MadLab’s UFC 250 Breakdown and Predictions!!! Here is what Twitter is saying…
UFC 250 CARD
Amanda Nunes DK $9400 / FD $23 vs. Felicia Spencer DK $6800 / FD $13
5 ROUND MAIN EVENT TITLE FIGHT
Felicia Spencer has flown quietly under the radar, and that is common these days if you really don’t have that traveling voice. Simply put, Felicia is a good fighter, but outside of the cage and even inside, she is quite vanilla. You know what you are getting with her on all angles of her presentation. In the cage, you are getting a very fundamental style with solid point skills on the feet, using her Black Belt in TaeKwonDo. She has a good grasp of creating distance and keeping it, which is very important these days. It is really turning to be an art form at this point in the game, wherein Boxing, it is basic fundamentals. So many people in MMA just don’t understand range. Creating it and maintaining it. Felicia understands that quite well. You will always see when she is trying to create that space. She is never back peddling to find it or side-stepping away. She will use front kicks and strikes to gain her respect and hold her ground. In doing so, she is also opening up a lighter defense to the 2nd level. If you are busy guarding upstairs for long and consistent periods of time, it will also start to open a window for a level change where she can get the work done there as well with her Black Belt in BJJ. Spencer holds an 8-1 record with 4 by way of submission and 2 by KO. Despite her only loss, she has never been finished. I might add, her only loss was to Cyborg in which she was one of the few who went full time with her, so the durability for this young lady is there. The one thing I do notice with her is there really isn’t any real pop or explosion behind her, and that is maybe what makes her feel so vanilla. At some points, it feels like she is just a little stuck in the mud, which is something that can absolutely be worked on with the proper speed and conditioning programs. With that said, you can’t say too much about the style because it’s working for her and that is quite apparent.
However, is there really a good style to beat Amanda Nunes? Nunes is, no questions asked, the greatest female Mixed Martial artist of our time and maybe of all time. She has it all. Power, speed, precision, volume, durability and an extremely underrated grappling game. Nunes is really one of the most complete fighters I have seen in a very long time. Another thing she possesses is full confidence in her skills. You need to remember something about Cyborg. At one time, Cyborg was feared by every woman in MMA. She seemed to be this force that just can’t be beaten, and for quite some time, it really seemed that way. Losing her very first fight in MMA back in 2005, Cyborg never looked back and dwelled, winning every single fight since. Until… Amanda. If you watch that fight, Amanda literally stood in the pocket with the boogeyman with her chin high and fully committing to her strikes. She threw caution to the wind and truly believed she would win the pocket exchanges, and she did just that, handing Cyborg her very first loss since 2005. Nunes is a very different type of fighter. She is special, and I don’t throw that term around loosely, but she has all the markings of what it takes to not only be the champion but to conduct herself outside of the cage like a champion. In short, it is very hard to really pick many people against her right now. I do understand she is getting older and the time is going to come when the new blood moves in closer, but I don’t see Spencer being the one and that is not a knock on Spencer, either. However, Spencer eats a lot of punches. For every 4 that she lands, she eats 6; against Nunes, that just can’t fly. Nunes is heavier and stronger now, and you can’t trade with Nunes under the volume bar and expect to come out on the exchange planting a victory flag. Won’t happen. I think Spencer will represent herself well; I think her heart and durability will make it seem a little more interesting than it actually is with a clear picture. She may make it a little dirty and even slow the fight down by using her weight, clinching, and just pinning Nunes against the cage a bit to really just even out the playing field. But in a 5 round fight, they are going to have to break. They will have to separate at some point, and when they do, I am expecting Nunes to start finding her range very quickly and start opening up on Spencer. Spencer is going to have to fight 25 minutes of the greatest fight she has ever fought, and Nunes is just going to have to be Nunes. It’s as simple as that for me.
The Pick: Amanda Nunes
Raphael Assuncao DK $7600 / FD $15 vs. Cody Garbrandt DK $8600 / FD $17
Very interesting fight here. Not one that I am jumping out of my seat for but an intriguing one for sure. When you talk about flying under the radar and being consistent, it really is hard not to mention Raphael Assuncao. Another fighter that was never flashy nor was he one to talk. However, he will never give you a reason to say “Damn Raphael wasn’t Raphael tonight.” With a 27-7 record, he has 10 wins by way of submission and 4 by way of KO. Seemingly, Raphael is the consummate finisher. He never truly was. He was all about patience, calm and execution as needed. The Black Belt in BJJ has only been submitted 2 times in his career and KO’d once. No matter how volatile a fight gets he understands how to bring it back down into his fight and that is a craft that many fighters just don’t have. Where Assuncao can be beaten is speed and power. Although he is extremely durable and one of the better defensive fighters in the UFC, you can’t really avoid speed in exchanges and if you aren’t a flame thrower of power there is nothing you can really do to change that in a majorly different way. Some people can throw with heat and speed, and some just aren’t built that way, and that is why Raphael has groomed his style to where it is today.
