MadLab’s UFC Fight Island 3 Breakdown and Predictions!!! Here is what Twitter is saying.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT CARD
Robert Whittaker DK $8300 / FD $30 vs. Darren Till DK $7900 / FD $27
Till was one of those guys who was on my radar very early. Genetically, the kid has a perfect striker’s frame. Wide back, broad shoulders and generates very good raw power from the hips. Understanding the mechanics and how to tie it all together is obviously important, but he knows how to do it, which makes him extremely dangerous when he starts to lay a bead on you. However, he has underperformed in some spots where I thought he would excel a bit more. However, out of his 2 previous losses, I can honestly say that one of them he is much more accountable for and that is his loss to Woodley. At this point in time, getting submitted by Woodley is flattering in a sense but also not a very good look either. In one stroke, it showed that Woodley really didn’t want to stand with him, and in another aspect, it shows that Woodley was able to take advantage of him on the ground like that. In his other loss against Masvidal, he was doing quite well and he ended up getting caught. He actually dropped Masvidal in the 1st round, but in the 2nd round, he left his chin on the shelf and Masvidal saw it just sitting there. I wouldn’t consider Till a volume striker at all. It’s no big secret where his strengths lie. He will hawk you, bounce forward, land a few jabs, a few solid leg kicks, and just look to really load off that left hand. I know it… You Know it… The opponent knows it. With that said, stopping it from finding its home and then withstanding it is 2 different riddles all together. With a record of 18-2, he has 10 wins by way of KO and his 2 losses he has been KOd 1 time and submitted the other by the 2 men above. He will look to start tying things together against the always dangerous Robert Whittaker.
There is something to be said about his past 3 fights. Whittaker fought Yoel Romero for the Interim belt when they first crossed paths, and he would end up winning the belt in an absolute war. He then came back and retained it in a split decision that was another hard-fought war. Between sickness and injuries, I think it’s safe to say that getting Whittaker to the cage unscathed and healthy isn’t exactly something you can ever guarantee. But if he does come through, the guy is a tough customer to beat on all levels. In his last fight with Izzy, who isn’t really known to be a power puncher, he was able to sit him down at the end of the first and once again in the 2nd for good. That is a bit of a concern for me here, especially knowing that Izzy really didn’t break him down with a tone of volume. It was really 40 significant strikes and the ones that really connected cleanly, which put him out. So you have to wonder if the wars, the illnesses, the injuries and everything else in the recent past is really starting to wear on the body of Whittaker. You also have to think about the power differential with Till to Whittaker. It’s something that can’t be overlooked given what happened against Izzy. I know Izzy has underrated power but Till has very visible power. Another issue I have with Whittaker is that he tends to really lunge in when he strikes and that was the death of him against Izzy. The power is much crisper when you aren’t moving with the punch but are moving towards it. Whittaker has had a healthy layoff. One that he feels, and I actually feel he really needed to give his body, mind and chin a bit of a break. Let’s face it, his body was breaking down. It was telling him to slow down and slow down he did. With that said, as beneficial as it was for him, will his timing be there? Also, will there be cage rust? How long will it take for him to kick the rust off? There are many variables involved for both men here, but Whittaker has more to deal with. He has more to prove to me as well. You need to be sharp against someone like Till and if you aren’t then he is going to find a home for that left hand. He walks in very composed and sells you a false sense of security and if he fails, he backs off and resets. You know what he is going to do, but he hides the timing and presentation of it so well. Very tough fight to call. Especially given Tills questionable cardio and Chin as well. I just think that he is the sharper striker here and will be able to really capitalize on Whittaker when he comes in. Counter, then move forward, making it difficult for Whittaker to Blitz like he likes to do. Even tho he only has a 1-inch reach advantage, he fights much much longer than Whittaker. Till keeps him at the end of his punches until he finds a home for that cannon of a left hand.
