Adam Martin’s GPP Plays and Cash Game advice for UFC Vegas 20: Rozenstruik vs. Gane
Hey guys! I just want to briefly introduce myself before I get into my DFS breakdown of UFC Vegas 20. My name is Adam Martin, and I’m the newest member of the Elite MMA team. I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone in the community, and I hope we all share in the riches together, playing fantasy MMA and betting on it.
With 10 years of experience as a sports journalist and sports bettor covering MMA, I hope to bring my knowledge to the table week in and week out as I break down the fights in-depth and pick the winners. I can promise you I take my job very seriously and do as much research and tape study as I can for every fighter on the card in order to offer my most-educated opinion on the fights. I look forward to breaking down all the UFC cards for you guys from a DFS perspective, and I should also mention I’m Duke’s co-host on the daily UFC podcast going forward. As well, you can catch me in the Live Chat for one hour before each UFC card starts. On top of that, you’ll get my bets each week. Anything else, follow me on Twitter @MMAdamMartin. Now let’s go and make some money!
UFC Vegas 20 Card
Let’s dig into this weekend’s card from a DraftKings perspective. I’ll give my expert opinion on all of the fights on the card and suggest what fighters are worth putting into your lineups.
Ciryl Gane ($9000) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik ($7200)
I can’t wait for this main event between heavyweights Gane and Rozenstruik. The fight is scheduled for five rounds, but given the amount of finishing ability between these two, you have to think there is going to be a finish in this fight.
Let’s start with Gane. I’ve been nothing but impressed with this guy. In preparation for this article, I re-watched his entire career, including UFC fights and his fights in TKO. Gane is an absolute machine, and he’s potentially a future UFC heavyweight champion. I really believe in him and think he can go far in this sport. Let’s start with Gane’s striking. He comes from a Muay Thai background and was undefeated in that sport, and since then, he’s gone 7-0 in MMA. In both his TKO and UFC fights, we have seen a lot of power out of him with several finishes, the most notable being his TKO win over former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos in his last fight.
Gane moves fast on the feet and is hard to hit and yet always finds a way to land in return. On the feet, I don’t think many heavyweights can compete with Gane’s movement. I should also note that Gane sports a three-inch reach advantage here against Rozenstruik, as well. But what makes Gane so unique is that he can also submit you can on the ground, which is rare for a heavyweight. We saw him submit Don’Tale Mayes with a heel hook and Raphael Pessoa with an arm-triangle in the UFC. In fact, his MMA debut saw him batter Bobby Sullivan with ground and pound and then finish him with a front choke.
If Rozenstruik is hurting him on the feet, I expect Gane to use his wrestling. Gane is just a natural. He gets this game, and I would honestly pick him over almost everyone in the division right now. $9000 on Gane is a big price to pay, but he’s most likely going to get a finish in this fight and get you well over 100 fantasy points along the way. Gane is the obvious choice for both cash games and GPP as he is going to rack up big points.
Now, let’s talk about Rozenstruik. I mean, he definitely has a chance here. It’s heavyweight MMA, and Rozenstruik is one of the best in the world. It’s possible he could prove to be the better striker in this fight. He does have more pure KO power than Gane, that I will say. Re-watching Rozenstruik’s fights, he’s basically waiting for the right opportunity to land that big punch. So far in the UFC, it’s worked out well for him with a 5-1 record and all of those wins coming by knockout, including a KO over Alistair Overeem with four seconds left in their five-round fight. I definitely respect Rozenstruik’s power, and in MMA with the little gloves, anyone can get knocked out.
Here’s the thing, though. I don’t think Rozenstruik can stop the takedowns of Gane, at least not over and over again. While Rozenstruik has good cardio for a big man, I do think Gane is going to have the better gas tank in this fight. Rozenstruik’s path to victory is to land that big bomb and get the KO, and while it’s possible, I’m on Gane here on Saturday night. But for a GPP, you might want to have a few teams with Rozenstruik just in case. Obviously, you have to play this fight. I would put most of my shares on Gane here, but hedging with Rozenstruik isn’t the worst idea in the world, given that variance is higher at heavyweight.
