Roman Dolidze was expected to make his UFC debut a bit ago, but that was put on hold due to injuries. He’ll make the walk this weekend after roughly a year and a half absence from professional competition. Dolidze is an excellent grappler who finished his first three fights by submission within two minutes. He has focused more on his hands recently, knocking out each of his last three opponents, including a pair of vicious knockouts in his last two fights. Dolidze is only 6-0 as a professional fighter, but he enters the UFC with loads of potential because of his grappling and power.
I had some hopes for Khadis Ibragimov when he made his UFC debut, but those quickly flamed out. He lost via submission to Da Un Jung before losing a decision to Ed Herman. Ibragimov has power in his hands some submission skills, but I fail to see where he has the edge in this fight. He’s longer than Dolidze but is far too hittable for the latter’s power.
Dolidze is a -160 favorite, which is a bit close in my opinion. He boasts +120 odds to win inside the distance. I expect Dolidze to win this fight regardless of where it takes place, but I expect him to be able to dictate that, allowing him to get out of any trouble he finds himself in. The biggest concern is that Dolidze has fallen in love with his hands, although I expect him to show off his grappling to some extent on the big stage. He’s an outstanding option on this slate.
Serghei Spivac is a heavyweight that clearly wants to get the fight to the ground. His striking isn’t up to par, but he works well in the clinch and has submission skills once he gets the fight to the ground. In his sole UFC win, he submitted Tai Tuivasa via an arm-triangle choke. He does have some power, but his submission grappling is what is going to make him dangerous in this fight.
Carlos Felipe is a raw heavyweight that relies heavily on swinging wildly to connect with a heavy shot. His takedown defense has held up well early in his career, but his grappling is far from polished. He has also struggled with cardio. Essentially, he’s a dangerous fighter with heavy hands, but lacks in many other areas, as plenty of young heavyweight prospects do.
Spivac is currently a -180 favorite with +160 odds to win inside the distance. He should be able to avoid Felipe’s power shots before working him in the clinch. If Spivac can get the fight to the ground early, he boasts first-round submission upside. If he can’t, he’ll work over Felipe in the clinch, tiring him, before finding a latte finish that could come via (T)KO or submission. Regardless, Spivac is far too cheap on DraftKings this week, as his opponent’s only true path to victory is an early knockout.
Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo fought in late-February this year with the latter earning a (T)KO victory in the second round. Benavidez took the first round on all three judge’s scorecards, though, and a headbutt may have helped Figueiredo find that finish. Most surprisingly, Benavidez closed that fight as a -175 favorite but is currently a +170 underdog. There’s clear value in this line, creating value on DraftKings, as well.
Benavidez has finishing upside, ending 17 of his 28 wins before the bell. With that being said, I don’t expect him to finish Figueiredo. He is a more active fighter, allowing him to win rounds. In the rematch, Benavidez will need to find a way to get Figueiredo to the ground, as he doesn’t want to trade strikes with someone with his power for five rounds. Still, Benavidez can utilize his activity and movement to win rounds.
Quite frankly, Figueiredo will need to hurt Benavidez to win this fight. He has devastating power in his hands to go along with solid submission skills. I expect him to use his striking to try to hurt Benavidez before he would jump on a submission, though. If Figueiredo can’t find a finish, I don’t believe he’s active enough to beat Benavidez over five rounds, similarly to how the fight started early last time. Last five rounds with Figueiredo is no easy task, but I feel there’s too much value on Benavidez at the moment.