Drake's Takes: UFC Vegas 53 Font vs. Vera

Drake's Takes: UFC Vegas 53 Font vs. Vera

This article is part of our Drake's Takes series.

Tatsuro Taira (10-0-0) v. Carlos Candelario (8-1-0)

Tatsuro Taira - Height: 5-7 - Reach: N/A - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume 
~ Plus grappling
~ 8 finishes in 10 wins

Carlos Candelario - Height: 5-8 - Reach: 68 inches – Southpaw 
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus grappling and wrestling
~ 5 finishes in 8 wins

DFS Perspective: Two fighters making their debuts. Taira is an up-and-comer riding a 10-0 record, with the majority ending by a finish. He has an impressive arsenal and should have some success in the UFC. The only issue is that he has not really fought anyone of note, so it can be difficult to fully assess his skill. Candelario has fought twice on the Contender Series, going 1-1, and was rewarded a contract after his gutsy performance in the loss. Taira is the more dangerous of the two, with more weapons, and if he wins early, it will likely be by submission. Candelario's best bet would be to keep this fight on the feet and apply forward pressure to keep Taira off balance and win on scorecards. Debut fighters are always tough to gauge, so I would avoid using either guy in cash, but both can be used in GPP, with Taira receiving more weight.

My Pick:  Taira

Gina Mazany (7-5-0) v. Shanna Young (8-5-0)

Gina Mazany - Height: 5-6 - Reach: 68 inches - Southpaw
~ Low volume
~ Plus wrestling
~ 5 finishes in 7 wins

Shanna Young - Height: 5-7 - Reach: 65 inches - Orthodox 
~ Low volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 4 finishes in 7 wins

DFS Perspective: Neither lady has been impressive in her UFC stints, but the matchup favors Mazany. Mazany should avoid a striking match where her weak chin will continually be tested and find her way to the mat via takedown and look to control on top. Young has shown difficulty finding her way back up once put on her back and will need to avoid Mazany's takedowns to keep this on the feet where her striking is her advantage. A decision for either lady likely nets a lower score. However, if Mazany chains takedowns and control time, she could smash her value in a decision. GPP is the preferred play for both. Mazany is safe in cash if you think she gets takedowns.

My Pick:  Mazany

Natan Levy (6-1-0) v. Mike Breeden (10-4-0)

Natan Levy - Height: 5-9 - Reach: 71 inches - Southpaw
~ Low volume
~ Plus grappling and wrestling
~ 3 finishes in 6 wins

Mike Breeden - Height: 5-10 - Reach: 70 inches - Orthodox 
~ Moderate volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 8 finishes in 10 wins

DFS Perspective: This should be a classic striker vs. grappler match. Breeden is a powerful striker and will look for the knockout on the feet. Levy will look to drag Breeden down and control him until he finds a submission. Breeden defends the takedown at a high clip and will need every bit of it to get past Levy. The longer the fight stays on the feet, the more I favor Breeden to score a knockout. Levy will find success on the mat if he can get it there. Breeden makes an excellent GPP pick for mass entry tournaments, given the early knockout potential and low price tag. Levy is a significant favorite and is safe for cash, but a lower-scoring decision is likely.

My Pick:  Levy

Gabriel Green (10-3-0) v. Yohan Lainesse (8-0-0)

Gabriel Green - Height: 5-10 - Reach: 73 inches - Switch
~ High volume
~ Average wrestling, plus grappling
~ 9 finishes in 10 wins

Yohan Lainesse - Height: 6-1 - Reach: 76 inches - Orthodox 
~ High volume, considerable power
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 6 finishes in 8 wins

DFS Perspective: Green has solid striking but should avoid brawling in this fight for at least the first round. If he takes the fight to the mat, he should find himself sitting heavy on top, racking up control time and strikes. However, if he chooses to strike, he runs the risk of walking into the deadly power of Lainesse. Lainesse is a wild striker who is constantly looking for the kill shot but tires himself out quickly in the process. Nevertheless, his knockout potential makes him a decent GPP play for bigger tournaments. Green is safe for cash and GPP as he should score well in any scenario where he avoids getting knocked out.