Magomed Ankalaev ($9300) vs. Nikita Krylov ($6900)
The co-main event should be a banger between Ankalaev and Krylov, two top-15 light heavyweights. Let’s start with Ankalaev. He’s the most expensive fighter on the card at $9300, but there’s a reason for that. This guy is a tank and potentially a future UFC light heavyweight champion. He’s 5-1 in the UFC, and outside of a last-second submission loss to Paul Craig, he has pretty much destroyed everyone in his path.
Last year, Ankalaev picked up two quick first-round knockouts over his rival Ion Cutelaba. He also has knockouts in the UFC over Dalcha Lungiambula and Marcin Prachnio. In four of his six UFC fights, he has scored over 95 points. Watching back his fights, he has a great ability to really control the pace of the fight on the feet and dictate the distance. He doesn’t throw a ton, but when he does, he is deadly accurate. He is also very adept defensively. As far as his grappling goes, he’s very physically strong. I think he’s one of the strongest light heavyweights. He’s able to stuff most takedowns, and even in the few times he did wind up on his back, he managed to get back on top. I don’t see what happened to Craig happening to him ever again.
Ever since then, we have seen a true contender out of Ankalaev, and I’m expecting big things here. Although Krylov is a step up in competition, I do like this fight for Ankalaev, and I believe he gets his hand raised. That being said, the price is quite rich at $9300. You’re assuming he gets a knockout here. There’s definitely a good chance of him getting a knockout, but he could potentially also win a decision if Krylov really pushes the grappling. You will be putting a big chunk of your money into Ankalaev if you play him. I would have a few lineups with him in both cash and GPP just in case he does get 100+ points, but because of his big price, he may not end up being on the optimal lineup at the end of the night.
As for Krylov, a lot of people are saying he’s a live dog here, and I can kind of see it, looking back at Krylov’s career. He does have a path to victory if he can get this fight to the ground and try to out-grapple Ankalaev and potentially submit him, which is one of Krylov’s strengths. There is a slim outside chance of Krylov getting a sub here if the fight hits the mat. We did see him look good in the grappling department against Johnny Walker, after all. However, watching the fights with Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira again, physically stronger men can control him on the mat, which I believe Ankalaev will do in this fight.
On the feet, it’s light heavyweight, so just based on the nature of the weight class, Krylov would have an outside chance of landing a knockout. I’m not counting on that, though, because I really do believe Ankalaev is far superior on the feet. I think Krylov will prove to be a tougher test than some believe for Ankalaev, but ultimately I don’t think he has what it takes to win this fight.
The price tag is $6900, so he is the biggest underdog on the card, and we know that a lot of upsets have happened in 2021. I’m not counting on Krylov winning this fight, so I am avoiding him for cash. However, with the outside chance of him getting a finish, you could potentially play him as a dog if you have no salary left. I would personally avoid Krylov, but the price is appealing for a GPP punt if you are desperate.
Mayra Bueno Silva ($8400) vs. Montana de la Rosa ($7800)
I’m excited for this women’s flyweight bout between Silva and de la Rosa because if this fight hits the mat, it should be very fun to watch play out. Both Silva and de la Rosa do their best work on the mat. Looking back at Silva’s fights, she is really good. Training at Chute Boxe under coach Diego Lima and training alongside UFC lightweight contender Charles Oliveira, Silva is at a very good camp, training with a bunch of savages. This woman is vicious. Watching her fight on the Contender Series Brazil to get into the UFC was interesting as she finished her opponent with a ninja choke. She then submitted Gillian Robertson in her UFC debut, which is a great win, plus she had a quick submission over Mara Romero Borella in her last outing. So, we know she’s good on the ground.
The one flaw with her ground game is that she is too willing to go to her back. In her loss to Maryna Moroz, she was planted on her back a few times and didn’t offer much resistance. However, she wasn’t submitted, and on the feet, she actually did show some decent striking in that fight. Her clinch game looked pretty good, too. I would say she does have the striking advantage over de la Rosa, as well as the grappling advantage overall. Silva’s path to victory in this fight is likely going to be a finish. At $8400, that’s what you are hoping for, and I think she can finish this fight. At $8400, she’s a good play for both cash and GPP because of her finishing potential. And even if the fight goes the full three rounds, I think she still wins it.