However, Cody Garbrahndt comes in with the 2 things that can actually be the X-Factor against Raphael. Both Speed and Power. With an 11-3 record, Cody has 9 by way of KO. The Team Alpha Male fighter has his finger on extremely crisp footwork and tying punches together very well. He will cut off the cage and create angles that he can score and get out. In the process, it really only takes one clean one to end your night. The issue with Cody is that he has a fall from grace recently. Losing all of his fights in the last 3 and losing them all by way of KO. Now keep in mind that 2 were at the hands of Dillashaw and the other one was by the hands of Munhoz, so that should not be overlooked. However, there is a pattern of why he is getting caught and why he is losing. Cody fights off emotions and you just can’t do that. His hatred towards TJ beat him, not TJ. He had TJ dead to rights in one of their fights and emotions just clearly got the best of him exposing his chin in the process. The same thing happened with Munhoz, even tho there was no real beef there, Munhoz took him into the pocket and Cody’s pride got the best of him there. So as you can see, you can bait Cody into any fight you want, and Raphael is known to do just that. It really is unclear where Cody is right now mentally and durability wise. His back is nailed in a corner right now, and this is a must-win if he wants any chance of gaining the trust back from the UFC brass that he is the same fighter that won the strap not too long ago. We have seen it many times before, guys like Barao and even Aldo. Great fighters that just took a hard quick turn after a devastating loss. The crazy thing about Cody is that all 3 fights he was doing well before he actually got caught, so we know it’s not his skill, power or speed. However, the only way you grow as a fighter is if you grow as a person, and keeping his emotions under control is going to play a major role here. He tends to want revenge too quickly. You hit him and he gets angry and needs to come back and hurt you. He then gets overzealous and leaves the window open. The positive thing is that Raphael is not a power puncher, but we don’t know how durable that chin really is right now but Speed kills and if Cody keeps a lid on it for 15 minutes the volume game and the strikes landed should be in his favor here. His UFC stay may depend on it.
The Pick: Cody Garbrandt
Aljamain Sterling DK $8200 / FD $17 vs. Cory Sandhagen DK $8000 / FD $15
This is a great fight, but there are things I see that can be complete game-changers here. This is a fight where you kind of throw away the records and throw away most of that stuff and get right to what they both do very well and what gives them the best opportunity or path to winning the fight. I have been really high on Sandhagen for quite some time. He has that TJ Dillashaw effect to him which I really like. He trains in elevation and he knows how to fight very long. Being a switch fighter he will create many different looks for you to try to solve all the while using extremely good range management. The kid is a clear talent and this is a major test for him against Aljo. Sandhagen looked very good against Raphael Assuncao and was really able to pick and choose his spots, which isn’t very common against him. With that said, outside of that fight, he is a little untested and hasn’t really fought a consistent row of killers just yet. Not his fault and this kid will get there but he does still have a few fights to go until you can see what’s what. You can’t see holes until they are swimming with the sharks. He will take on a seasoned fighter with a chip on his shoulder Sterling who seems to evolve at his own pace but evolve. Sterling comes from a very good camp and really understands how to utilize his length against most of his opponents. He isn’t one to really step on the gas. He is one to really pop. pop. pop. and get out or look for the level change where he is extremely well versed in grappling. However, in his next fight against Munhoz, He really seemed to step on the pedal a bit. It seemed he was much more confident in pushing the action all the way up to the bell even when he had a comfortable lead. You wonder if he has grown a chip on his shoulder in the hopes that a title shot is looming around the bend soon. The interesting thing here is that physically His reach won’t be a major factor here when it usually is. Holding a 1-inch reach advantage won’t make much of a difference because Sandhagen knows how to use every centimeter of his. When you look at them in a striking comparison, it is quite close. Sandhagen throws with more pop and meaning, where Aljo tends uses an array of attacks that can throw you off. Spinning elbows, punches, kicks, knees, up elbows, exc. Aljo really ties things together very well. So, they both have the things they do well. From a grappling aspect, I have to say Aljo is better. I think he has more ability to get creative and advance position quicker and more elusively. I can see Sandhagen putting it on him early and even making things look bleak for Aljo, but eventually, the conditioning, the wrestling and the grappling of Aljo can start to take over a bit. When you really look at Santhagens affairs he hasn’t been too hard to take down. John Lineker was able to ground him, and Lineker has 7 takedowns in 16 fights under the UFC umbrella. Raphael Assuncao was able to ground him 4 times which was Assuncaos most in one fight since 2010. So there is a path there for Aljo to get off his feet into a more comfortable world. I can’t do it for him, but this seems like the most logical approach. If he does this, then I am going to lean Aljo slightly here.