The Pick: Till
Mauricio Rua DK $9000 / FD $26 vs. Rogerio Nogueira (Lil Nog) DK $7200 / FD $21
You want to talk about an OG fight series, well here you go. Rua, The 2005 MiddleWeight Grand Prix winner in PrideFC and the former Light heavyweight Champion has carved out a spot for himself as one of the elites of the game. With a record of 26-11, Rua has 21 by way of KO and despite the black belt in BJJ, Rua has only 1 by Sub. In his 11 losses, he has been KO’d 5 times and has been submitted 3 times. It is obvious that despite being under 40 his greatest years are far behind him. A guy, who beat guys like Randleman, Arona, a primed Overeem, Quinton Jackson and more, should not lose to guys like Anthony Smith or a draw with Paul Craig. That’s not a knock on them either, it’s just factual talk. With that said he has shown some spots where he still seems to have some more to give us. His record has always been lightly spotted with red, but you can see the thicker spots now with it against lesser competition and that is just age and the slowing of the muscle fibers. However, if there is one fighter who he seemed to have their number early and late in the career, it was Nog. This is technically the 3rd time they are fighting and Rua has gotten the better of both affairs. Makes me wonder why they are doing it 3 times when there is no rubber match involved here. It had to be a request from Nog to get one back. His first loss was in 2005 against Rua and then they squared off again in 2015 which earned fight of the night on that card. Now let’s not get this twisted. This is Lil Nog, Not Big Nog. With a record of 23-9, he has 8 by KO and 6 by way of submission. In his losses, he has been KO’d 5 times and has never been submitted. The 44-year-old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Ace has lost 4 of his last 6 and it is clear where his career is heading very soon, but this is one he is going to really try to get back before he leaves the sport forever. I just find it a very hard sell for me at this point when he has been KO’d 3 of his last 4 losses. There is no doubt that if he gets this to the ground, he will be in his world but Rua just seems like he is a fresher fighter and has a little more to give at the current state. I just see Nog as frail at this point. It is very hard to pick him here, so I will take Rua.
The Pick: Rua
Alexander Gustafsson DK $9300 / FD $28 vs. Fabricio Werdum DK $6900 / FD $20
After how Werdum looked like in his last fight, I am shocked he is coming back to fight here. It actually upsets me a bit, because this guy was without a doubt one of my main guys to watch for years. A legend of the sport. The first man ever to submit Fedor and hand him technically his 1st real loss in MMA, considering his 1st loss was very very early in his career. However, that was then and this is now. Werdum has had a very up and down career in the last few years and it hasn’t been easy. He has really tried to anti-age a bit, but unfortunately for him, he has a tendency of not hiding it very well. The 2nd degree Black Belt in BJJ under Raphael Cordero is and always will always be an Icon in the BJJ and MMA world, but dropping 4 of his last 7 fights, including his last 2, really doesn’t serve his cause. He will take on Alexander Gustoffson who is best known for losing a very very controversial decision to Bones Jones in which many people thought Gus won, including me. After that fight, it seemed like his career really just was an upside-down roller coaster and wouldn’t show any stability in either direction. He would go 3-4 in his next 7, including another loss which was much more lopsided this time around against Bones. Usually, when fighters start really showing tread on the tires, they tend to start making moves. They don’t feel comfortable anymore. So they will tend to move up or down in weight, looking for a home. Rashaad Evans is a perfect example of that. Gus will now be moving to heavyweight to fight Werdum here. He is a big light-heavy so I personally think that he will carry the weight well and probably look a little sharper than most that move around divisions. He will hold a few advantages here that can really play an interesting part here. He is almost 10 years younger, even tho he has been in some wars, he is still the fresher fighter. He is going to be a sharper fighter, much more snap and pop, and I think he is just going to really be able to keep it where he wants it for the most part here. With a record of 18-6, Gus has 11 KOs and in his 6 losses, he has 2 by KO and 2 by sub. Something to think about is his last fight in which he was submitted by Anthony Smith which raised a bit of an eyebrow to me. Considering he hasn’t been submitted since 2010 before that. So when you are fighting someone like Werdum coming off a submission loss then it’s something to think about. However, he does hold an 85% takedown defense and I just think he will be much more elusive in there. Give me the younger Gus as much as it pains me to say that. Ughhhh… Pains me to say that…
The Pick: Gus 😟
Marina Rodriguez DK $8600 / FD $24 vs. Carla Esparza DK $7600 / FD $22
