MadLab’s UFC Fight Night Vegas Breakdown and Predictions!!! Here is what Twitter is saying.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT CARD
Tyron Woodley DK $8800 / FD $22 vs. Gilbert Burns DK $7400 / FD $18
Tyron Woodley comes back to us after an extensive layoff from the octagon. While most snickered at his rap career pursuit, there is a point in time where it is ok to recalibrate and reset depending on who you are and obviously your genetic code. For some, layoffs are a curse, and if you are a believer in cage rust, then the timing and smoothness of your game need to be repolished and kicked off in the first round or so. However, if you look at Woodley historically, he has fared quite well off long layoffs. He beat Robbie Lawler coming off an 18-month hiatus and also beat Darren Till coming off a 14-month layoff. So, this really isn’t uncharted waters for the former welterweight strap holder.
I see a lot of hate rolling towards Woodley for the majority of his career and that is actually too bad. He has been labeled as a slow-paced boring fighter that really doesn’t allow a fight to organically turn into a war. The people who call him boring and called for his head really show their ability to understand the true science behind fighting. The name of the game is to inflict the most amount of damage without receiving the same in return. Tyron Woodley has done that for the better part of his career and there is a reason why he is able to lull people into these fights. Because people respect what he actually does bring if you beckon him into a war. Woodley is a genetic freak and possesses freakish power that can literally end your night with one shot. I will admit that he does sometimes get caught up in waiting for the homerun punch while sacrificing rounds, but for the most part, not many people tend to engage him in that way and if they do, they proceed with caution.
Beating Tyron is not an easy task. Your options are limited and your paths are narrow, but there are a few. The minute you step into the cage with Tyron, you can expect to give up the Power bar to him. There are not many people that are going to walk into the cage and outmuscle him or fight fire with fire in a power punching aspect. With that said, if you have a very nimble and quick style like WonderBoy, then you can stay long and out point him because he never was and never will be a volume striker. There were heavy arguments in both fights against Wonderboy that he lost with one ending as a draw and one ending by decision in Woodley’s favor. So a crafty, well-polished point fighter who understands range and stays long can give Woodley a bit of a problem.
Another path to beating Woodley is having superior conditioning coming in. Woodley does have an issue holding onto his oxygen for long periods of time and the reason for that is simple. It has nothing to do with him not training or being ill-prepared, so if people tell you that, literally look at them and walk away. They have no clue what they are talking about. The issue with Woodley and many muscular fighters is that they are behind the 8-ball coming out of the gate because muscles require a lot of oxygen and the bigger the musculature the more oxygen the body will call for. However, that is also a reason why Woodley paces himself a bit more than most fans would like to see, but now that you understand this aspect of it, you may appreciate him a bit more. Outside of outworking him on the feet and just throwing that long points game volume on him, The paths become less realistic, and here is why.
Tyron is a 2-time All American wrestler from the University of Missouri with a Black Belt in BJJ under Din Thomas. So if you plan on out Grappling him, you need to ground him first and that is no easy task. In Tyron’s last 22 fights dating back to 2009, he has only been taken down and grounded 5 times putting his Take Down Defense over 90%. Now, if you are capable of getting him there, his Black Belt in BJJ coupled with his positional wrestling is just fine to keep him safe against another high-level grappler and even dangerous in his own right. On top of all these credentials that Woodley has, he also is extremely durable. In 24 fights, he has only lost one by way of KO when Nate Marquardt caught him with one of the slickest elbow combos I have seen in quite some time. With a record 19-4-1, Woodley has a very good offensive balance of 6 KOs and 7 Submissions. Even tho his cardio is an issue, he has gone 5 rounds 4 of his last 5 fights only losing his last fight to Usman, so the 5 round experience is there for him.
He takes on BJJ Ace Gilbert Burns who is making serious waves in the division right now. The 2nd degree Black Belt under Rafael Barros is near the top of the food chain when you are talking about grappling in the MMA game. The multiple Gold Medalist in some of the highest-ranked BJJ player tournaments has transitioned nicely into the cage when tossing the Gi to the side. With that said, Gilbert Burns has seemed to fall in love with his standup as of late. It is said by many that when you are a master of your craft for so many years and then finish a fight in a manner that is out of your wheelhouse, you tend to feel like you have a new toy to play with which can cloud your reality of what really got you to this point. Burns is walking that line but still understands that his ace in the hole will always be his Grappling. With a record of 18-3, Burns has 8 by way of submission and 6 by way of KO. In his 3 losses, he has only been KO’d 1 time and never submitted. If you really look at Burns’ overall body of work, it really is not a good matchup for him.
