Contest time! You guys know the rules. We have two items up for grabs. The highest score of the night will get a signed MMA LAB shirt by Henry Corrales, and the 2nd Highest Score will get the NEW Elite Mafia Shirt! Rules below!
- For MMA DFS ONLY
- Screen Shot your Highest DraftKings Score. (Must Be Green)
- Tag and Tweet @MadLabMMA and @GuruEliteDFS after the fights with the shot.
It's that simple! Good Luck! We will then find the two highest scores and contact the winners!
Contest time! You guys know the rules. We have two items up for grabs. The highest score of the night will get a signed MMA LAB shirt by Henry Corrales, and the 2nd Highest Score will get the NEW Elite Mafia Shirt! Rules below!
- For MMA DFS ONLY
- Screen Shot your Highest DraftKings Score. (Must Be Green)
- Tag and Tweet @MadLabMMA and @GuruEliteDFS after the fights with the shot.
It's that simple! Good Luck! We will then find the two highest scores and contact the winners!
Jon Jones $9,600 vs. Anthony Smith $6,600
Now you are going to probably read all these crazy breakdowns on this fight for people to try to sound super smart. Records, Reach, Speed, Cage IQ, and even strength of competition. The fact of the matter is they are all really wasting their time and breath. You can take all you “Metrics” and all that bullshit and toss them in the garbage. I am going to do what I do best and tell you the real facts and nothing but the facts. You will never see me on Twitter searching for answers and opinions on anything because my eyes are mine and I trust my eyes and experience in this sport more than anyone. My point here is this. There is one grand question that needs to be asked here. Not, “Who do you think is going to win?”, but “Does Smith have a chance to win?” Period end. That is the question here. If you sit there and start listening to all these scientific breakdowns on a fight like this then you are honestly just wasting your time, money, and breath. I think it is quite obvious that I am picking Jon Jones here, but do I think that Smith has a shot to win? Well in any fight there is a chance to win and you would be crazy to think otherwise. The better fighter does not always win the fight. Look at Serra vs GSP. Was Serra the better fighter? Not a shot in hell, but he was in the right place, at the right time, and he caught GSP in an exposed situation. GSP obviously proved who was better when they met for the rematch and if they ran it back 100 times, GSP would win probably 95 of them. With that said when you are dealing with heavier weight classes those right time and right place situations can be much more damaging because the punches are coming in at a more devastating rate of power. The one thing I actually love about Anthony Smith in this lead up is his mindset. He isn’t getting caught up with the banter and the entire Jon Jones fiascos. I loved when he said in an interview, “Why am I going to focus on all the things that Jon Jones did bad when I need to focus on all the things that Jon Jones does good.” He has the perfect fighter's mindset, a good frame, powerful, and decent athletic ability for the division. He’s a gamer, and he without a doubt is a good fighter with much experience. However, you can have the greatest most centered mindset on the planet and if your Genetic Code holds barriers physically, then none of that really matters. Jon Jones is the better athlete and the better fighter everywhere and that is just the stone cold truth of it all. If you want more cold truth, then here it is. Even tho Anthony Smith has been on a run and any fight is dangerous no matter how good you are, The UFC is doing this to keep Jones active and sharp for a super fight that may rear its head. A tune-up fight if you will. Now don’t get me wrong, Tune up fights have gone terribly wrong, I have seen it time and time again, but the intent behind this fight is to keep Jon Jones active and out of trouble. The UFC needs to keep a short leash on him, and if keeping him in camp is going to help groom that then they will do what it takes to throw fights at him providing he is healthy enough to go. Someone like Jon Jones cannot sit on a shelf for too long or he will begin to wonder. Anthony Smith is getting a great opportunity here but it is an opportunity that comes with great agenda. There isn’t a single soul within the UFC that actually made this fight saying “Great fight… Great Fight” They are expecting Jones to strategically dismantle Smith and I honestly think that Smith knows that. We have seen Buster Douglas defy all odds when he KO’d Mike Tyson in one of the biggest upsets in Boxing history, but anyone who watched boxing and knows anything about boxing knows that Mike Tyson was not a good “Boxer”. He was a brawler with insane power, very good side to side head movement and had his opposition beat before they even made it to the rings. He faced a Boxer that night. Someone that understood how to use a jab, utilize range and he wasn’t afraid. He fought the fight of his life but he outboxed Mike and it was not a lucky punch. He actually beat him up that night. After that, you saw what real methodical boxers were able to do to him. This is not one of those scenarios. Smith is not better than Jones anywhere and he will really need lightning in a bottle along with a diabolical collapse on Jones’ part to win this fight and that is the truth. Is it possible? Yes. Is it probable? Highly unlikely. If Smith beats Jones then it will be the biggest upset in UFC history and the UFC would literally hide under their desks. This fight was meant to do a few things and a few things only. Keep Jones from having too much free time on his hands, keep him sharp, and fine tune him further for the super fight that is already being created behind our backs. If you think any more or any less then you are listening to jargon and nonsense. I know they still have to fight the fight but I will absolutely shocked, speechless, and put into a catatonic state if Jones somehow beats himself here, because Smith is not good enough to beat him straight up… And those ladies and gentlemen are the facts.
