Duke’s UFC Vegas 25: Reyes vs. Prochazka Breakdown and Predictions for your DFS Lineups!!!
UFC VEGAS 25 BETS – OFFICIAL CARD!!
Ion Cutelaba 1.2 to win 1
Luana Pinheiro 1.6 to win 1
KB Bhullar 1 to win 2
Sam Hughes 1 to win 3 (+335 on 5Dimes if you can get that)
Jotko/Strickland DNGTD 1 to win 1.1
My God, Florida was a blast. I never understood why Florida gets so much shit. Sure, the people are crazy, the lizards are huge, and it’s hot as hell, but if you want to feel free and like we are back to normal, head to Florida for a few days. I was just there two weekends ago, and it was nice sitting in restaurants, hanging at the beach and, in general, just enjoying family. Believe me, after my betting night on Saturday, all I wanted to do Sunday was get outside and forget about the cash I lost.
Bad nights happen. It could have been even worse if not for the horrible decision FOR Grant. Na Liang, in particular, caught my eye. She was physically not quite ready for the big stage, but she’s so long and does have skill. She simply didn’t have the gas tank and folded in the second after nearly stopping it in the first.
How can we recap the night without talking about the fantastic KO by Rose?
A perfect left high kick off the front leg. It was hidden so well and unfortunately ended the night. I say unfortunately because I was ready to see these two women battle for 25 minutes. It was an emotional night for Thug Rose, and my hat’s off to her.
The second story of the night has to be the two devastating injuries sustained from leg kicks. Let’s talk Jimmy Crute briefly…there is nothing he or we could do about the kick and result after the fact. Anthony Smith targets the peroneal nerve. Essentially, he nailed it and caused foot drop for Crute. He landed 2 takedowns AFTER the injury but was stopped between rounds 1 and 2. It certainly looked as though Crute had a clear path to victory, so I feel pretty good about my breakdown for that fight. As for the other leg injury, what are the freaking odds that it happened to Chris Weidman??
If you haven’t seen the leg break, you can find it here:
The irony of it happening to Chris Weidman all these years after Anderson Silva shattered his leg on the same technique against Weidman is insane. I feel awful for Chris, but I was alarmingly unmoved by the injury. It’s something that Adam and I will talk about on Friday’s show, but my initial thought was not, “OMG, his career is over.” It was actually to text my wife. We were sitting in a Hooters in La Crosse, WI, watching the Weidman/Silva fight when the first break happened. It was gross, and of course, we all wish Weidman a full and speedy recovery.
BUT HOW ABOUT THE MAIN EVENT? Trust your instincts, Duke. I decided to put my balls on the table and switch from Usman to Masvidal to win the fight. I knew I had a bet on him at +360, and the card seemed pretty chalky. Plus, I did not think all 3 champs would walk away with their belts. I was right about that, wrong about Masvidal. I mentioned in my breakdown how impressed I was with Usman’s stand-up game against Burns. He showed another level against Masvidal. Usman did something that Stephen Thompson, Darren Till, Cowboy Cerrone and Nate Diaz couldn’t do; knock his ass out. It was an awesome victory for Usman but a tough loss for your boy. From a betting perspective, we did get the best of the number. The fight closed with Masvidal at just +260. In a sense, that is a win.
Last but not least, put some respect on Valentina Schevchenko’s name. She should have been -1000. She’s as dominant in her division as any fighter in the history of the sport.
Alright, let’s head back to the Apex and the smaller cage for 12 fights. It should be a great card. It’ll be hard to top UFC 261, but for us, as always, the goal is profit. Let’s get it.
UFC Vegas 25: Reyes vs. Prochazka Fight Information
May 1, 2021
UFC APEX, Las Vegas, NV
Dom coming in as the dog, huh? I think the issue for me personally is that I’m stuck on the Jones performance from Reyes. I loved him and his style before, but I haven’t liked him since. It’s certainly a big jump in competition that Reyes has faced, but has Prochazka really shown us enough to warrant this line? Prochazka has big power and loves to get his work done early. With 27 wins, he has 26 finishes. He’s an UNDER bettor’s dream.
