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UFC 289

Main Event

Amanda Nunes vs Irene Aldana

Women’s Bantamweight

There’ll certainly be tons of questions answered at the conclusion of this fight. Is Nunes still the pure dominant fighter we’ve seen over the last few years? Outside of the outlier with the first Peña fight. Or will she finally start to look mortal like Shevchenko? She’s 35yrs old now, so the end is sooner rather than later, & I could see a scenario where retirement could come if she were to lose this bout. Just a hunch, nothing has been said in the media/socials about this at all. She was set to face Peña in a trilogy matchup before injury forced Peña out. Insert Aldana, who’s currently the 5th ranked Women’s BW. This felt like the right replacement between who’s left ranked 2nd-4th (Pennington/Vieira/Holm). Aldana looked absolutely lost in her bout with Holm a couple years ago, but aside from that, she’s won 4 of her last 5 matchups. She’s extremely solid everywhere the fight goes. A solid striking arsenal at her disposal helps her dictate most fights she’s in due to the power. Now when faced with someone with the ultimate equalizer, how will she perform? She lands 5.3 SS/m (absorbs 5.7 SS/m), that is an awful lot of damage coming back her way. Nunes could catch her at anytime & end this one. But on the flip side, if Nunes isn’t careful, she could get caught too. Nunes’ best path to victory will be through her wrestling/grappling; she averages nearly 3 TDs per 15mins (2.6), but Aldana is pretty solid with her TDEF (81%). However, once Aldana is off her back, she struggles to get back standing against strong wrestlers, Nunes is definitely that. Holm was able to mount her it felt like, with ease once it got there. That could spell trouble here. Not to mention, on the feet, Nunes isn’t half bad herself, she lands 4.4 SS/m (absorbs 2.75 SS/m), so much more defensively sound on the feet. She’ll look to push the pace early to try & get after Aldana, in the way Holly Holm did. The pick is for Nunes to find a late finish of some kind, whether by TKO or sub in the 4th/5th RD, I think Aladana will start to break as this fight gets long. The issue here, with such a limited card, is wondering should you take the extreme chalk or fade her? She’s the most expensive on both FD/DK. And where her salary is, she needs to absolutely smash, & I’m not 100% confident she does to make her feel worth it. She’ll need north of 120 on DK for me to feel confident she’ll matter in terms of optimal. If doing ME, of course take your shots with her, it’s a no brainer, but if doing SE contest, there’s an edge to fading her, she’ll be 60%+ in those contest minimum.

PICK: Amanda Nunes $23 FD ($9500 DK)

Irene Aldana $13 FD ($6700 DK)


Co Main Event

Beneil Dariush vs Charles Oliveira


There’s currently a new king of the LW division & it’s no longer Oliviera. For quite some time, Charles had gone on an insane run, making his way up to the title. Then he met his match against current Champ, Islam Makhachev. The size/grappling edge was too much to overcome, & so now we’re here, at basically a de facto #1 contender fight. Whoever wins this, likely gets next crack at Islam. Charles does a ton of things well, his striking has improved so much over the years, & his power sneaks up on you. And during his run, he was faced with mostly strikers, so his grappling was a huge edge in most bouts, now, he’s faced Islam, & gets his chance with Dariush, who’s another extremely skilled wrestler/grappler. So when that’s no longer a clear edge for Charles, where do we go? Could he catch  Dariush on the feet? Sure, but durability hasn’t really been a concern for him. Dariush will bring some decent power in return too, & we’ve seen Charles get dropped several times over his last few fights, he’s just always been able to recover because people hesitated to immediately follow him to the mat. If that happens here, I expect Dariush to follow up quickly with either GNP, or assuming top position on the mat. Dariush has solid TDEF (80%), so it’ll be up to Charles to make his entries/attempts count should he choose that path. I’m not sure he will, in fact, I think Dariush will try to be the one that initiates the offensive wrestling. This is Charles, so we know the finishing upside is there, but this feels like just a step below the Islam matchup again. If the wrestling/grappling is neutralized, it’ll be tough sledding to try & take this one. I like for Dariush to find a 3rd RD submission in this one. Charles will be popular as a dog play today, especially in SE’s, so there’ll be leverage in playing Dariush over him. Sneaky good play today, with only 11 fights on the card.

