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UFC 302

Main Event

Islam Makhachev vs Dustin Poirier


This is likely Poirier’s last title shot, and I say that meaning a loss here would require another run at it with crucial wins, and I’m not sure he’ll have it in him. He’s 35 now and not getting younger. And say what you want, but if BSD didn’t go into his last bout recovering from staph, BSD would’ve handled him. That’s neither here nor there, though. Now he’s facing arguably the best LW on the planet in Islam. It was always written that he’d take throne in a post Khabib world. This is now Islam’s 3rd defense of the title since taking it from Oliveira at UFC 280. Previous 2 defenses were to Volkanovski. 2 bouts that arguably broke Volkanovski. Poirier has that dog in him, always has. He’s extremely well rounded; he’s got solid striking, and loves to put 2-3 combos together, especially if he’s got you hurt. On the mat, is wrestling/grappling is solid, but he’ll be outmatched here no matter. In the BSD bout, BSD did have some success in RD 1, and took his back with ease without any real setup. That’s a recipe for disaster against Islam. Poirier lands 5.4 SS/m (absorbs 4.3 SS/m), averages just over 1 TD per 15mins (1.3). Him having success with any sort of offensive wrestling would be a surprise, Islam boast 90% TDEF. Islam is in his prime right now and he’s getting better, if you can believe it. I’ve seen growth in his kickboxing, and that means trouble for just about anyone. His kicks are becoming more and more of a threat. Both men have power in their hands also. Durability isn’t much of a concern on either side, but Islam is more dangerous, he just can’t get caught up in a brawl, which I doubt happens. Any sort of brawling would increase Poirier’s chances. Islam won’t take chances, his fight IQ is phenomenal. Islam will look for TDs early and often, get this grounded and lock up the submission, I say he gets a head and arm choke, 2nd RD. From DFS standpoint, Poirier would be the smarter play in hopes of an upset and salary relief, but Islam is one of, if not the safest play on the card, I just think he’s too expensive with what you’ll have to give up in terms of other dogs on this card. ANDDD STILLLLLLLLL

PICK: Islam Makhachev $24 FD ($9500 DK)

Dustin Poirier $15 FD ($6700 DK)


Co Main Event

Sean Strickland vs Paulo Costa


The rare non title fight 5 RDer. Strickland shocked the world at UFC 293, when he struck MW gold defeating Israel Adesanya, one of the best kickboxers to ever get in the octagon. Made me question if Adesanya was really starting to lose a step, or if he put so much effort into trying to beat Poatan that it shocked him to see Strickland’s effort, who knows. Strickland subsequently lost a close bout to DDP in January in his first title defense. A win here vs Costa likely gets him a rematch sometime in the Fall or thereafter. Costa is a dangerous fighter, more so early on when the power is at its best. His physical attributes and athleticism have carried him. His primary weapon is his boxing, he lands 6.2 SS/m (absorbs 6.8 SS/m). While Strickland lands 5.9 SS/m (absorbs 4.3 SS/m). Strickland is the far better defensive striker in this one. It’s that awkward Philly shell approach, but it helps him. Durability is less of a concern for Strickland here too, IMO. Strickland’s downfall in the DDP matchup were the timely TDs from DDP, Costa does not really utilize offensive wrestling at all, and that will hurt him in this matchup. IMO Costa has about 7mins or so to find a KO, if not, Strickland will start to takeover with his pressure. Strickland’s power isn’t much of a concern, it’s accumulation that’s his friend. Costa is very very close to being on a 4 fight losing streak, Rockhold almost got the upset. This is one of my fav fights to target for DFS, Costa either finds the early KO or Strickland takes over and lands north of 175 SS minimum if given 5 full RDs. I’m taking the latter in this scenario, making Strickland one of my fav plays today. If doing ME, definitely have Costa shares.

