This article is part of our Drake's Takes series.
Sasha Palatnikov (6-3-0) v. Ramiz Brahimaj (8-3-0)
- Palatnikov is a long, rangy fighter with good striking. He fights with using heavy pressure and quick strikes. He switches stances often and throws various kicks, attacking all parts of the body. He does fight a bit wild and with his hands low, causing him to get hit easily. He is a black belt in jiu-jitsu and has great grappling. His wrestling still needs work, but he can land takedowns when needed. On the mat, he can scramble back up well and has decent ground and pound in top control.
- Brahimaj is a submission specialist with fantastic movement. He does not offer a ton of striking, instead using his striking to set up his takedowns and submissions attempts. He jumps right at the bell throwing quick, powerful strikes and kicks, pressuring forward so he can he go for a takedown. His takedowns attempts are fast, and he immediately hunts for submissions.
DFS Perspective: I like this match for DFS. I think both guys are viable for a quick finish. They both come out guns blazing and look for it. Palatnikov was submitted last fight in Round 2, and a similar scenario could happen here.
My Pick: Brahimaj
Roosevelt Roberts (10-2-0, 1NC) v. Ignacio Bahamondes (11-4-0)
- Roberts is a well-rounded fighter with an aptitude for finding submissions. He is quick on the feet and has fast hands. He strikes with aggression and pressure, throwing multiple combos in attempt to find a spot to takedown. He can be dangerous in the clinch and has great takedowns. His opponents struggle to get back up once taken down, and he is wily with his submission attempts.
- Bahamondes is a high-volume aggressive striker. He has excellent striking from a distance and likes to pressure forward with quick strikes to move into the pocket. He has great movement and powerful counters. He has deadly kicks that he uses to attack all parts of the body, and he uses knees up the middle and to the head. His grappling and wrestling are still a bit unknown, as they have not really been tested. In the past he has had some issues with grapplers.
DFS Perspective: This could be a boom-or-bust type match for DFS. A slower-paced match will result in a slow decision. A finish for either guy would hit value. The longer the fight stays upright, the more it will favor Bahamondes. Roberts will hold the advantage on the mat and needs to take it there.
My Pick: Bahamondes
William Knight (9-2-0) v. Fabio Cherant (7-2-0)
- Knight is a strong grappler with tremendous power. He uses his explosiveness to move into the pocket and land quick strikes. He has good leg kicks to the legs and body. He will throw flurries of strikes and look to put his opponent away early. His takedown defense was tested in a big way last fight and will look to have improved since then. His wrestling works well with his grappling, and he uses his strength to control on the mat. He can lay extreme ground and pound and finish the fight at any time.
- Cherant is still a bit of a question mark in the UFC. He was not able to show anything in his debut after being submitted Round 1. He is not much of a striker but does carry a little power in his hands. He is a grappler and wrestler with an excellent submission game. He will look to avoid powerful shots and work inside to find a takedown or choke early.
DFS Perspective: Cherant is still green, and it is hard to judge how we will do in the UFC. I imagine this fight should be more of a cakewalk for Knight. Cherant will have a chance to show off his impressive submission game, but Knight is also very capable on the mat and has much more power. An early finish for either guy would yield a good score, but more so for Cherant.
My Pick: Knight
Bea Malecki (4-0-0) v. Josiane Nunes (7-1-0)
- Malecki is a volume striker from distance. She has quick hands and throws a lot of jabs and crosses. She keeps the fight at range and wants to be more technical than her opponent. She uses her huge size advantage to control where the fight goes. Her grappling and wrestling are decent. She does have a submission (after getting rough up for a round and a half), so she can keep her opponent controlled on the mat.
- Nunes gets her long-awaited debut coming in with a six-fight win streak, and her first fight outside of Brazil. She is an excellent fighter with massive power. She uses forward pressure to back her opponents up and closes into the pocket with quick combos and huge hooks. Her grappling and wrestling are non-existent. She struggles on her back, and on the mat in general. She needs to the fight upright where she can attack with power.
DFS Perspective: Malecki has a massive size advantage here and will likely be throwing more volume. Nunes is always a threat to end the fight early with her power, but it's realistically her only path to victory. She would smash value if she were able to do so. If Malecki wins, it will likely be a lower-scoring decision, but she could surprise with another random submission. Overall, I am not a fan of this fight.