PICK: Beneil Dariush $17 FD ($8600 DK)

Charles Oliviera $14 FD ($7600 DK)

Mike Malott vs Adam Fugitt


Malott getting his first PPV slot in front of his home crowd. He’s an extremely well rounded fighter. He has solid power in his hands & gifted as a wrestler/grappler with solid submission skills. Insert Fugitt; he’s coming in off of an impressive performance back in February via 1st RD finish over Yusaku Kinoshita. Fugitt will push a pace early, looking to throw volume. He’s landing 5.4 SS/m (absorbs 5.9 SS/m). His striking defense needs some work (46%), he’s willing to take too much damage in order to land shots of his own. Malott needs to definitely be mindful of that. Malott is much better defensively, moves his head well in the pocket & won’t over punch. Malott lands 4.49 SS/m (absorbs 3.4 SS/m) (54% striking defense). He’s averaging nearly 2 TDs per 15mins (1.9), while Fugitt averages nearly 5 (4.7), with such a short list of fights for both, those numbers will start to change for both. I still favor Malott as the better overall grappler here for sure. This feels like the UFC giving Malott a chance to shine under the bright lights. He’ll be able to land a counter shot on Fugitt when he gets too aggressive that’ll start the beginning of the end. Think he gets it done within the 1st 2 RDs. Malott one of my fav plays on the card today.

PICK: Mike Malott $19 FD ($8800 DK)

Adam Fugitt $12 FD ($7400 DK)


Dan Ige vs Nate Landwehr


This has potential to be FOTN on the surface. Ige picked up a much needed win earlier this yr in January with a 2nd RD KO over Damon Jackson. Ige has been near the top of this division for a few years now, & he’s currently 13th. Not sure Landwehr will crack the Top 15, but a win here could inch him closer. Landwehr may have a few more fights before I could see him retiring in all honesty. It’s got a clear ceiling, especially in such a loaded division. You could very well say the same for Ige, but he’s still just 31yrs old, so he could theoretically slowly make his climb. Landwehr needs to be hopeful to make this a long drawn out fight, that’s his best win condition. All Landwehr knows is how to do is brawl, he’ll take that fight any day. Ige will have more power, & we’ve seen Landwehr dropped in several fights. It would be wise for Landwehr to actually pursue wrestling from the start, Ige’s TDEF is less than thrilling (52%). Landwehr fight IQ not always there to believe he’ll make that decision though, & I think that’ll get him in trouble. Ige will piece him up while they’re at range with one another, & at some point he’ll land a shot Landwehr won’t get up from. Think it’ll be 2nd RD when it happens. Landwehr definitely a solid underdog to take a shot on though, he’ll fight for your money.

PICK: Dan Ige $20 FD ($9100 DK)

Nate Landwehr $10 FD ($7100 DK)


Marc-Andre Barriault vs Eryk Anders


I’m intrigued to see this one. I’ve been back & forth on this one all week. MAB coming off an impressive performance, a TKO win over Julian Marquez this past March. His durability held up, as it was a war pretty much the entire time, he was just able to wear down on Marquez. One of MAB’s biggest strengths is his cardio, he seems to always have enough to keep going. Now he gets Anders, another cardio machine. Anders is 2-2, 1 NC over his last 5, coming off of a win over Kyle Daukaus. Anders likes to pressure forward to close distance. He looks to get his opponents up against the cage, where he can work his wrestling & look for TDs. One of MAB’s flaws would be his TDEF (62%), he’s below average there. Anders averaging nearly 2 TDs per 15 mins (1.6), in a fight he knows he probably won’t win a pure striking affair. He’s smart & physical enough to go after his bread & butter. Anders doesn’t have real durability concerns either, so this should see the full 15mins. Dogs are scarce on this card, so I’m siding with Anders slightly in this spot, think he can do enough to bank 2 RDs. He’s active in the clinch & wont just lay & pray. I understand MAB is in front of his home crowd, but he’s 0-2 on Canadian soil as it stands.