The Pick: Jones
Tyron Woodley $8,700 vs. Kamaru Usman $7,500
Another fighter on the card that Analysts shit on that makes them look extremely stupid and further their terrible knowledge in fighting. When was the last time you had a conversation about Woodley and it was all positive? When was the last time you spoke to someone that didn’t bring up Woodley being boring and a fleeting fighter? Probably never right? When I talk to these people I answer them one way. “But he’s still the champ and he’s still winning right?” The people who make fun of this guy really don’t understand the “ART” of fighting, and that’s ok because they either never been in a scrap or have never really been an athlete. In sports, you have a very small window and the key to success and legacy is Longevity and how consistent you perform night in and night out. In many ways, Woodley is the Mayweather of MMA, and while the people who don’t understand the art of boxing made fun of him for “Being boring,” he walked himself right to the bank with an undefeated record. You can say whatever you will about Woodley, and you can listen to nonsensical people talk trash about him, but at the end of the day…HE IS WINNING. I am not a fan of Woodley or his style but I respect the hell out of him because he has a riddle in his pocket that the welterweight division can’t solve right now. Extremely High Pedigree wrestler that fights off the counter and any pressure fighter needs to be very coherent of his Right hand because it may be one of the most powerful ones pound-for-pound in the UFC. Good chin, bad chin, or indifferent, if he catches you, you are going to sleep and the entire heavyweight division knows this. Standing with him is a chasing game and if you go to take him down then good luck to you. He has tremendous wrestling and his BJJ game is very underrated because we never get to see it. The guy is an explosive specimen that can take the fight anywhere you want with confidence. He is taking on a bigger younger version of himself in the wrestling department in Usman. A very similar style to Woodley on a lower level. Good wrestling, never over aggressive but I am expecting him to be the one applying the pressure here. He relies on his wrestling much more than Woodley does offensively and averages about 4 takedowns per affair, but will that help him against a guy in Woodley that literally has almost flawless takedown defense. As good as a wrestler as Usman is offensively, Woodleys defensive wrestling and takedown defense is better. Both men have insanely good defensive wrestling and I am not expecting to spend too much time there unless the other sees an opening and the other is tired. I am actually expecting this one to take place on the feet for most of the fight. Both men have only been finished once in their Career. Woodley by Ko and Usman by submission, but one can argue that this was way before they were molded into the fighters that both are today. Not holding much stock in either stat, I just don’t see where Usman is better anywhere. Woodley is the proven better wrestler and the better overall fighter period. If this stays on the feet, how can Usman do what someone like Wonder Boy could not do? He isn’t going to outpoint him, he is not going to submit him, and I really don’t see him out wrestling him so that leaves one path here. He would need the KO. I find it highly doubtful that he will be able to catch Woodley unless Woodley loses steam or brings a new wrinkle. The one area where Usman has him is age. Woodley is 36 now and you wonder when that step will start to planting in soft sand slowing him down a bit. As of right now I really haven’t seen any signs of it and that is all attributed to one thing. The same thing all these so-called “Analysts” mock him for which is being smart and taking minimal damage. Woodley is a fresh 36 and he will need to have a bad performance or get age a bit overnight in my opinion. Very possible but unlikely. I am very intrigued by this fight and I think Usman is a live dog here but I just don’t see Woodley Losing this one.
The Pick: Woodley
Ben Askren $9,000 vs. Robbie Lawler $7,200
Well well well. Here it is. The moment of truth for a guy that I have been watching feverishly for a very long time. Many people have no idea who he is until now, but allow me to explain a guy that I have followed for his entire career. The 2-time Welterweight tournament champion of Bellator and 1 time One Championship Champ graces us with his undefeated record of 18-0-1. Funky Ben Askren has done things his way for the duration of his career as an athlete in general. The 4-time division 1 All American wrestler finished with a record of 153–8, with 91 of those victories coming by way of fall which placed him at 3rd in NCAA D-1 history for most pins. When you think of the greats in BJJ who do you think of? BJ Penn, Werdum, Maia, obviously now you need to throw Kron in that mix. Well when it comes to wrestling, Askren is the pinnacle of the MMA platform. Guys like Colby Covington and Usman couldn’t tie this kid's shoelaces on the mat never mind keeping up with him in straight wrestling. Askren actually went a full year of not taking a single punch in any of his matches. The thing you are getting with Askren is quite simple. He isn’t going to stand with you. He has zero desire to do so. He isn’t very appealing on the feet and if you can actually stop him from sinking you then you probably will have a very live chance against him standing. With that said staying on your feet is where the problem comes in. In what world do you think you will be able to stay on your feet for 15 minutes against this guy? You need to really get on him quickly and get on him before he