The Pick: Aljo
Neil Magny DK $8700 / FD $17 vs. Anthony Rocco Martin DK $7500 / FD $14
Tony Martin has really formed into a good fighter. Very solid on the ground, and his stand up has become better and better every fight. The Black Belt in BJJ holds a 17-5 record with 9 submissions and 1 KO. He seems much more comfortable at this weight and in his 5 loses he has only been Submitted 2 times and has never been KO’d. I wouldn’t say Rocco gasses, but I also wouldn’t say he has a gas tank that will keep a steady state. The interesting thing about Martin is he has 9 submissions but averages less than 1 takedown an affair, and many of those subs came a while back. In his last 10 fights, he has 2 submissions and 8 decisions. So it is clear that Rocco’s game has changed a bit. He will take on very hard to gauge but always tough Neil Magny. Magny comes to us with a very underrated 22-7 record with 7 wins by KO, 3 by way of submission and 12 by way of decision. In his 7 losses, Magny lost 4 by way of submission and 2 by way of KO. The tricky thing with Magny is he will go on these tears where he wins multiple fights in a row and then starts to stagger wins and losses and then jump back to a run. Coming off a KO loss to Santiago Ponz, he took a lot of time off, came back to fight “The Leach” and put on an absolute clinic. He looked in top form and his motor was borderline unchained. Magny is not one to look for the finish, but he is someone that is going to beat you with his motor, conditioning and pressure. Magny…Does…Not…Get…Tired, and unless you are prepared to finish him or match that conditioning, you can start to fall behind halfway through the fight where he can start to leave you in the dust like he did leach. The problem is you never know what Magny you will get. Sometimes, the guy looks like he can’t be beaten, and other times, he just looks so much different. Can this be a run happening again, or will this be the staggering Magny who looks so good one day and not so good the next? From a fighting perspective, these guys both have their paths, but I don’t think Rocco can win this fight if he doesn’t finish it. Magny has too much in the tank for Rocco to keep up with for 15 minutes. Rocco may not fade, but he won’t be able to sustain the pace of Magny if he doesn’t finish. So, he will need to put it on Magny early to see where he stands then, but if Magny is primed for a run, I don’t want to miss the train on it. So I am going with Magny here slightly.
The Pick: Neil Magny
Eddie Wineland DK $6900 / FD $10 vs. Sean O’Malley DK $9300 / FD $22
Old Lion vs. Young Lion… We have seen this story so many times, haven’t we? O’Malley is a very interesting character inside and outside the cage. Mostly outside, but the kid has a serious upward trajectory. The thing I look at in a fighter, outside of the obvious, is not what they know but how they utilize it and attack their attributes. O’Malley has a very odd calm about him. He is very very loose in there and that usually can never work against you unless you get sloppy. It allows you to slip and slide in and out of situations much more casually and fluently, burning far less energy and a much more dialed in demeanor. When you are calm in there, you are thinking much more rather than reacting first and wondering later. It allows you to really register what’s going on, read patterns, and try and dismantle the puzzle. He understands when to go on the offense and when to pull back the ropes and start floating in defense. With that said, he is still very raw and can make mistakes that can cost him against top-level fighters. With an 11-0 record, I think it is safe to say that eventually, he is going to take an “L” and Wineland is a very tough test for anyone.