From an experience standpoint, he has finished his fights in the 1st round 11 times in 21 fights and hit the 3rd round 7 times in 21 Fights. He has never traveled into the 4th or 5th round and for someone that also has a tendency of having a questionable tank, it can be a cause for concern against a guy like Woodley who has seen it quite a few times. His Grappling is without a doubt Elite, but his takedown offense is only hovering around 38% and I am not expecting that to get much better against Woodley who has a Takedown defense over 90%. He can win the Volume battle against Woodley, but he has been rocked numerous times in his career by much lesser fighters in terms of power, and if he gets tired, sloppy or lazy, Woodley will do what Woodley does. Lull you towards him, give you a false sense of purpose and suddenly explode forward looking for that Kill Shot. If he lands that on Burns, it will be the end of the night. I am expecting this to be a cautious fight in the beginning on both sides, but at the end of the day, Woodley has all the tools to neutralize Burns in this fight and if he is centered and focused he can put the entire division back on notice. Burns would need a lot to go right for him in this fight and I don’t think Woodley is here to let that happen. I am expecting to see a prepared Woodley here.
The Pick: Woodley
Blagoy Ivanov DK $8000 / FD $16 vs. Augusto Sakai DK $8200 / FD $17
I am actually really intrigued here. This is a very interesting Matchup for me and here is why. Augusta Sakia is a very athletic heavyweight for his size. Although he does not look like much, the boy can move with some good bounce and speed on his feet. Extremely slick and fast hands get him to the punch before most heavyweights, giving him an extremely impressive KO ratio. With a 14 -1 record, Sakai has 11 of those 14 by way of KO. Sakai does lack some notable competition though and it’s hard to gauge how good and his efficient her really is. His 2 best notables are probably Andrea Arlovski in which he won by split decision (But I had him losing) and Check Kongo when he was in Bellator losing a split decision. The Chase Shermans and the Marcin Tyburas of the world are ok names to have on the record but not the competition that is swimming around the contender’s pool. With that said, it is hard to really ignore the guy’s KO ratio up to this point, but what happens when he fights a guy that can take all that he dishes out and just keeps walking him down? Well, he is going to get his chance because if Sakai’s greatest asset is his speed advantages in striking at the heavyweight division, then Ivanov’s chin is probably the greatest asset that he possesses and I am not even joking. Even though he holds a Black Belt in Judo and is a Sambo World Champion, being one of Fedor’s only defeats, Ivanov has a chin made out of raw unknown material. Anyone who gets stabbed in the heart and survives is Ok in my book and someone that you really don’t bank on fearing a flame-throwing pocket fight. The southpaw does nothing fancy in his approach and really patiently stalks you with his hands very low. He has so much faith in his chin that he is really willing to just walk through fire to get what he wants. He isn’t going to beat Sakai with Volume, so if his game plan is to really just hunt and throw 1s and 2s then there will be an issue going down the stretch because Sakai will throw 3s and 4s winning the battle of volume and speed. The difference between the 2 is we have seen so much more of Ivanov’s game. With a record of 18-3, he has a perfect balance of 6 by KO and 6 by Submission. He has only been finished 1 time by submission by Alexander Volkov back in 2014. So his paths are deeper and if the fire gets too hot for him, he does have more than hands to lean on in this matchup. Sakai, on the other hand, will ultimately have to do it on the feet, and given the durability of Ivanov, there is likely not going to be a finish for him. So speed and volume can win it, but in that case, I would rather take a shot on Ivanov given he has a few other paths here.