In a fight like this, you really have to look at how they match up against a similar fighter that they may have faced before. Especially when the landscape of Rod’s career in the UFC has been good but questionable in spots. So I was able to really match Esparza up with Randa Markos. In a sense, they are both very similar. Both aren’t very fluid on the feet. A little quirky in their movements but they both love the grind. They like to wrestle their way to victory if the opportunity presents itself. So I figured a very good measuring stick would be to really study that fight. Markos was able to really dominate round one, with a very dangerous high-risk head and arm throw that she was being threatened to get backdoored and have her back taken. However, she was able to secure the mount and really just control things until the round ended. In round 2 it was Rod who came back with some very good striking and was able to really keep it within her wheelhouse a little more. Round 3 was a tug of war on both ends and even tho I had Marcos winning slightly, it ended up being a majority draw. After that, I dove in a little deeper and watched some of her other fights in which ladies were able to take her down, but in some situations, she was able to really stay active and even secure triangle chokes and such in certain situations. No matter what, it is obvious that grappling is not her wheelhouse and she is very much better off on her feet. She is long, rangy, has a very tall and strong clinch game, and is big for the division. If she is able to stay on her feet, her track record shows that she is throwing up north of 75-80 strikes per affair but if you can ground her, she does have a problem popping back up so her punch count is cut in half. As good as a wrestler Markos is, Esparza is better. AS much as Markos knows that her bread and butter is her scrappy wrestling, Esparza leans on it more. The issue with Esparza sometimes is that she really can get caught up in your game if you bait her into a false sense of security, but the minute she gets tagged or feels like she is losing traction, she will take her shot. Averaging over 3 takedowns per affair I am expecting her to go to that well as much as possible. She is looking to continue her 3 fight win streak making it 4 and if she can get this to the ground I believe she will do just that. The issue is finding the entries to do so carefully without getting caught. Rod is going to be stronger in close and in the clinch, so her entries must be timed perfectly and she needs to really be aware of shooting her shots with the understanding that Rod is going to look to time something right up the middle if she shoots in space. So shooting off the center line would probably be her best option here. I think she has the chops to dig deep and get this one done. She just needs to really dial in and go ground quickly. Give me the dog.
The Pick: Esparza
Gadzhimurad Antigulov DK $8200 / FD $25 vs. Paul Craig DK $8000 / FD $23
When you talk about flipping a coin, this is honestly a great example. Both of these guys are so similar in the way they like to win and the way they tend to lose. Antigulov is a bigger light heavy and needs to cut weight hard in spots to hit the mark. With a 2-2 record in the UFC, Antigulov has been KO’d in his last 2 fights. It was a bit disturbing both ways he was KO’d. In one fight he was dropped by a punch that should have never dropped him and even tho he recovered, in the 2nd round he was dropped again by a very short right that would finish him off. Then against Cutelaba, he was pinned against the cage and it just seemed as if he was gassed and just crumbled by a barrage of knees and elbows. With that said, it is clear that his cardio and his chin has not looked very good at all. If it’s attributed to the weight cut then that is something that can be worked on with the proper functionality in his program and timing of his cuts. However, if it is just a genetic cardio ceiling and a durability issue then his career is probably going to end shortly. A master of sport in freestyle wrestling, There is no secret that Antigulov wants to take this thing to the ground, but against someone like Paul Craig, that isn’t the safest place to take it. The brown belt in BJJ has had some durability issues of his own being Knocked Out 3 times in his 4 losses. However, there is something about his grappling that seems to really click in the cage. In 12 wins, Craig has 11 by way of submission including an almost unbelievable win against Ankalaev, where he was getting beaten from pillar to post the entire fight and with literally seconds left on the clock, he was able to pull off a mind-bending triangle choke at the horn to win the fight. It seemed, Ankalaev just gave up, but nevertheless a win is a win. Between both men, they have 26 submissions between them, so a grappler’s delight this really should be. With that said the cardio of Antigulov scares me. He has never been out of the 1st round in UFC play and his last 2 fights he was completely gassed out very quickly. Craig has shown the ability to go a little deeper and a bit more durability. Also, the guys that KO’d him were known for having very good pop where Antigulov isn’t that guy. If Craig can survive the first round. I think Antigulov comes out pretty gassed and Craig starts to have his way from that point on. This fight is like 2 guys looking at themselves in a mirror but Craig just seems to be a little bit more of the marathon runner here.
