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UFC 279

Main Event

Tony Ferguson vs Nate Diaz


This card got turned on its head in a big way. Diaz was originally scheduled to fight Chimaev, after what most figured to be an awful going out party. Now he gets a much more favorable matchup vs Ferguson. Chimaev has weight cutting issues, and weighed in at 178.5, that’s severely massive and it was said that it was due to a medical issue, but who knows. Lets dive into this one though. Ferguson’s last win came in 2019 vs Cowboy. Since then, he’s lost 4 straight, to the likes of Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira (former champ), Beneil Dariush, & Michael Chandler. All 4 of those are easily considered the elite group of the LW division. But in Ferguson’s prime, he likely beats all of them. So it’s very clear the decline has happened in his career. He’s 38yrs old now, and I don’t imagine many more fights beyond this one. Diaz’s last fight was against current Welterweight champ, Leon Edwards last summer, in a fight he was clearly outmatched in, and was being dominated, but in the 5th RD, he caught Edwards, and it stumbled him, looked like he had a shot to get a finish, but he didn’t push the pace in that moment, and it allowed Edwards to recover just enough to seal the victory. IMO both these guys are shells of their former selves, but the toughness hasn’t gone far, before the KO loss to Chandler, Ferguson was holding his own, he dropped Chandler in the 1st RD of that one. So I feel as though both guys will want to stand and bang in this one. Diaz has good grappling off of his back, so should Ferguson decide to change levels, he’s not out of danger, but he’s crafty himself. He defended well against Oliviera on his back in their bout. Down the stretch of this one, I think Diaz will have more to offer, I feel it’s tough to call a finish in this one, but who knows. On DK, I think this is a must have either way, they didn’t adjust the pricing, just updated who was fighting who, so they’re both extremely discounted. FD actually update pricing based on spreads etc. I like Diaz via decision in what will most certainly be a fan favorite fight once we get there.

PICK: Nate Diaz $16 FD ($6600 DK)

Tony Ferguson $20 FD ($7200 DK)

Co Main Event

Khamzat Chimaev vs Kevin Holland


Props to Holland on accepting this bout. He was scheduled to fight Daniel Rodriguez on this card at CW, in what was largely going to be a standup affair. This fight on paper is a matchup nightmare. To say Chimaev lost fans this week is an understatement, I went to UFC 273 and saw him fight Burns, the energy in the arena when he came out was deafening in support of him, it certainly won’t be that way for the near future. More importantly, if he wants to legitimately challenge for the belt, his weight cutting needs to be a non issue, seems like it wasn’t to this point. If Chimaev chooses, he could make this a short night for Holland, it’s no secret Holland’s biggest struggle right now is his wrestling/grappling. And should Chimaev go there right out the gate, it’ll look like the fight he had with the Leech. Holland won’t be able to match anything if it hits the mat. If Chimaev’s ego gets in the way though, and he decides he wants a standup, he’ll be putting himself in trouble. Holland lands nearly 4 SS per min (3.9, absorbs just 2.41). He’s extremely good at maintaining kickboxing range that’s comfortable for him, and if he can touch you consistently, it’s likely not a good thing. But Chimaev has a great chin, as we saw in his bout with Burns. He got cracked many times in that one. Chimaev lands nearly double the amount of SS per min (7.89, absorbs 4.3 SS/m). He’s patient, but will take advantage of his openings. His clearest path will be through his wrestling/grappling though. He lands 3.23 TDs per 15mins, has 100% TDEF, and is successfully on nearly 70% of his TD attempts (66%). He also averages almost 3 submission attempts per 15mins (2.7). If Holland pulls this off, his starlight will be through the roof, I just don’t see it happening. On DK, I wouldn’t touch him at all at his price anyway. I think Chimaev will do what he does best, and as a result, will find a finish within the 1st 2 RDs. To really justify his price, he’d need it to come in RD 1. Regardless I believe he’s safe for cash.