PICK: Sean Strickland $17 FD ($8800 DK)

Paulo Costa $14 FD ($7400 DK)


Kevin Holland vs Michal Oleksiejczuk


MW and WW are well represented on tonight’s card, this is 1 of the 3 MW bouts on the evening. Each of these men have had some less than appealing matchups their last few outings. Both having suffered losses in 2 of their last 3. This matchup is ideal for both of them, as it should mainly play out as a kickboxing affair. Holland used to almost be an auto play for me in DFS, but not so much as of late. Fight IQ alludes him sometimes. He would hold the edge in grappling in this matchup, but I’m not sure he’ll wisely get it there. Michal’s pressure here will be interesting for Holland to defend, Michal lands 5 SS/m (absorbs 4.2 SS/m), and has solid power. Holland lands 4.2 SS/m (absorbs 3.1 SS/m). Holland’s length should allow him to keep distance and have more success in the striking. Both men have had moments where they’ve been rocked in fights, but durability isn’t the greatest concern, so the odds this goes the distance seems pretty high. It’s really an unknown from a DFS perspective, because each could easily surpass 100+ SS landed if it goes the distance, could look akin to the Holland/JDM bout. Feels like a better fight to play on FD than DK. I like Holland to edge this one, but Michal is a sneaky sneaky dog play today, will definitely have shares of him on FD.

PICK: Kevin Holland $19 FD ($9000 DK)

Michal Oleksiejczuk $10 FD ($7200 DK)


Alex Morono vs Niko Price


This fight got moved to the main card and replaced Jailton vs Romanov. Not sure the reasoning behind it, but nonetheless, Morono wants revenge from the 2017 loss he suffered to Niko. These fighters are in completely different spaces since that bout, though. Niko has some brutal KO losses in his last 2 bouts, and he’s lost 3 of his last 4 overall. Morono has gone 2-2 in his last 4, his could very easily be 3 losses as well, his last bout vs Court McGee was closer than it should’ve, and very concerning IMO with his lack of a real game plan. By the numbers, Niko has more output statistically, but don’t know if that’s really the case over his last few outings. Niko lands 5.4 SS/m (absorbs 5.6 SS/m), while Morono lands 4.8 SS/m (absorbs 4.1 SS/m). Both men are awful when it comes to any sort of offensive wrestling/grappling. So this should play out on the feet. Morono should have this covered, I’m just not so confident he finds a KO, he’s not some bonafide KO artist. So there’s risk to playing him, but he’s the side. I’ll def be lower on him in ownership. Late finish is possible.

PICK: Alex Morono $18 FD ($8900 DK)

Niko Price $13 FD ($7300 DK)


Randy Brown vs E. Zaleski dos Santos


One of the more intriguing fights on this card, and one I’m most looking forward to. People have been raving about Brown it seems like because he knocked out an old Salikhov, while that was a nice result for him, I’m not sold that that’s who he’ll consistently become. He’s well rounded, and his size/length in this division will always be advantageous for him. His grappling is pretty solid too, don’t know that he’ll have the edge here though should it get there. They could each find success with TDs because neither TDEF is really that great, Brown 74%, ZDS 68%. Neither’s actual TD attempts are that great either, so may not see it much. Browns counter striking will be a big part of his game plan in this one, as ZDS will look to push the pace. ZDS is a bit older, sure, but he’s still very dangerous, and I think he’s more powerful in his striking. What will help ZDS most in this one is his kickboxing and his attention to throwing calf kicks and teep kicks up the middle, it was impressive the way he was able to stage a comeback vs Fakhretdinov, lead by the body kicks etc. Brown stands strong on his lead leg, and I think that plays right into ZDS’ favor. Those kicks will slow Brown down as this fight goes long. It wasn’t too long ago that Brown almost let Turman come back and beat him. Cardio always a concern for him late. ZDS makes this interesting the last 7.5mins and I think he steals a split decision.

PICK: E. Zaleski dos Santos $13 FD ($7700 DK)

Randy Brown $16 FD ($8500 DK)


Roman Kopylov vs Cesar Almeida


The lone MW bout on the prelims will be a treat. Kopylov has really started to make a name for himself, he’s won 4 of his last 5, had won 4 straight prior to his run in with the one and only Fluffy Hernandez. Kopylov has really good kickboxing, and he loves to throw hard kicks to all parts of the body, it sets up his hands. He never really rushes anything, which I like to see, then capitalizes when the moment presents itself. Almeida made his debut earlier this year, and withstood the pressure heavy wrestling approach of Budka before his kickboxing took over and he found the finish. Almeida is an extremely talented kickboxer in his own right, this is a person that has a win over Poatan. Almeida is also extremely patient and won’t rush. Almeida will likely be countering more early in this one before he finds his timing. This one is going to be close, and the odds suggest it, but I like the newcomer Almeida to get it done, possibly via late finish, with a body kick to the liver is my call. Love both sides for ME.