Let’s talk about the Jones fight for Reyes. Before Jon Jones, Dominick had only attempted 397 TOTAL strikes in his last 6 fights. Against Jones, he attempted 263! The pace he kept, the pressure he put on and the volume he put out there was constant for 25 minutes. I was used to seeing fast starts from Reyes, but the sustained volume was what swayed me and obviously didn’t see against Blachowicz. Jan is the rightful champ and beat the pants off Reyes, stopping him in the second round. Against Oezdemir, he only landed 38% of his strikes attempted. Against Jones and Blachowicz, that number was around 41-45%. That’s fine, but if the volume isn’t there, that 40% better impact and do some damage. The question is which Dom Reyes shows up? Surely, he’ll see what we see, but can he get back to that effort he showed against Jones.
As for weapons, the left hand is very straight and very powerful. It was a pleasure watching back some of his old fights against Weidman (RIP) and Christensen. For one, it was about 1 minute total, but two, when that straight left lands, it does damage. It’s quick and a bit sneaky. It’s straight through the guard and pops the chin with force. Speed is typically an asset for Reyes at 205, and he loves to open up with plenty of kicks early. He’s a very well-rounded fighter but has struggled with takedown defense in the past.
Jiri trusts his power and leads with it. He has a lot of quick stoppages on his record because of his aggression. Typically, we like aggression, and we have seen Dom show some chin issues. Jiri will have a 3” reach advantage over Dom, and we saw the advantage that gave Jiri against Ozdemir, a common opponent these two share. Prochazka has an attractive fighting style and is right in the face of his opponent, but I saw things he was doing against Oezdemir that he can’t do against Reyes. Things like just blocking punches with the top of his head instead of moving. Showboating a little bit. That’s just his style, and typically, a knockout punch is right behind his antics.
Dom does have the experience advantage if this does reach the later rounds, but with the ITD prop sitting at -400 in some shops, I doubt we see the judges’ scorecards here. I do think Jiri will push the pressure early, but that straight left of Reyes is educated enough to find a home. This is a very close fight and not one I would consider stacking in cash or GPP.
OFFICIAL PICK: DOMINICK REYES
Man, people really love Cub Swanson, huh? Yeah, I’m a little thrown off by the first two lines. That line has moved ever so slightly towards Giga since I started this article as well, and he currently sits anywhere from -155 to -184, depending on your book of choice. I’m on the favorite here.
Cub Swanson came out of left field and looked FANTASTIC against Daniel Pineda. I picked Pineda and couldn’t believe my eyes with how sharp Cub looked. Pineda game is the axe murdered with a 100% finish rate, and Cub beat him at his own game. Cub loves a war with volume and gas tanks which is what this could turn into.
Giga hasn’t exactly had the toughest road in the UFC to date. This would appear to be his toughest test. He has a knockdown in each of his 3 fights but does have an issue with takedown defense. Giga does not want to be on the ground, and if Cub tries to take this to the mat, Giga might be in trouble. However, I see this as a stand-up battle. Giga is huge for the weight class and is quite long. Giga should keep this at distance and piece Cub up.
Another fight I don’t have a very strong feeling about. From a betting perspective, this fight is super close, and I can’t pay the Giga price tag here. With the advantages on the ground and experience at play, I might actually end up with a bet on Cub. Last but not least, this fight is currently -150 to go the distance. It’s a 3 round fight. Perhaps that gas tank of Cub does come through, so even though I initially like Chikadze, I’ve talked myself into a dog here. IF Cub’s chin holds up, the vet gets it done.
OFFICIAL PICK: CUB SWANSON
WHEW! Cutelaba is nothing, if not entertaining. Cutelaba could beat or lose to almost anyone in the promotion. He’s extremely strong, and that is actually his downfall. Everything is thrown or done at 100%. If it works, he gets a finish. If it doesn’t, he either gasses out or gets KOd. I’m not holding the Ankalaev losses against him. For one, I love Ankalaev. Two, the first stoppage was one of the weirder finishes to a fight I’ve seen. In this fight, he needs to get back to his Sambo and Wrestling roots. If he gets Jacoby to the ground, he could absolutely finish this early. If it’s a stand-up battle, this is a pick-em fight.
