This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
Diana Belbita (13-6-0) v. Hannah Goldy (5-1-0)
- Belbita is a fantastic pressure fighter with fast hands and good foot movement. She walks her opponents down throwing a fury of strikes looking for the knockout. She holds her hands high and throws a nice jab through the middle, followed by looping shots all to the head. She has quick movement and uses power to control the fight. Her ground game is an asset as well. She does not shoot often for takedowns, however when she is on the mat, she has great control and can hunt for submissions. I have not seen any issues with her cardio, and her chin holds up well.
- Goldy is as strong as they come in the division. She has powerful technical striking, and good movement. She allows her opponent to walk into her counters, and then throws combos with punches and kicks to push them back. Her defense when the fight is upright is good, but she has shown deficiencies being taken down and controlled. She tends to stay on her back and work from there. Her cardio is not an issue, and her chin durable.
DFS Perspective: I like this fight to start off the night. If Goldy wins, it will likely be a lower-scoring decision, as she does not throw a ton of volume. I believe all the value here lies with the underdog. Belbita should be better everywhere this fight goes and throwing more volume. A potential finish, or a good scoring decision by the dog.
My Pick: Belbita
Sijara Eubanks (7-6-0) v. Elise Reed (4-0-0)
- Eubanks is a well-rounded fighter willing to go wherever the fight takes her. She uses a quick jab up the middle and looping rights with low kicks to keep the fight at a distance. She has decent power but does not throw a lot of volume. She will shoot for a single leg, or look for trips, and then control on the mat. She looks to throw ground-and-pound on the mat more so than submissions.
- Reed enters the night on short notice for her UFC debut. She is unproven but has shown good striking and a decent ground game. She uses a pressure approach and quick combos to close in on her opponent. She also throws with good power and volume. She times takedowns well and does well at finding the back. Her cardio seems to hold up over three rounds, and her chin has not really been tested.
DFS Perspective: Reed enters on short notice against a tough opponent. Eubanks will have the experience on her side, and so long as she does not come in overconfident, she should win. Reed poses as a decent sleeper with her ability to finish or takedown and control. Should she win, she would smash value. Eubanks may have a difficult time hitting value without a finish.
My Pick: Eubanks
Julio Arce (16-4-0) v. Andre Ewell (17-7-0)
- Arce is a boxer with excellent movement, and a great ground game on top of that. He strikes with respectable volume, quick combos and powerful high kicks. His striking defense is great, and his takedown defense even better. He does have a takedown in his three most recent matches and has shown a willingness to control and hunt for submissions on the mat. His cardio is elite, and he has a great chin.
- Ewell is a rangy fighter with low volume, decent power and great speed. His hands are some of the fastest in the division, and he uses them with combos to attack the head and body. His grappling is much improved, but he really only uses it defensively. He has commendable takedown defense and has shown great scrambling when taken down. He does start to gas out towards the third round, but his chin holds up well.
DFS Perspective: I am not a huge fan of this fight for DFS purposes. It likely ends in a low-scoring decision. If Ewell can pack on volume and avoid the ground, he could hit nail value at his price point.
My Pick: Arce
Adrian Yanez (13-3-0) v. Randy Costa (6-1-0)
- Yanez is an elite boxer with a great technical prowess. He does not throw a ton of volume but makes what he does throw count. He will back his opponents up with quick jabs and has nasty kicks. He will purposely fight with his hands low to draw punches and then throw powerful counter combos. His ground game can be lacking at times, and he rarely shoots for takedowns or moves into the clinch. When taken down, his scrambling is elite, and he works his way back up quickly. He has excellent cardio and a sturdy chin.
- Costa is a power-filled striker and is as dangerous as they come. He is a distance striker using big hooks and uppercuts to keep his opponents back. His high kick is also something his opponents must look out for. His six wins have all come by knockout in the first round. We have not seen much of a ground game due to the fights ending quickly, but his lone loss came by the way of submission. His cardio is questionable, and his chin will be tested in this fight.
DFS Perspective: Both guys are finishers, and if that is how this ends here then a high score is likely. Yanez is the more technical striker and will likely be pushing the pace throwing more volume so I will lean with him. Either guy could wind up with a finish here, so Costa makes a great dog play as he would smash value with an early knockout.
My Pick: Yanez
Nassourdine Imavov (9-3-0) v. Ian Heinisch (14-4-0)
- Imavov is a powerful striker who mixes it well with his wresting. He is quick on the feet and has fast hands. His combos and counters will attack head and body, and he mixes is nasty elbows in the clinch. He throws decent volume, and can be difficult to hit, but will stand and trade blows to get the shot he wants. He has excellent takedowns and uses his wrestling to keep his opponents controlled on the mat or hunt for the sub. His cardio comes into question in the latter part of the fight, but his chin holds up well.