The Pick: Ivanov
Roosevelt Roberts DK $9200 / FD $21 vs. Brok Weaver DK $7000 / FD $11
I have no idea why, but Weaver reminds me of Tong Po from Kickboxer. Really, look at his face and there is without a doubt a resemblance. I can tell you that he is not as devastating as Po tho. Lol. On paper, Weaver isn’t too shabby with a 15-4 record but 55% of his wins come by way of decision with 8. 2 by KO and 3 by Submission. In his 4 losses, he has been Kod 1 time and submitted 1 time. After really digging into his film it was pretty clear right out of the gate that he is much more of a striker with an average southpaw game that likes to work behind the jab. I wouldn’t consider him a technical striker, but he does understand the nuts and bolts of setting things up, working behind a jab and being patient. After watching a fight in his BareKnuckle stint against Joe Riggs, there wasn’t really anything that stood out that he did very well. Mind you. Joe Riggs is an extremely weathered and aged Vet with 10 years on Weaver and Riggs was able to pull off the win. So it’s not like Weaver works behind any real speed or power. He is what he is, and there are really no tricks in the bag that you have to be super concerned with. Another thing that I did notice was his lack of head movement. He is extremely hittable and for a guy that is really a 1 trick pony that is not a dynamic that you want missing from your game. You see head movement isn’t all about alluding strikes. On the entrance to mid-movement, it is obviously a defensive movement, but when you are coming out of it, you need to look at it like a game of pool. You are setting yourself up for another shot offensively. So if you really understand head movement, you can create certain angles on the exit that will open up your offense. This is a really tough matchup for him against a guy In Roberts who not only seems to be the more polished and slicker striker, but he also fights longer and rangier. Roberts is also a Brown Belt in BJJ and will really look for limbs in any position. Standing or grounded, it really doesn’t matter where he is. With a record of 9-1, Roberts has 3 by KO and 4 by way of submission. 3 of those submissions have come by the way of Guillotine choke which seems to be one of his go-to moves standing when he is getting pressed enough. In his 1 loss against Vinc Pichel, it was really the pressure that Pichel was putting on him that was throwing Roberts off. He was really never able to get his timing down in that fight and Pichel is also a very very crafty Veteran. With that said, this is a fight Roberts seems to better everywhere and barring a bad outing, this should be Roberts fight to win or lose.
The Pick: Roberts
Hannah Cifers DK $6900 / FD $10 vs. Mackenzie Dern DK $9300 / FD $19
This is another one that just seems like a bad matchup, but even with the bad matchup, Dern is never one to be trusted by her credentials alone. I was big on Dern early in her career, and the Black Belt in BJJ owns more gold medals than many UFC veterans have fights. Her grappling chops are not overrated and anyone says that they are, then they better go watch cartoons, because this isn’t the right sport for them to be watching. However, the hype on her needs to slow up a bit because she does have some clear holes in her MMA game that need to be addressed. Her striking is one of them and her ability to wrestle and get things where they need to be aren’t the greatest either. If Dern gets you to the Mat then there are very few women that will be able to stay safe before she finds something to tie you up in. I don’t care who you are, if you are on the ground with Dern then its advantage Dern. However, with a 7-1 record and 3 by way of submission, there are ways to get around her grappling so it isn’t used in her favor. She is less than graceful on her feet and she isn’t what you would call a slick striker. Dern is a big girl and sometimes you wonder how serious she is taking her camps in the past. There were a lot of rumblings in camps like the MMA lab that Dern just wasn’t committed fully and she would part ways. After her last fight against Amanda Ribas in which she lost, Dern went off and had her first child. You have to wonder what that will do to her coming out of this and if she will be more motivated or if the lay off will affect her in a negative way. People who are not fully committed tend to let themselves go when a major layoff occurs, especially something like pregnancy and childbirth where it is so easy to just be sedentary. With that said, Dern looks like she is in better shape now than she did in her last fight before her pregnancy and that can be the resurgence that she needs to reach the potential that I saw in her very early on. A consistent, dialed-in Dern can be dangerous in each and every fight going forward if she has the right team behind her and builds blocks around her already world-class grappling foundation. She takes on Hanah Cifers who is a tough customer but has a real cookie-cutter style to her. She is an undersized striker that really doesn’t have the greatest pop in her shot but she does fight with decent pace. With a record of 10-4, she has 5 KOS and in her 4 losses, she has been KOd 2 times and submitted once. Cifers really can be a threat on the feet to Dern if she plays the long game but the problem is, Dern is going to be the bigger fighter here, So fighting long won’t be easy. Get in the pocket and out quickly is really her only path here. She is going to really have to strike and enter cautiously keeping her hips in space and always prepared to defend the level change, because if Dern gets her grounded, Cifers is going to be in a world she isn’t well versed enough to handle. Dern can surely drown her there quickly. Also, as terrible as Dern’s stand up is, there is an element of surprise with it. She throws wild but with a very deceiving pop to it. So I am expecting her to use that style to back Cifers off and get a clear look at her hips. In turn, the rest can be history from there.