Jacoby is back with the UFC and has looked like a different guy of late, and then the Grishin fight happens. Grishin is a wily vet and made it a dirty fight, but my god, he is not on Jacoby’s level. Is that Jacoby’s issue? Does he fight down or up to his competition? If that’s the case, this should be a fun one.
These are not cash options, and both are priced in the same range on DK. The UNDER 1.5 rounds is sitting between -110 and -125. Buckle up.
OFFICIAL PICK: ION CUTELABA
Strickland is the real deal. His striking is so sharp. His takedown defense is improving. And his power is back. He does not look to have any lingering effects from his motorcycle accident. At 30 and coming off another dominant win over Brendan Allen. As a reminder, Allen was the slight favorite in that fight. In under 7 minutes, Strickland landed 94 significant strikes and mixed in a takedown. To say he was spectacular is an understatement. I’m all in on the Sean Strickland hype train. Choo choo mf’ers.
I’m always looking for holes in a fighter’s game, and if there is one, you could say that we haven’t really seen his gas tank tested since the accident. He landed so many strikes on Allen that he was actually somewhat winded early in that second round before the knockout. His punches were still technical and still carried power, so overall, I’m not terribly worried about it, but that is the one question I have.
Jotko is your typical ATT guy who doesn’t get enough respect because he’s not flashy enough. He’s a grinder. His path to victory here is to work his takedowns and muck this up on the ground, but as we established above, that’s part of Strickland’s game that is pretty strong. Let’s assume he does NOT get this one to the ground, then what? It’s a Strickland showcase in my opinion. Jotko could hang and bang with Eryk Anders, but that’s a completely different style of fighter. You look at Jotko’s fights against strikers like Uriah Hall and Brad Tavares as comps. How’d those fights end? Jotko KOd.
Jotko wants this to get to a decision. It likely could be a late stoppage for Strickland. Either way, I see Sean Strickland with the clear advantage here, and he’s my pick to win.
OFFICIAL PICK: SEAN STRICKLAND
Merab is a monster, but are people selling Stamann short? Let’s explore.
We know exactly what Merab wants to do AND typically does — take you down. He had 25 takedowns over two fights before his last one against Dodson. He attempted 20 — yes, 20 — takedowns against Dodson but only successfully landed 2, which led us to see other parts of Merab’s game. Merab really worked the legs of Dodson and showed his hands are improving, but they aren’t necessarily weapons just yet. Dodson is getting long in the tooth but was always a fighter with fast hands and Merab won that battle. Merab does like to grind out decisions which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When he’s landing his takedowns, he’s a fantasy monster. In the Dodson fight, with only 2 takedowns and 4 minutes of control time, he picked up just 74 DK points. He averaged 134.25 over his previous 4 fights when Merab was having his way on the ground.
Stamann was a collegiate wrestler and has shown some ability in that area throughout his career. He’s more of a striker, and I certainly have him with an advantage on the feet, but are we sure Merab is going to just take him down? Perez took him down once. Kelleher got a takedown against him. Jimmie Rivera landed a couple takedowns, but Stamann was right back to his feet and reversed Rivera. That is something to consider because the reason Merab can land so many takedowns is the fact that his opponents so easily get up. Why does he routinely go to a decision? Because he doesn’t do enough damage on top or look for a submission.
I have a feeling that Stamann is game throughout this contest, but in the end, the takedowns count in the judges’ eyes, and I have Merab winning in a decision. From a betting perspective, I can get over +200 odds on a fighter with better striking, more power and the better chance to win inside the distance. That is likely where my money heads.
OFFICIAL PICK: MERAB DVALISHVILLI
CAROLINA MISSED WEIGHT BY A COUPLE LBS AND LOOKED AWFUL ON THE SCALE. DOESN’T CHANGE MY OWNERSHIP BUT CONFIRMS MY PICK WITH BOTELHO.
