UFC Vegas 72
Ricky Simon vs Song Yadong
This fight got moved from last week so that this card wouldn’t be even more bleak than it is. I’m glad this is now a 5 rounder. These two are part of the growing elites of this division. Simon is on a 5 fight win streak; one could presume a win here puts him next in line for a title shot, at the least an interim, would be hard to deny it. His last loss came in 2019 to Rob Font. He’s a very well rounded fighter with some pop in his hands, backed by his heavy wrestling approach. He averages nearly 7 TDs per 15mins (6.55). He’s a position over submission grappler, which bodes well for him & allows for him to maintain control better as a result. He likes to pressure forward setting up shots so he can change levels. Yadong likes to pressure forward as well though, but doesn’t mind being a counter striker. His last outing was cut short due to a doctors stoppage, but he had a good showing of hisself vs Sandhagen. He had some moments. Prior to that, he was on a 3 fight win streak, so he’s looking to get back on track. He’s much more active on the feet in terms of output, he’s landing 4.5 SS/m (absorbs 3.9 SS/m), while Simon lands 3 SS/m (absorbs 2.9 SS/m). He very rarely utilizes offensive wrestling, but his TDEF is decent/average (71%). That’ll surely be tested in this matchup. For him to have a legit shot at slowing Simon’s pace, he needs to land something that makes Simon think twice about changing levels. I’m not really sure that’ll be the case. He’s struggled staying off his back vs the better wrestlers of the division. He was taken down 3 times by Kyler Phillips & 5 times by Cody Stamann, & Simon is a much better wrestler than both of those guys in my opinion. Yadong’s best win condition would be via KO/TKO IMO, & I feel like that’s a long shot, durability won’t be an issue for these guys. Should be an entertaining affair. I favor Simon via decision.
PICK: Ricky Simon $20 FD ($8400 DK)
Song Yadong $17 FD ($7800 DK)
Co Main Event
Caio Borralho vs Michal Oleksiejczuk
Borralho has had a good showing of hisself since entering the UFC, the Brazilian came in off the back of his impressive wrestling/grappling skills, & that’s been the case up to this point. His kickboxing is a means to keep distance before he shoots for TDs. He has solid entries & doesn’t take many un-calculated risks. When he gets most people down, his top control/pressure is generally solid enough that he can keep it there. The only drawback on him would be his output while in those situations. He’s not overly active with GNP, so from a DFS perspective, it hurts his upside. He’s position over submission, so he won’t try to lock anything up for the sake of doing so. Facing Michal will be a tough task though, at least while the fight is standing. Michal hunts for the KO seemingly with every punch he throws. He’s landing nearly 5 SS/m (4.94) (absorbs 3.9 SS/m), while Caio is much more reserved & technical on the feet, he’s landing just 2.3 SS/m (absorbs 1.6 SS/m). That’s offset with him averaging nearly 3 TDs per 15mins (2.23). Michal certainly doesn’t accept positions off his back, as seen in his bout vs Brundage. But Borrahlo is just so much better in that department once he’s got you on the canvas, so I don’t see him carelessly giving positions up like that. Michal will definitely throw hard shots if given the chance for GNP. DFS outlook this is a dog or pass spot, Borralho won’t justify high price tag. But I think he wins pretty easily, so taking a shot on Michal will be a shot in the dark. I actually think Michal will put himself in a bad spot trying to get off his back & Borrahlo will lock up a submission. Think it happens in RD 2.
PICK: Caio Borralho $23 FD ($9500 DK)
Michal Oleksiejczuk $8 FD ($6700 DK)
Rodolfo Vieira vs Cody Brundage
Both guys come in having lost their last matchups. Vieira was outpointed on the feet vs Chris Curtis when he couldn’t get the fight grounded; officially went 0/20 on his attempts. His entries were extremely telegraphed & Curtis saw them coming a mile away as a result. Would’ve been interesting to see Curtis off his back against such a credentialed BJJ practitioner. We’ve seen what he’s capable of when he can. It feels like he’s being spoon fed an opponent that’ll offer the type of fight he’s looking for. Both guys are extremely active in their wrestling approaches. Vieira averages 3.9 TDs per 15mins, while Brundage averages 3.2 per 15mins. Vieira will have the clear grappling edge though. Brundage leaves his neck exposed when shooting for TDs, & if he’s to implement that game plan here, Vieira almost certainly locks up a front choke. On the feet, Vieira is actually more active, he lands 3.6 SS/m (absorbs 5 SS/m), while Brundage lands just 2.3 SS/m. (Absorbs 2.8 SS/m). Would give power edge to Vieira as well. Brundage could have success in top control if this somehow goes into the latter rounds, as Vieira has shown a cardio issue, but I don’t think it gets there. Vieira should be able to find a submission within the 1st two rounds. Brundage’s TDEF is average (68%), while Vieira still has perfect TDEF to this point in the UFC (100%). That’ll play a factor. Vieira will be smart this time around and look for his TD opportunity, from there he’ll be the clear better fighter & look for the finish.