The Pick: Dern
Katlyn Chookagian DK $7700 / FD $13 vs. Antonina Shevchenko DK $8500 / FD $15
On one side, you have Chook’ who is clearly a talent but she just seems to be totally content driving in cruise control. With a 13-3 record, Chook’ has gone to the final horn 10 times, and in her 3 losses, she was KO’d 1 time. There is something about Chook’ that I can’t figure out. She has the striking, she has the grappling being a brown belt under Renzo and she is an intelligent woman. However, she just has no desire in pulling the trigger and understanding that the UFC wants action and not just wins. At the end of the day the UFC is about entertainment and if people don’t want to watch you fight them you are just weighing down the brand. Chook has the tools to be a good fighter – I should say a better fighter – because she is a very good fighter. It just seems that there is a minor ink issue not drawing up on the blueprint for her that will complete her game. It’s all there but someone just needs to convince her to go forward and fight and not fire when fired at if that makes sense. She takes on the sister of the Flyweight champ Valentina, who beat her in the last outing. Don’t get it twisted, this is NOT Valentina. This is her sister Antonina. I feel like in every sibling setup there is always one that reigns supreme and 1 that is good but could never quite be as good as the other. I mean historically look around some of the sports. The Teymur brothers. David Teymur is superior to his brother Daniel. Peyton was superior to his brother Peyton. The Ball brothers. The list goes on. It doesn’t mean that Antonina is not an accomplished fighter, it just means that she isn’t Valentina. So don’t look at the name and assume you’re getting the same product because you are not. Antonina does hold a 39-1 kickboxing record, so she has hands that work and truly understands the fundamentals of striking. However, MMA calls for more and with an 8-1 MMA record, there has been a glaring awakening with her. Before her fight with Roxanne Modafferi, she looked just fine even tho much like Chook, she ultimately will take things to the final horn. She ended up losing a split decision in that fight, and it has caused some pause for me. Roxanne is no doubt a very tough customer, but she is extremely stiff on her feet and should be target practice for someone at Antonina’s level on the feet. However, Roxanne was able to take her down 5 times where it would ultimately be Roxanne’s world. Antonina had no answer on the ground nor could she stop Roxanne from grounding her. Before that fight, Roxanne’s second-highest takedown count was 2. So there is a clear path to get in on the hips of Antonina. However, despite Chook’s grappling game, she rarely tries to get it there and that is and should be something that they try to alter for this fight. Even tho Chook is a slow tempo fighter, she absorbs about 3 times strikes of Antonina per minute and against a high pedigree striker like Antonina, that could be a volume decision win for Valentina’s sister. However, this is sort of a redemption fight for Chook here. She was screaming from mountain tops for a title shot. She then got one against Valentina and got completely worked over getting finished by ground strikes. Now, she is rebounding to fight the lesser of her two evils, and with the Brain Food of Mark Henry and company, I think they will have a certain gameplan in check here for her. This fight will most likely end up being a split decision, but I do think Chook has the tools, the experience and the mindset in this one to get some sort of revenge and get this one done stealing at least 1 of 2 against the sisters.