That being said, I’m not completely writing off de la Rosa here. She’s a small underdog here, but she does have a path to victory, and that’s by wrestling Silva. Watching de la Rosa, she does have strong wrestling. She’s able to plant a lot of her opponents on their backs. When she was fighting lower-level competition earlier in her UFC career, she was able to submit many of them, too. However, now that we have seen de la Rosa fight tougher competition, we have seen some of the holes in her game.
If de la Rosa doesn’t get the submission, she’s at the risk of the fight taking place on the feet, and she’s not great on the feet. She’s definitely durable, as we saw against Viviane Araujo, but she was outstruck badly in that fight. She was also outstruck by Andrea Lee, and even though she got some takedowns, she didn’t do enough damage, and the judges went against her. She landed five takedowns but was outstruck 73 to 14 and lost that fight. So, I don’t have much faith in her coming through here. I guess there’s an outside chance she could catch Silva with a submission or something, but I really don’t see it happening. And if she does win, it will be by a boring decision where she doesn’t get any points. I’m avoiding de la Rosa at $7800.
Jimmie Rivera ($8300) vs. Pedro Munhoz ($7900)
This bantamweight bout between Jimmie Rivera and Pedro Munhoz was scheduled to take place back at UFC 258 but was re-scheduled after Rivera tested positive for COVID-19. Let’s be honest, no one really knows how that will affect him in the fight, but it’s worth pointing out. This is also a rematch, with Rivera having won a split decision when they met six years ago.
Getting to the two fighters, let’s start with Rivera. He comes in at a moderate $8300 price tag in this fight. This is going to be a close fight, but I do lean towards Rivera to outpoint Munhoz and win a decision. There are a few reasons I lean towards Rivera. First, I just think he is the more technical striker, and I expect him to land the straighter, harder punches in this fight. Although Rivera is two inches shorter at 5’6”, he actually has a three-inch reach advantage, and that should help him in a striking battle. That’s not to say Munhoz can’t wing a bomb as he did against Cody Garbrandt at UFC 235, but overall, I think Rivera is pretty solid defensively. As long as he doesn’t get caught by a big punch, he should be able to take this one on points.
Rivera has legendary takedown defense, and I don’t believe Munhoz gets him to the ground. I think the fight stays standing, and Rivera wins a decision. The thing is, he’s not a great fantasy play. Even when he wins his fights, historically, almost all of his fights go the distance, and his fights are usually very tactical. I’m hoping Munhoz can bring a little more fire out of Rivera. He is my lean here, and I’m not saying he’s the worst cash game play, but there are some better fighters at similar odds.
As for Munhoz, this is going to be a close fight. If you look at the statistics, he’s actually the fighter who lands more volume. We’ve seen his power, as well, so he definitely has a chance to win this fight. To me, it’s like a 55/45 lean towards Rivera in this one. Munhoz should be able to land a decent amount of strikes, and he always does have the outside chance of a knockout or a submission.
If your lineup has $7900 left, then maybe you can take a shot on Munhoz to fill out your team. I do think he should be able to rack up a moderate amount of points, especially if he pushes the pace in this fight and gets Rivera to open up a bit. And he could definitely land a big hook in an exchange, plus there’s the outside threat of a sub. I would say of the two fighters in this matchup, Munhoz does have more finishing potential, so the price is interesting here.
Alex Caceres ($8800) vs. Kevin Croom ($7400)
There is a high chance of a finish coming in this bout, particularly if the fight hits the floor, which I’m fully expecting to do so. If the fight hits the mat, both guys are going to have the chance to get the submission, but I would slightly favor Croom, especially at the bargain price of $7400. He is my favorite fighter on the whole card with a salary under $8000. I like Croom here for a few reasons. First off, he looked incredible against Roosevelt Roberts in his UFC debut, cashing as a +400 underdog on short notice when he tapped Roberts out with a standing guillotine choke. Watching tape on Croom, he really excels in the grappling part of MMA, especially when it comes to submissions. If you leave your neck out for just a second against this guy, you can get caught in a choke.
