Dern.
Oddly enough, as she’s aged and fought tougher fighters, her game has evolved. She used to look for takedowns regularly but has gone away from that path and looked to stand. Half the problem is that she’s being taken down quite a bit. Take a stab at what Murata’s biggest weapon might be…
Murata is small. Like, tiny. She’s listed at 5’1” but even that feels like an exaggeration. But she’s built, has a low center of gravity and great hips. Her takedowns are lightning fast and she’s strong enough to keep her opponent down.
She also limits the length disadvantage on the ground. She doesn’t exactly throw the hardest ground and pound you’ll see but she does enough striking to pass guard and try to lock up a submission.
Randa Markos is a tough chick. She’s strong. I can see Murata taking her down, they both stand up, only for Murata to take her down again. Ultimately, that whole process is tiring for everyone but especially the one being taken down.
I can see Murata maybe getting a sub here but with the takedowns she’ll do enough to win rounds and have her hand raised.
OFFICIAL PICK: Murata
Geraldo de Freitas ($7500) v Tony Gravely ($8700)
I dug even deeper on this fight and now I’m moving Gravely from likely to win to one of my core options. He has so many paths to victory and looked like a million dollars on the scale today.
If this one stays standing for longer than 45 seconds I’ll be shocked. Both men want to get this to the floor but Gravely has a decided edge on the feet.
De Freitas is not purely a wrestler. He does like to strike but uses that striking to gauge range so he can shoot for the takedown, which he often gets.
The guy is a real grinder. He’s landed 8 of his 16 takedown attempts in the UFC and will look to point his way through rounds as opposed to get the big finish. He does appear to prefer the ground and pound top game vs looking for a submission.
The knock I’d have on de Freitas’ striking is he tends to lunge into his combinations. He’s doing well not throwing just one shot at a time but he puts everthing behind these looping combinations and lunges towards his opponent. He’s never been finished and his last three losses were all split decisions.
I went back and watched the Gutierrez fight. De Freitas won two of the three rounds in my opinion and you could argue he won all three, as one of the judges scored it.
Bisping was on the commentary that night and thought Gutierrez was behind on the judges scorecard heading into the 3rd. It was a tough loss but one that gave him a slight step back on his path to glory.
Gravely is short and compact but packs a big punch. He has power in both hands and good wrestling ability but has been submitted five times in his losses.
There isn’t a lot of left and right to Gravely’s game. It’s straightforward with big shots and takedowns. Does Gravely want to deal with the BJJ Black Belt here on the ground? I think he’d be wise to keep this standing but his instinct is to throw big and if he doesn’t land, get the takedown.
The loss to Johns is nothing to worry about. Johns is working his way up the rankings and Gravely survived a million submission attempts before finally having to tap in the third.
This is such a great fight but Gravely’s instinct is to wrestle. That’s going right to where de Freitas does his best work. I’m worried about the submission and wondering what the UFC are doing with Gravely in this matchup.
If they wanted to push this guy, they’d give him another striker and let them have at it. De Freitas has a clear path to victory here, but Gravely should throw him all over the cage.
Full disclosure, I’ve changed my mind on who will win this fight three times. I don’t love it, but I’ll take Gravely. Let’s re-evaluate after weigh-ins.
OFFICIAL PICK: Gravely
Don’Tale Mayes ($9000) v Roque Martinez ($7200)
I don’t know about you guys, but I love when we start with the big boys!
For me personally, I had to go watch some Martinez film first. The loss to Romanov was so dominant, so one-sided that I simply saw Roque Martinez as a lamb led out for slaughter. The film didn’t help much.
He showed great takedown defense against Sekine but Sekine is just a roided up geriatric has-been. He did show power and better athleticism that you’d guess just by looking at his gut.
Even against Romanov, he was taken down but did get back to his feet and landed a few strikes before it was over. Believe it or not, that’s an accomplishment. However, there isn’t an impressive win on his recent resume. The UFC would appear to be above his skill level.
Say what you want about Mayes but he went three rounds with Gane. He was very much in the Nascimento fight before being submitted. He’s been in the octagon with some bad mother fuckers and done alright.
He’s waiting for his first UFC win but did pick up a big KO victory on the contender series.. He’s not great on his back but this fight should stay standing.
I have Mayes with the advantage here in every facet of the fight. He’s the taller, longer, faster and more powerful fighter. Mayes ITD.
OFFICIAL PICK: Mayes
DFS — Cheat Sheet out Friday and discussed in depth on the Friday podcast.
Bets — likely posted right after weigh-ins