- Heinisch is in trouble having lost three of the last four. He uses his strength and athleticism to overpower his opponents. His striking and volume are both decent, and he has big power. He uses a fast-paced pressured approach, and his striking is often wild because of it. He is great at level changing and shooting for takedowns where his wrestling can shine. He has great control on the mat and works well to set up his submissions. His cardio is elite, and he has shown a great chin.
DFS Perspective: This is an exciting fight. Imavov will have the advantage on the feet, and I would say it is really close on the mat. If the fight ends with a finish, I expect a high score with Imavov breaking the slate if it comes from him. A decision could score high depending on volume and takedowns from the winner. Imavov makes a great dog play.
My Pick: Imavov
Punahele Soriano (8-0-0) v. Brendan Allen (16-4-0)
- Soriano has been extremely impressive in his short professional career. He is a dangerous striker with eight wins – seven by first-round knockout. He has incredible power and trains specifically to end the fight early. He is explosive and uses fast, accurate combinations and kicks to get the fight over quickly. He has shown a willingness to trade blows, often rushing in on his opponent, and has a great wrestling background. When he begins to tire, he will look to his takedowns and wrestling to slow the pace or hunt for a submission. His cardio does come into question in later rounds, and his chin is elite.
- Allen is a wizard on the ground and true submission artist. He has good movement on the feet, and his striking is decent. He uses level changes in order to find his entry for a takedown. On the mat he has excellent control and is one of the best submission specialists in the division. In top control, he has massive ground-and-pound. His scrambling is elite, and he can reverse when taken down himself. His cardio is among the best, but I do question his chin.
DFS Perspective: I expect a big score from this fight. If Allen can get this fight to the mat, he has a great chance to lock up a submission or just chain takedowns and control time for a high-scoring decision. Soriano has unreal power and is a finisher. I like Soriano to keep the fight upright and get an early knockout. I expect this fight to be in the optimal lineup, so get a piece of it.
My Pick: Soriano
Mickey Gall (6-3-0) v. Jordan Williams (8-4-0, 1NC)
- Gall is a mat specialist with ever-improving striking. He carries power in his hands, which helps compensate for the usual low volume. He moves well but can be hittable on the feet. His takedowns are good, and he works well in the clinch. He enforces good control and is elite at taking the back and finding a rear naked choke. His cardio is great, and his chin is durable.
- Williams is a fast-paced striker with big power. He works from a distance and pressures forward to back his opponent up. He will throw big hooks and try to lock them into the clinch where he can inflict a lot of damage. He has fast hands and throws quick combos. On the feet he can be hittable, and he will trade blows to land his power shots. His takedown offense and defense are terrific. His wrestling is good, and he is able control well on the mat. His cardio can be questionable in later rounds, but his chin is solid.
DFS Perspective: I am not sure how to feel about this one. If Gall can chain takedowns and control time, he could grind out a decent scoring decision or find a submission. Williams has big power and could end the fight at any time on the feet. Gall has expressed wanting to show more of his hands in this fight, but I think that will just play to the favor of Williams.
My Pick: Williams
Miranda Maverick (11-2-0) v. Maycee Barber (8-2-0)
- Maverick continues to impress and show off her great all-around game. She is light on her feet and throws good volume. She uses a wide stand to throw kicks to the head and body. She will also allow them to walk into her counters before quickly shooting for a takedown. Her strength aids in her ground game, allowing her to control and keep her opponent where she wants them. Her cardio and chin are not in question.
- Barber is a great overall fighter looking to get back on track after suffering her first losses of her career in back-to-back fights. She is a crafty striker with good in-and-out movement. She carries decent power and uses kicks to the head and body to slow her opponent. When they are hurt, she jumps them and does not stop till they are finished. She is comfortable in the clinch and shooting for takedowns to get the fight to the mat. She works for top control and has nasty ground-and-pound. Her cardio is excellent and chin is great.
DFS Perspective: This should be a great showcase fight for both ladies. If the fight stays upright, I expect we see a lot of volume and for it to be about even. Maverick will have the advantage on the mat with her wrestling, but if Barber can get in top control Maverick will be in trouble. Takedowns/control time and volume could lead to a nice-scoring decision.
My Pick: Maverick
Darren Elkins (26-9-0) v. Darrick Minner (26-11-0)
- Elkins is a proven veteran and as durable as they come. His striking is good. He has quick movement, throws decent combinations and mixes up level changes well. If the fight stays on the feet, he throws good volume, but he becomes very hittable as the fight goes on. He has always been great on the mat. His takedowns are strong, and he can control opponents well on the mat. He showed in his last fight he still is capable of chaining takedowns and hunting for submissions.
