This article is part of our Drake's Takes series.
Hu Yaozong (3-2-0) v. Alen Amedovski (8-2-0)
- Yaozong is a developing young fighter who possesses power and durability. His striking improves every time out, and he has already shown he has knockout power. He has good movement and benefits from great leg kicks to the calves and body. He throws good volume using quick strikes and is willing to trade blows. He has decent defense overall but can be taken down relatively easily.
- Amedovski is a great striker with a ton of power behind his throws. His agility and movement are impressive as he uses them throughout the fight to cut angles quickly. His eight professional wins have all come by the way of knock out, and there has not been much of a ground game seen. He has quick counters and creates discomfort for his opponent from the bell. He has shown fantastic durability, but cardio is still questionable.
DFS Perspective: I have mixed feelings about this fight. Both guys have good knockout power. An early knockout for Amedovski would allow him to hit value, but he might struggle hitting it after the first round. Yaozong would smash value with any type of win given the volume he puts out, and a knockout more so.
My Pick: Yaozong
Zhalgas Zhumagulov (13-5-0) v. Jerome Rivera (10-5-0)
- Zhumagulov is a well-rounded fighter with a good mix of boxing and grappling. He does not throw much volume or have much power. He will shoot for multiple takedowns throughout the fight but does not have good control on the mat. He is hittable at times but is great defensively on the mat and has excellent cardio.
- Rivera has ever-improving striking, has shown that he can throw a lot of volume, and likes to pressure forward. He is quick, with little power, and prefers to keep the fight on the mat. He is a submission specialist who creates opportunities during scrambles, takedowns, and off his own back. His chin is suspect, but he has great cardio.
DFS Perspective: I expect this to fight out primarily on the feet in a slower-paced match. Rivera should not scare anyone in the UFC and likely gets cut sooner rather than later. Zhumagulov, though he fights with low volume, is more technical with better defense. If he avoids the takedowns, and more importantly Rivera's top control, he should win this fight. I do not see a high score coming out of this fight.
My Pick: Zhumagulov
Omari Akhmedov (21-5-1) v. Brad Tavares (18-7-0)
- Akhmedov is a dangerous striker with heavy kicks, and great movement. He will use his movement to throw wild looping hooks and walk his opponent down. He will shoot for takedowns frequently and has good top control, as well as powerful ground-and-pound. He can be hittable at times and will trade blows with a flurry of punches and kicks. His cardio is always a concern after two rounds, but he is as durable as they come.
- Tavares is a tactful fighter with technical striking and good feints. He keeps the fight at a distance, mixing in combinations to the head and body. He uses quick lateral movement to avoid being hit and will use a quick counter to back his opponent off. He does not spend a lot of time shooting for takedowns or keeping the fight on the floor. His defense standing up, and on the mat, are great, and his cardio is never in question.
DFS Perspective: Taveras has the advantage on the feet, and Akhmedov on the mat. For Taveras to be successful he will need to keep the fight at range and prevent Akhmedov from pressuring in with heavy shots and takedown attempts. Akhmedov has more power, and the better ground game, but controlling Taveras on the mat is not easy. I expect the first round to be close with striking exchanges. As Akhmedov starts to tire the fight heavily favors Taveras. This will be a dog-or-pass fight for me. A Taveras decision win likely yields a low score. Akhmedov has more ways to win and would smash value with a finish.
My Pick: Akhmedov
Jennifer Maia (18-7-1) v. Jessica Eye (15-9-0, 1NC)
- Maia is an excellent all-around fighter who uses great pressure to mix in her striking and takedowns. She has decent power and backs her opponents to the cage where she can thrive in the clinch or take them down. When she has control, she is difficult to get away from. She does not take many hard shots, and her defense overall is good.
- Eye is good boxer with quick hands and good volume, but little power. She uses her head movement and high guard to move into the pocket where she can throw multiple combinations in succession. Her ground game has improved significantly with training. She can get body locks in the clinch and shoot for takedowns where she can throw hard elbows and hunt for submissions. Her defense can be lacking at times, particularly her own takedown defense.
DFS Perspective: If Maia mixes in takedowns with her striking, I really like her for DFS purposes. She will defend most, if not all, of Eye's takedowns and keep control of the fight. A striking match will keep this fight close, and if Eye is able to keep the fight at a distance it favors her. If this fight remains just a striking match, we will likely see lower scores. If takedowns and control are combined with the striking, we could see either lady hitting value at their price points.
My Pick: Maia
Trevin Giles (14-2-0) v. Dricus Du Plessis (15-2-0)
- Giles is an excellent fighter anywhere the fight goes. He has quick, powerful hands and can work from a distance or in close quarters. He tends to throw a lower volume but works great in the clinch and can shoot for takedowns. He has excellent control, deadly ground-and-pound and is always live for a submission. His chin is questionable at times, but he does have decent cardio.