PICK: Khamzat Chimaev $23 FD ($9600 DK)

Kevin Holland $9 FD ($8700 DK)

Daniel Rodriguez vs Li Jingliang


Our third and final reshuffled matchup. Jingliang was scheduled against Ferguson at Welterweight, now gets Rodriguez who was scheduled at CW vs Holland. So not a very good week for Jingliang overall. He’s facing a fighter who weighed in 10lbs heavier, and will also be at a height & reach disadvantage. Over his last 5 fights, Jingliang has alternated wins & losses. His most recent was a big KO win over Salikhov this past July. Jingliang carries big power in his hands, and he relies on throwing big looping shots in the pocket, and if he’s able to land clean, it’s likely not a good thing. The problem in this matchup is the fact Rodriguez will be the much better technical striker, and as a result, should find success in pressuring Jingliang and making him mostly a counter striker. Rodriguez has good movement on the feet, and will likely use his size to his advantage. At some point Jingliang may be relegated to shooting for TDs, he averages 1.2 per 15mins. But if he does, I don’t think he’ll have much success, Rodriguez has solid TDEF (76%). Gut tells me this fight finishes one way or the other. I like Rodriguez in this spot just a bit more, but will have shares of both. I think Rodriguez can wear on him & finds a 3rd RD finish. His salary is a gift on DK if he pulls it off.

PICK: Daniel Rodriguez $16 FD ($7500 DK)

Li Jingliang $15 FD ($9000 DK)

Irene Aldana vs Macy Chiasson


Both women come in having won 3 of their last 4 bouts. Chiasson picked up a decision win over Norma Dumont in May of this year. While Aldana’s last win came more than a year ago in July of last year over Yana Kunitskaya. Irene was on the cusp of challenging for Bantamweight gold prior to her 2020 bout with Holly Holm. She just looked completely lost in that bout and lost every facet of that one against an aging Holm’s. She’s 34 now, so time is of the essence. Irene is solid anywhere the fight goes, she’s got solid power for the division, and in 2 of her last 3 wins, she won via KO/TKO. She’ll have more output on the feet than Chiasson. She’ll just need to find her range, because she’s giving up 4” in reach and 2” in height. Chiasson likes to pressure opponents to the cage and get in a clinch, where she’ll look to get trip TDs and look for control. That’ll be tough in this matchup, as Aldana has really good TDEF (84%). Chiasson averages just shy of 2 TDs per 15mins (1.95). On the feet, Aldana lands 5.61 SS/m (absorbs 5.9 SS/m in return). On the other side, Chiasson lands 3.7 SS/m (absorbs just 2.56 SS/m). Irene likely dictates the way this bout goes after she stuffs a couple of TDs and discourages Chiasson from doing it as often. From DFS perspective, this boils down to being able to pay off your price, and I’m not entirely confined Aldana can if she doesn’t get a RD 1 finish. Which on the surface seems difficult, in the fact she’ll have to find her range pretty early, and land clean shots. Chiasson should be able to do enough in the way of defense early that it’ll get out of RD 1. I do think Aldana has a chance at a late finish though. Chiasson will start to fade as this goes longer. I like her via 3rd RD TKO/KO. I just think there’s better choices around her price range to get to.

PICK: Irene Aldana $17 FD ($8800 DK)

Macy Chiasson $13 FD ($7400 DK)

Ion Cutelaba vs Johnny Walker

Light Heavyweight

Walker has lost 4 of his last 5, so it’s imperative he gets a win here. Cutelaba isn’t much better, he’s lost 3 of his last 5, the other 2 being 1 draw and 1 win. Cutelaba pushes a relentless pace. On the feet, he lands 4.81 SS/m (absorbs 3.39 SS/m). His bread and butter is his smothering wrestling approach, he averages nearly 5 TDs per 15mins (4.75), and he basically looks to get you down and use ground and pound. Walker’s TDEF is average (62%), so it’ll be in his best interest to land something early to get respect from Cutelaba. Walker is much more patient on the feet these days than his normal reckless approach, large in part due to a camp change. In his bout in 2020 vs Krylov, he was taken down 3 times, and controlled for more than 10mins. Cutelaba is a much bigger monster in that regard, so he’ll give up most RDs if he doesn’t find a finish. I really like Cutelaba in this spot, his recklessness could get him caught, so that’s something to be mindful of, but I see him having great success with stringing TDs together and getting control etc., making him one of my fav plays on the slate. I do think this fight finishes regardless, so Walker will be one of my fav dogs to target.