Wineland is a very, very seasoned vet with a very press forward style. He will push the pace using head movement and a barrage of strikes with venom behind all of them. With that said he doesn’t fight with that same loose feel. He is looking to walk you down and finish you and he is not looking to technically pick you apart strategically. When you fight in that manner no matter how seasoned you are, you tend to leave windows open for the other fighter to score. There is no doubt that Wineland has the skill and the experience to beat the young rising star in O’Malley but there are a few factors that do concern me. Wineland comes to us with a record of 24-13 with 15 wins by way of KO and 4 by way of Submission. The 35-year-old looks to finish the fight and he has been this way his entire career. In his 13 loses he has been KO 3 times and Submitted 4 times. Wineland seems like he has been pacing his flights within the last few years. It seems he fights 1 time a year at the same time every year, Losing 2 of his last 3, he had a great showing against a tough striker with a very good kicking game. However, he has been speaking about retiring for quite some time so the pattern of him fighting once a year, the same time every year seems like he is getting his payday, fighting hard and if he wins, great, and if he loses he gets paid minus the bonus. However, when you do end up winning you do tend to get a fire lit under you. Even if it is false hope you tend to want to see how far you can take it. One thing I know about Wineland is his style is pressuring enough where he does look to catch kicks, throw some heat and then either drop you or back out and reset. Someone like O’Malley loves throwing a range of high kicks and I am expecting Wineland to catch some of them. What he does with them I am not sure. I am expecting the crafty vet to come out hot and maybe even have a competitive first round. Putting O’Malley on his heels and making him measure and adjust. However, as the fight goes on, I can see O’Malley just start loosening up and putting it all together as Wineland continues to move forward looking for that KO punch. Wineland isn’t going to stop moving forward and he will open up his stance which will allow O’Malley to start throwing leg kicks if he isn’t mindful. He can make it interesting if he doesn’t leave his chin on a shelf but this is a fight the UFC really wants this rising star to have a bigger name on his resume and Wineland is a very well respected fighter in the game. Never sleep on the old vets like Wineland, but also never sleep on the UFC matchmakers’ ability to end the storybook the way they feel it should end. They are matchmakers for a reason. It’s up to Wineland to prove them otherwise, but it’s hard not to pick O’Malley here.
The Pick: O’Malley
Alex Caceres DK $7700 / FD $14 vs. Chase Hooper DK $8500 / FD $16
Chase Hooper really frustrates me. I see so many holes in this kid’s game, but then he takes something that doesn’t make sense, looks so fundamentally wrong, or just looks like he is hurt beyond repair and he makes it have so much meaning. That is the best way I can describe chase hooper. I have been following him for a while due to the buzz on the regional circuit about this young kid coming up in the ranks and I put a bead on him early. I honestly did like him, but you can’t really tell at that age because you need to see them fill out and grow as a fighter and in frame. But there was something about him that just seemed off. Like he was missing a bearing that made everything just wiggle and loose if that makes sense. However, still to this day that bearing is missing and he is still wobbly and loose but it WORKS for him. I have seen this kid hurt against Teymur and he comes back to win. In the contender series, he was rocked and he came back to win. The kid looks like he is dead to rights and he figures a way to either pull guard or just in a sloppy way, fall into you forcing you to hit the ground with him. He hasn’t fought a real high-level striker just yet and I am wondering if he will have that same constitution when he is hit by someone with a lot of maturity and pop in their shot. Caceres is not a power puncher and he is not what I would call a great fighter either, but he is tricky and he is dynamic. Caceres brings size experience and a striking style that is tough to solve especially if you have not seen it before. This will be a very big test for Chase and a good one to pass. It seems Caceres has one big Achilles’ heel, and it is his Submission defense, which is something that Chase salivates for. Caceres has 5 losses by way of Rear Naked Choke, so it’s safe to say that if chase takes his back it can be 6. I am expecting Caceres to look good at the onset. Most likely frustrating Chase with his movement and he may even sting him a few times. However, it’s going to happen again where Chase finds a way to tie up and pull guard. When that happens it will be up to Caceres to really find his way back to his feet. I see Caceres having problems once hooper gets comfortable on the ground.