finds your hips. If he finds your hips than you are going for a ride and then you will be victimized by a positional battle of top control from hell. He is not going to wow you with his style, but I need you to start watching fights for the strategy behind peoples strong suits and you will appreciate it so much more. If you are listening to people that mock styles because they are slow and boring, I would tell you to probably stop listening to them. Askren is a wrestler. A full-blown wrestler and he knows what his clear path to victory is. He knows that there is no one in this division that can hang with him on the ground and he plans to rest his hat on that for as long as he fights. If you can’t respect that then I have no idea what to tell ya. Isn’t that what we want in fighters? Isn’t that we always bitch about with so many fighters? How they may be so great at one suit and then they tend to try and prove themselves in a different suit. Askren has nothing to prove to anyone. You know what he is going to do from jump street and he is totally fine with that. His answer? “Stop It.” He will be taking on an extremely dangerous striker and one of the baddest dudes to ever lace them up in Robbie Lawler. Robbie is a complete animal. This is a guy who has thrived his entire career on being in brutal wars of ungodly amounts of punishment on both the giving and receiving end. If you never saw the Lawler vs. McDonald fight, then watch it and you will see exactly what I mean. It seems Robbie gets better as the fight gets more brutal. In 28 wins, Lawler disposed of 20 of them by way of KO. In his 12 loses Robbie was KO'd twice and submitted 5 times. The former welterweight champion was fighter of the year in 2014 and 1015, earning fight of the year in both years. He is a Slayer of man and he will walk through fire to get what he wants. He wants a street fight and if you stay on your feet then I can almost guarantee you that you will get just that. Lawler is a guy that you can never count out and historically he has done very well against wrestlers. However, they weren’t Ben Askren and that was then this is now. Like Woodley, Lawler is 36 years of age, but unlike Woodley, he has taken an uber amount of punishment in his time. He dropped his last fight to RDA and I have to be honest with you, he really didn’t look like the Lawler of old. He has a very big mountain to climb here and he will need to fight a damn near perfect fight to win this one. Stuffing the takedown will be his greatest test. If he does that then Askren being able to stand with Lawler will be his greatest test. But whos ability do you trust to take it where? I don’t know about you but I have far much more faith in Askren going ground then Lawler stopping it. I would say that Lawler will make it scary for Ben in the opening frame when they are fresh, but once he finds his hips, the funky one will start getting to work.
The Pick: Askren
Weili Zhang $8,300 vs. Tecia Torres $7,900
This was a really tough fight for me because I like both of these girls and I think that Zhang has some really nice tools to be a good fighter. She is aggressive, she has a well-rounded game, and she looks for finishes on both levels. With a record of 18-1, she has 9 KOS and & submissions. Don’t get it twisted. The resume has been padded with other companies and the level of competition is not what it is in the UFC, but since she has been under the UFC umbrella it has been more of the same with her. With a 2-0 UFC run, she beat Daniel Taylor and Jessica “Jag” extending her record and her confidence for her next test. Her Next test, by far is her biggest to date. Tecia Torres may be one of the smaller women in the division, but she is crafty, she is fast, and she is extremely durable. With a 10-3 record, she has never been finished inside the horn and her 3 losses were by the hands of absolute world beaters. Jessica Andrade, JJ, and Rose Namajunas. All 3 women are by far the top of the heap. Tecia has only tended to drop those fights. Now here is the thing with Tecia. In her 10 wins, 9 have went yard and that is concerning anytime you have a pressure fighter on the other side of the cage. Tecia will tend to skate around the cage looking for her space and if you catch her she will do a very good job on the break using her speed to catch you and get out of there again. When she squares up she has a very respectable overhand right that usually catches the attention of her opposition the minute it lands. But being an undersized fighter for the division she relies much more on her speed to beat you to the punch in a point game. She will go for the Takedown if it's there and she will not shy away from short lasting exchanges, especially if she feels like you just can’t hurt her. Zhang may get a little frustrated here chasing Torres all night but that would actually play in the hands of Torres staying tight and just delivering her very Vanilla 1-2 combos to score and get back on her bike. This fight will really test the patience and the maturity of Zhang as a fighter and see if she bites down and takes the bait of the chase or if she stalks carefully and patiently. I do like Zhang and I think that she has a very very good chance on winning this fight but when you have a fighter like Tecia Torres that has fought the best and has only lost to the absolute best without ever getting finished, it is hard to pass on the dog here. Her durability will keep her in it and it will be up to her speed and decisions when and when not to engage that will ultimately be the deciding factor of this fight. This fight is really anyone's fight to take but I am going to go with the crafty vet that has been proven in the dog fights before.