PICK: Ion Cutelaba $18 FD ($8600 DK)

Johnny Walker $12 FD ($7600 DK)

Hakeem Dawodu vs Julian Erosa


Another instance of weight cutting issues with someone. Dawodu weighed in at 149.5. Fight continues. Dawodu is on the border of being one of the top prospects of this division. He’s got the skill set, and he seems to be putting it all together. Dawodu’s last time out was earlier this year in February when he got a win over Mike Trizano. Erosa is on a 2 fight win streak, with his last coming over Steven Peterson in February as well. This fight has potential to be FOTN. Both men set a great pace, but Dawodu much better moving in and out the pocket avoiding damage. Dawodu lands 5.39 SS/m (absorbs just 2.72 SS/m). Erosa lands 6.29 SS/m (absorbs 6.51 SS/m). So it’s clear who the better defensive striker is here. Dawodu will chop at the legs early to help maintain his distance, but Erosa will continue to push the pace. Dawodu is a solid wrestler, but I give the grappling edge to Erosa. We saw him catch Charles Jourdain late in their bout in what was an entertaining matchup. Dawodu’s TDEF is average (65%), but I figure Erosa’s best chance at an upset is through offensive wrestling. This is one of my favorite fights to target for DFS purposes, I think the winner finds themselves in optimal. I like Dawodu to find a finish. He’ll be the much more technical striker on the feet, and he’ll have more power in his shots. I think he finds a 2nd RD KO/TKO.

PICK: Hakeem Dawodu $19 FD ($8900 DK)

Julian Erosa $12 FD ($7300 DK)

Jailton Almeida vs Anton Turkalj


Almeida returns after a dominating performance over Parker Porter this past May. He’s 3-0 to start off his UFC campaign, and a clear problem for either the Middleweight or LHW division. He gets a late replacement fighter in DWCS alum Turkalj. Almeida will eventually need to get better in his striking and striking defense if he ever wants to challenge for a title. But for now, his physical gifts and physicality have been enough. He’ll utilize front kicks to the body to help close the distance before he shoots for TDs. From there, he looks to mount for ground and pound or looking for submissions. On the feet, Turkalj is the better striker, and he has power, so any prolonged fighting on the feet would favor him. We haven’t seen Almeida get clipped with anything big yet, so it could be interesting. There’s always a level of competition that matters though, and this is clearly the biggest competition Turkalj would have faced to this point. I think we see much of the same here, Almeida will lock up the early TD, from there, he’ll utilize ground and pound to either a TKO finish, or he’ll find another submission. I love Jailton for DFS on both sites. Think he pays off with a 1st RD finish.

PICK: Jailton Almeida $22 FD ($9500 DK)

Anton Turkalj $9 FD ($6700 DK)

Jamie Pickett vs Denis Tiuliulin


This has potential to be a real solid fight. Tiuliulin made his debut back in March vs Aliaskhab Khizriev. It was a bad matchup due to Khizriev’s elite grappling. But Tiuliulin had his moments of success on the feet, and that could continue here with a much more favorable matchup. He’s got solid striking with nice power. He lands 4.45 SS/m (absorbs 6.03 SS/m). On the other side, Pickett is much more reserved, lands just 2.89 SS/m (absorbs 3.97 SS/m). Pickett is more of a technical striker, and he mixes in TDs from time to time when he can. He averages 1.57 TDs per 15mins. Tiuliulin won’t shoot for TDs himself, but his TDEF is pretty bad (33%). At some point, Pickett will need to go there if he wants to win. Tiuliulin much better on the feet than in a wrestling affair. This bout reminds me of the Jordan Wright fight Pickett had, where he was just outmatched on the feet. I think Tiuliulin finds his shot, and he’ll get a finish, I say I’m the 2nd RD. If Pickett were to win, I think it comes via decision, and his score won’t do anyone justice.

PICK: Denis Tiuliulin $15 FD ($7900 DK)

Jamie Pickett $15 FD ($8300 DK)

Jake Collier vs Chris Barnett


Barnett makes his 4th trip to the octagon. He’s 1-2 in his first two bouts. And tbh, he doesn’t look UFC caliber, he has sporadic moments of doing something you wouldn’t think he’d be able to do with his size, but that’s about it. This time, he weighed in at 267.5, he’s only 5’9..he’ll probably enter the octagon closer to 280lbs. Now he gets Collier. He’s alternated wins and losses over his last 3 bouts. But idc what anyone says, he beat Arlovski in his last bout. Collier is a pressure fighter, he lands 5.67 SS/m as a heavyweight, that’s insane (absorbs 4.65 SS/m). Barnett lands 3.6 SS/m (absorbs 5.59 SS/m). Collier should dictate this one from the start, his movement will be much better escaping out the pocket, and he’ll also land the more impactful shots. Doesn’t appear Barnett took his camp seriously, that’ll hurt him here. Collier should pour on the pressure, and I think he eventually finds a finish in the 2nd RD. Making him a great DFS play on the slate.