The Pick: Hooper
Ian Heinisch DK $8400 / FD $17 vs. Gerald Meerschaert DK $7800 / FD $15
This is the 3rd time I’m doing this for this fight. One minute, it’s on. One minute, it’s off. Then it’s back on. Well as of now it’s back on. Meerschaert is one of those fighters that can lose at any given time but he can also beat top-level comp at any given time as well. Good striking but where he gets nasty is when you test him on the ground. However, the Achilles’ heel with Meerschaert is constant pressure and keeping him in a forced place. Don’t allow him to get his hips loose and stay heavy if you get top control. He has clever striking but really uses it as a means to other avenues. It’s all about not letting him breathe and pinning cementing his hips. Heinisch is the perfect guy for that job. Push forward, pressure fighter with solid wrestling and an in your face type style. Heinisch has seen some crazy times in his life, including a stint at Rikers Island exc. There isn’t much that can back this guy up. He developed a leather about himself, which fabricated his DNA to fight to survive, and that’s what he does every outgoing. I expect Heinisch to make his mistakes and even get stung a few times. However, his pressure will eventually start to wear on Meerschaert, and the constant moving forward will put him on his heels, taking away range and the ability to set. This is a really tough matchup for both men, but one Heinisch should win if he follows the heavy top game and pressure blueprint.
The Pick: Heinisch
Cody Stamann DK $9100 / FD $20 vs. Brian Kelleher DK $7100 / FD $12
There is something about Kelleher that I just really never liked. The guy doesn’t know what he wants to do. One day he wants to be a fighter, the next day he wants to be a podcast celebrity. Pick a lane and stay in it. With that said, the kid has got skills and is game to fight whenever the call is made to him. He is on a 2 fight winning streak, but against Hunter Azure, we really can’t get it twisted here. He was losing in a big way. The Final fight metric was that he got outstruck 69-28 before Kelleher landed a shot that put him out. He did his job and that is all that matters at the end of the day, but he didn’t outwork him and he didn’t look like the better fighter in there. He caught him. Simple as that. So the record looks good, yes, but that fight was a product of right place, right time. I do have to say that the kid goes in for the kill. With 21 wins he has 8 by KO and 9 by way of Submission. In his losses, he has lost by submission a concerning 6 times but only KO’d 1 time. You can’t take anything away from “Boom.” He has, in fact, lived up to his name, but what will he do when he is fighting a high-pressure wrestler like Cody Stamann, who will look to soak in his hips every chance he gets? The issue I do have with Stamann is that he really is one of those fighters who fight up or down to his competition, and this has led to a lot of decisions and split decisions. You don’t want to play that card in this game with these judges as of late. We have seen it far too many times. He also lost his brother to an unknown cause so you wonder where his head is. The details aren’t clear what has happened to his brother but apparently it was very unexpected. That could be a little bit of a driving force for him but it also could cloud his decision making a bit as well. Taking Boom to the floor isn’t going to be easy, considering he is hovering around 85% TD defense, but Stamann can seem committed sometimes to a point that he won’t take no for an answer. If Stamann fails to get this to the ground or doesn’t try to, then this fight can get really sticky for him. However, this fight is really premised on Stamann’s ability to get this there and advance position with solid Top Control while securing a few rounds in the process.
The Pick: Stamann
Charles Byrd DK $8800 / FD $19 vs. Maki Pitolo DK $7400 / FD $13
Pitolo is better known as “Coconut Bombs.” While he hits hard, I wouldn’t say that he throws ungodly type bombs. You may not know Pitolo but he’s been around the scene and he is a decent striker with some good pop in his hands. With a 12-5 record, he has by way of KO and 3 by way of submission. He has a very good understanding of range management, he uses that 75-inch reach well, and he’s not afraid to engage inside his striking zone with a culmination of knees and dirty boxing. Pitolo has 5 loses 2 have been by way of submission and 2 by way of KO. The one thing that bothers me a bit is the way in his last fight Potter was able to take him down and grind out a decision victory. That is something that needs to be addressed if he plans on beating the slick grappling abilities of Byrd. Byrd comes in with a 2-inch reach disadvantage but a sizable advantage on the ground if he can get it there. With a 10-6 record, he is on a 2 fight losing streak against very formidable competition in Stewart and Shahbazyan. Before that, he won his last 3 fights by way of submission. Given his shirts to really wanting to play on the ground even tho he can do both he most likely should not entertain playing on the feet with Pitolo. Byrd is averaging almost 3 takedowns per affair in his UFC stay and Pitolo is hovering around 25% TD defense. Don’t get that twisted. That is a small sample size but proof that he can be had if you take his hips. Byrd may try standing with Pitolo early, but eventually, he is going to see where his clear path to victory is and start changing levels. Not a fight I trust any of these guys in but I am leaning on the athletic ability and grappling of Byrd to expose those weaknesses here, But this is a fight that I am not sold on Byrd fully.
