This article is part of our Drake's Takes series.
Jonathan Martinez (13-4-0) v. Marcelo Rojo (16-8-0)
- Martinez is a rangy striker with excellent movement. He applies heavy pressure with good feints looking to draw in strikes to counter. He uses an improved jab to counter off his nasty kicks. He will use powerful low kicks to the calf, as well as employ a mix of rear leg and round kicks to the head and body. He has multiple knockouts from knees as well. He pressures with his hands high and has excellent striking defense. He does not attempt much clinch work or takedowns but is a solid grappler and has shown scrambling in the past.
- Rojo was largely impressive in his debut and showed a ton of heart. He is a good striker constantly applying pressure. He will use a quick jab and cross combo followed by looping hooks. He has fast hands and packs a punch. His calf kicks can cause a lot of damage early, and he will mix in round kicks to the body and head. He does a lot of heavy work with knees and elbows in the clinch. He does not attempt many takedowns and has decent takedown defense. He has found multiple submissions from his back, although against lower-level opponents.
DFS Perspective: Rojo has big power and could put the fight to rest early if he lands. Martinez has never been finished, though, and is tough as they come. I like Rojo for GPPs, as an early finish would yield a big return. Martinez would score well with a finish, but I do not think he would score well in a decision. I can see Martinez landing a flying knee as Rojo rushes forward and puts his lights out.
My Pick: Martinez
Dalcha Lungiambula (11-2-0) v. Marc-Andre Barriault (12-4-0, 1NC)
- Lungiambula had a triumphant return with a big win last time out. He is a massive human with ridiculous strength. He uses a quick jab followed by a huge hook or uppercut and has incredible one-punch power. He will bait you in, throw a counter and then explode in a fury of strikes. He mixes in takedowns and slams and uses his strength to keep control on the mat. He has furious ground and pound in a dominant position. His defense on the mat is lacking at times and he can be taken down and controlled himself.
- Barriault saved his job with a huge knockout win in his last fight. He is a forward pressure fighter with high volume. He works his way inside the pocket throwing quick jabs to the head and body. His combinations come in flurries, and he looks to pack on damage quick. He does nice work in the clinch but does not attempt many takedowns. His takedown defense is above average, and he can scramble back up when taken down.
DFS Perspective: This should be a highly entertaining fight. Two guys who love to get in and throw. I think a finish here is likely for either guy. There should be a lot of volume between the two with big power behind it. Lungiambula will have an advantage on the mat and should look to mix in takedowns. An early finish for either guy would nail value, and more so for the dog.
My Pick: Lungiambula
Julian Erosa (25-10-0) v. Charles Jourdain (10-3-1)
- Erosa is a high-pressure fighter who loves to fight from range or brawl. He throws kicks in bunches to back his opponent to the cage and then mixes in quick combos and deadly knees. He does not carry the most power and is not the most technical, but he throws a lot of volume and has a decent chin. He has not displayed the best grappling or wrestling and gets taken down rather easily. He tends to find ways to get up, and is crafty when it comes to hunting for subs.
- Jourdain is an athletic striker who continues to improve each time out. He has fast hands with a nice jab and great lunging right. He will attack the body with big hooks and look to end the fight early with spinning back fists. He pressures forward and closes the distance very well. His ground game still needs work. He can be taken down and held on the mat easily but will look for a quick choke if he does defend them.
DFS Perspective: I think Erosa is live for an upset finish here. Jourdain is not good on the mat and if Erosa takes it there, like he should, he could be looking at an early submission. This would yield major value at his price point. Erosa is coming in on super short notice though, so that is something to keep an eye on. Jourdain has a chance to build on his last fight. If he keeps the volume up and can avoid the mat, he has a real shot at another big win.
My Pick: Erosa
Jack Shore (14-0-0) v. Liudvik Sholinian (9-2-1)
- Shore is on an amazing 26-fight win streak and currently does not look beatable. He is a decent striker. He uses a quick jab-cross combo mixed in with some nasty kicks. He uses great movement and level changes to set up his takedowns. His grappling and wrestling are next level. He uses a mix to shoot for takedowns and then chain wrestles until he gets a finish. He always stays busy, striking to tire out his opponent or working to the back where he can finish with a choke.