The Pick: Torres
Pedro Munhoz $7,500 vs. Cody Garbrandt $8,500
This is a great fight. You have two guys with different trajectories as of right now. Munhoz is on a 2 fight win streak, and Garbrandt on a 2 fight losing streak. It is still relatively unknown how Cody bounces back here after one devastating loss, never mind 2 of them back to back. In his first fight against TJ, he was doing quite well and even rocked TJ at one point. Then in TJ fashion came back and completely knock the soul out of Cody. Then in their next match, it was more of the same and Cody was people out much like in the 1st fight. So here we are. How will he bounce back, and will he be the same aggressive and confident striker he was before his 2 fight fall from grace? The former champion holds a record of 11-2 with 9 by way of KO. The speed and the power on this kid are tremendous and when he ties it all together and catches fire, then it is really hard to pick against him from a straight striking standpoint. However, he does leave his chin hanging a bit and smart fighter such as TJ can and will sniff that out. With that said, Cody is a fighter that really fights off momentum as the fight goes on. He needs to really see a source of success before he really loosens up and really gets into a pocket. Once he does you will see him shake off the tightness and start on strapping his punches like slingshots. His combos and his fluency start to really rear its head when he sees those open windows for himself. He will need to find these windows strategically against very dangerous Pedro Munhoz. Like Cody, he has his share of finishes only he has his on the other side of the plate. At 21-3 he has 9 by way of submission and 3 by KO. The Black Belt in BJJ looks early and often to drop down and sink in his famous guillotine choke. Munhoz has 6 of his 9 submissions by way of guillotine. The problem with this is that in order for him to land it or any submission he will either have to pull guard or catch Cody in a scramble. Even tho Cody loves to take care of business on his feet, he has never been taken down and Munhoz is probably going to have to rock him to get him there. Cody is going to have a clear speed advantage on the feet and Munhoz may find it tough to win exchanges here. In turn, he may start taking desperation shots that will most likely not pay off for him considering desperation shots are usually sloppy and Cody will be quick enough to stay clear of them. The one thing that does concern me is the durability of Munhoz. He has never been finished and Cody is going to have to stay sharp for 15 minutes, keeping Munhoz off his hips and try winning the outside war. With that said, outside range wars are won with speed and precision. These are both assets that Cody will have in his back pocket walking into the cage so that is what I am expecting here. I am expecting Cody to start slow and then start opening up, piecing up Munhoz at range and tallying enough points to secure him a possible 29-28 victory if it makes it to the cards. The speed of Cody is going to play a very clear factor here and as long he does not leave his chin on a shelf then he should be able to get himself right back in the win column with a fight that he very much needs to halt his fall to 3 in a row.
The Pick: Garbrandt
Zabit Magomedsharipov $8,900 vs. Jeremy Stephens $7,300
Jeremy Stephens is one of those guys who is just so hard not to like, especially if you were born in a blue collar world like me. A no-frills fighter who never really cared for the bright lights and the headline-grabbing. He never had a star bright enough anyway for that but there is a fact within the division that if you sign to fight him, you are in for a fight. You will not leave unscathed and you are going to have to fight your way out of the cage that night. This guy doesn’t come to collect a paycheck only. He comes to win and when he doesn’t he takes it very very personal. In his last fight against Jose Aldo, he put off his honeymoon for the fight and when he lost he literally thought about leaving his family and fell into a very deep depression. After a very up and down career, Jeremy Stephens really started catching fire winning 3 fights in a row by spectacular fashion and earned his way quickly with a fight against Jose Aldo that could have earned him a spot very close to a title shot if he won. He was caught with a major liver shot by Jose and his streak ended once again. Once again Jeremy Stephens was knocking on the door and he just couldn’t make it to the doorknob. Stephens is far better than his record indicates. With a 28-15 record, Lil’ Heathen has 19 by way of KO. He’s only been KO’d 2 times and was submitted 3. Stephens is not going to wow you with dynamics or a ton of volume, but he will apply some consistent pressure to keep the fight flowing. He has brain-melting power when he connects, but connecting is what is going to decipher the outcome of his success in this fight. He is not the fastest fighter in the bracket and he does fight a little flat-footed, so he will need to slow down a faster, more dynamic fighter in Zabit to keep his target a little more manageable. Zabit is a very special fighter and I am sure you don’t hear me say that much about many fighters. There is something about this guy that intrigues me. I feel like he hasn’t shown us even ½ of what he can do. He is patient, quiet, calm, and almost seems like he only gives you what he needs to win a fight. He is extremely well rounded and his attacks although very very dynamic, he is extremely accurate with his choices and he doesn’t waste much in the process. The crazy thing with Zabit is that he will tie a spinning attack into a conservative attack so sound and then close space to level change or set up a throw that will put him into a positive situation on the ground. The guy has so much unchartered potential offensively that it's borderline insane. I have seen glimpses of it, and sometimes I find myself rewinding his film 4-5 times to figure out if he meant to do some of the combos he ties together or not. With a 16-1 record, Zabit shows his diversity with 6 Kos, 7 Submissions, and only 3 decisions. In his sole lose he was submitted which dates back to 2013. The one aspect of Zabit's game that we never really seen tested is how well he can take a shot by a power puncher like Stephens. He has been hit and we have seen him in some tight spots but we never truly saw his chin checked on the level that Stephens can check it. However, I just don’t think Stephens is fast enough, dynamic enough, and slippery enough to stalemate Zabit in all avenues of fighting. Stephens will not only need to be wary of Zabits surprise attacks on the feet but he will also need to guard another level with Zabit's takedowns and grappling. Zabit is going to be able to really pick and chose his spots here and all he needs to really do is stay away from getting clipped by the crippling power of Stephens. It is hard to pick against a guy who really has so many avenues to win and just keeps throwing a new wrinkle in his game every fight; where the other is what he is, and although he has had great success with that style, he just may be overall outclassed here. And Za-Beat-Goes-On.