PICK: Cesar Almeida $14 FD ($8000 DK)

Roman Kopylov $14 FD ($8200 DK)


Jailton Almeida vs Alexandr Romanov


The lone big boy fight on the card should be a banger for as long as it last. Almeida was absolutely dominating his matchup with Blaydes up until the point he wasn’t. Blaydes is arguably the best wrestler in the division, so for Almeida to get 9 TDs in the time frame he did was massively impressive, his score would’ve been insane had he been able to keep that pace. Romanov was a dominant presence upon his UFC arrival, but has come down to earth over his last few outings. He’s lost 2 of his last 3. His TDEF is AWFUL (20%), now facing someone who boast a 60% TD accuracy and someone that averages nearly 7 TDs per 15mins (6.8). This is an uphill battle to climb for Romanov. Romanov doesn’t really threaten on the feet either, he’s not a powerful striker, but does have solid volume, landing 4 SS/m (absorbs 2.2 SS/m). Almeida isn’t a dangerous striker either, but he’s well rounded and his kickboxing is enough to get him in position to shoot for TDs, that’ll be no different here. He’ll throw 3-4 shots max before we see his first shot. That first TD and Romanov’s urgency on bottom will tell us how soon this ends. Almeida is one of my fav plays on the card, especially on DK with multiple TDs and potential control time.

PICK: Jailton Almeida $20 FD ($9100 DK)

Alexandr Romanov $9 FD ($7100 DK)


Grant Dawson vs Joe Solecki


There was a time I really considered Dawson to be the next contender at LW, then the Jared Gordon fight happened (he won), but showed some concerns, that bout was proceeded by the Rick Glenn bout where he fell off the face of a cliff late in that one and got 10-8ed in the 3rd RD forcing the draw. Most recently got absolutely flatlined by Bobby Green, so there’s still some things to work through with him. He’s not the greatest kickboxer. His bread and butter is through his wrestling/grappling, he averages nearly 4 TDs per 15mins (3.6), and averages 1.5 submission attempts per 15mins. He’s now matched with an almost carbon copy of himself with Solecki. Solecki is coming off of a bad KO loss too, where he was dropped on the side of his head violently while trying to hunt for a submission. Solecki is a bit better with his TD entries, so he could have success there if he’s the aggressor. Solecki averages nearly 3 TDs per 15mins (2.6), while averaging 1.5 submission per 15mins. This fight is much more favorable for DK than FD today clearly. And I doubt Dawson will be highly owned because of who he’s sandwiched with up top. If Dawson can lock up a submission within the first 2 RDs, he’ll be much more desirable on FD. Hard to really trust how this plays out, because neither should have high striking numbers, so will be reliant on TDs and a finish. Dawson is just a bit better everywhere, and should take this one.

PICK: Grant Dawson $22 FD ($9300 DK)

Joe Solecki $8 FD ($6900 DK)


Jake Matthews vs Phil Rowe


This fight is so frustrating to think about, because neither of these guys will ever compete for a title, they’re above average fighters at best. Matthews has alternated wins and losses over his last 6 bouts, that speaks to the frustration he brings, he’s got skill, just hasn’t put it altogether. His fight IQ comes into question also. Matthews holds the edge in wrestling here, but couldn’t confidently tell you if he’ll go that route. He averages just shy of 2 TDs per 15mins (1.6), and Rowe’s TDEF is below average (59%). The best way to describe Rowe is just a journeyman, doesn’t do any one thing great, but is seemingly getting better every time he fights in some way. His last bout vs Magny was concerning, because there was little to no urgency and he pretty much conceded to whatever Magny wanted, and that’s why he lost. He’s a bit more active on the feet, he lands 3.9 SS/m (absorbs 4.3 SS/m), while Matthews lands 3.3 SS/m (absorbs 2.5 SS/m). This fight brings some salary relief, but not a necessity, in fact, it’s one of the fights I’m lower on altogether in terms of a potential outcome. Without a finish either side, the score that comes from this won’t be optimal. However, I think Rowe does enough in this one to edge the win. Especially if Matthews doesn’t shoot for TDs.