The Pick: Chook
Spike Carlyle DK $7600 / FD $14 vs. Billy Quarantillo DK $8600 / FD $18
I think this fight should be closer than it is. Spike is a wild card, to say the least. The Ginger is a 1x Judo national champion and a 3x National Jiu-Jitsu champion with a lot of pop in his hands if he isn’t utilizing those assets. The kid has a lot of character and has clear well-rounded talent. You can go into a fight with Spike knowing that he is gunning to secure that first round, and the majority of the time against certain competition, he will. But if he doesn’t get the result he wants, there are still 2 rounds to go that can work against him. With a record of 9-1, Spike has 5 by way of KO and 3 by way of submission. The issue that concerns me is that in his 10 fights he has only been out of the 1st round 3 times and all 3 of those fights he tends to fade a bit. So it is something that you need to take into consideration. People that have high motors are great to watch for the 1st round, but if they can’t manage it properly then you can see a completely different fighter in the next round. I wouldn’t say it’s a deal-breaker for Spike, but it is def one to monitor and consider when fighting someone who has much more of a marathon-style pace. He actually takes on just that and it does concern me. Quarantillo is no newcomer to the sport. He’s been around for a while but is getting a bit of a late debut at 31 years of age. The thing that I like about Quarantillo is his ability to bring a harder pace as the fight goes on. His camp tends to lean on that mantra a bit. “When they fade, we come on.” Having a fighter that has that blow opens up a host of blueprints in the deep waters. In his fight against Kirk, he was getting worked in the 1st round which actually worried me for this fight. He was easily giving up his hips and he was allowing Kirk to pretty much transition quite easily until Kirk made a mistake going too high and getting bucked off the back reversing position. Someone like Spike will take advantage of that and if Quarintillo has an issue getting off his back, he can be spending the majority of the round there if Spike has a full gas tank. Now in the second round against Kirk is when he started to really come on and that is a pace that Spike may have a problem keeping up with if he’s sucking wind. Finally, in the 3rd round, he really poured it on showing how good his conditioning really is and herb dean eventually stopped the action. With a 13-2 record, he has 5 by way of KO and 5 by way of Submission. In his 2 losses, he lost by KO to Michel Quinones back in 2016. The fight for me comes down to condition and how slow Spike’s leak is going to be. I am expecting him to win the 1st round, and that would put him ahead of the 8 ball if he doesn’t get an early finish. The important thing to watch is if it does get out of round one, the movement and explosion of Spike in round 2. If he is completely gassed then chances are Quarantillo is going to start running, but if he comes out pretty fresh, I do think he is the better fighter and should be able to get enough control time on the ground to grind this one out.
The Pick: Carlyle
Daniel Rodriguez DK $7300 / FD $13 vs. Gabriel Green DK $6800 / FD $12
Late replacement fight here, and there is nothing that indicates to me that Green wins this fight. At 9-2, he has finished all his fights inside the horn with 6 by way of submission and 3 by KO. In his 2 losses, he has been KO’d 2 times. On paper, Green looks good to go and the guy does come to take everything out of the judges’ hands, but debuting with no camp and being a bit undersized this is a tough ask here against a guy that is coming off a KO win against Tim Means. Rod is nothing special but he does have the full camp, he will be the bigger fighter when hydrated, Green comes in with a suspect chin and quite frankly so many things that are not working in his favor here. Now don’t get it twisted, Rod is not a great fighter and at the end of the day it is a fight, but picking Green here just wouldn’t be responsible in this spot and would be like throwing gum against the wall and hoping it sticks. I’m not saying it can’t happen and I wouldn’t be shocked if it does because this is lower-level MMA, but I can’t put stock on him in this fight with any real reason why.
The Pick: Rodriguez
Jamahal Hill DK $8400 / FD $17 vs. Klidson Abreu DK $7800 / FD $15
The undefeated Hill really wasn’t all that impressive to me until I saw his fight with Townsend. After being decked out of his shoes, he was able to collect himself, gather his legs back and return for round 2 on stable legs to go on and win a 5 round decision against a pretty seasoned guy in Townsend. However, the level of competition he has faced is not very impressive at all. His last fight against Darko was a nice win, but Darko is grossly overrated and has been a product of good “Matchmaking” in his other organizations if you catch my drift. His UFC record is 1-4 looking more and more like he’s a bust. With a 7-0 Record, Hill has 4 by way of KO and his standup is pretty sharp even tho he is still raw and young. He isn’t afraid to hunt and he will hunt, forcing you into a fight that you may not want to be involved in. The biggest issue that I did see with Hill is that he stands very erect. When he throws his punches he tends to really keep his chin on a shelf and lean back. This won’t only expose your chin but it will also expose your hips and that is something that he really doesn’t want to do in this matchup against high pedigree grappler Klidson Abreu. Abreu comes in with a record of 15-4 with 10 of those wins by way of submission, 4 by way of KO and 1 by way of decision. So there is really no secret on where he wants this fight to go, but getting it there will be a different story. He has also had a rough run thus far in the UFC with a 1-2 record only beating Sam Alvey and losing to Ankalaev and Gamzatov who are both very ough customers. Before coming to the UFC he had 5 straight wins by way of submission with 3 of them coming by way of RNC and 6 of his 10 Submissions come from the same recipe. He has a very good back take for a Light Heavyweight and if he gets there he will look to sink hooks immediately. If he can’t flatten you out then he will soften you up to see if you give up your neck that way. On paper, both men pose a problem for each other. For Abreu, it will be the long-range striking of Hill that he will have to get under to get body to body on him with the objective of getting it to the ground. Hill wants to fight long and keep this in space for as long as he can keeping Abreu off his hips. I feel like this is where Hill can take his 1st “L”. Abreu isn’t a world-beater, but he is an extremely good test for someone like Hill to see if his chops are ready for another step. I think he comes up short in this one. I think he fights very defensively in spots in this fight trying to keep safe from a bad ground situation. Hill will have his spots tho, especially if the fight stays standing where he can catch some rhythm. I just don’t see Abreu allowing him to clear enough space to open up long enough to start letting his hands go smoothly. I am taking the Dog here.