The Pick: Zabit
Johnny Walker $8,400 vs. Misha Cirkunov $7,800
I sent so back and forth on this fight that it actually tormented me. Johnny Walker burst onto the scene and seems to be an overnight crowd favorite. The guy without is a big charismatic personality that the UFC needs right now. He isn’t a shit talker and he isn’t a mean personality in his approach. He just likes having fun and he really seems to be enjoying the process of it all. He isn’t taking this for granted and he is taking advantage of it in every way possible. With a 16-3 record, Walker has 13 KOs, and in his 3 losses, he was finished all 3 times. 2 by KO and 1 by submission. The guy is an extremely good athlete and I don’t think cage jitters or adrenaline dump is even in his vocabulary. However, I just need to see more to be sold on him the way others are. People are so quick to jump on bandwagons and it really drives me nuts. I am not saying that he isn’t a future possible star but let's pump the breaks a little here. Who has he really eaten to crown him the next coming in the LH division? He beat Roundtree, Ledet, and Henrique da Silva. I would not consider them to be world beaters in any stretch of the means. I will say that the guy is patient, calculated, and truly understands the touch and go game of striking, but to sell him to me, he needs to do more. He needs to also show me what he has in deep waters. His career will not continue to be 1 round affairs. As the opposition gets stiffer he will have to fight his way out of situations and how he will handle that remains to be seen. We also have not seen much of him when he is grounded and how he will manage if he is put onto his back against a very good wrestler or grappler. He will most likely have the opportunity to show us what he has from these situations with Misha Cirkunov who is much more of a grappler than anything else. The Black Belt in BJJ holds a record of 14-4 with 8 of them by way of submission. Misha is also no stranger to the KO for he holds 4 under his belt. In his 4 losses, he has been submitted 2 times and KO’d 2 times. Misha is a very tough fighter to lay a bead on. He was really expected to do some nice things in the UFC and it seems that he took a quick dip after dropping 2 straight losses by way of KO after 8 straight wins that stem back to 2012. I was at the 2012 ADCC and I was involved with coaching and weight cutting one of the competitors for that event. I was able to see Misha grapple and he actually won his division that year. Misha knows where this fight has to go if he wants to beat the much bigger walker. Averaging about 4 TDs an outing, I am extremely interested in seeing if Walker has chops to keep Misha off his hips and I am also very interested to see if Misha can get in on the hips before he walks onto something big. There is no one that really has tested the takedown defense of him and we have not seen him on his back foot and being pressure under the umbrella of the big show. Walker is going to want to use his 5-inch reach to keep this fight in space. Misha is a very underrated striker with good tie ins in his own right. He ties his combos together very well and sometimes he will throw in a superman punch to back you up to set himself in position for a level change. All fights start standing and we know this, but If Misha tries to trade with Walker or even gets caught up in a clinch game with him, then this could go very similar to Walkers last few fights. However, being the shorter man he will have plenty of opportunities to get underneath him and test his will and his ability to stay on his feet. I think early on Walker is going to be able to muscle his way out of some situations but eventually if Misha breaks that space without walking onto something he should be able to get this into his world and then we will see if we are dealing with a 1 trick pony in Walker. If this goes into Misha’s world I am not certain Walker Survives. I am going Misha here. I am going to put my faith in his grappling that he tie 2 in a row together and humbles Walker a little bit in this rocket ship he has been riding.
The Pick: Cirkunov
Cody Stamann $8,600 vs. Alejandro Perez $7,600
This fight was really decided for me after watching the Lopez vs. Perez film. Lopez had great success with his takedown against Perez and if he had any sort of a gas tank probably would have been on his way to winning that fight. With that said in clear Mathew Lopez fashion, He gassed out as usual and Perez was able to capitalize. If you give Perez the opportunity to keep this in space he will chew you up and spit you out. The guy is on an absolute tear right now winning his last 6 with 1 draw against some pretty decent names. However, The path I saw for Stamann was the early success that Lopez had without the gassing out. Stamann is going to be able to keep that pressure on Perez and make this a grinding affair in which Perez does not like. Perez needs to be in space to really get his game flowing in the right direction and if you take that away from him, he can be had. Lopez did a very good job early but like I said above had nothing left midway through. With Stamann I don't think he has such luck. However, I can totally see this fight being 1 judge deciding it all here. Both men are going to surely have their moments, but my slight lean is Stamann.