The Pick: Byrd
Jussier Formiga DK $7900 / FD $14 vs. Alex Perez DK $8300 / FD $18
Anyone who watches MMA knows that Formiga is one of the Back Take Kings. Eight out of his 10 submissions are by way of rear Naked Choke. He can take your back before you complete an eye blink. The Black Belt in Judo and BJJ understands that his best option is playing on the ground. So much so that he has never had 1 KO. Formiga has been finished 3 times which was by way of KO. He has never been submitted. The issue I have with him is really just his age at this point. He has been through some battles and at 35 you are really not reinventing yourself. He is on a 2 fight Losing streak and his style is very matchup dependent at this point because we all know what his game plan is and always will be. He takes on Perez, who is quietly making a name for himself in this division with his solid game, winning 10 of his last 11 with his only loss to JOE-B. I think it’s fair to say that Perez has not really faced the same opposition as Formiga’s presence, and outside of Joe-B, Perez has never faced anyone as good as Formiga. So, this is a very interesting test for the younger fighter. His record is 23-5 with 4 by KO, 7 by submission and 12 by way of decision. In his 5 losses, he has 1 by KO, 3 by Submission and 1 decision. A few concerning things for me here. Perez is very magnetic to taking his fights to the ground, and even tho he is a very good wrestler, it takes one mistake for him to get his back taken by Formiga. On paper, it’s a really dangerous fight for Perez but one I feel that his fresher legs and production should be able to come through and win here if he can survive a few very scary situations that I am expecting him to be in.
The Pick: Perez
Alonzo Menifield DK $9000 / FD $21 vs. Devin Clark DK $7200 / FD $11
What an odd fight to really break down. There isn’t much to break down. It’s quite simple. Do you have faith in Menifield if he doesn’t end this in the first round or if he gets put on his back by Devin Clark in which he will absolutely try to do? As far as Clark, do you trust his chin enough to still be there if he gets clipped by Menifield? Clark is a very high motor wrestler that is small for the division but has some of the biggest wheels in the sport that really just generates great explosion and power. However, the two times I have seen him sparked out, he was folded and sparked out by punches that really didn’t seem ultra-effective. He also has some really good power, and he has shown the ability to go the full time, which can be huge here if he survives Menifield’s promise of early “destruction.” Menifield, on the other hand, has never been out of the 2nd round but is undefeated, finishing 8 of his 9 opponents by KO and 1 by submission. There is no doubt the guy is a specimen but there are a few things that aren’t tested. His ground game, his ability to really take a shot, his ability to pop up when he’s ground, and most of all, his gas tank. It requires a lot of extra oxygen to oxygenate those muscles of his. I always wondered about that Daniel Jolly fight if Jolly never pussed out and said he couldn’t see after the 1st round. He had success getting the big man down, and the only reason why it has stood up was for action. Clark is a far better wrestler than jolly and has much more cage experience but once again the question is. Can Clark get inside before getting caught? I’m going to lean on no.
The Pick: Menifield
Evan Dunham DK $7300 / FD $14 vs. Herbert Burns DK $8900 / FD $18
I mean, this boils down to last week’s Chook pick of Shevchenko. Herbert is NOT his brother. Gilbert is Gilbert, and Herbert is Herbert. Doesn’t mean he isn’t good, but he is not his brother. With that said, what has he done to give so many people confidence here? Burns does have a slick BJJ game, good wrestling, and is powerful. With a 10-2 record – 7 Submissions and 1 by KO – he is starting to peak his way out of the shadows. The one KO was in his last fight where he landed a perfectly timed knee. However, that was the 1st KO of his career. In his 2 losses, he has never been finished. Watching his tape, it is clear the BJJ player wants to test your grappling on the ground. Well, he is going to get his chance against a 1st degree BJJ Black Belt in Evan Dunham. With an 18-8 record, he has 6 subs and 3 KOs. In his 8 losses, he has been KO’d 4 times and only submitted once by Cerrone in 2013. Dunham is scary because he is 38 years of age and he is softening a bit. He is very very shopworn at this point. Burns is the younger and fresher fighter but he is very raw and really can’t throw anything at Dunham that he hasn’t seen before. I can tell you that Burns can KO him before he submits him in my opinion. His liver is weak and his chin is ashing. If you notice the pattern in Dunham’s career, he is literally fighting once a year, the same time every year. It’s like he is picking up his salary and saying, “See ya next year.” The matchmakers have ZERO reason or benefit for him to win this fight. He isn’t going anywhere if he does. However, Burns has a future and I am not sure the UFC wants to really tarnish that unless it’s against someone who still has major legs or is upcoming. At least at that point, there is some sort of interchangeability. Dunham voiced numerous times he is looking to retire and wants to retire. He actually did retire. Once you lose that drive and your body doesn’t react like it once did, a fighter knows that. He knows that he is a shell of what he was, but he holds onto a little lightning in a bottle that may appear now and again. It’s possible, and he has the chops to do it, but I don’t think it’s against Burns.