PICK: Jake Collier $21 FD ($9100 DK)

Chris Barnett $10 FD ($7100 DK)

Norma Dumont vs Danyelle Wolf

Women’s Featherweight

Seems like the wrong time for Wolf to be making her debut. She’s 39yrs old, and only has 1 professional MMA bout. Prior to her MMA start, she was an amateur boxer. So she’s got solid striking skills, but that won’t get her far at this stage I’m the gm. Dumont is looking to bounce back after a decision loss to Macy Chiasson after previously winning her prior 3. She’s got solid tools, and is well rounded. On the feet, she lands 3.67 SS/m (absorbs just 2.19 SS/m). In terms of wrestling, she averages just over 1 TD per 15mins (1.02). She’s got solid TDEF (70%), so I don’t imagine any entries from Wolf would be successful. Wolf’s striking numbers are decent herself though, lands 3.4 SS/m (absorbs 5.67 SS/m). The only reason I’m not higher on Dumont here is due to her price relative to score, I don’t think she pays off $9200, and the two above her and right below her should score better. I’m fading this fight completely, but think Dumont wins via decision.

PICK: Norma Dumont $20 FD ($9200 DK)

Danyelle Wolf $10 ($7000 DK)

Alateng Heili vs Chad Anheliger


This should be a fun scrap. Heili blasted Kevin Croom his last time out on his way to a quick finish. But I wouldn’t expect that here. Anheliger got a nice KO win in his debut back in late February. He’s got really solid tools to make an impact in this division. He’s going to put the pressure on Heili, and it’ll be up to Heili to be an impactful counter striker. Heili actually needs to utilize wrestling in this matchup to really have a chance. Strader was able to get 4 TDs vs Anheliger in his debut, but wasn’t able to do much with it. Anheliger actually looked good off of his back at times defensively. Heili will look to mix things up on the feet, but that’ll play into what Anheliger wants to do. If I knew Heili would get back to his wrestling, I’d be more inclined to pick him outright. But he hasn’t really of late, and for that reason, I think Anheliger outworks him enough to steal 2 RDs. At his price, I think he could pay off his price tag. I like Anheliger to win via decision.

PICK: Chad Anheliger $13 FD ($7800 DK)

Alateng Heili $17 FD ($8400 DK)

Melissa Martinez vs Elise Reed

Women’s Strawweight

Martinez is making her UFC debut, and comes in at 7-0 overall. Reed is trying to bounce back after a completely uninspiring performance vs Sam Hughes this past May. Hughes was able to break Reed through her wrestling/grappling. If any fighter can successfully wrestle, and has the fight IQ to do it, you likely have the leg up on Reed. Martinez won’t actively shoot for TDs, but on the feet, I think she’ll be able to outpoint Reed. Reed is a solid striker, and looks to try and use her range to keep fighters at bay. The power will also reside with Martinez in this one. It should be a close fight, but I think Martinez’s activity will do enough to get a win vs Reed, especially if she starts to give up later in the fight like she has before. A finish is possible for Martinez, so she’s worth taking small risk on in LUs for that reason. Give me Martinez via decision.

PICK: Melissa Martinez $16 FD ($8500 DK)

Elise Reed $14 FD ($7700 DK)

Darian Weeks vs Yohan Lainesse


I feel like we’ve already seen this fight before. Yohan faced almost a replica of Weeks in his debut vs Gabe Green. Yohan had success early, and will look to pressure his opponents, stringing together combinations and mixing in his wrestling. Which he’ll have success with like he did with Green. His issue seemed to come when his cardio started to fail him a bit. Weeks moves well on his feet, in and out the pocket, and he’ll actually be the one to dictate the pace in this one. He also mixes in TDs well, and will likely do that to mix things up. If Weeks gets out of RD 1, it’s his fight to lose. He faced a much crisper striker in Ian Garry in his last bout, and that didn’t stop him from pressuring constantly. Garry was just a sniper on the feet in terms of his counter striking. This is a solid fight to open the card. I like Weeks to find a late finish, in RD 3 after Yohan breaks down a bit.

PICK: Darian Weeks $16 FD ($8200 DK)

Yohan Lainesse $14 FD ($8000 DK)

by: Chris Joseph (cmj0009)

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