- Du Plessis is another well-rounded fighter who has astonishing power. Most of his wins have come from knockouts, guillotines, and rear naked chokes. He uses good mobility to set up big shots but does not throw a ton of volume. He shoots for takedowns and has good control on the mat. He is also able to get reversals and put himself into a position for a submission. His defense is questionable, but he has shown excellent cardio.
DFS Perspective: I feel this fight could make or break lines. Both guys are capable of big finishes at any time of the match. A finish likely puts this fight in the optimal at their price points which makes it a good fight to target. The fight could also put out one of the lower scores if we see a decision with low volume and clinching.
My Pick: Giles
Ryan Hall (8-1-0) v. Ilia Topuria (10-0-0)
- Hall is a decent, lower-volume striker with quick footwork. He does not offer much power but has fast hands and uses excellent movement to avoid being hit. He does not shoot for many takedowns but is a grappling wizard. He has an uncanny ability to lock in heel hooks, or just control the fight. His defense is solid, and he offers fantastic cardio.
- Topuria continues to impress with his phenomenal all-around game. His striking is quick and crisp, and he throws with good power. He has a hard counter and uses pressure to keep the fight in the pocket. He has shown a great ability to get takedowns and hunt for submissions, or just control the fight and keep it where he wants it. His defense is amazing, and his cardio even better.
DFS Perspective: Hall is going to be heel lock or bust in this fight. Topuria is going to be better anywhere this goes, and if he avoids the heel lock, he should win. I do not think Hall's defense will stand up to Topuria, and I think he gets finished in the first or second round. If Hall can get that submission, he will break the slate at his price.
My Pick: Topuria
Niko Price (14-4-0, 2NC) v. Michel Pereira (25-11-0, 2NC)
- Price is an excellent fighter with a well-rounded game, and he packs a punch. His volume has been increasing, and that combined with his power is deadly. He pushes an intense tempo using pressure and quick combinations. He does not shoot often for takedowns but does well to reverse when taken down himself. He can rain ground-and-pound in the top position, or hunt for a submission. He will stand and trade blows at time, and all four of his losses have come by finish.
- Pereira is a great technical striker and is a black belt in BJJ. His striking has improved greatly, and he picks and chooses when to throw. He throws with good power in his hands and uses good movement to make himself hard to hit. On the mat he will almost always have the advantage and will search for submissions. He has shown good defense, and great cardio in his fights.
DFS Perspective: This has the makings to be fight of the night. Nearly all of Price's fights end in a finish, and I do not expect this to be any different. Either guy could get the finish, and both will hit value if they do. 100+ should happen for either winner of this fight, and Price makes for an excellent dog play.
My Pick: Price
Carlos Condit (32-13-0) v. Max Griffin (17-8-0)
- Condit is a veteran with excellent striking and leg kicks. He throws good volume with combinations that end with a strong leg kick to the head or body. He pressures forward to get inside where he will throw hard knees and elbows. He has power behind his throws and is great at using range to keep from getting taken down where he has struggled lately. He does have good jiu-jitsu and has many submissions to his name. In top control he will rain down deadly ground-and-pound. His durability has always been an asset, and his cardio lately has looked good.
- Griffin is a boxer using technical strikes and good movement around the ring. He uses his long reach to strike from a distance and quick combinations to target the head and body. He does have power in his hands and has always been great at timing fighters. His grappling and wrestling are improved, and he is great at controlling his opponents on the mat. He has a good chin, but I have noticed the last few fights his cardio starting to dip after the first couple rounds.
DFS Perspective: This fight is much closer than the odds/pricing indicate. Both guys have the potential to knock the other out. If Griffin mixes in takedowns, he could easily take a couple rounds and pull a decision. If the fight stays a striking match, I think the advantage goes to Condit. He will throw more volume and be the one pressuring forward, and given he revamped confidence I see him pulling this one out.
My Pick: Condit
Sean O'Malley (13-1-0) v. Kris Moutinho (9-4-0)
- O'Malley is a rising star in the UFC and has a great overall game. His uses his range to strike from a distance with great accuracy and huge power. He uses a lot of quick movement around the ring to keep his opponent off balance and then explodes with dangerous shots and kicks. He works well in the clinch and uses body locks and sweeps to takedown. He can hunt for submissions on and off his back and has great scrambling. His durability is fantastic, and his cardio is usually good for two of the three rounds.
- Moutinho is taking this fight on short notice and appears to primarily be a striker. He does not throw a lot of power but uses volume to wear down his opponent to the cards. He has quick hands and good movement. He does not look to have much of a ground game but has shown decent grappling.
DFS Perspective: Unless O'Malley puts himself in a bad position trying to be too flashy, this should be an easy win for him. A knockout in the first or second round is likely here. O'Malley is a safe play everywhere.