The Pick: Burns
UFC 250 DFS
Amanda Nunes – DK $9400 / FD $23
She’s the Goat. 5 rounds to work with? This isn’t going to be as easy as the Cyborg fight was, but when the smoke clears… And Still…
Felicia Spencer – DK $6800 / FD $13
There is no doubt that she is tough. A black belt in BJJ and she will be slightly bigger than Nunes, but her beating Nunes would be an upset of epic proportions. I think she has a respectable showing, I really do, but she isn’t ready for Nunes yet.
Raphael Assuncao – DK $7600 / FD $15
There isn’t huge value in this fight. Assuncao understands how to slow down a fight, and that could take away from his scoring. However, we don’t know where Garbrandt’s chin is right now, and that could be a call to take a peek here. However, even when he wins, his value hovers around his price so he isn’t going to blow your socks off unless he gets a finish. Don’t really
Garbrandt – DK $8600 / FD $17
Finishing Assuncao is not easy, but Garbrandt does have the power to do it if someone is going to do it. However, it is not going to be easy. He had an amazing showing against Cruz and scored just shy of 90 points on a decision. So, unless he puts on a clinic like that against Assuncao, he may not cover this on a decision win. You would be rostering him clearly on his ability and the hopes that he finishes the fight here.
Aljo Sterling – DK $8200 / FD $17
Sandhagen – DK $8000 / FD $15
You need to play this both ways if you do. This is a fight you don’t bet and you don’t go near Vegas wise. So, that’s how I feel about this in DFS. These guys should be fighting for the vacant strap, and this is like throwing a piece of gum to the wall to see if it sticks. You bet this fight, then you are literally just guessing. My lean is Aljo, but there is no way I am not backing myself up here.
Magny – DK $8700 / FD $17
I like Magny to win this fight, but Martin is extremely durable and has been fighting very well in this division. Magny does own a hard pace, but he isn’t going to be able to duplicate his last performance against Martin. $8700 is a big price tag for a fight expected to go the distance if he wins.
Rocco Martin – DK $7500 / FD $14
He is a live dog here, and any live dog you need to peek at, for sure. I have been a supporter of his even before he moved divisions. I think the kid is good. Slick on the ground and just has an overall toughness about him that keeps him live. He has upside if he can beat a streaking Magny with a very good price point.
Wineland – DK $6900 / FD $10
Wineland is going to bring it in round 1 like he always does, but he is being set up to fail here. Doesn’t mean he can’t spit in the matchmakers’ faces here, but they do not want O’Malley to lose here. From a DFS perspective, I am not fading him outright here. I will have a punt here just to see if he can do something in that first round. I am not expecting him to win, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he makes things interesting for a little while. However, this is O’Malley’s fight to win.
O’Malley – DK $9300 / FD $22
The kid is a talent, and he is being put in a spot that will possibly give him a bonus. This may be his biggest test tho, and I am curious to see if he eats a shot from Wineland and how he reacts. I think there may be spots here where he is a little tentative against the savvy vet, but eventually, when he settles into the fight, he has big upside to finish this inside the horn. You need to have some of him in this spot.
Caceres – DK $7700 / FD $14
I’m not fading Caceres here. Chase has very odd striking, and he can be hit. He always gets stung, and Caceres is the guy to be able to do that. If Caceres can stay on the feet, he should be able to Peace Chase up. With that said, it’s his submission defense that scares me here. However he keeps this standing, he has a clear path. Don’t fade him.
Hooper – DK $8500 / FD $16
Fight scares me for him for some reason, and I am not crazy about his price here, but there is an upside for a submission here and that was attracting me to roster him in some spots. Caceres does give up the RNC once you take his back, and Hooper will have an opportunity to do so.
Heinisch – DK $8400 / FD $17
The dude is just tough. If you knew the guy’s background, he is literally all heart and will. Good wrestler, durable, and is willing to walk through fire to get you. However, I see this fight being realllllly close. Because as tough as he is, Meerschaert is the better technical fighter. Not a huge scorer, and he should be treated as such. More of a cash game play, and one to hedge, at that.
