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UFC 286 in London

Main Event

Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman

Welterweight Championship

The trilogy is here. After a thrilling end to the last matchup in which Usman dominated the better part of 25mins. Conceivably down 3-1 heading into the 5th RD, Rocky needed to pull a rabbit out of a hat to steal the show and he did, a small faint got Usman to drop his right hand enough to expose his head before Edwards fires a perfect shot to put Usman’s lights out. It’ll be interesting to see what Usman’s approach will be, don’t care who you are, from a psychological standpoint, something like that in that moment changes you in some aspects, whether positive or negative. Usman is used to being able to stalk his opponents, putting his hands together in the pocket along the way. He’s got solid power, and can find the kill shot if given opportunities. He also employs a pretty strong wrestling game, he averages 3 TDs per 15mins. He got 5 TDs in their most recent meeting on 12 attempts. Edwards thrives best when he can become an effective counter striker. He’s typically very moderate in terms of his volume. He’s landing just 2.59 SS/m (absorbs 2.28 SS/m). He’ll try to maintain distance with his kickboxing before the hands start to come together. Both men have proven durable, so this matchup could look a lot like their last. I’m not discrediting what Edwards was able to ultimately do, but unless something even more drastic has changed in terms of his wrestling defense, Usman should look to go back to the well and try to get this fight grounded. Edwards TDEF is decent (68%), but over the course of 25mins, you need to be near 80%+ to have a meaningful impact. Edwards will have the ENTIRE arena on his side, so that could play into his overall confidence even more. But I have to go with my gut here, it’s not like there’ll be an athletic drop off of any kind from Usman here, so long as he’s not a head case, he should replicate most everything from the last outing. Usman at this price is a gift with what he’s able to do with activity. And that’s what I’m banking on. The greats find a way to fight through adversity to get it done. If doing ME, of course play some Edwards again, but the Nigerian Nightmare is out for revenge. AND NEWWWWWWWW

PICK: Kamaru Usman $22 FD ($8900 DK)

Leon Edwards $16 FD ($7300 DK)

Co Main Event

Rafael Fiziev vs Justin Gaethje


This should be an absolute banger. Gaethje has been atop the division for a couple years now. And isn’t far removed from fighting for the Lightweight belt. He lost to Khabib via submission at the tail end of 2020. Although Gaethje has a solid wrestling background, he’s never chosen to use it throughout his UFC tenure to this point. He likes to stand and bang. He has solid power, and he likes to pressure his opponents so he can put combinations together. As a result though, he can take beatings on the feet in return due to his carelessness. He lands 7.46 SS/m (absorbs 7.85 SS/m). That’s a ton of activity. Fiziev is slightly less active in terms of output, but same story, he lands 4.81 SS/m (absorbs 4.86 SS/m). Both men like to pressure. Fiziev will be much quicker in terms of his movement in the pocket, which’ll help his counter striking. Oddly enough, the war between Gaethje & Michael Chandler didn’t result in Chandler registering a KD, but Oliviera was able to land clean & get one on Gaethje before that fight ended shortly afterwards. So wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Fiziev is able to land one. Fiziev should be the cleaner striker in this one, and given that it’s only 3 RDs, Gaethje will come out guns blazing. I’ve gone back and forth with this one, each have the ability to find a finish with their power, and to this point, Fiziev’s chin hasn’t been tested the way it could be in this one. But I’ll side with the up and coming prospect in Fiziev to land more damaging shots, and at the least winning a decision. But with his usual volume, think he’ll need a finish to hit value. Gaethje makes for a great value piece though, cause should his chin hold, he’ll easily eclipse 100+ SS in a decision.

PICK: Rafael Fiziev $18 FD ($8800 DK)

Justin Gaethje $12 FD ($7400 DK)

