Jiri Prochazka vs Glover Teixeira
Glover has defied the odds and has become a champion at 42yrs old. He’s won 6 fights in a row, looking to make it 7. He’s an elite BJJ practitioner, with solid/powerful striking as well, but prefers to get his gm going through TDs and looking for a submission. It seemed all too easy in his title fight vs Jan Blachowicz once it hit the ground. Glover will pressure forward, putting together combinations but ultimately looking to clinch and change levels. He averages 2.11 TDs per 15mins, and on the feet, lands 3.72 SS/m, while absorbing 3.83 SS/m. On the other side, we have the fast rising Prochazka. Prior to his UFC run, he had spent time with Rizin, where he basically ran through guys, so it wasn’t a shock to see him get the UFC call. He’s just 2-0 in the UFC, but the talent/hype around him warrants the title shot. There’s no secret Prochazka wants this to be a kickboxing matchup. He’s extremely fluid on his feet, and moves extremely well in and out of the pocket. But if he’s going to not only win, but maintain the belt, he has to work on his striking defense. He fights with his hands extremely low, and it’s to disguise where he’s looking to target, and he generally has success. But it also opens him up to get cracked in return. And despite him being tough and having a good chin, eventually it’ll get to him. He lands 7.19 SS/m, and absorbs a massive 6.8 SS in return. In his most recent bout vs Reyes, there was a time when he got clipped pretty good and it wobbled him, but he seemed to get his whits about him pretty quickly. Reyes was also able to get Prochazka to the ground with relative ease when he wanted to, the first time, Prochazka basically exploded back to his feet, the second, he was in a choke, but was able to remain calm and get out of it. If those situations happen in this fight, his chances are much smaller in getting up as easily or even getting out of the fight after that point, the gap is pretty wide in terms of grappling/wrestling here. This fight won’t see 5 RDs, so whoever the loser is probably hurts your TD, but that’s the way this goes. I’m extremely torn on this one, and I’ll have shared of both, but I’m going with the younger fighter in Prochazka. His striking is so dynamic and effective, that I think he’ll overwhelm Glover and eventually catch him. But the longer this fight goes, it figures to favor Glover, so it needs to be in short order. 2nd RD KO/TKO incoming. And NEWWWWWW
PICK: Jiri Prochazka $22 FD ($8900 DK)
Glover Teixeira $15 FD ($7300 DK)
Co Main Event
Valentina Shevchenko vs Taila Santos
The “next” challenger at Flyweight is Santos. But I think that’s more to do with “there’s just really nobody else at the moment and Nunes is trying to win her belt back”. Now don’t get me wrong, Santos has reeled off 4 straight, but the wins are over McCann, Gillian Roberston, Roxanne Modaferri (retired now), & Joanne Wood. Arguably the best win out of that 4 is between Roberston & Wood. Needless to say, this is a HUGE step up for her, and it’ll really gauge where she’s at. Santos is solid anywhere the fight goes, she’s got excellent striking, and also has power. She’s also really good on the mat in terms of wrestling/grappling, and has solid TDEF (88%). But in terms of numbers, she stacks up pretty evenly in most areas, she lands 3.71 SS/m, absorbs 2.23 SS/m. On the other side, Bullet lands 3.21 SS/m, and absorbs just 1.87 SS/m. Santos averages 2.44 TDs per 15mins, and Bullet averages 2.62 TDs per 15mins. Valentina won’t look for submissions too often though, instead she’ll look to dominate you with her strength and look to get ground and pound shots off. Valentina moves too well on the feet for Santos to have any real success there, and she’ll likely be the counter puncher any way because Bullet will pressure. The small avenue Santos has in this fight is through grappling. Jennifer Maia was able to have 1 successful RD vs Bullet and that was due to being able to keep position on the mat. It didn’t happen again in the bout though, could see something similar here , but again seems really hard to say just due to how dominate Bullet has been. Santos doesn’t seem like the type that’ll get blown through like some of Bullet’s past challengers, so i could see this extending into late RD 3, but eventually I expect Bullet to get the stoppage win. I think it comes late RD 3 or 4. Her strength advantage will be too much to overcome. And STILLLLLLLL
PICK: Valentina Shevchenko $23 FD ($9600 DK)
Taila Santos $13 FD ($6600 DK)
Weili Zhang vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk
We’re getting a rematch of arguably one of the greatest WMMA fights of all time that occurred early 2020, where Zhang won via decision. The damage JJ wore was enough to sway the judges in that one, because in terms of striking accuracy, JJ was better, landing 53% of her total strikes, while Zhang was just at 41%. JJ has been sidelined since that fight, and it would appear that the winner of this one gets a title shot, so huge implications. Since that 2020 fight, Zhang has had 2 bouts vs Thug Rose, losing both in 2021, the 2nd bout being the closest. Zhang employed more of her wrestling in that bout and therefore had more success, but it wasn’t enough. This bout with JJ won’t call for that, and we should see a kickboxing match for the better part of 15mins. The fact this wasn’t rebooked for 5RDs is a crime, although it won’t come near what the first matchup brought no matter. JJ has alternated wins/losses over her last 5, and sits 2-3 in those bouts, while Zhang is 3-2. On the feet, JJ lands 6.3 SS/m, absorbing 3.08 SS in return, while Zhang lands 5.47 SS/m, and absorbing 4.13 SS in return. Zhang’s striking is good, and she’ll have more power again, but JJ’s striking is more technical, and she’ll be the one pressuring forward forcing the issue. This is a really close matchup again, and it only being 3 RDs favors JJ slightly more IMO due to cardio not being a concern late. It’ll come down again to how effective in terms of damage Zhang is able to put on her again. Both ladies should see north of 100 SS landed each, so the score in this fight should be decent on both sides. I know long layoffs are frowned upon, but I’ve got to think JJ hasn’t lost much of a step, and I’m giving her the very slight edge to take this via decision. Making her a great piece to the puzzle for LUs Saturday night. I will have shares of Zhang as well, but will be heavier on JJ.
PICK: Joanna Jedrezjczyk $12 FD ($7400 DK)
Weili Zhang $18 FD ($8800 DK)
Andre Fialho vs Jake Matthews
There’s a real chance we see Fialho back in the octagon after this 2 more times. Dude says he wants to be active and he’s living up to it. He’s 2022’s Kevin Holland, this being his 4th bout and we’re only in June. He’s 2-1 over his previous 3, the most recent 2 being KO wins. Fialho wants to get into a kickboxing match. He uses pressure to implement a powerful striking gm that causes trouble, and if he can land a couple combinations cleanly it could be trouble. As competition rises, so will the danger of him being on the other end of getting KO’ed though, because his striking defense is poor, he lands 4.23 SS/m, but absorbs 6.75 SS in return. He counts on his power being enough, and eventually it won’t be, and I think we’ll see that in this matchup. Matthews has won 3 of his last 4 bouts, and is a solid all around fighter. He moves well on his feet, and he too has power in his hands, he just doesn’t land as often. He lands just over 3 SS/m, and absorbs only 2.16 SS/m. That due in part to the wrestling/grappling gm he’ll employ, and that’ll definitely play in favor of him in this matchup. Fialho hasn’t gone up against many grapplers to this point in his UFC campaign, so we’re destined to see where he’s at in terms of defensive wrestling. Matthews lands 1.93 TDs per 15mins, and he’ll probably get 3-5 in this matchup assuming it goes 3 RDs. He won’t stand and trade with Fialho for 15mins, it’s not in his best interest. But the striking on the feet is about even for me, both equally as dangerous. And for that reason I’m taking the dog Matthew here, he’s got more ways to get it done, and I think he avoids the heavy shots from Fialho to keep himself safe. Will have a few Fialho, but not going crazy. Will be over the field on Matthews. Think he potentially could find a late RD finish in this one, but I’m being cautiously optimistic and saying he takes it via decision.
PICK: Jake Matthews $14 FD ($7700 DK)
Andre Fialho $17 FD ($8500 DK)
Jack Della Maddalena vs Ramazan Emeev
A successful UFC debut back in January of this year saw JDM get a 1st RD KO/TKO win over Pete Rodriguez. He showed off excellent pressure and being able to put combinations together successfully. He’s got really solid striking and can get you out of there with his power. On the other side we’ve got Emeev whose been around the UFC for a little while, and sits at 5-2 overall in his UFC career. He’s a well rounded fighter, but at the end of the day wants to employ a wrestling approach, and looks to try and get his opponents to the mat. His biggest issue is always being able to control fighters long enough for it to matter, especially those with solid grappling/wrestling of their own. And in terms of wrestling in this matchup I’d say it’s pretty even, although JDM does have a tendency to sometimes accept positions from the bottom. Emeev lands roughly 2.29 TDs per 15mins, so he’ll need to be on his gm. Emeev has a solid enough chin that I don’t think he’ll get KO’ed, but I think JDM will have enough offense in terms of his striking, that he’ll be able to take the first 2 RDs, possibly even the 3rd, because Emeev’s cardio starts to give out the later fights go due to his approach with wrestling. The pick is JDM via decision, and should be able to put up solid enough SS numbers to have a solid score.