The Pick: Abreu
Tim Elliott DK $8700 / FD $18 vs. Brandon Royval DK $7500 / FD $14
Welp… He’s back… Tim Elliott… At one time, Elliott broke the slate with 175 points in DK. It was a takedown festival for him against Smolka with 12. He averages about 4 takedowns per affair, but remember, it is a bit bloated with that one fight which will push the envelope on that stat a bit. With that said, when Elliott is on, he has a very good motor, good entries and is pretty slippery in transition. He went 5 rounds with DJ and even tho he got worked over a bit, the showing was respectable. His 15-10 record really is a misread on his talent and even tho he lost 4 of his last 6, he is better than that and the competition was quite thick. One thing you need to watch for is the 10 losses he does have; he was submitted 4 of them and 2 of the last 4 were just that. A little nerve-racking when you are facing a guy with a very good ground game like Royval. However, after watching film, there were a few things I spotted. One thing is that he is not very hard to put on his back and when he gets there he tends to be very comfortable on his back. Now, that’s great if you’re getting your hips loose and making things happen, but if you’re just in closed guard stalling, then you can assure that you’re not doing yourself any favors in the eyes of the judges. Another thing I noticed in his fight with Casey Kenney is that he spent a lot of time getting his back taken by Kenney with no real answers. Kenney was able to take him down at will and kind of secure position on him. I think a small reason for that is because he has a frail frame that really isn’t very strong. So if you have a tight and sound top game, getting the hips loose isn’t easy. I think Elliott needs to be very very smart in his approach here. He needs to be very aware of where his limbs are in top control and stay active but tight. Advance position slowly and not recklessly and leave no window open for Royval to activate his hips. I think Elliott wins this on control time and even pace.
The Pick: Elliott
Casey Kenney DK $9100 / FD $19 vs. Louis Smolka DK $7100 / FD $11
There are elements of this fight that can be extremely competitive, and then there are spots where historically it will be a torching. Smolka has had a lot of ups and downs in his career. Personally and professionally. Smolka openly admitted to being a heavy drinker in which he needed time to really get a handle on that. After he finally did, he was very open about it and decided to make a run with a clear head and clean body. The kid is talented and his ability to fight in the scramble is extremely high level. The issue with Smolkais that he really just accepts being taken down. Taken down 12 times in one fight is not excusable. I’m sorry it is just not. With a record of 16-6, 14 have come by a perfect balance of 7 subs and 7 KOs. Smolka has been pretty durable in his career for the most part only being submitted 2 times. Sometimes there are fighters that become very comfortable off their backs, but when you are running on short time, you need to be extremely active since you are ultimately working from a negative position in the judges’ eyes. The interesting thing about this fight is that Kenney also was taken down by Dvalishvili 12 times, but that’s just what he does. Dvalishvili’s TD count is 12, 5, 5, 6, 11. So, as you can see, it is the most dialed-in part of his game plan. But once again, no excuse to be taken down 12 times on his part either. Kenney also has an issue with Takedown defense where both men average a little over 1 takedown per affair, but while Kenney is about 50% in takedown defense, Smolka is sitting at 30% which is horrendous. Smolka is going to hold the reach advantage here being the bigger and longer fighter with 5 inches, so it is quite obvious, if he can keep this in range, that is an asset he may want to use for a while. At least to see how Kenney is racing to it. Kenney won’t have that luxury and will need to find ways to get underneath and inside. This would ultimately make Kenney be the more active fighter looking to secure a takedown and gain top control which I am expecting. There was a lot of hype around Kenney, and there still is. And despite thinking the kid is a good talent with a good motor, you can’t jump the gun like I see so many people do. He has a lot more to prove. With a record of 13-2 Kenney has beaten some very tough grapplers as of late with Ray Borg and Manny Bermudez. Considering Borg is a transitional monster, I don’t see Smolka being a new look for Kenney. However, the explosion and motor of Kenney can be a problem for Smolka if he accepts being put on the canvas unless it’s on his terms. I think the fight is going to be close but I think Kenney does enough with top control and pressure to snake out a close decision in a fight I am looking to be very exciting.
