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Fantasy MMA – UFC DraftKings Picks – UFC on ESPN+ 29

High Priced

Anthony Smith

Anthony Smith has shifted into his prime at light heavyweight, posting a 4-1 record since moving up to the weight class. His only loss came to Jon Jones, but he has since defeated Alexander Gustafsson via submission in Sweden. Smith has finished all of his fights at light heavyweight after plenty of impressive finishes at middleweight. He’s an active striker, who possesses power. Smith also has earned a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which could end up being a key to this fight.  

Glover Teixeira has found plenty of success in the UFC, but has somewhat turned into a gatekeeper at light heavyweight. He has wins against Nikita Krylov, Ion Cutelaba, and Karl Roberson in his last three fights, although they didn’t come without controversy. Teixeira simply has beat elite level competition in quite some time. He is a second degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, though, making him dangerous anytime the fight hits the mat. Teixeira also comes with plenty of power in his hands. 

Smith has the grappling credentials to neutralize Teixeira to an extent on the ground. The majority of this fight is likely to take place on the feet, and it’s unlikely Teixeira’s aging chin will hold up to Smith’s power. Surprisingly, he’s only a -170 favorite, but he boasts -110 odds to win inside the distance. Teixeira isn’t completely done, though, making him a live dog, but Smith is an elite play with a five round floor on this slate. 



Philipe Lins

Philipe Lins will be making his UFC debut, but he has plenty of high level fighting experience. He fought in Bellator for a while before moving to heavyweight and winning the 2018 PFL Heavyweight Tournament. Lins is a solid striker, who has tremendous power in his hands. He also possesses a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, though, making him an extremely dangerous heavyweight if this fight hits the mat. 

Andrei Arlovski had a bit of a career resurgence, defeating Junior Albini and Stefan Struve in back-to-back fights. Since then, he has lost 5 of his last 6 fights, although his loss to Walt Harris was overturned to a no contest. Surprisingly, his chin held up fine over that span before being knocked out in only 30 seconds by Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Arlovski is still a technical striker, but he’s simply out of his prime after being in so many wars. 

Lins is only a -145 favorite in this fight, keeping his price tag a bit low. He does own +150 odds to finish this fight inside the distance. Arlovski could give him some trouble with his technical striking, but I’m expecting a knockout from the PFL winner. Lins is a high upside option, who comes with a bit too low of a price tag for this card. 


Low Priced

Ike Villanueva

Ike Villanueva is a bit of a journeyman, who is finally getting his shot in the UFC. He’s a bit small for a heavyweight, but packs plenty of power in his punches. He enters this fight winning 13 of his 16 wins via (T)KO. For being a journeyman, Villanueva has found some talent that has appeared in the UFC. He’ll finally get his chance to impress in the organization this Wednesday. 

Chase Sherman was formerly in the UFC, composing a 2-5 record. He lost 3 of those 5 fights via (T)KO, displaying below average striking defense. Sherman is quick for his size, though, and comes with power in his hands. 

This should quickly turn into a firefight. These two heavyweights are likely to walk towards each other and throw until someone is knocked out. For that reason, I see this as closer to a 50/50 fight than the odds suggest. Sherman has shown to be hittable throughout his career, and Villaneuva has enough power to turn his lights out. It simply comes down to who lands that punch first. Villanueva is far too cheap for a fighter with +235 odds to finish inside the distance.

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