The Pick: Stamann
Mickey Gall $9,100 vs. Diego Sanchez $7,100
This is one I am really looking forward to here. I know what you are saying… “Lab are you nuts” well let me explain before you go and slit my throat. Mickey Gall is a guy that to his credit, he surpassed the shadow of his fight against CM Punk. Even tho he is much more widely known for that fight then any other fight on his record, Gall has shown us that he at least belongs here. His game is obviously predicated on his grappling and it is quite obvious that he is quite savvy there. With that said I have seen him put into some tough spots against guys that were able to push a little bit of a pace on him on the feet. Even tho he beat Sage, I did see a few spots where he wasn’t liking what sage was dishing and that was the 1st time we saw things getting a little patchy for him. Then Randy Brown put him through a grinder and literally made him look like he belonged back on the regional circuit. He bounced back to win his last fight against an aging veteran but how much stock can we hold in that really. Now we have established where Gall is good and we also established where Gall seems to feel out of his comfort zone. If pressure and pace is something that disturbs and disrupts Gall, then Diego is an absolute Nightmare for him because he is all about pressure, pace, and violence. Also, for as good as Gall is on the ground I would argue that Diego is probably better. He without a doubt is the better wrestler and he had a Black Belt in BJJ under Jackson Wink before starting all over again as a white belt to reclaim his Black Belt status once again. In 40 fights Diego has never been Submitted. Knocked out? Ummmm, yeah, he has been KO’d and it seems as if his chin is just melting at this point, but Does Gall have the power or the chops to really KO Diego? He is working with Joe Schilling with his standup and that for sure will get his pistons going at the right pace, but there is a difference when you are in the gym and then facing off against a wild man that just charges forward. You can’t pivot, you can’t plant, you can’t set. You literally have to have the ability to spit fire off your back foot and connect. I am not sure Gall has that just yet nor do I think he is comfortable enough to step into his striking suit that comfortably to be loose doing it. I can be completely wrong here and he can come out guns blazing but I just think Diego is a very live dog here. I know he is a shell of himself but there is a mystique around him that will always surround him. I think he has more paths to win here to be quite honest. The only thing that really frightens me is his chin. The way he charges in is very nerve-racking and he will literally throw all defense to the wind and go into all offense mode if you start brawling with him. That is where I can see him getting clipped, but outside of that, he has better pace, more experience, better wrestling, better grappling, and better cardio. He holds a lot of aces here minus the dusted Chin. With that said with all of those aces, I am willing to take a crack on the dog here. Sanchez oddly enough strings 2 wins together in a row.
The Pick: Sanchez
Charles Byrd $8,000 vs. Edmen Shahbazyan $8,200
Flip a coin yall. Both of these fighters are really not very good, so when you have that in the cage at the same time, then you will have a lot of mistakes being made on both ends. Shahbazyan is a very willing striker and it shows on his record. With an 8-0 record, he finished 7 of his opponents by way of KO. A blessing and a curse with him is that he has only been outside of the 1st round 1 time in his career. That fight was against Darren Stewart in his very last go around which he won by way of Split Decision. One of my biggest qualms with Shahbazyan is that when he does crash in or plants in the pocket, he really keeps his chin sitting on a shelf and eventually someone is going to wake him up with it. As of right now in all 8 of his fights, he seems to be winning that war. He will need to be a little more calculated against Charles Byrd. Byrd is not very good either and he is very raw, but what he does have is much better athletic ability. I wouldn’t consider Byrd someone who is going to outwork Shabaz on the feet, but I can see during a wild exchange, him changing levels and taking it right to the floor and start using his grappling to control some clock time. Byrd comes in with a 10-5 record and half of his wins have come by way of submission, 3 by KO, and 2 by decision. In his 5 losses, he has been KO’d 1 time and submitted 2 times. Even tho Byrd hits hard when he engages, I would dare to say that he uses it more for a means to set up a level change. If he can pull this into the second round and use his athletic ability to NOT stay stationary, I think he has a very good chance to win this fight. If he stays stationary and gets baited into a conventional fist fight, then I can assure you that he will be on the canvas. He needs to really keep the river moving and he needs to really tie in his wrestling and grappling very early. If he can do that, then he is taking away the biggest weapon of Shahbaz. However, both of these guys are really not very good and I don’t trust either of them at all.
The Pick: Byrd
Gina Mazany $6,800 vs. Macy Chiasson $9,400
Ya know when I was watching film on these 2 girls I was really impressed with Chiasson. At first just by pure initial thought, I was thinking this would be a pretty good fight for a B level exchange, but as I watched film on both women I noticed a couple of details that made things so much more clear to me. Mazany is one of those fighters that is OK at a bunch of things but not very solid at one particular thing and she is not very good at a lot of things but she is not horrendous at 1 particular thing either if this makes sense. My point is, she really is just there and I am not even sure you need to set up a game plan to beat someone like Mazany because she there is really nothing that she does that is a super threat. She will take whatever you give her and just look to make the best out of the situation. Mazany will, in fact, look for the takedown and her game on winning and losing is really predicated on her success rate of that. Can she get you down and keep you there is really the biggest factor of her game. In this situation, she is fighting a much longer, stronger, and rangier fighter and Chiasson and that is what worries me here. Chiasson by no stretch of the imagination is a fighter that has her game all laid out and organized as of yet. She is only 3-0 and she has a ton of work to do in order to really round out her game. However, there is a silent violence behind her game that I like, and even tho she has no KOs in those 3 wins, the TUF Champion does like to lock up the clinch and deliver some nasty elbows in knees where she can really utilize her size to soften you up and maybe get you to the ground, as she did in the TUF Finale ending it by RNC before the horn. I think we are going to see much more of the same here. I think Mazany is going to be searching for her hips and Chiasson will keep locking horns with her backing her off with Knees, elbows and then strikes off the break. Eventually, something will soften Mazany up and this will go to the ground. Mazany is serviceable on the ground so I am not sure that this fight will be a fight that ends before the horn but I think Chiasson is going to be the one to do the most damage, control the clock more and at least have many more opportunities to try and get Mazany out of there early. I just see much more potential in Chiasson then I do Mazany. I think Mazany really is what she is at this point where Chiasson is still coming into her own.