PICK: JDM $17 FD ($8200 DK)
Ramazan Emeev $14 FD ($8000 DK)
SeungWoo Choi vs Josh Culibao
Oddly enough, Culibao has started his UFC career of 1-1-1, with a loss to Jalin Turner, draw against Jourdain, & a win his last time out vs Nuerdanbieke. Culibao was an undefeated prospect coming into the organization, and has solid skills needed to try and make his way up. The Draw against Jourdain looks like it’ll eventually age well for him. He doesn’t do any one thing spectacular, he just takes what’s in front of him. He’s fine being a counter striker at times, and that shows in his numbers, he lands 2.92 SS/m, absorbs 3.03 SS/m, and has 54% striking defense. On the other side, Choi lands 3.38 SS/m, absorbs 2.91 SS/m, and is much better in striking defense at 43%. This should primarily play out on the feet, and if it does, Choi’s striking is much more technical than Culibao’s, and he’ll find the target with more success. Choi also packs a punch, and could find a finish as well. The safe cash play feels like Choi. If Culibao somehow stays in it and we go to decision, it likely means he performed well and leaving it in judges hands has been dicey these last few cards. I’ve got Choi via 2nd RD KO/TKO though, his striking acumen will shine through.
PICK: Seungwoo Choi $20 FD ($9100 DK)
Josh Culibao $9 FD ($7100 DK)
Steve Garcia vs Maheshate
Maheshate is making his UFC debut after a run on DWCS. He’s a solid prospect that sits 8-1 overall in his professional career. He’s got solid power in his striking, and he’s looking to get his opponents out of there. If he’s unsuccessful early, his cardio does start to become an issue when the fight hits deep water. Hey gets Garcia who’s 2-1 to start his UFC career and is an all around good fighter. He can mix things up with his kickboxing, and also chain together TDs looking for subs in the right situations. Maheshate won’t look to ground this fight, but it’s certainly going to play out there at some point, and when it does, I think it starts to wear him down enough that he could find himself getting finished. Garcia thrives against lower level fighters who haven’t dealt with real pressure before, and that’s what Garcia provides in this one. Maheshate’s hands start to drop more and more too as fights go long, so he’s got to be careful. I like Garcia via 3rd RD stoppage, a sub or TKO/KO is possible, but I think he gets it done.
PICK: Steve Garcia $19 FD ($8400 DK)
Maheshate $10 FD ($7800 DK)
Brendan Allen vs Jacob Malkoun
To this point, the UFC had matched Malkoun up with heavy handed strikers, and he was either going to have success or he wasn’t. In his debut, he got blasted in short order vs Phil Hawes, but has since rebounded and has won back to back bouts over Razak Alhassan & Dobson. Malkoun weathered the storm early in those bouts in terms of steering clear of the big shots, and was able to chain together TDs. His cardio is solid, and he uses combinations on the feet as a means to close distance to work his wrestling. Now he gets matched up with someone who’s better than him in terms of grappling. Malkoun might be the better wrestler by a slight margin, but the grappling edge certainly resides with Allen, even off his back he’s dangerous and can find a submission. On the feet, Malkoun won’t provide the trouble’s Allen is used to there. His striking is improving, and his stats are solid, he lands 4.39 SS/m, absorbs 4.59 SS/m, while Malkoun is at 3.53 SS landed/m, and absorbs 2.64 SS/m. Malkoun averages a whopping 6.93 TDs per 15mins, while Allen sits at just over 1 TD per 15mins, but the more aggressive grappler being Allen. I’ll be interested to see how Malkoun handles this one, because if it remains a kickboxing match, he loses, and if he decides to gamble and control with wrestling, I’ve got to think Allen has enough time to find a submission. I’ll take shots on Malkoun in LUs just due to the what if, but the pick is Allen via 3rd RD sub.