The Pick: Craig
Alex Oliveira DK $8700 / FD $26 vs. Peter Sobotta DK $7500 / FD $22
I actually really like this fight. 1st off, who doesn’t love when Cowboy fights. The guy is all action, all the time. He has fallen on some rough times in his last 3 fights and a 4th will not look very good on his resume. A solid striker with 12 KOs in 20 wins, cowboy brings a lot of pressure to deal with. Cowboy is a wildcard. The guy is going to come in with his guns blazing and fight hard, but sometimes he will lose a link, stray away from the blueprint and make some questionable decisions. There are times he looks like a legit contender and there other times where you literally take a sip of your drink and just look at your tv confused. With a record of 20-8, he has 12 wins by way of KO and 4 by way of submission. In his 8 losses, he has been submitted 4 times and KO’d 1 time. He dropped 4 in a row before bouncing back last fight to beat Max Griffin in a fight that would make him 1-4 of his last 5. The issue you have with him is that he tends to be in a lot of wars and obviously he is available to be submitted. It makes Peter Sobotta a very dangerous out for him. Sobotta, a Dean Lister Black Belt in BJJ, holds a record of 17-6. He has made it quite clear that his game is on the ground with 10 submissions to his credit. In his 6 losses, he has been KO’d 2 times and Subbed 1 time. Sobotta has extremely crafty technique on the ground and is always looking to get his hips loose. If he is on his back, I am actually comfortable with that because I have seen him do his best work from there. A serviceable striker with using it as a means to set things up for the ground, Sobotta can be a bit chinny in spots. You can, in fact, sit him down if you keep him upright long enough. However, the decision needs to be made if you do sit him down, do you pounce or do you respect the guard game of his and let him back to his feet. The path here for Cowboy is keeping this standing. There is no reason Sobotta should get the best of him there. However, if this goes to the ground, Sobotta tilts into minus territory really quick. I don’t think Sobotta’s entry game is all that good and having a great ground game is a monster weapon, but if you can’t get it there, it’s useless. I am going to lean on the side of Cowboy keeping it upright here and if he does it can be a long night for him. However, this is one you def look at with a sizable caution.
The Pick: Oliveira
Khamzat Chimaev DK $9800 / FD $29 vs. Rhys McKee DK $6400 / FD $18
I have to say that this fight scares me a bit. I know that Chimaev walked through that bum from SBG, but I pretty much told you that there wasn’t a chance that it wouldn’t end up that way. You can’t take a sloppy striker with no ground game and just cross your fingers and pray they win. Chimaev knew that as long as he stayed away from the power, anywhere else was his fight to win. Now Chimaev comes back 2 weeks later to do it all over again against Rhys McKee. Well, initially I was just thinking of lock button, but I have to be honest with you. This kid can present a problem. He is a long and rangy striker with very good kickboxing and even tho he doesn’t hit with authority or that much power, he makes them count. Also, he has a very very tricky ground game and is very active off his back. He doesn’t really accept positions when he is on his back or even in the clinch. He is always working and will look for some sneaky ninja chokes and whatever really presents itself. He has shown the ability to slip out the backdoor and just be very tough to keep in place due to his long frame and active hips. However, the one thing that he really doesn’t do well with is when he is pushed backward on his backfoot. If you take away his range, he will start to work off the fence. He does work well fighting the hands, pummeling for underhooks, and jockeying for position, but Chimaev clearly will have the advantage in these scenarios. He brings that pressure that Mckee does not do well with but will he be able to keep McKee there? That is the question. Chimaev doesn’t have a super heavy top game. He is able to stay on top with the amount of volume that he throws that will make you shell up. However, he has much more of a floating Top-Game in which someone like McKee might be able to get his hips loose a bit. We also have not seen him go deep. McKee may be able to bring this a little deeper and then we will see what Chimaev is made of. It is obvious that they want Chimaev to win this fight and I think he absolutely should, but this kid is NOT a bad fighter, so I wouldn’t treat him like -1250 favorite. That number should not in any way shape or form be dummied up that high.
The Pick: Chimaev
Francisco Trinaldo DK $8500 / FD $17 vs. Jai Herbert DK $7700 / FD $14
When you talk about aging fighters that have huge question marks swirling around them, you can’t help but think about guys like Trinaldo. Questions not in a bad way, but when is it actually going to be the time where he falls off the edge and starts to show his age. Over 40, Trinaldo has been fighting at a steady state for some time. It seems he doesn’t get faster or slower. He just has stayed at one pace, which is crazy to me. I know every day that goes by for me, I feel like another fiber is tearing. However, he continues to push the hands of time and push them well. Usually, these fights are tests for the young lions, and they really are, but it’s also a test to see if we are going to see the fight where Trinaldo starts to show some sort of wear. In any fight, a fighter can really hit the decline hard, but at his age, it’s really just a matter of time. That is really what I fear here. Is he the better fighter? Yes. Should he win? Yes, but there is that fear that age and youth will creep its way into the cage soon and say “Enough is enough”. I am picking Trinaldo here but he is a major risk.