Big favorites in female fights are typically a spot to avoid, but I do like Poliana here. Carolina was a fish out of water on the ground against Lipski, and Botelho does have the grappling advantage here. Botelho has really only found trouble in her career when she did not have the advantage on the ground. We just saw it with Gillian, and of course, you can go back to the Calvillo fight where Botelho jumped up too many levels too quickly. Botelho does like to strike and has power. She’s big for the division and is efficient with the strikes that she throws. She loves a knee to the body as her opponent closes the distance. It landed but still got her in trouble with Robertson. It did some real damage against Mueller.
Luana was able to land 111 significant strikes against Cachoeira and landed a massive head kick in the third that dropped her. She’s a Muay Thai kickboxer and likes to stand and trade. She’s long and can switch stances, but she has very little power in her hands. Her kicks can be devastating, as we saw against Cachoeira, but if Botelho gets this fight in the clinch, I can’t see Carolina avoiding the takedown and inevitable beat down.
Botelho did some training with American Top Team. It was needed, as we saw Gillian dominate her on the ground, and we should see real growth from Botelho here. The fight is likely to head to the judges’ scorecards, which always makes me nervous, so I can’t lay the big number. From a DK perspective, I’m not sure we see the volume or finishing ability from Botelho, so she’s strictly a GPP option.
OFFICIAL PICK: POLINA BOTELHO
These two couldn’t be heading in more opposite directions. Markos is 35 and has lost 4 of her last 5. One of which was against…you guessed it…Claudia Gadelha. As a 10-11-1 fighter, we are nearing the end of the Randa Markos career, let alone contract with UFC. Other than being a relatively well-known gatekeeper, she adds no value to the promotion. Not only is she average at best, but she’s also slowing down. Noticeably. We’ll give the edge to Markos from an experience perspective, but her only real chance here is to wrestle the shit out of Pinheiro, which I don’t think she can do. I’m having a tough time finding that path to victory for Markos.
Is Pinheiro ready? Yes.
She just posted this on her Instagram Wed/Th after training with Claudia Gadelha and Pedro Falcao. She’s been at the UFC PI for a while now and seems to be ready to roll. She’s just 5’2” but a powerful fighter who has been stomping people in Brave and kept that going on Dana’s Contender Series with a first-round KO of Stephanie Frausto. She uses a lot of feints in her standup and has extreme confidence in her right hand. She does a good job of mixing in kicks to the leg and body to keep her opponent guessing but has power in both of her hands.
The left hook against Fausto landed almost in the neck, but I loved the aggression from Pinheiro to go finish the fight immediately. We don’t often get to see it because she loves to strike, but she can effectively use her Judo background to stuff or land a takedown.
Adios Rhonda Markos.
OFFICIAL PICK: LUANA PINHEIRO
FIGHT OFF. MOGGLY MISSED BY 5 LBS AND IS AN UNPROFFESSIONAL ASSHOLE
MOGGLY! This is a big line for the Mexican warrior. He is the hardest kicker in the division. I hate to say this with what just happened to Weidman, but he could break your leg with his kicks. Typically, kicks are the trigger for a takedown, but people don’t want to eat one to get one, if you know what I mean. He’s a great striker as well and put Justin Jaynes in child’s pose with a brutal knee to the body. The body was there to be hit because Moggly landed about 7 one-twos in a row to his face. That was a big win for Moggly because things were not trending his way. He was KOd by Sodiq Yusuff and basically bullied by Omar Morales.
Pearce shocked me with his performance against Kai Kamaka. I saw him get starched by Joe Lauzon, of all people, and wrote him off too early. That was a bad read by me. He showed a really good gas tank and great wrestling against Kamaka. His pressure was relentless and basically just made Kamaka gas and quit. Pearce said he had a lot to prove to himself in that fight, and he certainly did. He was working submissions, ground and pound, reversing submissions. It was an impressive performance. So, which fighter is he? Anyone can get caught. I’m not sure he’s fighting for a belt any time soon, but he’s game here.
One thing about Moggly is the books are generally right about him. He was a big dog against Yusuff and lost. He was a big dog against Morales and lost. Then, he was a big favorite against Jaynes and paid that off. Do they have it right here? I don’t think so. My bet is going to be on the dog here, and I’m banking on him using his underrated striking game to set up the wrestling and get the win for Jonathan Pearce.