My Pick: Malecki
Brian Kelleher (22-12-0) v. Domingo Pilarte (8-2-0, 1NC)
- Kelleher is powerful striker with excellent movement. He uses a lot of stance switches to throw low kicks to the legs and round kicks to the head and body. He uses quick strikes to blitz into the pocket and throw a flurry of hard combos. He is very hittable and eats a lot of shots to throw his own. He has good takedown defense and is excellent at finding chokes and submissions. He has a nasty guillotine when people try to shoot in on him.
- Pilarte is a rangy fighter with quick movement and a wide stance. He uses distance strikes down the middle with looping hooks to follow them up. He has nice low kicks to the legs and body. He uses pressure to walk his opponent down and keep up a quick pace. His grappling and wrestling look decent. He looks to have good scrambling and can hunt for submissions.
DFS Perspective: I love Kelleher here. He has monstrous power and I think he gets a big knockout over Pilarte. If there isn't a finish, I see a low-scoring decision for Kelleher. That said, Pilarte does have a six-inch height and seven-inch reach advantage here and could surprise if he can keep it at range or come up with a big submission.
My Pick: Kelleher
Austin Lingo (8-1-0) v. Luis Saldana (15-6-0)
- Lingo is a boxer with quick striking. He walks fighters down, working inside the pocket with fast powerful hands. He will throw low kicks to the calves. If he is unable to find his way inside, he struggles to land shots. He also works primarily on his lead foot, so kicks can cut him down quickly. His grappling and wrestling need some fine tuning, but he can throw hard strikes in the clinch. He has shown decent scrambling to get back up when taken down but can be controlled for long periods of time.
- Saldana impressed in his debut in April and looks to continue that here. He is a big finisher. He fights at range and switches stances well. He has powerful combos mixing strikes and powerful leg kicks. He will use round and spinning back kicks to the body. He does struggle when fighters are able to get into the pocket and attack inside. His grappling and takedown defense has looked decent. He looks to have a good overall ground game with great ground and pound.
DFS Perspective: Saldana looks to be the more well-rounded and better of the two fighters. Saldana should have the advantage anywhere the fight goes and throw a higher output. Without an early finish, I do not expect this to be high-scoring.
My Pick: Saldana
Alexandre Pantoja (23-5-0) v. Brandon Royval (12-5-0)
- Pantoja made a winning return in February and looks to keep his name floating towards title contention. He is an aggressive striker and holds a black belt in jiu-jitsu. He will mix in nasty leg kicks with powerful combinations, attacking all parts of the body. He has excellent movement and will sit in the pocket trading blows without issue. He is masterful on the mat and works great in the clinch. His takedowns are clean, and he has great control on the mat. He can look for ground and pound or submissions while it plays out on the ground.
- Royval is a submission specialist and wizard on the mat. His striking is decent but needs work. He looks to close the gap with fast hands and quick combos and then shoot for takedowns. On the mat, he is excellent at finding submissions and controlling the fight. He is not overly strong but moves well and finds crafty ways to dominate on the ground.
DFS Perspective: This is a tough matchup for Royval. He always has a chance for a submission, but against Pantoja he will find difficulty. Pantoja will be better everywhere, specifically when the right is upright. His power and movement should dominate this fight. An early finish would welcome a high score.
My Pick: Pantoja
Vinc Pichel (13-2-0) v. Austin Hubbard (13-5-0)
- Pichel is an all-around fighter with a penchant for takedowns. He has quick, powerful striking. His jabs and hooks force his opponent to back up. He will pressure forward and look to clinch or takedown. He is relentless with takedowns and will chain them together while throwing strikes to tire fighters out. He has shown that he can also be taken down himself and controlled. He moves at a high pace throughout the fight and does not stop moving.
- Hubbard is a well-rounded with a heavy counter. He is a good striker with nice forward pressure and great movement. He cuts the cage off well and uses many feints to set up his shots. He throws deadly knees and spinning back fists. He tends to lean on his lead foot, which can allow fighters to cut it down, and his takedown defense is average. When taken down, he has good defensive grappling to work back up or work a position in his favor.
DFS Perspective: This is an interesting fight. A finish is not likely here. Both guys can mix in takedowns with striking and control time. Hubbard's cardio is going to be better than Pichel's and could push him to a decision victory.