The Pick: Trinaldo
Nicolas Dalby DK $9200 / FD $19 vs. Jesse Ronson DK $7000 / FD $11
Ronson is a Canadian prospect that really never panned out. He had a stint in the UFC back a few years ago where he went 0-3 and lost all 3 by split decision. The UFC would part ways with him and he would venture on to other companies to continue his journey. So yes… A Journeyman indeed he is. With a record of 21-10 with 10 KOS. In PFL, he went 0-2 and it seems he just can’t get out of his own way when he gets to a more spotlighted level. The guy isn’t bad, I just don’t think he ever discovered who he is as a fighter. Tough spot to be in when you have talent. He takes on Dalby who also isn’t all that good but he is tough and we know much more about what we will get from him. With a record of 18-3, he has 6 by way of KO and 4 by way of submission. In his 3 losses, he has never been finished and that is where he should be able to win this fight, and here’s why. Dalby is going to be the more natural sized for the weight class and Ronson is going to be a bit undersized for the division. I think Ronson may be a better athlete and cleaner technique but Dalby should be able to walk forward and give a better look in the judges’ eyes. I am looking at a sloppy fight, but a fight that Dalby should be able to use his size to move things in a direction that favors him here.
The Pick: Dalby
Tom Aspinall DK $8800 / FD $17 vs. Jake Collier DK $7400 / FD $13
Low-level MMA here, but a fight that we can have fun with because all heavyweights can be entertaining to a point. Anytime the big boys get in there, you are looking at a possible finish. Collier isn’t a stranger to the UFC grounds, but it seems he has had one foot in and one foot out. He is a rotating door of win, loss, win, loss, win, loss since he came into the UFC umbrella. With an overall record of 11-4, JC was supposed to be a bit better than he has shown us. With 5 wins by way of KO and 3 subs, Collier has shown the ability to finish it in multiple spots. However, in his 4 losses, he has also been KO’d 2 times and submitted 1 time. So he has also shown the ability to get finished in multiple spots as well. Seeing him at heavyweight is an eye raiser for me a bit. I am not really sure what to expect. Heavyweight power is quite different. It’s a raw power that you really either have or you don’t. Even tho they say the light heavies hit the hardest pound for pound, the impact feels different. There is without a doubt much more snap and pop in the LH punch but the thud of a raw heavyweight punch just feels different. So the translation will be interesting. He will take on Aspinall, who hasn’t really fought anyone of note. The kid is not terrible. He moves pretty well, he looks to engage on takedowns, and he will also look for a neck or a limb when he feels it’s there. The true heavyweight from England has an overall record of 7-2 with 5 by way of KO and 2 by Sub. He has also been submitted 1 time. It’s really a tricky fight, and in this division, anything can truly happen. I am going to lean on Aspinall slightly here in the hopes he uses that frame to really push the envelope on Collier. Make him carry his weight a bit. Not a fight that is a stable call either way, but I am going with Aspinall.
The Pick: Aspinall
Movsar Evloev DK $9100 / FD $18 vs. Mike Grundy DK $7100 / FD $12
Mike Grundy is known for his extremely high pedigree wrestling. The issue with fighters that have high pedigrees in one aspect of fighting, they tend to be so overpowering in one element that they forget to balance things out because they are so self-reliant on it. That is Grundy. Super high pedigree wrestling but his stand up really lacks. What happens when he faces someone with good wrestling and very good polished striking and that is where you really start seeing who is who in this sport. As you start climbing the rungs of the ladder, you will begin to face different specialties and fighters that are far more well rounded, and that is where the elements of your game in its entirety will truly be tested. Evloev is that guy that will now test grundy. He is a solid wrestler with explosive entries and good defensive wrestling as well. On top of that, he is the much cleaner striker and if this stays standing, Grundy can not nullify the stand up like Evloev can nullify the wrestling a little better. Grundy may be able to have that success dragging it to the ground and really just grinding it out, but I really think Evloev does enough to keep it upright long enough to win rounds and ultimately win the fight.