OFFICIAL PICK: JONATHAN PEARCE
Can we use the short notice fight excuse for the Kamaka performance against Pearce? Remember, he was a -300 favorite on fight night. Also remember, I loved him in that fight. He’s still the same fighter to me. He’s a good-to-great striker with average power and tree trunks for legs. He did show himself to be somewhat slick on the ground when he had his breath. The short notice aspect really started to show itself in the second round when he gassed and couldn’t find solutions to the problems Pearce was giving him.
TJ Brown is like a rocket with a gas leak. It’s big and beautiful but eventually comes crashing back to earth in a fiery explosion. That’s TJ Brown. He can really hurt his opponents and pushes for an early finish, but he has super questionable ring IQ and a horrible gas tank. He should be able to take down Kamaka, but that’s only if he approaches that fight with that as a goal.
I’m trusting that he does. I’ll take the dog here to win. I do think Brown will take more money by the time the fight starts. Right now, my math says to be Kamaka, but I’ll likely hold off on that. For one, I could get a better number closer to the fight, and two…uhh, I think he’s going to lose. Another James Krause disciple who could and should look better.
OFFICIAL PICK: TJ BROWN
I’ll keep this short. The pricing on this fight is insane. Loma is the better fighter. We just saw Sam Hughes basically quit against Tecia Torres, but that was the best Tecia Torres I’ve ever seen, and Sam Hughes had a little success in the clinch game in a fight where she was thoroughly dominated. Torres is a legit top 5 or top 10 Flyweight. Hughes took the fight on short notice. She was beaten badly that night. I think this line and DK pricing is an overreaction to one fight. This fight is -250 to go the distance. Sam Hughes was beating the hell out of Demopoulos before getting caught in a random submission. Lookboonmee has beaten bigger, stronger women. She’ll be the sharper striker. However, I don’t hate Sam Hughes’ chances here!
OFFICIAL PICK: SAM HUGHES!
Looks like I’m betting Bhullar. I can’t get away from the math there, but it’s fair because I don’t really like either of these fighters. Michailidis was the victim of a bizarre stoppage in his UFC debut. For one, Bukauskas landed several elbows to the back of the head. That is what Michailidis was sitting there protesting before they opened the cage door and accidentally fell through. The ref saw that as him being hurt and called the fight. It was silly, but it was also at 205 pounds. He’s coming down to 185 here, and that is his typical weight class throughout his career. I do expect him to look better and give a better account of himself in this fight.
Oddly enough, he’ll be the shorter man. Bhullar is 6’4” and very long. He’s a striker with extreme confidence in his abilities. He carries his hands really low, and he paid the price against Breese. For what it’s worth, Breese looked like superman in the cage. I didn’t expect Bhullar to win the fight, but I also didn’t think he’d just quit. A massive left by Breese did the major damage, but Bhullar ate it and kept his feet. He was hit with a stiff jab, and that was what dropped him. It wasn’t a flash knockout; it was a “fuck this” type of reaction. It’s really hard to trust your money with that.
At 185, Michailidis has big power and finishes his opponents. He’s nowhere near Tom Breese, but I do think he’s better than Bhullar. I’m picking Michailidis but trusting the math (gross) with Bhullar for the bet.
OFFICIAL PICK: ANDREAS MICHAILIDIS
Luke Sanders – he’s winning until he’s not. Luke is a fast starter and is almost always leading the fight at the end of the first round. He has some issues with some submission defense, and he has been chin-checked in the past. Oftentimes, he’s his own worst enemy. Cage IQ is not listed under the ‘strengths’ category for Sanders. He does have talent and enough power to hurt you, and that is why he’s the favorite here. He should win this fight.
Colares has one of the best chins I’ve ever seen. He was just eating punches against Jackson and throwing back in return. It was insane. He also couldn’t stop a takedown if his life depended on it. Luckily for him, that isn’t really something that Sanders is interested in, and this should be a stand-up battle. Now in saying that, Malkoun saw a weakness in his opponent and did something he’d never shown a few weeks ago.
I’m taking Sanders here. I believe I’m betting Sanders. In other words, I’m going to start drinking very early on Saturday.
OFFICIAL PICK: LUKE SANDERS
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