Croom reminds me a lot of his teammate at Glory MMA and Fitness, Darrick Minner, a grappling wizard who had a great showing against Charles Rosa last weekend. All these guys are training under James Krause, and all are performing well in the UFC. I like to ride the hot hand, and Croom has a ton of momentum coming into this fight on a four-fight unbeaten streak. He has a really good chance of winning this fight by first-round submission, so for $7400, you have to put him on your team. Croom is a great underdog for GPPs this weekend, but I also think he will have a decent amount of ownership in cash games, as well.
As for Caceres, he has looked great as of late with three straight wins heading into this fight, including a submission over Austin Springer in his last outing, scoring 98 points in the process, and against Chase Hooper, where he scored 92 points in a striking battle. Looking through his career, Caceres has had some genius performances at times, but more often than not, he loses when he fights superior grapplers, such as Kron Gracie and Jason Knight. If Croom can utilize his wrestling and get this fight to the mat, I expect him to be able to get the best of Caceres on the mat and possibly even submit him. With a mediocre 59% takedown defense in his UFC career, I expect Croom to land the takedown.
That being said, Caceres is very crafty on the mat himself, and he also has the superior striking if this fight stays on the feet. He could score close to 100 points if that’s the case, which would justify his $8900 price tag. Even though I lean towards Croom in this fight, there is a chance that Caceres could also get a finish or rack up a lot of points, so I would probably want a small stake of ownership in him. But in general, I much prefer Croom in this spot. Give me “The Hard-Hitting Hillbilly” at the cheap price of $7500.
Ramazan Kuramagomedov ($8300) vs. Alex Oliveira ($7900)
This was originally set to be a welterweight bout between Oliveira and Randy Brown, but Kuramagomedov is making his UFC debut here on very short notice. I looked into his Instagram, and he posted a photo of himself with coach Ray Sefo in Las Vegas. My guess was his manager told him to stay ready just in case the UFC calls. He’s only 24 years old, so I expect him to come into this short-notice fight with a lot of energy. I dug into his fights as part of the research for this card, and I like what I see from Kuramagomedov.
Ramazan is a wrestling-based fighter, and he has a high fight IQ. He goes for the takedowns when he can, and he is generally successful with getting his fights to the ground as his 8-0 record attests. In his last two fights, he submitted his opponents to re-ignite the interest of the UFC matchmakers. Remember, he actually competed on the 2019 season of Dana White’s Contender Series, defeating current UFC fighter Jordan Williams by split decision. On paper, that doesn’t seem impressive, but going back and watching the fight, Kuramagomedov did well in that contest on the feet, landing 175 significant strikes. He wasn’t as successful with his wrestling, but that fight was contested at middleweight, so it makes sense why Williams was harder to take down.
Yes, I am worried about the weight cut on short notice. But I really like what I saw from Kuramgomedov on tape, and I am picking him to win this fight. That being said, he’s a risky play at $8300 in fantasy just because of the short notice factor and the fact he is fighting a step up in competition.
Oliveira isn’t the greatest fighter, but he has hung around the UFC for seven years now, and he has beaten some pretty good fighters over the years. Going back and watching his fights, Cowboy is at his best when he’s on the feet. He has big power in all of his limbs and can finish his opponents if he catches them on the chin. He’s also very opportunistic with submissions on the ground. That being said, while talented offensively, he has many holes defensively. He can be taken down, he can be outstruck, and he can be outcardioed. He just has too many holes in his game these days.
Coming off of a submission loss to Shavkat Rhakmonov, I feel like this could be a good spot to fade Oliveira. My head is telling me that Kuramagomedov is going to win a wrestling-based decision. That being said, I’m a bit surprised Cowboy came in as the underdog. He does have a path to victory with a finish, so at $7900, he’s not a bad play for a GPP. I don’t trust him at all to put him in cash, but his finishing potential makes him someone you want to have a few shares in for Saturday. I’m still picking Kuramagomedov, but I think Oliveira is decent value here.
