UFC Vegas 64
Marina Rodriguez vs Amanda Lemos
I love this matchup. But I think odds should be slightly closer than they are, nonetheless, it should deliver. Rodriguez is coming in riding a 4-fight win streak, while Lemos has won 4 of her last 5. For a minute, Lemos looked as though she’d be the next clear title challenger after blitzing through some of her recent opponents. That momentum was halted in her bout with Andrade where she got caught in a standing triangle. It showed there was still a clear gap between the top of the division and where she was at the time. Rodriguez is now in line for a title shot, and should she win here, I don’t think you could deny that she’d see the winner of Esparza/Weili. So big things are at stake, a case could be made for Lemos as well too with a win. Andrade fits in this equation somewhere though, so we’ll see. As far as this matchup goes, it should largely play out on the feet. I’d give the technical edge to Rodriguez and the power edge to Lemos, especially early on. Rodriguez lands 5.03 SS/m (absorbs 3.07 SS/m), while Lemos lands 4.87 SS/m (while absorbing 4.4 SS/m). Lemos thrives early generally with her pressure, and backing her opponents up against the cage, which allows her to get flowing in her striking. That’ll be tougher to maintain in this matchup, as Rodriguez also does well with her pressure, and will look to try and get ahead. Rodriguez typically starts slow though, so I can see a scenario where she drops RD 1 just due to lack of overall volume and Lemos being more aggressive. Rodriguez is durable though, and I don’t think she’ll be at risk of taking anything too extremely damaging to matter. Lemos’ best chance to steal this fight is through TDs. She averages just over 1 per 15mins (1.07), and has an opportunity to find success there because Rodriguez’s TDEF is below average (65%). If she can get it there, control time could be pivotal in what decides it. However, I believe cardio will be a concern as we hit RDs 4 & 5 of this one. Lemos will start to slow, her strikes won’t be as powerful, and by which time, Rodriguez will have found her groove. From a DFS perspective, Lemos is definitely one of my favorite dogs on the slate, but I have to side with Rodriguez. She’ll land more cleanly down the stretch that’ll separate herself on the scorecards. Like her via decision.
PICK: Marina Rodriguez $22 FD ($8800 DK)
Amanda Lemos $16 FD ($7400 DK)
Co Main Event
Neil Magny vs Daniel Rodriguez
This’ll be an interesting affair. A contrast in approaches from these gentlemen to say the least. Magny is 3-2 in his last 5 fights, while Rodriguez is starting to get some momentum, and has won 4 straight. Although most consider his last fight vs Jingliang a lucky outcome, and I’d agree. Jingliang landed more impactful shots, and although he was a counter striker for most of it, he seemed slightly more effective. It’s clear Rodriguez has a ceiling, he’s pretty much one dimensional, he’s primarily a boxer. He likes to put combinations together and look for the KO. He lands 7.75 SS/m (while absorbing 5.3 SS/m). His pressure is relentless. He’s always moving forward looking to cut off the cage to get his hands working. Magny on the flip side, is much more patient. He only lands 3.5 SS/m (absorbs 2.1 SS/m). That’s due to the well roundedness of his gm and being able to effectively wrestle. He averages just shy of 2.5 TDs per 15mins (2.3). Rodriguez’s TDEF is average (73%), so I imagine he’ll lean on that as a game plan to slow the striking of Rodriguez. Magny likes to grind matches out, nothing will come easy against him. I don’t think either is in danger of the others power so to speak, it would be the volume of Rodriguez that could be an issue. This is a close one to me, and I slightly favor Rodriguez’s boxing down the stretch. Magny will have some success with TDs as I mentioned, but how much control time is to be determined. Rodriguez’s pace will play a big role here. Via decision is likely outcome.