The Pick: Kenney
Chris Gutierrez DK $8300 / FD $17 vs. Vince Morales DK $7900 / FD $16
I gained a lot of respect for Morales in the contender series when he fought Pilarte. Many touts will look at that fight as Morales getting caught in an RNC, and that’s all they would see because they never grappled a day in their life and have no idea what it feels like to know when you are about to get the lights shut off. You know when you’re going out. Everything starts to fade and your choice is to tap before you go out or go out on your shield and not tap. Morales was caught in a deep RNC and he fought until he went out and there is something about that, that should be respected. You can’t teach heart and the kid has heart. With a 9-4 record, he has 5 by KO and 2 by way of submission, while in his losses he has only been submitted 2 times. Another thing that I did notice is that he beats all the people that we expect him to beat but the minute you give him someone that raises an eyebrow the story is a bit different. Before his fight with Pilarte, his record was a bit padded, but that is really no fault of his own. Morales has a very sharp and snappy style in his striking but you know that’s what you’re getting with him. The need to defend another level isn’t all that of a concern considering his desire to attempt a level change is just not the style that he chooses to fight. Even tho his striking can look sharp at times with pop in both kicks and punches it just seems that he isn’t tied together as fundamentally as I would like to see for a guy that is so reliant on striking alone. He tends to open a lot of windows to be hit and if you are fighting a polished well-rounded fighter, it can be the demise of you quickly. He takes on Chris Gutierrez, who has a similar style but the approach is very very different. Chris is a much more fundamentally sound fighter. He looks to score when it counts and doesn’t really believe in wasting punches that may not amount to much. The Factory X fighter has a record of 14-4 with 6 by way of KO and only 1 by submission. In his 4 losses, he has only been submitted 1 time and never stopped by strikes. So it’s obvious where they both like to take care of their work and the durability they both have historically will most likely shape up to be an interesting duel. I have to give the speed advantage to Morales here, and being the longer fighter with a 3-inch reach advantage will def help in a matchup like this. However, I just think Chris is a little too polished and less reckless here and although Morales may throw the more volume, Chris will land the more meaningful strikes when they count.
The Pick: Gutierrez
UFC FIGHT NIGHT DFS
Woodley – DK $8800 / FD $22
In a 5 round fight, sub $9k is always in play, but Woodley does scare us from a standpoint of activity. With that said, I see A LOT of people picking Burns here and I really don’t see what his clear paths are outside his BJJ. Won’t be easy getting T-wood there, given his wrestling credentials and his overall physical attributes. Woodley is his own worst enemy here if he loses. It will be due to his gas tank and not his ability to beat Burns. Woodley is in play for a finish inside the Horn here, and I would have him reserved in some of your lineups for certain.
Burns – DK $7400 / FD $18
I see where the price is tempting, and he is a super high-level grappler, but how does he get it there is the question. Woodley has almost flawless Takedown defense, and he will need Woodley to really Gas before he can safely secure it without Woodley finding his way back to his feet. I am actually going to UNDER expose myself here while many will raise his percentage owned up. I just feel like Woodley is going to possibly finish him…
Ivanov – DK $8000 / FD $16
Sakai – DK $8200 / FD $17
If you play this fight, you know what to do. Closely priced and you won’t ruin many lineups interchanging them. With that said, how much upside is there? You need a lead pipe to KO Ivanov, and Ivanov doesn’t throw enough volume to really intrigue me. I find a finish being hard on both sides here. Careful with the amount of exposure to this one.