My Pick: Hubbard
Trevin Jones (13-6-0, 1NC) v. Saidyokub Kakhramonov (13-6-0, 1NC)
- Jones is a counter puncher with big power. He has quick hands and invites fighters in to throw big counters. He is good at switching stances and uses kicks to keep his opponent off balance. He works inside and throws a multitude of combos. He has a black belt in jiu-jitsu and great wrestling to go with it. He has excellent body locks and terrific control on the mat. He does not have a big submission game, but his ground and pound is good.
- Kakhramonov is a well-rounded MMA fighter making his debut in a huge, short notice fight. He has great striking with quick hands and some power. He uses low kicks and round kicks to attack all over. He defends strikes and takedowns well. His grappling and wrestling look to be good also. When taken down he scrambles back up quickly and avoids being controlled.
DFS Perspective: Kakhramonov is taking this fight on extremely short notice and will have his hands full. This is a huge fight between two prospects. Kakhramonov has beaten current UFC fighters and has looked great doing so. He has a chance here even with a short camp and could really surprise if he comes out fast. Jones has showed a lot in his first two UFC and will have a full camp here. This fight could surprise for DFS purposes.
My Pick: Jones
Parker Porter (11-6-0) v. Chase Sherman (15-7-0)
- Porter surprised with a big win last time out after a lousy debut. He throws good volume, has quick hands and can pack a punch. He pressures forward working to get into the pocket where he can attempt body locks or trips and get the fight to the mat. He has shown good control of his opponents and an ability to find submissions. He also has great ground and pound when in top control.
- Sherman is a high-volume striker with great leg kicks. He has good in-and-out movement and throws deadly low kicks to the legs and body. His hands are quick, and they are loaded with power. He is ultra-aggressive and throws without caution, welcoming punches to land his own. He has no takedowns in his UFC tenure and prefers to always keep the fight upright. His takedown defense is excellent and scrambling when taken down is great.
DFS Perspective: There is a good chance at an early finish here. Both guys have power, both guys like to brawl and blitz, and both guys have high volume. Sherman has the advantage in power and overall skill. If he avoids takedowns, and the kill shot, he should win by finish. A decision would likely yield a decent score as well.
My Pick: Sherman
Clay Guida (36-17-0) v. Mark Madsen (10-0-0)
- Guida is a veteran who seems to have been around forever at this point. He has great movement and forward pressure. His striking has never been his strong suit, but it is decent. He throws jab-to-kick combinations and has fast hands. His movement makes him difficult to hit and tough to judge when he will shoot for a takedown. He shines on the mat and would wrestle the entirely of the fight if he could. His takedowns are excellent, and he controls his opponents well. He can hunt for submissions or just control for the round.
- Madsen is a decorated wrestler, having won a silver medal in 2016 Olympics. He is a great striker with big power. He has fast hands, quick combos and excellent movement. He pressures forward using his power to work inside the pocket. He has terrific takedowns and chains them together if unable to keep control. He can hunt for submissions or rain ground and pound in top control.
DFS Perspective: Madsen should control and dominate everywhere this fight goes. A finish would return a nice score. A decision might score higher after three rounds of takedowns and control time. I like Madsen either way in this one.
My Pick: Madsen
Jared Cannonier (13-5-0) v. Kelvin Gastelum (17-7-0, 1NC)
- Cannonier is a dangerous striker with thunder in his hands. He is explosive, but low volume. He times his shots and throws everything with some power behind it. He relentlessly throws right low kicks to the calves and will throw hard round kicks to the head. He fights with his hands high and can be difficult to hit at times. He is competent on the mat. He does not shoot for many takedowns and has shown he can be taken down himself. His grappling is great, and he does well scrambling up or reversing control.
- Gastelum is fantastic boxer with great movement. He uses a hard jab mixed with straight lefts and powerful hooks. He has great leg kicks to all parts of the body and uses his footwork to get in and out quickly. His head movement is among the elite, making him difficult to hit and put away. He has excellent takedown defense and decent takedowns. On the mat, he can scramble back up if he wishes, or is able to control opponents well from a guard or top position.
DFS Perspective: Gastelum has lost four of his last five fights. His chance will come through getting the fight to the mat with takedowns and then controlling Cannonier. If he can do that, he would smash value. Cannonier has been taken down multiple times and has average takedown defense. Cannonier is a finisher with big power and will look to end this fight early in each round, but Gastelum is a decision machine.
My Pick: Cannonier