PICK: Eryk Anders $14 FD ($7800 DK)

MAB $16 FD ($8400 DK)


Nassourdine Imavov vs Chris Curtis


Another bout I’m interested in seeing, mainly due to the nature of Chris Curtis bouts & how he responds following L’s. Imavov was on a 3 fight win streak before his last outing vs Strickland. The pace was a concern once the fight hit the latter RDs of that one. Both fighters are 3-2 over their last 5. Curtis likes to stand and bang, we haven’t seen much of his skill set aside from boxing in the pocket & solid defensive wrestling. He has 100% TDEF to this point, which is impressive. Imavov doesn’t shoot for TDs often, but he’d like be the better grappler. His size difference could play a factor in the wrestling in this one. But on the feet, I give technical edge to Imavov, they call him ‘The Sniper’ for a reason. He’ll need to utilize his range to keep distance & try to pick Curtis off the way Hermansson did. Curtis loves the body shot, so Imavov would be wise to not take too many. There’ll be a lot of love for Curtis this weekend due to familiarity on such a short PPV card, which means you can live or die on fading him. I think Imavov will be able to get out in front early enough in the first 8mins, that Curtis would likely need a finish to make up the deficit. Should see anywhere from 85-100 SS from Imavov after 15, which would make him a decent play at his price, probably better play on FD with no real confidence he’ll be able to have any control time.

PICK: Nassourdine Imavov $18 FD ($8500 DK)

Chris Curtis $13 FD ($7700 DK)


Miranda Maverick vs Jasmine Jasudavicius

Women’s Flyweight

Maverick has been out of action since November, but picked up a decision win over Shanna Young. Maverick is still very young, only 25, but has been thought of as a prospect that could make a real run in this division. She’s 3-2 in her last 5, should be 4-1, she beat Maycee Barber, don’t care what anyone says. She’s got a solid skill set, with a great wrestling base. She’ll be the better striker of the two, & will have more power than Jasudavicius. Jasudavicius wants this to turn into wrestling affair though, that’s her best win condition. She could definitely have some success with TDs, Maverick has been less than average defending them to this point (44%). Aside from that, Maverick holds advantages everywhere else in this one. She could certainly find a finish on the feet, Jasudavicius’ striking defense could use some help, she lands 2.9 SS/m (absorbs 3.8 SS/m). Her size should help her in most fights in this division, but if she doesn’t know how to use her weapons, it won’t matter much. Maverick will be the aggressor, & she’ll have success with TDs, she’s extremely active on the mat, always throwing punches, so she’ll certainly fight for your money. I like Mav via decision, but she could have enough stats to make her salary worth it. I’ve seen people making bets on Jasudavicius, & that happens when dogs are scarce on a card, even if she were to upset, don’t see her score being that great.

PICK: Miranda Maverick $22 FD ($9300 DK)

Jasmine Jasudavicius $8 FD ($6900 DK)


Qileng Aori vs Aiemann Zahabi


I’m surprised Aori won his last fight. Seemed like Perrin did enough to take the decision. But prior to that, Aori had a nice finish win over Cameron Else. Aori wants to push pace, he’s well rounded, & looks to utilize all parts of MMA in his game plan. He’s a decent wrestler, but doesn’t generally look to find submissions. This’ll make for an interesting bout with Zahabi. Zahabi is extremely low volume, but has decent enough power to detour anyone from wanting an outright brawl with him. He’s a technical striker, & will be ahead in terms of skill there IMO. Aori could have success in numbers, but not sure he’ll have enough success with damage on Zahabi. The difference will come in if Aori is able to get Zahabi to the mat with some sustained success, I’m not sure he can, Zahabi’s TDEF (75%), is pretty solid. This is one of my least favorite fights to target on this card. Zahabi seemingly isn’t changing his approach in all likelihood & even should Aori win, his score won’t be ideal. I favor Zahabi via split decision.