Roberts – DK $9200 / FD $21
Broc Weaver can hang a short time on the feet, but if Roberts gets this to the ground, Weaver will be Tapping. I’ll have some.
Weaver – DK $7000 / FD $11
I’m off this… Fade
Cifers – DK $6900 / FD $10
Dern hasn’t really lived up to her name so I see where this can be intriguing to some, but she is smaller and if this goes to the ground, she isn’t getting back to her feet. This is not a very good matchup for her here.
Dern – DK $9300 / FD $19
Untrustworthy is a good word here, but you can’t deny her grappling abilities. I see her possibly rolling Cifers up into something at some point. Trust her enough to play her in some lineups.
Chookagian – DK $7700 / FD $13
I would normally never ever play her because she is such a horrible DraftKings play historically, but at $7700, if you wanted to take a shot, I won’t hate ya. I think she is a very very live dog here as she looks for redemption from her last fight with Valentina. Small dose if any.
Shevchenko – DK $8500 / FD $15
I’m not really super intrigued here at this price. I don’t see both sisters finishing Chook. That would be a very bad look.
Carlyle – DK $7600 / FD $14
The upside at $7600 is there, no doubt. He always has a fiery 1st round, and then you need to be very careful after that. But at $7600, he is worth a look, for sure.
Quarantillo – DK $8600 / FD $18
A little pricey here for me. I think I’m off. I don’t see him rolling Carlyle.
Rodriguez – DK $7300 / FD $13
Never changed his price on DK after Holland pulled. Interesting. He is going to be very highly owned here, and I can see why. I would def have him in my lineups, but also in large field GPP, you may want to avoid this fight in spots all together in case the unexpected happens. However, I would not fade him at this price with all the green checkmarks in his corner for this fight. Make sure you get you some Rodriguez at this price… just be responsible.
Green – DK $6800 / FD $12
Maybe 1 bullet because the entire field will be the other way due to the price of Rod, but I don’t see this being a good night for Green here outside of maybe catching Rod.
Hill – DK $8400 / FD $17
His path here is that he is long and rangy. Something that Abreu is going to have to figure out if he wants to get in on his hips. If Hill can keep this in space, then he should win this fight on coasting, but I just don’t see him avoiding the takedown for 15 minutes. However, $8400 isn’t a terrible tag for a fight that is winnable if he can stay upright.
Abreu – DK $7800 / FD $15
Sub $8k for a guy who has very good upside when he gets it to the ground. The concern is, will he get it there? I’m willing to take my chances because if he does, the chances are greater he gets the sub.
Elliott – DK $8700 / FD $18
A guy who scored 175 points in DK a few moons ago? Yeah, I will have some shares, but I am not going to be over-bloated on it because he does scare me and he is going against a very slick grappler. With that said, Elliott still has solid upside at $8700.
Royval – DK $7500 / FD $14
Good price for a guy who can land a submission anywhere. I just don’t see him pushing the pace on Elliott. If Elliott gets caught, it will be because he makes a clear mistake. It can happen, but when rostering him, remember that. I will not have much of him at all.
Kenney – DK $9100 / FD $19
It’s a little pricey here, but given that Smolka will literally lay down for a takedown, there’s upside here. The issue for me is when it gets there. Smolka is extremely well versed on the ground and very good in transition. Kenney will have to be a little more aware of his surroundings, and it may cause him to be a little less fluent when advancing positions. In any event, this is still a position of upside that I am willing to take in spots.
Smolka – DK $7100 / FD $11
Sub $7500 for Smolka? I can get behind that. I am not picking him to win this fight, but his transitional game will keep him in play for as long as the fight lasts. I will NOT be fading Smolka.
Gutierrez – DK $8300 / FD $17
He isn’t a volume monster, but if he wins, he could at least scrape his ceiling. I’m interested in some small capacity.
Morales – DK $7900 / FD $16
He has the volume and the ability to push the pace and win a decision here. At $7900, it’s not a horrible price for a guy that is a live dog. I just picked the other way so it’s hard for me to get behind it with any real traction. I have seen worse plays.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT VEGAS
2 to win 1.5
(Burns has a very high pedigree in BJJ, but you need to get it there and woodley has the 3rd best TDD in UFC History. He can out land woodley, but what if wood lands that X-factor right hand)
Kenney by Decision -130
1.3 to win 1
2 to win 1.5
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