My Pick: O'Malley
Irene Aldana (12-6-0) v. Yana Kunitskaya (14-5-0, 1NC)
- Aldana is a high-volume technical striker who is great at keeping the fight at a distance. She has quick hands and fast movement. She does have a little power in her hands and uses a good fight IQ to control where the fight goes. Her grappling and wrestling are decent, and she has shown a good ability to scramble when taken down. Her chin is solid, and cardio is top tier.
- Kunitskaya is decent striker from range with quick combinations and kicks. She attacks the head and body to create openings to clinch or takedown. In the clinch, she will throw heavy knees and underhooks. Her strength is a huge asset and, on the mat or against the cage, it helps her keep control. She is aggressive on and off her back and will look for submissions. Her defense can be lacking at times, and her aggression has caused her to lose control as well.
DFS Perspective: I do not see this being a high-scoring fight unless there is a finish or a lot of control time. Kunitskaya needs to get Aldana into the clinch or control her on the mat to win this. Aldana needs to keep it upright and use her volume to rack up rounds. I think she keeps the fight standing long enough to win at least two rounds and takes a decision.
My Pick: Aldana
Tai Tuivasa (12-3-0) v. Greg Hardy (7-3-0, 1NC)
- Tuivasa is a powerful heavyweight with huge power. He walks his opponent down backing them up with powerful combinations and hard leg kicks. He does not throw a ton of volume but makes the most of what he does throw. He does not have much of a ground game to speak of, and his takedown defense is not great. His chin is decent, and he has shown good cardio out of the first round.
- Hardy is a rangy striker with good power and decent volume. He uses his size to his advantage, allowing guys to walk in on him so he can counter them back and hit them with quick combos. He will use hard kicks to set up heavy punches and then walk his opponent down and unleash looping shots. His ground game is non-existent, but his defense is good, and his chin better.
DFS Perspective: This fight will likely stay on the feet until someone is knocked out. Both guys have loaded hands and will hit value with a knockout. Hardy is the bigger and faster guy who throws more volume, and I think he gets to it first making him a good dog play. Either way you think this fight goes, get one in your lineup unless you think it goes to the cards. A decision will yield a low score if this fight happens to go to the judges.
My Pick: Hardy
Gilbert Burns (19-4-0) v. Stephen Thompson (16-4-1)
- Burns is an electric fighter with a fantastic all-around game. He uses pressure to cut the cage short and unleash heavy kicks and quick combinations. He has a masterful counter game and thunder in all his strikes. He also features one of the best grappling games in the weight class as a jiu-jitsu black belt. He has excellent takedowns and does well to control his opponent on the mat. He can rain ground-and-pound or search for several submissions. His defense and scrambling are great, and his chin even better. His cardio has come into question in later rounds, but overall is good.
- Thompson seems to get better each time out and is a dynamic force in the ring. His striking has been incredible with the mix of volume and power he has been using. He uses fast movement and good control of the ring to strike with forceful combinations. He does not apply much of an offensive grappling game, but his defensive grappling is great. He defends most takedowns and can scramble back up quickly when taken down. He does not give up his back and has never been submitted. His durability and cardio are elite.
DFS Perspective: This should be a highly entertaining fight. If Thompson comes out like he has the last two fights, I do not see Burns having a chance outside of a finish. Burns would crush value with a finish of any kind. Thompson should hit value with a finish or with volume on a decision. His defense and volume should be enough to take this one.
My Pick: Thompson
Dustin Poirier (27-6-0, 1NC) v. Conor McGregor (22-5-0)
- Poirier is an incredible fighter with a great all-around game. His striking is technical, and he throws powerful combinations and mix in heavy leg kicks to damage his opponent. He will fight from range and then counter hard when his opponent tries to walk in. His grappling is also good. He works well in the clinch and does well getting sweeps or trips. On the mat he has fantastic control and can work in killer ground and pound or search for a submission. His defense is tremendous, and he has amazing cardio.
- McGregor is known as one of the best strikers in MMA. He walks down his opponent with incredible power or draws them in so he can land his elite counter. He uses hard leg kicks to set up his striking and his extremely accurate combinations. He is great at making fighters miss and has good overall defense. His grappling and wrestling are underrated, and his quick movement makes him hard to take down. If taken down he has shown a good ability to get back up. He has an iron chin, and his cardio is above average.
DFS Perspective: The trilogy will come to end with another amazing fight between these two. Last fight Poirier exploited a weakness in McGregor's game and attacked his calf over and over until he eventually crumbled. I fully expect McGregor to remedy that issue and be much lighter on his feet to avoid it happening again. If that is the case, I think McGregor scores an easy knockout somewhere between rounds two and three. His striking was on point, and he was making it felt, but those kicks ended him. Not saying Poirier does not have a chance by any means. He is a phenomenal striker and has a great ground game. If McGregor is worried about the calf kicks, it could open other avenues for Poirier to take advantage of. At their price point, one or the other should no doubt be in every lineup.
My Pick: McGregor