PICK: Brendan Allen $21 FD ($9000 DK)
Jacob Malkoun $8 FD ($7200 DK)
Kyung Ho Kang vs Danaa Batgerel
This should be a good one. Striker vs grappler. Batgerel is coming off of a KO/TKO loss to Chris Gutierrez this past March. He’s 3-2 in the UFC so far. He’s a striker that head hunts looking for the KO. He looks for his opportunities to put combinations together while he pressures forward. He lands 5.66 SS/m, and absorbs 3.45 SS in return. Kang is much less willing to stand and trade than Batgerel’s previous 4 opponents, so I expect Kang to use his length advantage to try and keep Batgerel at bay until he can clinch and shoot for TDs. In Batgerel’s 2019 matchup vs Alatengheili, Heili had success in the later parts of that fight with getting TDs/control time. I rate Kang’s wrestling/grappling a grade above his too. Kang averages 2.23 TDs per 15mins, and basically 1 submission attempt over the same time period. I think Kang will be able to stay safe in terms of getting clipped on the feet, and that means he’s having success getting his gm going. It’s always hard to gauge whether a submission will happen, but I think Kang can work hard enough given 15mins to get one. He should wear Batgerel down with pressure/top control, and I think he can get it in the 3rd. Kang seems like a safer play on DK as opposed to FD due to control time/sweeps/TDs. Kang will be sub or bust play on FD, so be aware if using him.
PICK: Kyung Ho Batgerel $16 FD ($7900 DK)
Danaa Batgerel $16 FD ($8300 DK)
Silvana Gomez Juarez vs Na Liang
Love the matchmaking for this one. The likelihood this goes to a decision is small IMO. Juarez got a late start to her UFC career, she’s 37yrs old, and sits 0-2 to start. Liang is 12yrs younger at 25yrs old. She started her UFC career at UFC 261 last April. This is basically a grappler vs striker matchup. Juarez struggles mightily with getting arm-barred if things hit the canvas. Luckily for her, Niang seems to specialize in arm bars. Niang is the female T-Wrecks McKinney, in terms of absolutely destroying her cardio for the sake of finding an early finish. Her striking is wild, and everything she does on the feet is a means to close distance and get the fight to the mat. In her debut vs Carnelossi, she had early success, then towards the end of the RD you could see she was pretty much done, and that carried over into the 2nd RD where she ended up getting finished. Juarez will be a step ahead in the striking department, and her best chance is surviving RD 1, if she does that, her path to a win increases by a pretty good margin. Juarez dropped Demopoulos in there fight with a big overhand, but decided to go to the ground with her and got herself caught. If she allows the ref to stand her up to go back after it, she probably wins that fight. Liang won’t spend too much time trying to have a striking match before she tries to get it grounded. There will be leverage taking Juarez here, because as I mentioned the odds this goes to a decision is small IMO. But I think Liang gets it done RD 1. Juarez’s TDEF is atrocious and she won’t have an issue getting it there. The pick is Liang via RD 1 sub by arm-bar. I would definitely have shares of Juarez though, she’ll be about 20% less owned than Liang if I had to guess.
PICK: Na Liang $15 FD ($7600 DK)
Silvana Gomez Juarez $16 FD ($8600 DK)
Joselyne Edwards vs Ramona Pascual
Pascual started her UFC career off against Josiane Nunes this past February and took a decision loss to the heavy handed Nunes. This is Edwards 4th trip to the octagon and she sits 1-2 so far amongst the 3. This again essentially is a grappler vs striker situation. In Edwards previous 2 bouts, she’s 0-2, and that was against grapplers (Jessica Rose Clark & Karol Rosa). They both had success with top control and getting TDs, which neutralized what Edwards wants to do and that’s a technical counter striking match on the feet. She’ll definitely have the advantage on the feet in terms of effectiveness, but she won’t nearly pack the punch Nunes had. If it’s one thing we saw of Pascaul from her debut is that she’s tough, she got dropped twice, weathered the storm, and had a pretty solid last 5-6mins of that fight. She got TDs, but wasn’t able to do much with them. Pascual will be the bigger fighter in the octagon in this one, and that’ll help her when things hit the canvas. This is a tight one though, because if Edwards is able to keep it standing with regularity you’d think she’s walking away with the decision here. But her upside is so low that it doesn’t matter IMO. This is dog or pass situation for me, and I likely won’t have much of Edwards if at all in my LUs. I think Pascual will do enough with her TDs/control that she’ll be able to get the decision here. Relatively safe floor in the event she takes the win, but much more appealing for DK as opposed to FD.
PICK: Ramona Pascual $11 FD ($7500 DK)
Joselyne Edwards $18 FD ($8700 DK)
Best of luck to you all!
by: Chris Joseph (cmj0009)