Gunnar Nelson vs Bryan Barbarena


Nelson was originally scheduled to fight Daniel Rodriguez before Rodriguez had to back out. In comes Barbarena on short notice. And as far as styles go, couldn’t be more opposite, committed wrestler/grappler vs committed striker. And when all else fails, back the grappler, especially if they’re durable. In which case Nelson is. And on the feet, Nelson’s karate style approach will slow things down for Barbarena and he’ll never be able to get the brawl he’s looking for. Barbarena thrives off of pace and pressure, and once he’s done that, he typically has his opponents where he wants them. Unfortunately we won’t see much of that in this one, as he should spend most of this fight off his back defending submissions. While Nelson only averages just shy of 2 TDs per 15mins (1.86), he generally finds success with control, and  Barbarena’s TDEF is awful (54%), so won’t be much resistance when it comes to getting the fight grounded for Nelson. In Nelson’s near 3yr layoff return fight against Takashi Sato, he was fine notching a TD in each RD and salting away the clock. He was a perfect 3/3 on his attempts. From a DFS perspective, this’ll come down to how quickly if and when Nelson can find a finish. At his price, on DK it needs to come early or late with a ton of activity in terms of striking numbers, TDs, & control. Not sure he’ll do enough to justify his price, as I believe a 2nd RD submission is coming, which means his overall volume won’t be that high by the time he gets it. Decent play, and could be leverage with low ownership.

PICK: Gunnar Nelson $20 FD ($9200 DK)

Bryan Barbarena $10 FD ($7000 DK)

Casey O’Neill vs Jennifer Maia

Women’s Flyweight

For a short period of time, this fight was scheduled on the prelims while Luana Carolina vs Wood was on the main card, no offense to Carolina or Wood, but that was almost a disaster level move, glad they made the switch. O’Neill is returning after a 13 month layoff recovering from ACL surgery. All things appear successful in terms of recovery. O’Neill is a touted young, up and coming prospect who’s 9-0 (4-0 UFC) professionally, but not having fought the toughest competition yet. Maia will certainly be her toughest opponent to date. Maia has been around the UFC for a little while, and sits 5-5 with the organization so far, and in late 2021 after a small win streak, got her chance at the belt vs Shevchenko, but lost a clear decision. She did however, show her toughness and ability to withstand the constant pressure that comes with fighting Shevchenko. She even won a RD off of her. Maia is really well rounded, on the back of her Muy Thai approach, she’s a technical striker, and has solid chops in the grappling department. She lands nearly 4 SS/m (3.98) (absorbs 4.3 SS/m). While O’Neill lands a massive 8.6 SS/m (absorbs just 4.6 SS/m). O’Neill also averaging 2.5 TDs per 15mins. And while the numbers suggest Maia’s TDEF being rather poor (55%), it won’t be a cake walk for O’Neill to get TDs at will, in fact, I could see her abandoning that approach if she’s unsuccessful with her first few attempts. I don’t think she’ll necessarily need that part of her game though, her output/pressure/pace should get her ahead on the scorecards early. However she does tend to slow a bit as the fights get long, so she’ll need to be weary of not getting herself in a bad spot late. I do think she takes this via decision. She’ll be too quick on the feet. Her striking numbers could look similar to her Modaferri bout where she landed 220+.

PICK: Casey O’Neill $17 FD ($8500 DK)

Jennifer Maia $14 FD ($7700 DK)

Marvin Vettori vs Roman Dolidze


This is an interesting bout to open up the main card Saturday night. Dolidze has found a groove, and has reeled off 4 straight wins, 3 via finish. It’s no secret Dolidze will be a popular pick amongst dog plays Saturday night, and that’ll largely put me off of him. It’s helpful to be on the right side of chalk, but there’s also bigger downsides if you’re wrong, as Dolidze generally needs a finish to hit value, even at such big dog odds. Dolidze is very methodical on the feet, and prefers being a technical kickboxer with some solid power, over a volume heavy guy. Which’ll make this fight even more interesting because Vettori is most certainly going to apply nonstop pressure. Vettori doesn’t have power in his hands, but he will have volume. He lands 4.2 SS/m (absorbs 3.5 SS/m), while also averaging nearly 2 TDs per 15mins (1.89). Whereas Dolidze lands just 2.6 SS/m (absorbing 2 SS/m). He averages over 2 TDs per 15mins. The advantage in the wrestling will clearly go to Vettori, Dolidze’s TDEF is awful, and now pit against a solid wrestler, he’ll need to be on his P’s and Q’s at all times. Dolidze’s best chance will be via some sort of weird happening on the mat like we saw vs Hermansson, because on the feet, he’ll be outmatched, and he should honestly lose most wrestling exchanges. Vettori hasn’t been submitted in 25 professional fights, don’t see that changing much here. Dolidze’s chances of winning a decision here are slim, so one has to favor Vettori, he’s fought the best of the best in this division. Could be a sneaky good play on DK with control time and TDs.