- Sholinian is another fighter that was recently on The Ultimate Fighter looking to make a name for himself. He is a patient striker with good movement. He keeps his hands high and has good striking defense. He throws a lot of straights down the middle followed by looping hooks to the head and body. He will shoot for double and single-leg takedowns but has difficulty staying in a dominant position.
DFS Perspective: Shore is the safest play on the card for all formats. He will be better everywhere this goes and has a great chance at an early finish. A decision would likely also score well given his takedowns and control time. I will be removing Sholinian from my player pool.
My Pick: Shore
Molly McCann (10-4-0) v. Ji Yeon Kim (9-3-2)
- McCann has been exposed a bit in here last couple fights and needs to get back to her roots in this fight. Her striking is decent, and she does have a little power. She is undersized for the division, so she uses a lot of in-and-out movement to get her strikes in. She sets her shots up well with feints and counters and has good volume. She will stand and trade blows, making her hittable. Her ground game has improved tremendously since her debut. She has good takedowns and control but does not hunt for submissions. She has gotten better at scrambling and is able to land hard shots in scrambles.
- Kim is a technical striker with decent volume. She has a long reach but does not use it the way she should. Instead of striking from range, she will pressure forward with a jab-cross combo and throw it multiple times. She tends to eat more shots than she puts out and needs to work on moving her head more to avoid that. She has not landed a takedown in the UFC but has been taken down multiple times. She has also had issues scrambling back up in past fights.
DFS Perspective: If Kim wins, I see a lower-scoring decision. If McCann wins, I see a decent-scoring decision. Kim will need to use her 10-inch reach advantage to keep this on the feet and strike from range. McCann will use her movement to dip in and out, throwing combinations and looking for takedowns. If she gets it to the mat, she should be able to lock up a round with control time and strikes.
My Pick: McCann
Paddy Pimblett (16-3-0) v. Luigi Vendramini (9-2-0)
- Pimblett is a Cage Warriors Champion making his UFC debut. He is a quick, flashy striker with great movement. His striking has improved greatly over the past few years, and it only helps him set up his takedowns. He is a magician on the mat. His takedowns are great, and he is amazing at controlling fighters. He passes guard well, can rain in top control and will hunt for a submission at any time.
- Vendramini is a good all-around fighter and can take the fight anywhere. He has great striking with decent power and mixes in takedowns with good grappling. He is quick with good movement and not the easiest to hit. He has a great counter and throws in combos and kicks to keep pressure on his opponent. His ground game is aided by his black belt in jiu-jitsu. He is explosive on takedowns, controls well on the mat and is aggressive with submissions.
DFS Perspective: Paddy "The Baddy" Pimblett is making his debut and I could not be more excited. He fought on Cage Warriors and has always looked ready for the UFC. Vendramini should be a good matchup for his debut. I expect Pimblett will be able to control where this fight goes. Vendramini could end it early with his power or his submission game and would smash value in doing so. Pimblett could get an early finish or score well with a decision.
My Pick: Pimblett
Modestas Bukauskas (11-4-0) v. Khalil Rountree Jr. (9-5-0, 1NC)
- Bukauskas lost a tough decision last time but will look to use his striking to find a way back into the win column. He uses his wide stance and length to keep the striking at range. He mixes in quick jabs with a big left hook. He attacks the body with big round and spinning back kicks. He fights with his hands down and relies on his movement to avoid being hit. His takedown defense and ground game leave much to be desired.
- Rountree is an explosive striker with big power. He is a first-round knockout machine. He throws hooks and uppercuts with force. He has devastating leg kicks that can completely neutralize a fighter, and he is light on his feet with good movement. His defense at times can be lacking since he is willing to stand and brawl. His big weakness comes on the mat. He does not attempt takedowns and does not have the greatest defense. On the mat, he really struggles to find control or get back up.