PICK: Rodolfo Vieira $22 FD ($9100 DK)
Cody Brundage $9 FD ($7100 DK)
Julian Erosa vs Fernando Padilla
Erosa is a tough puzzle to crack sometimes. In some fights he can come out & look like one of the best in the division, then he follows it up by getting KO’ed by Alex Caceres. Wish there was legit consistency with him. His chin is an issue, so he’ll be in trouble against most who have good power in their hands. Padilla seems like the less skilled version of Erosa, but he has solid skills on the feet. Padilla can struggle a bit off his back, so should Erosa get into early trouble I would expect for him to try & get this fight grounded. Padilla will try to push a pace early & see what he can draw out of Erosa. From there this should be a banger. Erosa’s willingness to brawl has me worried, but I still think he’ll be able to outpoint Padilla to the punch. This has FOTN written all over it. I’ll have shares of Padilla, especially with such a limited card now, but the pick is Erosa to get this done via submission in RD 3.
PICK: Julian Erosa $16 FD ($8800 DK)
Fernando Padilla $14 FD ($7400 DK)
Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs Waldo Cortes-Acosta
One of two heavyweight fights on the card today. Acosta has been active since joining the UFC, this’ll be his 3rd fight since October, & a considerable step up in comp over the likes of Jared Vanderaa & Chase Sherman. But given the right matchup, Acosta does hold some advantages. He has shown the ability to keep up a pretty high pace. He plants heavy on his lead leg though, & Vanderaa was able to slow his pressure with low leg kicks. Now you get de Lima who has even harder leg kicks to offer, & even more power in his hands. Acosta leaves his head high in the pocket, so he’s there to be countered. De Lima also has the clear wrestling/grappling edge. We haven’t seen Acosta deal with that adversity yet, & De Lima is durable enough on the feet, that I don’t think the power Acosta offers will be much of an issue for him. At some point de Lima should be able to establish clear control of this one, & I think he can find a finish anywhere he wants. I’ll say it comes via TKO in the 2nd RD. Love de Lima today.
PICK: Marcos R. de Lima $21 FD ($8600 DK)
Waldo Cortes-Acosta $10 FD ($7600 DK)
Josh Quinlan vs Trey Waters
Quinlan was originally slated to fight Ange Loosa, who would’ve been much stiffer comp than his new opponent here in Waters. But much respect to Waters for taking this fight on such short notice. Waters will be huge for this weight class should he decide to stay here. He stands 6’5”, & has both a 5” inch height & reach advantage in this matchup. Waters likes to put his hands together, as evidenced by landing 4.7 SS/m (absorbs 6.1 SS/m), but he hasn’t really figured out how to successfully navigate his size advantage that he’ll most likely have over everyone in this division. Fighters will be able to find range against him since his defensive striking isn’t great at all & since he tends to back up when pressured. Quinlan has been given the slow rise in this division, but it was seen on DWCS why he got his shot. He offers excellent power in his hands & can turn the lights out quickly; & should this get extended, I think his wrestling chops are solid enough that should he need to get a TD, he can & can have success keeping Waters on his back. I don’t think it gets there though, Quinlan should find his range at some point in the 1st RD where he explodes and finds his shot. Think he gets a RD 1 KO here, at worst the 2nd.
PICK: Josh Quinlan $19 FD ($8500 DK)
Trey Waters $11 FD ($7700 DK)
Martin Buday vs Jake Collier
The first HW matchup of the evening is an interesting matchup. I think most would agree Buday got the benefit of the doubt in his last outing vs Brzeski, I don’t think he won that fight, maybe the damage is what did it, I’m not sure. Bad judging has plagued the UFC here recently. Buday entered the UFC with success surrounded around his physicality & ability to wear down on his opponents with his wrestling. He has solid hands, but not the fight ending power you’d like to see at HW. Collier was once a MW, that has settled here at HW. He’s lost 2 fights in a row, & his most recent against Barnett in embarrassing fashion. He’s 2-3 in his last 5. Collier has the output edge on the feet probably, especially early. But he starts to fade as fights go longer, & he’ll likely be the smaller guy in the octagon come fight time. Buday is the more accurate striker, landing at nearly 50% (48%), while Collier is just over 40% (42%). Collier won’t initiate wrestling exchanges either, he’ll want to keep this at range. This has split decision written all over it. I think it could be 1-1 heading into the 3rd, & Buday should have more gas in the tank by that point. Think he wears Collier down after the half way mark of the bout.