The Pick: Evloev
Tanner Boser DK $8900 / FD $18 vs. Raphael Pessoa DK $7300 / FD $12
This fight is pretty cut and dry for me, so I am not going to spend too much time here. Pessoa comes in with a 10-1 record carrying 6 KO’s and 1 Sub. The Brazilian has shown some very good pop in his hands, but what heavyweights really don’t carry power? He will push forward and really try to lay a bead on you while you are back peddling which I do like about him but once he starts to throw, it seems that there is nothing stable from the waist down. He just throws and seems to really be off-balance in his approach. He really isn’t digging in and he is just hoping to connect with something big in the process. The Speed of his hands for a heavyweight exceeds his physical appearance for sure, but he is facing a guy in Boser who has a clear advantage on the feet when it comes to mechanics, fundamentals and even power. He moves very very well for a big man and likes to use the entire cage while he is trying to bait you on to something. He wears two masks. He will play the cat and mouse counter puncher, and then when the time seems right, he will flip the switch and engage, putting the table back on to you to see how you fare going backward. Then he will reset and start the process all over again. Boser is very sneaky athletic and after his win less than a month ago, I think he is still primed to walk away with another W. I think Boser uses his footwork and movement to really get Pessoa to charge in. Frustrate him in spots and make him chase. As he chases the opening should start to present itself and Boser should be able to capitalize with his speed. I am expecting Boser to win the majority of the exchanges and walk away with another win in less than a month’s time.
The Pick: Boser
Pannie Kianzad DK $8400 / FD $15 vs. Bethe Correia DK $7800 / FD $14
When you look at this fight on paper, it looks like very low-level Women’s MMA, and to be quite honest, you are probably correct. With that said, both ladies are moving in different Directions and their records although not looking so good, most definitely translates much differently. Kianzad is 1-2 under the UFC umbrella and Correia 2-5 in her last 7. So what is so different in these records? Both are on the losing end of things but Kianzad lost to Chiasson and Avilla. Correia lost to Aldana, Holm, Reneau, Pennington and Rousey. Do you see where I am getting at? The level of her competition is night and day compared to Kianzad. Correia has been there. Shew has fought the best of the best in her division. Did she lose? Yes, but there is something to be said about someone who has circled the cage with the elite opposed to someone who hasn’t scraped that rung of the ladder just yet and is still losing. Both ladies have very similar metrics. They aren’t going to most likely keep this fight on the feet unless they really find an opening to shoot or just feel like they are losing too much traction on the feet. Kianzad is obviously the fresher fighter but Correia is going to come in knowing that she is the big dog in the cage and will want to impose her veteran status on Kinziad. I think it is going to be a close and sloppy fight, but I think Correia has dug much deeper before, in much bigger spots against much bigger opposition. Until Kianzad shows me more, I need to go with Correia here.
The Pick: Correia
Ramazan Emeev DK $9400 / FD $20 vs. Niklas Stolze DK $6800 / FD $10
You know, I honestly was swaying on this fight a bit when I watched tape on Stolze. The kid is the complete opposite of Emeev and I was looking at this like a possibility that he may be able to just outfox Emeev with some good speed and footwork which he does have. Then, when I saw his ground game, I was impressed by how much he is attuned with heel hooks and leg locks. Which shows he has depth in his grappling. Then when you watch Emeev after watching the spark plug that Stolze can be, you tend to get distorted a bit. Emeev is just a slow plodding fighter that literally will just grind you slowly for 3 rounds. Then, after really diving into both men, I realized what Emeev truly does that is well. He understands how to slow the fight and the fighter down. He dummies them down to a walk and with that comes a major drop off in activity and volume. I am expecting Emeev to be able to do that here but maybe not early. It will take him time to really get his timing down and solve the speed and angle changeups of The debuting fighter, but eventually he will be able to close the distance and silence the speed and agility with just pressure and grinding of his weight. Emeev is never going to be a flashy fighter and he has made that clear in recent past with his last 4 going to decision. The DK pricing is odd because it is really all predicated on if he can get a submission or a finish. His volume is way too low in his striking to have the ability to throw up big numbers. I do expect him to smother his way to victory here but this kid can make it tricky for him in the beginning.