PICK: Phil Rowe $13 FD ($7900 DK)

Jake Matthews $15 FD ($8300 DK)


Bassil Hafez vs Mickey Gall


This is a rematch 10yrs in the making. Gall and Hafez had a grappling match that Hafez won, now it’s a different arena. Hafez almost pulled off an improbable upset in his debut vs JDM. He only landed 3/20 TDs, but his pressure was relentless. He’s got solid overall skills, but needs to work on his striking. Gall will have the edge in standup. Gall has seemingly lost a step, he’s lost 3 of his last 4. And this is another bad matchup, his TDEF is only 30%, that won’t bode well in this one. Hafez is durable, and the only way I think he loses is via KO, not sure Gall has that in him. Wrestling could cancel itself out, but grappling edge goes to Hafez. This fight is better suited for DK IMO. Without a finish, Hafez’s overall striking numbers won’t do him any favors. Gall is a random play if playing ME in hopes he surprises, but doubt it. He’ll be less than 10%.

PICK: Bassil Hafez $21 FD ($9200 DK)

Mickey Gall $8 FD ($7000 DK)


Ailin Perez vs Joselyne Edwards

Women’s Bantamweight

The solo WMMA fight on the card. Should be interesting. Edwards has more UFC experience, has won 3 of her last 5, and been in some questionably decisioned bouts, that’ll likely be the case here, as this one should play out close. Edwards is well rounded, doesn’t do anything great, and her size gives her an edge. When on the feet, she likes to stay at range with her kickboxing. Perez is aggressive, and will push the pace in this one. She averages nearly 5 TDs per 15mins (4.8). That will be an issue for Edwards in this one, as her TDEF is average at best (64%). Perez moves well in the pocket, therefore is able to avoid taking a lot of damage on the feet, she absorbs just 1.1 SS/m, that number aided because of her overall wrestling heavy approach. Edwards struggles off her back, and if she finds herself there, Perez will rack up control time. Perez also very active with her strikes in clinch/wrestling exchanges. This just feels like a bad matchup for Edwards, but I’ve been seeing a lot of love for her this week, hoping that inflates her ownership. I’ll have shares of Edwards on FD as I’m playing ME over there, but DK will love to roster Perez, her ownership may go under the radar today.

PICK: Ailin Perez $18 FD ($8700 DK)

Joselyne Edwards $13 FD ($7500 DK)


Andre Lima vs Mitch Raposo


This is the under the radar fight, and it opens things up. Raposo getting the call on about a weeks notice, but he wanted this shot. Lima comes into this one off the back of an improbable way to win your debut, via someone biting your inner arm. Both these guys are high pace fighters, there will be no shortage of action here. Lima is very well rounded, likes to mix it up on the feet, lands 3.9 SS/m (absorbs 2.6 SS/m), while averaging 1.3 TDs per 15mins. His grappling is there too, Raposo will have to watch his neck. Raposo is trying to capitalize on his shot in what is basically a hometown fight. He’s got relentless wrestling and will constantly shoot for TDs, he averages nearly 4 TDs per 15mins (3.6). On the feet, he loves throwing the big overhand right. He just can’t fall in love with it, because Lima will pick up on it and counter in a big way. Lima allowed himself to be pushed on the back foot quite a bit in his debut, and you could argue he was losing that up until the bite. Raposo will present the same amount of pressure in this one. And I like the kid to spring the upset in his debut. He’ll be overlooked and under-owned, which likely spikes Lima’s ownership. Great matchup to target either way.

PICK: Mitch Raposo $10 FD ($7600 DK)

Andre Lima $17 FD ($8600 DK)


By: Chris Joseph (cmj0009)

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