PICK: Aiemann Zahabi $15 FD ($7900 DK)

Qileng Aori $16 FD ($8300 DK)


Blake Bilder vs Kyle Nelson


Bilder is a DWCS product. He made his debut this past February at 284 vs Shane Young. He’s athletic & will push a steady pace. He doesn’t have much stopping power on the feet, but that doesn’t detour him. Nelson, has been around the UFC for years, it feels like he should be older, but he’s only 32yrs old. Nelson has excellent power, but it starts to fade as the fight gets longer. He’s a solid wrestler, & ultimately wants to get the fight there. He averages nearly 2 TDs per 15mins (1.7), but extremely patient on the feet, lands just 2.8 SS/m (absorbs 4.8 SS/m), while Bilder lands 6.5 SS/m (absorbs 5 SS/m). On the feet, Nelson will be in trouble, he’s too patient to try & counter that he gets behind early. Nelson has been chinny in the past, so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that he could get KO’ed here. Bilder will be far more athletic, so once it does hit the canvas, I think Bilder will find success there, especially in top position. I’m iffy on the DFS result in this one, I favor Bilder, but Nelson’s approach could really slow what could be, primarily in terms of the striking number output. Think a late finish is a possibility, but I think Bilder takes a decision.

PICK: Blake Bilder $19 FD ($9000 DK)

Kyle Nelson $11 FD ($7200 DK)


David Dvorak vs Stephen Erceg


Dvorak was set to fight Matt Schnell, but once again Schnell backs out. So in steps Erceg on short notice. Dvorak is on a 2 fight losing streak, so a win here is much needed. Dvorak is a technical striker, but most recently, he’s been extremely patient on his feet, which won’t get it done, especially against better competition. He doesn’t have one shot power, but if he has success on the feet, he can get things flowing. He’s a solid grappler, but think he could have trouble there vs Erceg. Erceg is a very talented fighter, he moves well on his feet, & his striking is decent. But his bread & butter is through wrestling/grappling. He looks to take the back while he looks to lock in the RNC. Dvorak has solid TDEF, so it could be an issue getting him there, but at the least, it’ll slow Dvorak’s approach even more. This pick is more so a fade on Dvorak than outright confidence in Erceg. But I like Erceg for the upset. I just don’t favor Dvorak that much, & he’d surely need an outstanding performance to pay off his price tag, & I don’t think he can do that unless he finds a 60 second bonus shot.

PICK: Stephen Erceg $9 FD ($6800 DK)

David Dvorak $21 FD ($9400 DK)


Maria Oliveira vs Diana Belbita

Women’s Strawwweight

To open the night, this should be an entertaining bout in the SW division. Both ladies coming off of a loss, & each are 1-3 in their last 4. A loss here could mean walking papers for the loser. This has all the makings of a striking affair for the bulk of 15mins. Maria lands 5.2 SS/m (absorbs 5.3 SS/m), while Belbita lands 6.4 SS/m (absorbs 6.1 SS/m). Belbita could clearly separate herself on the cards if she looks to wrestle. Maria’s TDEF is below average (47%), & she struggles off her back to get things standing again. This’ll be a close hour on the feet, but even there, I favor Belbita. Surprised Belbita is the dog in this one. Think she takes a decision.

PICK: Diana Belbita $15 FD ($8000 DK)

Maria Oliveira $16 FD ($8200 DK)

By: Chris Joseph (cmj0009)


Prizepick Plays

Mike Malott Less 8.5 FT

Marc-Andre Barriault Less 82.5 FS

David Dvorak Less 89.5 FS

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