PICK: Marvin Vettori $19 FD ($9100 DK)

Roman Dolidze $12 FD ($7100 DK)

Jack Shore vs Makwan Amirkhani


Amirkhani could be on the verge of getting cut soon. He’s lost 4 of his last 5, and the UFC keeps throwing stylistic matchups at him that don’t particularly favor him, this is no different. Prior to Shore’s last outing vs Ricky Simon, he was undefeated as a professional at 16-0, but the skill level was too much to overcome, and he got out worked before eventually getting submitted in the 2nd RD. Maybe that puts people off of him in this one, I hope it does, because he’s in a potential smash spot. He’s extremely talented and has a slick submission gm hisself. He’s also got solid striking with some decent power. He’s landing nearly 4 SS/m (3.96) (absorbs just 2.3 SS/m), while averaging early 4 TDs per 15mins (3.6). So he’s fighting at an insane pace at all times. That wont bode well for Amirkhani, who himself is a solid grappler/submission threat, but he has about 1 RD of solid cardio in him before things go south, and that’s a recipe for disaster with this type of opponent. Shores TDEF is solid too (80%), so will be tough for Amirkhani to have any type of sustained success in that area anyway. He’s only landing 1.3 SS/m (but absorbs nearly 3 (2.98)). Where he’s going to undoubtedly struggle will be defending TDs, he’s awful there (38% accuracy). Shore will do what he wants when he wants in this one, just a matter of how long the beating will be once RD 2 starts. At some point in the 2nd we’ll either get a TKO or sub from Shore. Making him a decent play up top to target.

PICK: Jack Shore $21 FD ($9500 DK)

Makwan Amirkani $9 FD ($6700 DK)

Omar Morales vs Chris Duncan


This is another bout set up for pure fireworks. Morales has been on a bit of a skid, dropping 3 of his last 4, and 2 consecutively via KO/TKO, but to much tougher competition than what Duncan will be. Duncan is wild on the feet, simply put, and in his DWCS bout, he got dropped multiple times due to his recklessness, but recovered enough to still be dangerous, before he ultimately clipped his opponents chin. That approach will only work for so long and against a certain level of competition. Morales, at 37 now, feels like the right opponent to have some success against. He’s now deemed chinny, so why not give him a slugger for an opponent who’ll be fighting in front of a home crowd. Morales has decided to stick at Lightweight, which is good from a weight cut/preparation standpoint, but he’s ultimately reached his peak in terms of where his career is heading. He’s talented enough of a striker, that he could very possibly land something that not only drops Duncan, but puts him out. However opponents have been able to easily get him on the back foot early, and that’ll only help Duncan’s case. Always a toss up at this price, but I like the hometown kid to score a KO at some point in the 1st with how reckless he can be.

PICK: Chris Duncan $15 FD ($8000 DK)

Omar Morales $15 FD ($8200 DK)

Sam Patterson vs Yanal Ashmouz


We have another hometown kid and DWCS product in Patterson, making his UFC debut. He’s going to be huge for this division should he stay, from a physical standpoint, he’s 6’2 and has a 78” reach. He’ll have a 6” edge in height and 10” edge in reach in this particular matchup.  Yanal will also be making his debut here. The Israeli prospect is just 6-0 professionally, so still very green. Yanal likely has a bit more power on the feet, while Patterson will have the kickboxing advantage. Patterson doesn’t have power, so most everything he does on the feet is meant to try and close distance to look for TDs. Nothing is pretty about his approach, in fact it’s wild at times, but it’s worked for him to this point. He’ll eventually get the fight he wants here on the mat, and look for ground and pound, or look to take the back and lock up a rear naked choke. I favor the latter in this scenario. With such uncertainty around his overall performance, he makes for a complete question mark in terms of where he’ll end up on the spectrum today. I likely avoid him and hope he doesn’t smash. But I think he’ll get a 2nd or 3rd RD submission. Just a matter of other peripheral stats & control time.