The Pick: Chiasson
Polyana Viana $9,200 vs. Hannah Cifers $7,000
Cifers is a striker and that likes to do 2 things. She either wants to sit in the pocket and play the trading game with you or she wants to pressure you against the cage where she can tie up and make the fight a little dirtier than normal. One thing I have to say about Cifer is that she is not afraid to get dirty. She will engage in a messy fight and be happy to do so. With that said Viana is just more smooth and crafty and she in her own way will engage in these style fights as well, but in a more methodical way. Viana is much more flat-footed when she is on the hunt and the one thing that does bother me a little with her style is that she will hold her left hand out a little too far away from her face, slightly waving it back and forth almost preparing to use it as a swatter if you throw something down the middle. That is a something that is going to have to change if she climbs the ranks against very sharp, snappy and crisp strikers. Those punches will then get in. That technique really only changes the trajectory of the strikes and not so much defends against them. However, Cifers does not throw in that manner where it is super cause for concern here. Don’t get it twisted. Cifers does have 5 KOs in 8 wins so she has proven pop, but this is also on the regional circuit where much of this work was done. What I do like about Viana is how she takes chances. She will clinch up with you and look to jump your back standing, she will find ways to crawl up onto you and slither you to the ground and once she is there she does a very good job in transition to get the fight where she wants it. She does not really stall much from the ground when she gets you there. It almost seems like a game of hot potato in a sense. Once you hit the mat she starts working and it is usually with strikes to soften you up before she is looking for a neck and/or a limb. She will look to finish with ground and pound or submission, whatever presents itself more and with a 10-2 record her finishing rate shows that. She has 6 wins by sub and 4 by KO which is extremely well balanced but also shows that she ices her opponents once she finds her way to the streets. I just think she is too sharp and methodical for Cifers here. I would expect Cifers to be the more aggressive striker but if she makes one mistake and this goes ground then I would expect Viana to just take over from there. I don’t see this fight going 15 minutes and it not hitting the canvas. I have to take Viana here.
The Pick: Viana
- Jon Jones $9,600
It's the safest play on the card, I don’t see him losing the fight unless the stars perfectly align for Smith. If this fight goes to the decision it would actually be a loss for Jones and a win for Smith. I don’t see it happening and I see Jones getting this done before the horn. He is going to be Chalk but it's as close to a sure win in your lineups as they get.
- Anthony Smith $6,600
You play this guy and you are hoping for one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. I'm not wasting my lineups on that.
- Woodley $8,700
I can see many people jumping on USMAN here which will open up some under ownership on Woodley. I also think people will be off Woodley for the “Boring’ factor that is bestowed upon him. 8700 is cutting it close with him here but he will be under appreciated here and I will have him in a few lineups with the hopes that he can land that one monster punch that can turn anyone off.
- Usman $7,500
Very live dog here but I can see him being very well owned. However, the price is right and I can see why people are intrigued. I don’t have him winning this fight but I do think he has a very good inside chance to win and score well. I wouldn’t ignore him in this spot but be ready to be joined by a crew.
- Askren $9,000
This tag is soooooo hit or miss here. In order for Askren to hit value, he is going to have to secure takedowns and hit some very active transitions, which is not very easy against someone like Lawler. This is actually a very very bad stylistic matchup for Askren but if he can find the hips of Lawler early and keep the rinse and repeats coming for 3 rounds than the value can be there. I am torn about where the confidence level the masses will be here so the ownership is a little blurry to me. I am going to hope that the reads are a tad lower than expected and hope he can really get in on Lawler early and not get clipped. It's a hit or miss play, but a play that I am willing to secure in a few lineups when you have a wrestling pedigree like his.
- Lawler $7,200
Very good value here for him. HIstorically he does very well against wrestlers and has very good defensive wrestling. Knowing that Askren has very very poor standup, if Lawler can keep this standing, we can be looking at Askren looking up at the lights. He is a very live dog.
- Zhang $8,300 / Torres $7,900
Very intriguing fight for me. The problem here is that I am not seeing a finish, so both of their ceilings are capped a bit in a sense. However, I do see enough volume to possibly hit value if these girls decide to throw down. I won’t be avoiding this fight altogether and Torres is my heavier lean, but I am not banking a lot of stock in it at all.