DFS Perspective: If this goes to a decision, it will likely be lower-scoring for either guy, as it will be all striking. Rountree is a first-round finisher and would score great if he does it again here. Bukauskas also has some power but will need to avoid the power of Rountree and counter with his own. An early finish by either guy likely ends up in the optimal.
My Pick: Bukauskas
Alex Morono (19-7-0, 1NC) v. David Zawada (17-6-0)
- Morono is a great striker with excellent movement. In his last fight, his striking prowess and power were on full display with a first round knockout. He has a strong jab-overhand right combo. He will mix in deadly head strikes, including spinning heel kicks. He has high volume and wears guys down quickly. He is a black belt in jiu-jitsu and has great grappling. He is strong in the clinch but rarely goes for takedowns. His takedown defense is not very good, but he is a decent scrambler and works well off his back.
- Zawada draws another tough opponent and needs to right this ship quickly. He is an explosive pressure striker with a big left hook-right jab combo. He controls the ring very well and will blitz forward with fast hands. He will stand and trade in the pocket and is also good at pulling counters. His takedowns, when attempted, are solid. On the mat, he is a dangerous submission specialist.
DFS Perspective: This fight has the potential to be high scoring with a finish or decision. Morono throws high volume and has power which would score well in both. Zawada does not throw as much volume but has even more power and can get takedowns or a submission.
My Pick: Morono
Tom Aspinall (10-2-0) v. Serghei Spivac (13-2-0)
- Aspinall is a man on a mission and will not stop until he reaches the top. He has incredible athleticism for a heavyweight. He moves quickly and has great striking. He uses a nice jab-right hook combo to back his opponent up and then crushes them with a powerful right to knock them out. He will move in and out, create confusion and pull deadly counters after baiting them in. He will also mix in kicks to the legs and body to slow his opponents quickly. His takedowns are excellent, and he immediately gets on top and rains heavy ground and pound. He also showed in his last fight that he can mix in submissions with the best of them.
- Spivac gets better each time out. His boxing continues to improve with a nice jab and good combos. He excels at countering with knees and has excellent overall defense. For a big man, he is quick and technical with his strikes. He has shown off his grappling in big ways, controlling his opponents and dictating the flow of the match. He levels changes well and shoots for takedowns when he creates an opening. Once on the mat, he hunts for the submission but also does well with ground and pound. He does struggle when getting put on his back and has not shown much ability to get back up.
DFS Perspective: I fully expect Aspinall to continue his onslaught of UFC fighters and end this quickly. He bulldozes his opponents immediately and does not let up. There is a chance that he makes a mistake and Spivac catches him with a submission, but I wouldn't bet on it. I like Aspinall to make the optimal with another huge win.
My Pick: Aspinall
Derek Brunson (22-7-0) v. Darren Till (18-3-1)
- Brunson continues his impressive run and improves in each fight. He continues to be more patient in the cage and work behind leg kicks to the legs and body. He will feint, draw his opponents in and then cut them down with a strong kick or big jab to the head. If he backs them into the cage, he will unleash multiple combos and bombs to end it early. He racks up takedowns and control time, wearing fights out and dictating where the fight goes.
- Till is a storied fighter with excellent striking and movement. He is all striking and is very patient, often too patient. He does not throw a lot of volume, and without a knockout, it's hard to seeing him winning. He can pull-counter with the best of them and is very technical with his striking. He will throw crisp jabs and strong overhand hooks. He does not do any offensive grappling or wrestling but has great takedown defense and terrific scrambling.
DFS Perspective: Till will have the striking advantage and is always a threat to end the fight with a single blow. Brunson will have a huge edge in volume and on the mat. Till will need a finish to return a value score for DFS, and if he gets a knockout, it will likely be with Brunson shooting. Brunson would score big with a finish, and potentially even bigger with a decision filled with takedowns and control time. All the value is with the dog here.
My Pick: Brunson