The Pick: Emeev
Nathaniel Wood DK $9500 / FD $19 vs. John Castaneda DK $6700 / FD $11
Wood came into the UFC making it known that he was a finisher. In his first 3 fights, he finished all of his opponents by way of Submission. All of these submissions came in the 2nd round. In his last fight, they gave him another step in leveling up and he was not as fortunate. He lost to John Dodson by TKO and in the entire fight he just couldn’t keep up with the speed and the tricky movements of Dodson. However, there is no doubt that Wood is extremely talented, but he needs to level up gradually. His overall record is 16-4 with 8 KOS and 6 Subs. In his 4 losses, he has been finished all 4 times: 2 by sub and 2 by KO. He takes on Castaneda, who isn’t a bad fighter, but I haven’t really seen anything that really pops out at me about his game. I know Combate Fighting did have some issues with him making weight, excepting fights and other issues that almost forced them to rip up his contract if he didn’t produce. With a record of 17-4, he has shown the ability to stay durable only being finished 1 time by way of KO. In his 17 wins, he has a very balanced finishing rate of 6 Kos and 6 Subs. He comes out pretty hot and explosive. He isn’t the patient fighter that Woods is. Woods will wait for his spots, feel you out and see what you are presenting to him and then he will start to really loosen up. Castaneda really just comes out warm and ready to go and throw. I think that is just going to work against him here. I think he will end up over committing on things that Woods being the better and more patient fighter will be able to capitalize on. Woods may face some danger early but I am expecting him to slowly start to outclass Castaneda as time goes on. Give me the “Prospect” here.
The Pick: Wood
UFC FIGHT NIGHT DFS
Darren Till – DK $7900 / FD $27
5 rounds fight where Till will have the opportunity to land that left hand. You need to understand that you are needing a KO here because his volume is very low. He looks to really just unchain that left hand. However, if he connects with it, then it’s most likely lights out. At sub $8k with the question marks surrounding Whittaker and where he is physically and mentally, it’s a play I will have a piece of on Saturday.
Robert Whittaker – DK $8300 / FD $30
He is the better fighter. There isn’t a question about it. More well rounded and is much more proven. However, there are question marks that are swirling a bit and you need to really understand that you are playing this in the hopes that he is healthy and he is the Whittaker that we remember before his body started to break down a bit. However, he is too good not to play. I will have both sides, but a little more on Till here.
Mauricio Rua – DK $9000 / FD $26
I have him winning this fight. I just think Nog is so frail at this point. I mean both guys are old, but Rua seems so much fresher. With that said, $9k is a lot on a fighter that has seen better days. However, while guys are partying up big for the younger guns, they will most likely grossly overlook here. So, in large field GPP, I don’t mind a stab here.
Rogerio Nogueira (Lil Nog) – DK $7200 / FD $21
He couldn’t beat him the 1st time they faced off… Or the 2nd time…. Age isn’t on his side… I’m off.
Alexander Gustafsson – DK $9300 / FD $28
Gus did not look bad at heavyweight in weigh-ins. We all know he’s strong. We all know that he has power, and we all know he has speed. If that all translates over, up a weight class, then things could be interesting. However, we just don’t know, so although I am going to play something small here, I won’t shoot blind off a name. Show me more before I invest heavy.
Fabricio Werdum – DK $6900 / FD $20
Werdum looked much better this time around in weigh-ins. The last fight was the worst I have ever seen him look. He knows what he needs to do. If he gets Gus into his wheelhouse then Gus has shown the ability to give up the choke. For that reason, I may have a light dose in small spots. To make matters worse. You are giving me Werdum at $6900? I can’t fade him completely.
Marina Rodriguez – DK $8600 / FD $24
I am passing here. I know she throws a lot of volume, but she knows the takedowns are coming and she will have to defend them. That in turn will make her a tad hesitant into committing fully and if Esparza gets this to the ground then the volume will also diminish.
Carla Esparza – DK $7600 / FD $22
I will have some here. Esparza knows she needs to ground this and I fully expect her to “Try.” If she goes out there and really commits to the takedowns, fails, and loses, then I will be ok with it because at least she knew what her path was, but just couldn’t get it there. However, if she abandons that, I will not be happy. I’m taking the chance and a few swings here.
Gadzhimurad Antigulov – DK $8200 / FD $25
Paul Craig – DK $8000 / FD $23
I feel like someone is getting finished here. I can see Antigulov early, and I can see Craig anytime after the first when Antigulov will tire out. I am going with Craig taking over halfway down the stretch. So I will have a heavier dose of Craig here.