- Minner is the definition of submission specialist with 22 of his 26 wins coming by submission. His striking leaves some to be desired, but he does throw with power in every shot. He will pressure to close the distance throwing hooks and leg kicks to work a position for a takedown. He's a fantastic grappler and extremely aggressive. He will give up position in order to attempt a sub. He is excellent with ground-and-pound on top and hunting for the back is a specialty. His cardio last fight looked far better through three rounds than it ever has, and his chin is as durable as they come.
DFS Perspective: A fight with Elkins always goes down as a good one. He is tough, durable and never gives up. His chances in this fight go up the later the fight goes. Minner always comes out firing in the first round and slows down in each round after. Minner will score well with a finish or decision win. An Elkins decision would likely be lower scoring.
My Pick: Minner
Kyler Phillips (9-1-0) v. Raulian Paiva (20-3-0)
- Phillips is a dynamic fighter with a great all-around game. He is incredibly light on his feet and has great movement. His hands are fast, and he does have good power. He works his hooks and jabs into dangerous combos and throws heavy kicks to all parts of the body. His clinch work and takedowns are excellent, and he is always looking to take the back of his opponent. He controls well and has massive ground-and-pound in top position. His cardio does come into question as the fight goes on, but there is no worry with durability.
- Paiva is a technical striker with decent power and volume. He has quick hands and feet and works well around the ring. He throws a quick jab up the middle, as well as combos with hooks and leg kicks. His striking defense makes him hittable at times, but his takedown defense has proven formidable. When taken down he has decent scrambling but can be controlled and has been submitted once before. His cardio is great, and his chin is solid.
DFS Perspective: Phillips is one of my favorite plays on the slate. He is an electric fighter and has scored well in two of his three fights, with the other being decent. I expect him to completely dominate this fight wherever it goes. He will likely need a huge decision or a finish in order to hit value though.
My Pick: Phillips
Aspen Ladd (9-1-0) v. Macy Chiasson (8-1-0)
- Ladd makes her long-awaited return to the cage after tearing her ACL/MCL about a year and a half ago. Prior to injury, she looked fantastic and was climbing in the division quickly. Her striking and footwork has always been quick, and her hands powerful. Three of her four wins in the UFC have come by knockout. She also has a great ground game. Her takedowns are great, and she has shown control and ability to hunt for submissions. She can be hittable on the feet, but her takedown defense is good. When taken down, she is great at reversing or scrambling back up. After the time off due to injury her cardio could be a concern, but durability should not be an issue.
- Chiasson continues her excellent run in the UFC and looks to move into the top-10. She uses her size to overwhelm her opponents, throwing combos with big power. She uses strong leg kicks to attack all parts of the body and will happily stand in trading blows to dish out stronger shots of her own. Her clinch work is terrific, employing deadly knees and elbows. She has clean takedowns and works well to get top control and rain ground-and-pound. Her defense at times is lacking, and she has shown issues getting off her back when put there. Her cardio is great, and her chin is strong.
DFS Perspective: This is a tough fight to call. Ladd was incredible before injury and coming back from an injury that serious could be troublesome. If no hindrance or rust, she could have her way with Chiasson. Chiasson, on the other hand, has a huge size advantage. Keeping the fight at a distance would be smart, and mixing in a takedown or two could steal a round. Both ladies have scored well in their previous fights, and I do not see this being any different. Chiasson would crush value with the upset.
My Pick: Chiasson
Cory Sandhagen (14-2-0) v. TJ Dillashaw (17-4-0)
- Sandhagen continues to prove himself as one of the best in the division, and a win here likely results with him in a title fight. He is a dangerous, high-volume striker with great reach and movement. He uses feints, stance changes and heavy leg kicks to keep opponents guessing and allowing him to move forward with pressure. He has great takedowns and works well in the clinch with nasty knees and elbows. He has shown the ability to scramble back up when taken down and can hunt for submissions as well. His cardio and durability are elite.
- Dillashaw is back after the long PED suspension, and it is difficult to say how good he will look. He has always been a powerful striker with fast hands and movement. His combos are accurate, jabs/kicks are lethal and he is always applying pressure. His ground game is also great. He chains takedowns and keeps his opponents in a position where he can continue throwing big power shots. His cardio after a long layoff will be questionable.
DFS Perspective: We get an absolute banger for a main event Saturday. Both guys come out firing every fight, and I do not expect this to be different. This should be a high-octane match with the winner nailing value in any scenario. Given the layoff and age for Dillashaw, I give the advantage to Sandhagen everywhere and expect him to take this one. Dillashaw would smash value at his price with a win, however.
My Pick: Sandhagen