UPDATE: Oliveira fell ill at the weigh-ins, and this fight has been canceled.
Alexander Hernandez ($8700) vs. Thiago Moises ($7500)
This is a really interesting fight between two young lightweights on the rise. Hernandez is the favorite here at $8700, and rightfully so, I believe. He has more UFC experience, and he has fought and defeated better opposition, including the likes of current top contender Beneil Dariush. In Hernandez’s last outing, we saw an impressive showing from him when he knocked out veteran Chris Gruetzemacher in a fight where he displayed his hands, scoring 112 fantasy points. That was his first camp with Elevation Fight Team, and I am very excited to see what this young man does with that team going forward.
Hernandez is still very young at age 28, and he appears to be motivated to make a run for the lightweight belt. We know he has good striking and a decent grappling game, with his overzealousness and chin being his biggest problems. We saw Drew Dober and Donald Cerrone both knock Hernandez out, so going up against a big hitter, I would be hesitant to pay this kind of price for him. But in this particular matchup against a guy like Moises, who doesn’t have much of a knockout threat, I feel like Herneandez’ price tag is justified.
It’s also worth mentioning Hernandez has a two-inch reach advantage, which should come in handy. I see him being at a considerable advantage if this fight stays standing, which I believe it will. Unless his chin is just terrible and Moises catches him with one big shot, I think Hernandez styles on Moises. He’s a guy you should consider for both cash and a GPP.
As for Moises, I wanted to find more to like about him in this matchup, but I just can’t. Other than being only 25 years old and having some untapped potential, I don’t see many facets of this fight where Moises will have the advantage. He did look pretty good against Bobby Green his last time out, winning as a +250 underdog by outpointing Green on the feet. But in general, I think Moises has been pretty underwhelming in the UFC.
I look at Moises’ fight with Damir Ismagulov from 2019 as a similar matchup to this contest. In that fight, Moises struggled to get the takedown and was picked apart on the feet by a superior striker. I feel like that’s what is going to happen here. If Moises can’t get the takedowns, and I have a feeling he will struggle, I see him getting picked apart and potentially even getting stopped. I know Moises hasn’t been knocked out before, but Hernandez has a lot more power than some of the guys he fought. I don’t like this matchup for Moises, and I’m not too interested in him, even at the $7500 price.
Angela Hill ($9000) vs. Ashley Yoder ($7200)
I lean towards Hill to win this fight, but this $9000 price tag is quite hefty, considering it’s a fight that is likely going the distance. It’s worth mentioning these two fought back in 2017, with Hill winning a unanimous decision. Most women’s strawweight fights go the full three rounds, so you would be paying a premium price for what would likely be a decision win for Hill.
Good aspects of Hill are she is a high-output fighter and quite durable. The floor is generally pretty high. However, I don’t think her ceiling is that high, especially when it comes to fantasy. Looking at her fantasy points historically in the UFC, Hill has been quite inconsistent fight-to-fight, and in her last two outings, she only scored 59 points and 48 points in decision losses to Michelle Waterson and Claudia Gadelha, respectively. She has gotten a couple recent finishes over lower-tiered opponents in Hannah Cifers and Ariane Canrelossi, scoring 111 and 84 fantasy points in those two contests, but her opponent in this fight, Yoder, is generally very hard to finish. I believe if Hill wins this fight, it will likely be by decision, meaning she has a low ceiling. For a $9000 price tag, you want to be looking for fighters with a greater ability to finish fights.
As for Yoder, she does actually have a few interesting things going for her in this fight. She’s actually a bit bigger at 5’7” compared to just 5’3” for Hill, and Yoder also has a five-inch reach advantage in this spot. She is also a southpaw. I would also say that Yoder has the pure wrestling advantage in this fight. If Yoder can close the distance and tie Hill up, she could make it a grinding affair, which is her path to victory, in my opinion. Hill has been submitted by Randa Markos and Rose Namajunas, so there could be a weakness there for Yoder to exploit. Having said all of that, it’s worth noting that in the first fight between Hill and Yoder, Hill was able to go the full 15 minutes without getting tapped out, and I’d have to imagine her submission defense is better.