Gerald Meerschaert – DK $7800 / FD $15
Meerschaert will have fits in this fight, but he is talented and he does have some paths here. Anytime you have a guy sub $8k that you feel is going to be a good fight.
Stamann – DK $9100 / FD $20
Tough riddle to solve, but his wrestling will always give him upside. The issue is, he really isn’t a finisher, and with other $9k plays on the board who are, I’m fading him here.
Kelleher – DK $7100 / FD $12
I picked him to lose here, but he is a live dog. At $7100, it would be foolish to fade him. He does have finishing ability. Even tho I’m not sold he wins, he does have paths and his price is right.
Byrd – DK $8800 / FD $19
I can’t trust this guy. He just isn’t that good. He is athletic, and he has good grappling, but there is no way I am spending $8800 on him in DraftKings. No thanks. I’ll take my chances. Fade.
Pitolo – DK $7400 / FD $13
He is a live dog. Good striker if he can keep it standing and drag this into the later minutes. I am picking the other way, but there is value here where Byrd’s price is too risky. I don’t hate a plug here.
Formiga – DK $7900 / FD $14
Sub $8k and being one of the best back take games in UFC is worth a small piece. But he will be very reliant on if he can sink that submission in or not, and it’s more likely that it doesn’t happen with a guy like Perez, but there is a path that you can’t just ignore at sub $8k.
Perez – DK $8300 / FD $18
There is value here at $8300, but not much unless he finishes Formiga, which isn’t easy. He can’t just go into attack mode against such a high-pedigree grappler so he will need to be a little more strategic in his approach, and that will take away from some of his value. In a decision, he may scrape his value, but don’t expect a huge volume night if it makes it to the cards. Stabilizing play but not a barn burner.
Menifield – DK $9000 / FD $21
The dude is raw. Untested, and Clark is without a doubt his best matchup yet. However, the guy has legit KO power and Clark is a natural middleweight. So Menifield has major upside for a finish here, but if it starts to get into the later rounds, things can get ugly.
Clark – DK $7200 / FD $11
There is value here, and I would not suggest fading here. Clark does have a path even tho I think there is a good chance he gets merked and I don’t see him winning. However, if he can somehow really get his wrestling going early and not make a stupid decision getting caught, he can win this fight, or make it very interesting if he can paste to Menifield and not let him open up. The magic phrase here tho is “not let him open up.” Super risky play, but he’s worth a look.
Dunham – DK $7300 / FD $14
Remember, he is older and he is softening with his durability, but he is super seasoned and he is a 1st-degree black belt in BJJ, which can play well with Herbert. Burns has 1 KO in his career, and even tho Dunham can be KOd, it’s not Burns’ go-to game plan. There is a small window, and if there is any window that I see, I will take a peek. I am just not sold Dunham can keep up with him for 3 rounds.
Burns – DK $8900 / FD $18
I see a lot of people on Dunham here, and I think it is because of the BJJ neutralizer between the 2. However, Burns has very good pop and he is able to shut you off in more ways than just 1. He is in for a tough scrap here against a very experienced fighter, but if he can finish him with a liver shot, you may be sitting on a lower owned and under-appreciated play here. Risky but worth it in spots.
UFC 250 VEGAS
Picks (All to win 1 unit)
Tough fight for Perez, but Formiga seems to be slowing up a bit and the pressure and volume of perez should be visible to the judges. He has to watch his back tho.
Menefield by KO/TKO -140
I dont see him winning a decision. If it goes to the cards it means Clark succeeded with wrestling. However, At -140 it cusions the -200 a bit consodering I would think this is his only path. If he can catch clark coming in, he should shut the lights off.
Herbert Burns -200
The line is high… Maybe a smidge too high for my liking but Dunham has retired and has taken this fight on 2 days noticed after not taking a fight for the last 2.5 years. At 38 years of age and being finished to the body the last 2 times out. It is really hard to back him here.
If this hits the ground its going to be tough sledding for Magny, but he has a very hard pace that is really tough to keep up with when he is on.
BUYER BEWARE… LONG SHOT OPTIONAL….Below
ON DK… This is one long shot play that seems very possible.
NUNES 3-4 +425
Nunes can absolutely finish Spencer early here but there is not much value and NUNES ITD at -180 doesnt really make me feel excited. However, Spencer is tough and can really take a beating. If she can at least last a few rounds then this may be a play to look at.
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