PICK: Daniel Rodriguez $15 FD ($7800 DK)
Neil Magny $15 FD ($8400 DK)
Chase Sherman vs Josh Parisian
The lone big boy fight on the card today should be interesting. Sherman was on a 4-fight losing streak prior to his last bout vs Vanderaa where he picked up a 3rd RD KO. Parisian has been up and down but has won 2 of his last 3. Of the two, Parisian is more well-rounded, and can rely on his wrestling in certain matchups. Today would be one of those opportunities. Whether or not he opts to actually go there is another question. Sherman has the faster/cleaner hands of the two. He lands 6.5 SS/m (absorbs 6.5 SS in return, so he’s taking one to give one). He’s been pretty durable, and Parisian’s power won’t cause too big of an issue. Parisian is also pretty solid in terms of his volume, and he lands just shy of 5 SS/m (4.97) (absorbs 5.1 SS/m). For heavyweight fighters that’s an insane pace and it won’t change here. I think Parisian will try to get this fight in the clinch and look for TDs, especially as the fight goes long. He averages just over 1 TD per 15mins (1.06), but Sherman is extremely complacent off of his back, and if Parisian can get it there, he has a chance to find a finish via ground and pound in all likelihood. Either way, I feel like this fight finishes. Parisian is also tough, but Sherman has more power, and will certainly land at a consistent rate. I favor the hands of Sherman more here, and I don’t trust that Parisian’s fight IQ will come in play quick enough and he’ll be willing to stand and trade. 3rd RD KO/TKO for Sherman.
PICK: Chase Sherman $16 FD ($8200 DK)
Josh Parisian $14 FD ($8000 DK)
Tagir Ulbanbekov vs Nate Maness
For whatever reason, Maness is making the cut down to Flyweight. Will see if this is a permanent move for him. But his weight cut looked rough, seemed tough enough when he was at bantamweight being that he has a larger frame for that division. Maness is action packed. Prior to his last outing vs Umar Nurmagomedov, he had won 3 straight. It was impressive in a sense that he avoided being submitted, but he still could do nothing about getting off the canvas after Umar got his TDs in each round. Ulbanbekov isn’t as dominant in top positions, but Ulbanbekov will definitely get TDs today, and at the least he’s relentless in looking for ways to lock up a submission. He averages just under 4 TDs per 15mins (3.67). Nate’s TDEF is solid (77%), but he’ll give up some TDs today. On the feet, I give power edge to Maness, but technical striking to Ulbanbekov. Maness isn’t as busy on the feet either, only lands just shy of 2 SS/m (1.95), while Ulbanbekov lands 3.4 SS/m. Both are patient in their kickboxing, but will be nonstop action. I favor Ulbanbekov in every area of this fight, I’m not sure of his long term potential in the division, but he’s talented enough to get the job done here. I’ll say Maness is one of my fav dogs to target today, because should he win, I think it’ll be a finish. Ulbanbekov has more ways to grind a decision out at the least, and that’s what I think he does here. His overall stats should be solid too and should garner a good score.
PICK: Tagir Ulbanbekov $20 FD ($8600 DK)
Nate Maness $11 FD ($7600 DK)
Grant Dawson vs Mark Madsen
Dawson took this fight on short notice. As a result, he missed weight by 1.5lbs, nothing egregious, and the fight will continue. Dawson is on a solid run right now though, he’s 4-0-1 in his last 5, with some solid wins/finishes. His most recent was against Jared Gordon. He got a late finish in that one via submission in the 3rd. He broke Gordon over the course of 15mins. Madsen is undefeated as a professional, and is an Greco Roman Olympic silver medalist in wrestling. And despite being 10yrs older than Dawson. Dawson has more MMA experience. They’re nearly identical in their stats as fighters. Dawson lands 3.17 SS/m (absorbs 2.56), Madsen lands 3.7 SS/m (absorbs 3.9). And in the wrestling/grappling department, they each average just shy of 4 TDs per 15mins, 3.97 for Dawson, 3.9 for Madsen. And neither has good TDEF, so they should both have moments of success there. However, I think Dawson’s physicality is prevalent in this matchup, and we’ve seen Madsen’s cardio fade a bit as fights get deep into the 3rd. Dawson fades a bit as well, but seems to always have more left than his opponent. Madsen does make for an interesting underdog play today, but the upside is limited. Dawson has more finishing capability, and he could very well find another late RD stoppage here. Regardless I think he’s a great play today, his control time, and the likelihood he gets 4-5 TDs makes for a great play.