It’s also worth noting that Yoder just really hasn’t performed well in the UFC with a 3-5 record, and it seems like all the close decisions go against her. Looking at Yoder, $7000 makes her one of the cheapest fighters on the card. If you are just going to play all the big favorites, then you might be stuck with her at the end of your team. Personally, I see a low ceiling here for Yoder, so I wouldn’t want any shares of her unless I had no other option.
Sabina Mazo ($8900) vs. Alexis Davis ($7300)
I like Mazo in this fight quite a bit, for several reasons. First off, the age advantage for her in this fight is massive. She is just 23, compared to 36 for Davis. Anytime there is a gap in age that large, I’m almost always going to side with the younger fighter. Second, she is the longer fighter at 5’7” and with a 70” reach, Mazo also sports a two-inch reach advantage in this fight. The third reason I like Mazo here, and the most important one, is that I think this is stylistically a great fight for her. I believe this could be the fight where we see Mazo have her coming-out party.
Looking at her UFC career so far, it’s been outstanding, particularly for a young fighter. Mazo is 3-1 in the UFC, with wins in three straight fights. Not only has she been winning these fights, but she has also done quite well in the fantasy realm, scoring 125 points in her win over Shana Dobson, 81 points against JJ Aldrich, and then 108 points against Justine Kish. That’s what you want when you are going to pay a premium price at $8900. I also think there is untapped potential here with Mazo. Going back to her fights in LFA, she knocked out several women with high kicks, and I believe there is a chance she could knock Davis out in this fight, as well.
Other than in her UFC debut against Maryna Moroz, Mazo has performed really well in the UFC. She seems like someone who we can trust with our money because she will fight to the end for it.
Now, let’s talk about Davis. Obviously, Davis has a lot more experience and has fought the best women fighters in the world for well over a decade, including a knockout win over Amanda Nunes a decade ago. All of that experience can be an advantage for her, but all those wars she has been in over the years have led to her taking a lot of damage. Watching back Davis’ fights, she doesn’t have good striking defense, and I believe that will cost her here against Mazo. Davis keeps her hands low, and I think Mazo can really use her reach here and pick Davis apart from the outside. I also think Davis’ movement is very compromised from all the wear and tear. Her chin, I would argue, is also a bit questionable, as well, considering Ronda Rousey knocked her out.
In addition, Davis is someone who gets cuts on her face very easily in her fights, something which an accurate and technical striker like Mazo can pick apart. One aspect of the game that Davis could hold an advantage in is the grappling. If she can get this fight to the floor, she can maybe smother Mazo or submit her. But with 83% takedown defense, I’m not counting on that happening.
I don’t like this matchup for Davis at all. She may be able to rack up a decent amount of significant strikes and score points that way, but otherwise, I don’t like her here. I also noticed in a recent interview she said she went back to school and is very focused on her family these days, so to me, it sounds like Davis is one foot out the door. Add in the fact that she’s on a three-fight losing skid, and everything is pointing to Mazo winning this contest. I would play Mazo in both cash and GPP because I think she is going to score 100+ points.
Ronnie Lawrence ($8600) vs. Vince Cachero ($7600)
I like Lawrence here, but it will be interesting to see how he does in fantasy based on his top-heavy, wrestling-based fighting style. As we saw on Dana White’s Contender Series when he beat Jose Johnson, Lawrence is a grinder who has the ability to take the fight to the mat and dominate there. He is training at Sanford MMA with the crew of amazing fighters there, such as Michael Chandler and Gilbert Burns.
With wrestling-based fighters now getting more fantasy points for ground control time, I’m curious to see how Lawrence performs in his fantasy MMA debut here. I’m very high on Lawrence, and he is a guy I am looking to make a bet on at the -160 moneyline of the sportsbooks. For fantasy, though, I still have a lot of questions. I’m curious to see how his grappling-based style scores, and right now at $8600, I’m not sure it’s the best investment you can make. While I am picking Lawrence here, I’m thinking he wins a decision.