PICK: Martin Buday $15 FD ($8000 DK)
Jake Collier $15 FD ($8200 DK)
Charles Johnson vs Cody Durden
What an interesting matchup. Johnson has had an up & down start to his UFC campaign. He sits 2-2 currently & gets a potentially favorable matchup here. I had higher hopes for Johnson after the Mokaev bout, his most recent bout with Ode Osbourne only made those concerns worse. The difference in that fight came down to the TDs, Osbourne got 3 of 10 TDs, & Johnson didn’t do enough damage on the feet, so it became clear why Osbourne took it. Now he’s matched with a chain wrestler in Durden who averages over 4 TDs per 15mins (4.17); and with Johnson’s TDEF being only 60%, that won’t be good enough to stop Durden’s approach. Johnson doesn’t appear to have the power to slow Durden’s approach either. He’ll have better striking & output, but Durden’s power is actually probably better. This feels like another split decision fight that I’ve gone back and forth on all week. I started the week heavily favoring Johnson, but as the week has passed, I favor Durden slightly more. His cardio will be better down the stretch, & I think he edges a decision here.
PICK: Cody Durden $13 FD ($7500 DK)
Charles Johnson $16 FD ($8700 DK)
Stephanie Egger vs Irina Alekseeva
Egger gets someone making their UFC debut. Irina has only had 5 professional bouts to this point. Granted, Egger has only had 11, of Eggers 8 wins, 7 have come via finish. She has a knack for finding submissions. Irina generally enjoyed outmatching opponents with physicality often being the bigger fighter, that won’t be the case in this spot, although she’s still a bit taller than Egger. Irina’s striking is very rudimentary, I watched a couple of her bouts & sometimes she literally throws punches from her hips that don’t have much power at all, they’re just wild strikes that will get her cracked at this level. Egger doesn’t have great striking herself, but her mechanics are much better, & she should be able to lead to that fact alone. She also averages north of 3 TDs per 15mins (3.2). She’ll close distance early and try to get this fight in the clinch. From there, she’ll work her TDs & look to wear down on Irina. She’s very aggressive when she gets top control. In the 2nd RD she should be able to find her moment on the mat & lock up an arm bar, that’s one of her fav submissions.
PICK: Stephanie Egger $22 FD ($9400 DK)
Irina Alekseeva $9 FD ($6800 DK)
Journey Newson vs Marcus McGhee
Newson was originally scheduled to fight Brian Kelleher but had to back out at the last min so in steps McGhee. The fight will take place at CW as a result. Newson is a very patient fighter, he’s fine sitting back being patient implementing his boxing. McGhee is a solid boxer in his own right, & wants to be in your face. He’s got some holes in his striking defense, so I figure Newson will still find success. Newson’s best bet will be to drag McGhee to the mat though & turn it into a wrestling affair. He averages less than 1 TD per 15mins (0.65), but he should be smart enough to do it. On DK Newson will be the highest owned by a wide margin since they didn’t update pricing for him. So there’s an edge to fading him altogether or to fade him for McGhee in an upset. I’m sticking to the fact Newson is more experienced & should take this one rather easily. Think it’ll be a decision win though.
PICK: Journey Newson $20 FD ($7300 DK)
Marcus McGhee $11 FD ($7200 DK)
Jamey-Lyn Horth vs Hailey Cowan
To open up the day. We get two women making their debuts. Cowan has tried to make her debut a couple times since the start of the yr, it finally happens now. She’s a solid prospect who doesn’t do any one thing great, but has decent kickboxing & can wrestle a bit when needed. She’s extremely low pace though, so don’t expect her fights to really be exciting. Horth is undefeated so far, with an 100% finishing rate. She’s got some solid power in her hands & wants to keep it on the feet. Wrestling won’t be her go to, but she can hold her own there as well if it comes to it. This is such a low level WMMA bout that it’s hard to pick either with confidence. But I favor the power coming from Horth more & think she can do enough to bank 2 RDs of this one. Should go to decision. Not sure there’s a solid DFS outlook for either in a win unless something unforeseen happens. I’d be lower on this bout than most this card.
PICK: Jamey-Lyn Horth $18 FD ($8300 DK)
Hailey Cowan $12 FD ($7900 DK)
by: Chris Joseph (cmj0009)