PICK: Sam Patterson $19 FD ($9000 DK)

Yanal Ashmouz $11 FD ($7200 DK)

Muhammad Mokaev vs Jafel Filho


If I’m not mistaken, Mokaev is biggest fav on the card, and rightfully so. Pegged as one the division’s next goat’s, Mokaev sits perfect professionally at 9-0 (3-0 UFC), and I for one, appreciate that the UFC is taking their time with him as far as talent with his opponents, this again being the case. Filho is making his debut here, and has some experience, he’s got 16 professional fights so far, and has a ton of amateur experience, but of course the talent level of opponent is a concern when stepping up here. He’s got decent all around skills, but best at being an offensive wrestler/grappler hisself, which figures to not go well in this particular matchup. Mokaev is extremely athletic, and can employ his approach from a variety of different ways. He’s averaging nearly 9 TDs per 15mins (8.8), that’s an insane level of pace/pressure. But that also tells us that his TDs aren’t truly effective if his opponents are constantly getting to their feet, that’ll be something I’m sure he’ll work on as he grows. But one thing I took note in prior to this one, was apparently Mokaev having suffered a shoulder injury back in December that generally takes 12-16 weeks to fully recover from, which means we’re still in that time frame, so something to monitor, but even if that weren’t the case, at his price, unless dogs galore win, he won’t matter much, staying away here altogether. There’s a chance he gets a late submission in RD 2 or 3, but hard to see. A clear decision feels like safest play.

PICK: Muhammad Mokaev $23 FD ($9700 DK)

Jafel Filho $8 FD ($6500 DK)

Lerone Murphy vs Gabriel Santos


Murphy has been away from the octagon for about 18mos now, and makes his return in front of a home crowd, couldn’t ask for better. He’s another up and coming prospect that most are looking forward to watching. He’s got solid all around tools, and deceptively powerful strikes. He was originally slated to fight Nathaniel Wood, which would’ve been an absolute banger, but he had to withdraw. In comes newcomer Santos on short notice, also undefeated. Santos is actually a really solid replacement, he’s got fast hands, extremely durable, and can make life tough for guys on the mat if he can get it there. Murphy should hold the advantages everywhere this goes though. He’ll likely look to dictate things at range with his kickboxing as he pieces together his hands on the feet. And while the price from a DFS perspective is nice, not sure the output mixed with Santos’ durability is a recipe for a high score, which is what you need in most cases. He could surprise with some sort of dominant performance, but wouldn’t bank on it. The pick is Murphy via decision.

PICK: Lerone Murphy $16 FD ($8300 DK)

Gabriel Santos $14 FD ($7900 DK)

Christian Leroy Duncan vs Dusko Todorovic


This could be a coming out party for several hometown heroes on this card, CLD is another. He’s an undefeated prospect (7-0), with his most recent stint being with CW after a solid amateur career. CLD has made himself known for his KO power in multitude of ways, which’ll make this matchup with Todorovic interesting. When Todorovic is at his best, his employing TDs and trying to grind his opponents out with GNP etc. Lately, he’s abandoned most of those skills in lieu of standing and striking with his opponents. Which is an issue because he’s very flat footed/stiff on the feet. He lands 5.6 SS/m (absorbs 4.5 SS/m), but would he wise to try and wrestle early and often in this one. CLD has shown a tendency to have trouble off of his back with solid wrestlers. Not counting on Todorovic’s fight IQ to win that battle though. Instead, CLD will dictate range early, and likely eventually find a sequence that gets Todorovic out of there. We can hope it comes RD 1, but RD 2 at the latest. Todorovic has shown to have cardio issues if he pushes a high pace early.

PICK: Christian L. Duncan $18 FD ($8700 DK)

Dusko Todorovic $13 FD ($7500 DK)

Jake Hadley vs Malcolm Gordon


This is actually really solid matchmaking. Gordon always seems to find a way to make fights interesting when he’s clearly outmatched. The Mokaev fight for example, there were moments in scrambles where he effectively reversed position and had Mokaev in a bit of trouble at one point. The issue with that is Mokaev is almost purely a wrestler/grappler right now, in this matchup, he’s facing someone dangerous on the feet or the mat. Hadley has extremely good boxing, who he’ll always credit his dad with,  and lands just over 4 SS/m (absorbs 3.5 SS/m), while landing at a near 50% clip (48%). Gordon is much more patient, and doesn’t have a ton of volume typically, and that’s generally a byproduct of how his fights play out, but he lands just 1.9 SS/m (while absorbing 2 SS/m). He’s also averaging nearly 2 TDs per 15mins (1.6). He’d by wise to try and get his offensive wrestling going, he’s got solid top pressure. This is another home cooked matchup made in heaven for Hadley. He should be better anywhere this fight goes, and I could honestly see a late finish in the 3rd via TKO/KO just due to the pressure Hadley will put on him. Any time Malcolm Gordon is on a card you have to be aware he could just ruin someone’s day with something unforeseen, I just don’t see that here.