Taking a look at Cachero, there are definitely some things to like about him here. He is dropping down from 145lbs to 135lbs for this fight, so he might perform better in this weight class, though it’s worth noting Lawrence is still the taller man.
Cachero did not perform well in his UFC debut against Jamall Emmers in a fight where he was taken down five times and outstruck from range, but he did score 40 points. As someone at the bottom of your lineup, that’s not a terrible dog to have in a cash game just to fill out your lineup. For a GPP, Cachero is a true boom-or-bust pick here. Watching tape on him, he does have superior striking to Lawrence and more knockout power, so if he can stop the takedowns, there is an outside chance of Cachero scoring a knockout. He’s another fighter on this card training at Elevation Fight Team, too. Still, I’m not confident in Cachero here because I don’t think he will be able to stop all of the takedowns.
Dustin Jacoby ($8500) vs. Maxim Grishin ($7700)
I like Jacoby here, but the fight does come with some risks. Obviously, Jacoby’s path to victory here is to keep the fight standing and beat Grishin on the feet. The guy is an elite striker on the feet with devastating knockout power, and he’s improved his grappling skills over the years. He’s fun to watch, no doubt about it, and he looked awesome in his return to the UFC when he knocked out Justin Ledet, scoring 119 fantasy points for his owners. Not to mention his fight on the Contender Series against Ty Flores, where he just battered the wrestler for 15 minutes, landing 117 significant strikes in 15 minutes.
If he can keep this fight with Grishin on the feet, he should be able to win this fight. If the fight stays on the feet, Jacoby can win a decision or TKO. He is also training with a great camp at Elevation Fight Team, and that should help him out, too. Jacoby has the ability here to either score a knockout win for 100+ points or to win a decision where he lands 100+ significant strikes over 15 minutes, with the potential for a late finish. I expect him to be a pretty popular target in both cash and GPP games at his $8500 price tag. I wouldn’t put him on all of my teams, just because I do think there is some upset potential in this particular matchup, but I would think you would want to have some teams with Jacoby on them.
The risk here is Grishin will be able to use his size advantage, get Jacoby to the ground, and control him there. Grishin used to fight at heavyweight, and he’s the far more experienced fighter in this contest, as well. In addition, Grishin has a slight reach advantage in this fight, and he has some sneaky knockout power of his own.
Personally, I have been pretty underwhelmed by Grishin so far in the UFC. He looked awful against Tybura, scoring just 15 fantasy points in a grinding affair. However, he did bounce back with a second-round TKO win over Gadzhimurad Antigulov, scoring 99 points for his owners. I wouldn’t really want to back Grishin in this spot because I think Jacoby has the takedown defense to keep the fight standing. But if Grishin did pick up the upset, it wouldn’t totally shock me either, given the nature of light heavyweight. Still, I really don’t like him here, even at the cheap $7700 price tag. If he wins, it would likely be a wrestling-based decision and not a finish, so his ceiling is pretty low here, in my opinion.
UPDATE: Grishin missed weight. He came in at 210.5lbs for this fight. The extra weight could help him implement a wrestling-based gameplan. I’m still picking Jacoby, but this worries me.
Building Blocks: Ciryl Gane ($9000), Sabina Mazo ($8900), Mayra Bueno Silva ($8400)
Live Dogs: Kevin Croom ($7400), Pedro Munhoz ($7900), Alex Oliveira ($7900)
Wild Cards: Ronnie Lawrence ($8600), Jairzinho Rozenstruik ($7200), Nikita Krylov ($6900)
Here are my plays for this weekend. Good luck to all.
Gane/Mazo 1 to win 1.03
Ankalaev/Hernandez 1.2 to win 1
Ronnie Lawrence 1.6 to win 1
Mayra Bueno Silva 1.4 to win 1
Croom 1 to win 1.75
For more on UFC Vegas 20, check out Duke’s MMA Breakdown!