PICK: Grant Dawson $19 FD ($9000 DK)
Mark Madsen $11 FD ($7200 DK)
Shayilan Nuerdanbieke vs Darrick Minner
I love this fight for some reason. Your typical wrestler vs grappler matchup. Minner is a kill or be killed fighter, and for that reason alone is why I love this matchup. 22 of Minner’s 26 professional wins have come via submission. 6 of Shayilan’s 10 professional losses have come via submission. He also has 10 submission wins as well. Minner is most dangerous the first 5mins of a fight. He pretty much sells out for the guillotine choke, and if he’s unsuccessful, it can start to fall apart with his cardio zapped. Shayilan has excellent cardio, and going hard for 15mins isn’t an issue. And on the feet, I think Shayilan has the better striking with more power. Neither of them are world beaters by any means, but in terms of this matchup, he’s the better one. Their striking numbers will never be gaudy due to their heavy wrestling approach, but Minner lands 2.58 SS/m, while Shayilan lands just 1.8. Their claim to fame is getting TDs and having solid control time. Shayilan averages 3 TDs per 15mins, and Minner averages 2.4. On paper Minner has better TDEF, both both below average. Shayilan will pressure and look for TDs more aggressively, and Minner will be ok with that because he knows he’s looking for the neck. However, I think Shayilan survives the danger of the first 5mins, and once he does that, he’ll start to break down Minner with his physicality and constant pressure. He has an opportunity to finish on the feet, but I think he gets a ground and pound stoppage late in the 2nd RD. This fight is a favorite of mine to target, because either way if finishes. So play both sides if doing ME.
PICK: Shayilan Nuerdanbieke $18 FD ($8900 DK)
Darrick Minner $12 FD ($7300 DK)
Miranda Maverick vs Shanna Young
Maverick got back on track in her last outing vs Mazo locking up the submission win. Prior to that, she had gone on a 2 fight skid. But if you ask me, she beat Maycee Barber. UFC seems to be giving her a layup with this one to get her confidence back rolling. In a division that’s so too heavy, they’re looking for solid contenders. Maverick is one of them. She’s extremely well rounded, can mix it up on the feet, and has a really solid wrestling/grappling base to fall back on. She averages 2 TDs per 15mins, and on the feet lands 3.6 SS/m. She’s got really good movement in the pocket as well, but ultimately wants to pressure forward, look for clinch situations and get the fight grounded. She should find success doing that here. Young picked up a surprising win her last time out, which likely saved her job for the moment against Mazany. Mazany just absolutely zapped her cardio, and Young capitalized on it. Young is slick on the mat herself, and can find submissions, so Maverick will need to keep that in mind. Maverick’s top control will be too much for Young though, and at some point in RD 2 or 3, I think she finds a submission after breaking Young down a bit. Not too often that I like to pay up for the most expensive fighter, but there are solid dog options today that you can get to her comfortably.
PICK: Miranda Maverick $23 FD ($9400 DK)
Shanna Young $8 FD ($6800 DK)
Mario Bautista vs Benito Lopez
Both these fighters are young in their MMA careers. Bautista is 10-2 professionally, and Lopez is 10-1. Lopez has been away nearly 3yrs and is looking to pick things back up. He’s won 3 of his last 4. Bautista is starting to find is footing, and has won 4 of his last 5. He got an impressive 1st RD submission win over Brian Kelleher back in June. Lopez has solid tools, but he’s mainly a kickboxer, and wants the fight to remain upright. He lands 4.49 SS/m (absorbs 4.8 in return). Doesn’t have much power though. Bautista is more well rounded and his overall output will be higher. He lands 5.27 SS/m (absorbs 3.9), and he averages 2.1 TDs per 15mins. His main goal should be staying poised and not rushing, because he’s better everywhere this fight goes. I think he’ll work his TDs, and look for submissions on the mat. I think he’ll get one in the 2nd RD. Making him a really solid play for the day.
PICK: Mario Bautista $22 FD ($9100 DK)
Benito Lopez $9 FD ($7100 DK)
Polyana Viana vs Jinh Yu Frey
This is one of the fights on this card that will probably underwhelm. Viana is a bit of a 1 trick pony. And if she can’t lock up the submission generally off of her back, then she’s in trouble. We saw that in her last outing vs Ricci. Ricci wasn’t scared to play wrestling with her, and had success with control and getting TDs. Frey will likely be able to stuff most TD attempts from Viana. And when she does, she’ll be able to get ahead in the striking. Frey will also have success up against the cage in the clinch. Viana has solid hands when she wants to put combinations together. But the power edge lies with Frey, and Frey is also pretty durable. From a DFS perspective, this might be a full stay away spot. The upside from both is extremely limited, especially for Frey. Because there’s the off chance Viana does get her sub on the mat. I think Frey does enough to win the judges over to edge out a decision.