PICK: Jake Hadley $20 FD ($9300 DK)

Malcom Gordon $11 FD ($6900 DK)

Joanne Wood vs Luana Carolina

Women’s Flyweight

Wood is in need of a win in a big way here, she’s lost 4 of her last 5 and 3 straight dating back to 2020. The 3 straight losses are nothing to scoff at though, they were to now champ, Grasso, champ contender/challenger Taila Santos & Lauren Murphy, so some tough competition, she could just never get over the hump. However, Wood is best as a kickboxer on the feet, and this matchup should allow for her to employ just the game plan she needs to pull out a W. She’s landing 6.76 SS/m (absorbs 4.5 SS/m), while also averaging 1.5 TDs per 15mins. I think she’ll be wise to keep this standing though, as Carolina’s best win condition is likely through wrestling using her frame/strength. Carolina has solid striking herself, she just needs more volume to have better chances of getting ahead on the scorecards. She lands 4.6 SS/m (absorbs 3.5 SS/m). She’ll look to use her kicks to keep range as she tries to put her hands together. Carolina will be more powerful of the two, so if she has improved, it could get interesting. Wood is more of a gatekeeper type opponent than anything. Carolina is about 8yrs younger as well. I’m riding with the dog in Carolina just slightly, think she can turn one of these RDs into a wrestling affair in which she should be able to dictate. This has split decision written all over it. Wood is a risky play, because if she is able to pop off on the feet, the range of her striking numbers could be as low as 60 or as high as 150+, who knows.

PICK: Luana Carolina $13 FD ($7600 DK)

Joanne Wood $17 FD ($8600 DK)

Ludovit Klein vs Jai Herbert


After getting flatlined by Ilia Topuria, Herbert’s most recent bout vs Kyle Nelson felt all but inevitable that someone would have their lights turned out, instead, it turned into a technical/methodical kickboxing match where they stared at each other for the better part of 15mins. Nelson tried to create some scrambles that Herbert took advantage of and had success with some control at times. Same could he said for Klein, he’s been extremely patient in his last two outings vs Mason Jones & Devonte Smith, but showed flashes in each of being a capable threat. The Jones bout was his most complete performance to date probably. Jones was an overhyped prospect though, IMO. Herbert’s size edge (6” height, 5” reach), could cause problems for Klein though, which’ll result in him trying to chop away at the legs of Herbert earlier and often. Herbert should also be wise to not engage in a firefight with him. The home crowd has been nice for Herbert in the past, and I think the same could be said here. He’s got solid power in his combinations too, so if he can land flush consistently, could be trouble for Klein. Klein has garnered this KO recognition due to the head kick KO over Shane Young in his debut, but hasn’t gotten a KO since, so I’m not buying that. Klein should be the overall better fighter. But I’m backing another home town kid to get it done in front of familiar faces, likely via decision.

PICK: Jai Herbert $15 FD ($7800 DK)

Ludovit Klein $16 FD ($8400 DK)

Juliana Miller vs Veronica Hardy

Women’s Flyweight

Miller is making her 2nd trip to the octagon after winning the Ultimate Fighter in 2022 when she fought Brogan Walker. I personally favored Walker in that fight due to the aggression/power she had, but Miller’s size/grit never allowed for Walkers aggression to take over, instead, it was Miller’s. Her physical size will be an issue for this division as she continues getting better. She’s well rounded, and throws various types of attacks on the feet with her striking and kickboxing. Hardy retired a few years back in 2020 after her bout with Bae Malecki, but she’s decided to give it another run. Hardy struggled with the size of Malecki and dictating range, and that could very well be the case here. Hardy is best as a grappler if she’s able to get her TDs going. It’ll be tough to consistently get inside Miller’s range enough to have success there IMO. This feels like a setup fight for Miller to start her career off with a decent matchup where she has a chance to once again dominate. The ownership on Miller should be sub 20%, especially with it being the first fight on the card. I think she has a chance to make this fight look similar to the Walker fight, where she eventually starts to overwhelm Hardy and have her way. She’s quietly one of my fav plays on the card today. I think she gets 3rd RD TKO.

PICK: Juliana Miller $21 FD ($9400 DK)

Veronica Hardy $10 FD ($6800 DK)

By: Chris Joseph (cmj0009)

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