Alex Oliveira – DK $8700 / FD $26
Sub $9k, there can be a finish here if he really goes for it like his 10 kids depend on it. I’ll buy into that…
Peter Sobotta – DK $7500 / FD $22
I can’t fade him here. His BJJ is too good, and that is Cowboy’s Heel. I am expecting him to lose, but he does have a window here.
Khamzat Chimaev – DK $9800 / FD $29
Call me nuts… I’m underexposing here. I think McKee gets out of the 1st round here. I am not stockpiling $9800 on anyone, never mind a guy that is still unproven… Small Dose…
Rhys McKee – DK $6400 / FD $18
Small punt indeed. I don’t care. I will take a swing on this kid. This is MMA where anything can happen. Chimaev is a -1250 so don’t expect the outcome that you hope for when you insert a bullet or 2. But the kid is better than a +900 Dog…. a bullet in the chamber.
Francisco Trinaldo – DK $8500 / FD $17
Fade… His age makes him risky.
Jai Herbert – DK $7700 / FD $14
Unlike Trinaldo, his age makes him interesting… most likely off, but interested a smidge.
Nicolas Dalby – DK $9200 / FD $19
I see this going yard… I target finishers or trustworthy $9K guys… I’ll take my chances and pass.
Jesse Ronson – DK $7000 / FD $11
Tom Aspinall – DK $8800 / FD $17
Heavyweight… Natural Heavyweight… I can get behind a sneaky play here. I’ll have some exposure.
Jake Collier – DK $7400 / FD $13
He looked really big on that scale and not in a good way either… I am off.
Movsar Evloev – DK $9100 / FD $18
He is pricey but puts on a good pace. He may go a bit overlooked here and I will try to fly under the radar with a few lineups to see if anything sticks.
Mike Grundy – DK $7100 / FD $12
His wrestling and his takedown game can keep him in this fight. I just don’t know how successful he will be against a guy that is pretty sharp and well rounded. I’m interested only because of his price and his style.
Tanner Boser – DK $8900 / FD $18
He isn’t a finisher really, but who knows? Maybe he caught some itch after his big KO win a few weeks back. I’ll be on the big man for a few plays.
Raphael Pessoa – DK $7300 / FD $12
The big boys enter, usually, one boy leaves walking normal. For that reason, I need to back myself a little here. More exposure to Boser tho.
Pannie Kianzad – DK $8400 / FD $15
Bethe Correia – DK $7800 / FD $14
I’m probably staying away here unless it’s on the side of Correia. She isn’t easy to finish and she has been in there with the best. So if I put stock into anyone, it will be her.
Ramazan Emeev – DK $9400 / FD $20
He is such a slow and plodding fighter. I am expecting him to win, but you have to be careful here because he is one to really just put on the grind. I would say a better cash game play but not really a GPP play.
Niklas Stolze – DK $6800 / FD $10
The kid’s interesting. He has to really stay on the outside and use his speed and not get caught up in any sort of grappling exchange. I’ll take a small punt here in large field GPP. Huge Risk obviously, but the kid doesn’t lack the skill.
Nathaniel Wood – DK $9500 / FD $19
He’s really expensive here… I am not crazy about this price at all… But I can see him getting a finish here, so I am torn on how low exposure I will go. I’m not as confident in that price as DK, but he can def hit that mark.
John Castaneda – DK $6700 / FD $11
UFC FIGHT NIGHT VEGAS
This like last week. Is a very Volatile Card… We are up from fight Island in its totality so we are still playing with house money… That is why I am just going a little HAM here… They are all risky plays, but I wont be too upset if they all dont stick because it really is Fight Island House Money… However, I am always transparant with you and I am giving you the plays that I am playing. You can follow or not, but beware that some of these are flight risks… So I advise you to play lightly… -Lab
Once Antigulov gasses out, Craig should take over.
1.25 Units to win 1
(Value play here… She deserves a little more respect)
.5 Units to win .825 Units
Lines a little fishy… Hoping its not a trap… But Ill take a chance
1.45 Units to win 1
Aspinall +105 ITD
.5 units to win .525
Why not… Collier looks horrible.
Rua by KO/TKO +170
There is value here. WILLIAM HILL… Everywhere else its around +115)
.5 to win .85
Mckee/Chimaev Over 1.5 rounds +170
I mean just hold on for a round and a half will ya… The value is there…. Or maybe I am prop happy….
.5 to win .85 units
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