PICK: Jinh Yu Frey $14 FD ($7900 DK)
Polyana Viana $17 FD ($8300 DK)
Johnny Munoz vs Liudvik Sholinian
Sholinian didn’t get the luck of the draw in his UFC debut. It was a short notice bout with Jack Shore where he was basically controlled on the mat for 15mins. He did a solid job of staying safe from being submitted, but wasn’t effective in many other areas. However, between that bout and this one, I noticed his physique looks completely different than when we saw him vs Shore, and that typically means a fighter put their head down to actually get better in all aspects. He has solid wrestling, however not much of a submission threat. On the feet, it was clear his striking needed to get better, and we’ll see what improvements were made in that regard, especially in his striking defense. He seemed too willing to stand in the pocket with little head movement. I don’t think he’ll have to fear the power of Munoz on the feet though. Munoz is 1-2 in the UFC. Highly regarded for his BJJ and submission ability. But last time out showed that his chin is suspect, he took a big shot from Gravely that put him out fast. I don’t think Sholinian offers that level of power, but worth it to note. Sholinian has good TDEF, he stuffed 6 of 8 attempts from Shore, and I think Shore has better entries than Munoz, so will be interesting after the first few shots what happens and how Munoz responds if he’s unable to get it grounded. I’m not saying Sholinian will win this, but I think odds should be closer, and it won’t be the dominant performance most think Munoz will have in this spot. Sholinian is honestly a fav dog target on this card, he could find himself having success in wrestling down the stretch of this fight. From an outright standpoint though, it would be wise to take Munoz, he’s more dangerous, and could probably do enough on the mat to win RDs. Don’t think he scores well today though.
PICK: Johnny Munoz $19 FD ($8700 DK)
Liudvik Sholinian $10 FD ($7500 DK)
Jake Hadley vs Carlos Candelario
Candelario missed weight by 2.5lbs, but the fight continues. He has slight moments of success his last time out vs Tatsuro Taira, who most thought would come in and dominate to an early finish. But he was prepared enough to avoid being submitted after a couple of attempts, and even had his own opportunity at one point. He’s a scrappy fighter. Lands 3.1 SS/m (absorbs 4 SS/m), while averaging 2.3 TDs per 15mins. Hadley is a DWCS alum with some raw talent on the back of his wrestling/grappling gm. But I just didn’t see the hype, and he ran into a much better grappler his last time out in Nascimento, and lost a decision. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe Candelario has the BJJ skills of Nascimento, but he is talented enough that he could win some exchanges, especially with solid control time. Hadley’s TDEF is below average too, so there will be moments where he’s on his back. He doesn’t accept positions though, and is always looking to get back up. For as much wrestling as he does, he averages less than 1 TD per 15mins (0.65). So will be interesting to see how aggressive he is in initiating. Hadley is young and improving, and for that reason I give him the edge here, but I don’t think he gets a submission, which is what he’ll need to hit value. Solid control is in play though. But from a DFS perspective, this is dog or pass in hopes Candelario surprises.
PICK: Jake Hadley $21 FD ($9200 DK)
Carlos Candelario $10 FD ($7000 DK)
Tamires Vidal vs Ramona Pascual
To open the card, we have Vidal who’s making her UFC debut vs Pascaul who’s looking to get her first win. She’s 0-2 to start her UFC tenure. Both these women are green, and there’s room for improvement. Vidal is only 6-1 overall professionally. Her biggest weapon is a big overhand right, and solid wrestling. Other than that she’s average. She’s the favorite here I guess due to a finishing aspect, but Pascaul has shown she can take a beating and survive to the final horn. She was outmatched in her last outing in terms of kickboxing, and couldn’t get her wrestling established. She was only able to get 1 TD on 11 attempts. She should have the edge in pure striking in this matchup though, she doesn’t load up to take big swings and misses like Vidal will do. She’s just not as aggressive as she should be. Vidal will be the one to dictate most of this fight on the feet, it’ll be up to Pascaul to counter effectively and hopefully time her TD attempts better. I’m willing to take another chance on her outright for the win. I like her via decision.
PICK: Ramona Pascaul $13 FD ($7500 DK)
Tamires Vidal $17 FD ($8500 DK)
by: Chris Joseph (cmj0009)