- Munhoz $7,500
We really don’t know where Cody is right now and Munhoz is never out of any fight that he is in. He is always 1 neck find away from giving you a nap and his upside for a finish is always there. Given Cody’s fall from grace and Munhoz’ trajectory upward, he is not fadable.
- Garbrandt $8,500
If Cody is Cody then he wins this on a clear speed advantage. I am going to put more faith in him that he is going to be Cody and not a beaten soul after his last 2 dumps. He will need a good first round to get his confidence back and if he does then he could win this fight clearly. Munhoz has never been finished so that is something to consider as well. The 8500 price tag is a bit steep knowing that fact, but I can’t fade him totally.
- Zabit $8,900
Za-Beat-Goes-On and yes I will be rostering Zabit. This guy has the potential to be a superstar and although this is his toughest test to date, I will not shy away from my claims in the early going with him. Stephens is without a doubt his toughest test to date, but I think he passes the test.
- Stephens $7,300
I do not blame anyone who rosters him. He is NEVER out of any fight and has Hell bent power. However, I just won’t be rostering him against Zabit.
- Walker $8,400
The upside is there and if he gets the finish he has a very good chance to score huge. With that said, be very careful in your approach here. He is facing a legit grappler in Misha and if this goes to the ground you can see a very different Walker. I am warning you to tread lightly. The rest is up to you.
- Cirkunov $7,800
I think he is a very live dog here and if he can tuck his chin and get underneath Walker than he will give him fits on the ground. It is a dangerous play given the questions looming around Misha's chin but it is one that I am willing to take in some lineups.
- Stamann $8,600
His price tag is a little worrisome here but the wrestling and the pressure game that he implores with his takedowns will always make him appealing. However, Perez is a really tricky fighter and if he can keep this standing then Stamann can be involved in a very sticky situation. He has also been involved in some very close fights but I think the windows will be there for him to secure some takedowns and ultimately give him the lean on clock time. I’ll have him in spots.
- Perez $7,600
The one thing that swayed me away from him a little bit is his fight with Lopez. Lopez had great success early securing 3 takedowns, but in great Lopez fashion, he completely gassed out and Perez was able to capitalize. Stammann shouldn’t gas out here and should be able to keep a pretty good pace. However, if Perez can keep this in range things can get dicey for sure. He isn’t a horrible play but def not my favorite on the board.
- Gall $9,100
Very scared of this roster spot… Crazy right? Against Diego? The crazy thing is that there are opportunities for him to finish this fight and Diego is going to give him a few right out of the gate. However, Gall is a grappler and even tho he has been training with Schilling, I am not sure that Sanchez will give him the space to open up. I don’t see him submitting Diego or outworking him on the ground, so that price tag seems a bit steep for my liking. It is a spot that is completely boom or bust and I am not really willing to take too many chances here.
- Sanchez $7,100
I am going to have a few plugs on this old aging crazy man. He can be knocked over if the wind blows the wrong way but he has never been submitted in 40 fights and the guy is still a pressure cooker and a cardio machine. I am not sure Gall is going to be very comfortable with this pace. Sanchez can go to sleep in seconds, but the upside is there if he wins. I wouldn’t fade Diego here.
- Byrd $8,000 / Shahbazyan $8,200
A fight that I am not uber excited for at all, because both men are not very good at all. However, with the pricing the way it is, I would probably suggest you get this fight both ways and not fade it all together. I see possibly a finish at some point here by someone. Who? Well, flip a coin, to be honest. My personal lean is Byrd winning this fight, but I will have some of both to play it safe. It is not a must play but a fight that does have upside to finish inside the horn. However, you would not be smart not to play both sides of this if you do play it.
- Mazany $6,800 / Chiasson $9,400
Not a fight that I am uber excited for here. Chiasson is good and she is my pick to win for sure but 9400 is a little steep for me and as far as Mazany? No thanks. I'll take my chances on the fade here.
- Viana $9,200
I think she has very sneaky upside here. She is not the most active fighter on the feet but when it hits the ground she really hits another gear and I think she has a good chance to finish inside the horn. In GPP where people may avoid the women and the 1st fight, I would have a sprinkle to see how it shakes out.
- Cifers $7,000
Jones -840 (optional Parlayable)
Shits and Giggles Bet – Jones round 3 finish @+375 (.25 units to win .94 Units)
Over 1.5 -155 (1.55 Units to win 1 Unit)
Woodley -150 (1.5 units to win 1 Unit)
Askren -260 (2.6 Units to win 1 Unit)
Torres +135 (1 unit to win 1.35 Units)
Garbrandt -145 (1.45 Units to win 1 Unit)
Zabit -245 (2.45 Units to win 1 unit)
Cirkunov +130 (1 Units to win 1.30 Units)
Stamann -200 (2 units to win 1 Unit)
Sanchez +195 (.5 units to win .975 Units)
Byrd +120 (1 Units to win 1.2 Units)
Chiasson -500 (optional parlayable)
Viana -250 (2.5 units to win 1)
1 Unit to win 1.33 Units
1 Unit to win 2.23