My Pick: Green  

Alexandr Romanov (15-0-0) v. Chase Sherman (15-9-0)

Alexandr Romanov - Height: 6-2 - Reach: 75 inches - Southpaw
~ Moderate volume
~ Elite grappling, takedowns, submissions, and ground and pound
~ 14 finishes in 15 wins

Chase Sherman - Height: 6-4 - Reach: 78 inches - Orthodox  
~ High volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 14 finishes in 15 wins

DFS Perspective: This fight was supposed to happen last week until Sherman had to pull out last minute due to an unknown injury. Romanov should completely dominate and finish this in round 1. He will have the advantage everywhere, but specifically on the mat where he crushes opponents. Romanov is safe for cash and GPP. 

NOTE: Sherman pulled out after DFS lock last week; there is potential that it could happen again.

My Pick:  Romanov

Daniel Lacerda (11-2-0) v. Francisco Figueiredo (12-4-1, 1NC)

Daniel Lacerda - Height: 5-6 - Reach: 70 inches - Switch
~ High volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 11 finishes in 11 wins

Francisco Figueiredo - Height: 5-6 - Reach: 68 inches - Southpaw 
~ Low volume
~ Plus wrestling
~ 10 finishes in 12 wins

DFS Perspective: I expect most of this fight to play out on the feet. Figueiredo is a slow defensive striker, and I think that will hurt him in this fight. He could find a nasty kick as Lacerda pressures in, but I think he struggles overall. Lacerda will apply a ridiculous pace with elite cardio, throwing more volume, and having better potential to finish this fight. Stylistically, I think this is a bad matchup for Figueiredo and personally will not be using him even in GPP tournaments. Lacerda is safe for cash and GPP.

My Pick:  Lacerda

Krzysztof Jotko (23-5-0) v. Gerald Meerschaert (34-14-0)

Krzysztof Jotko - Height: 6-1 - Reach: 77 inches - Southpaw
~ Low volume
~ Average wrestling/grappling
~ 7 finishes in 23 wins

Gerald Meerschaert - Height: 6-1 - Reach: 77 inches - Southpaw 
~ Low volume
~ Plus wrestling, elite grappling
~ 32 finishes in 34 wins

DFS Perspective: Jotko makes his living fighting at range and getting it to the scorecards. He does not throw a ton of volume, but what he does throw, he makes count. Until his most recent fight, he displayed elite takedown defense, so it is tough to say where it will be here. Meerschaert will be looking to take advantage of any hole in the takedown defense and get this fight to the mat. He will hold the advantage while on it but often gives himself up for a submission attempt, which can get him into trouble. Meerschaert makes an excellent play for cash and GPP as a live dog. Jotko typically sees his fights go to the scorecards, which yields low scores due to his low volume.

My Pick:  Meerschaert

Darren Elkins (27-10-0) v. Tristan Connelly (14-7-0)

Darren Elkins - Height: 5-10 - Reach: 71 inches - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 14 finishes in 26 wins

Tristan Connelly - Height: 5-10 - Reach: 68 inches - Orthodox 
~ Low volume
~ Average wrestling, plus grappling
~ 13 finishes in 14 wins

DFS Perspective: This will be a dog or pass fight for me. Elkins continues to rack up damage, and his most recent knockout was less than six months ago. He is a well-loved veteran, and he gives it his all in every fight, but at some point the damage will be too much and it very well could come after that knockout. Connelly is a grapple-first fighter but has some pop in his hands. I expect him to test the waters on the feet for a couple minutes and then drag Elkins to the ground in search of a submission. Not knowing the condition of Elkins keeps both guys strictly in GPP for me.

My Pick:  Connelly

Jared Gordon (18-4-0) v. Grant Dawson (17-1-1)

Jared Gordon - Height: 5-9 - Reach: 68 inches - Orthodox
~ High volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 8 finishes in 18 wins

Grant Dawson - Height: 5-10 - Reach: 72 inches - Switch 
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling, elite grappling
~ 15 finishes in 17 wins

DFS Perspective: After getting knocked out cold, Gordon has run off three consecutive wins by decision, though against lesser competition than Dawson. His best path would be to keep the fight on the feet and attack Dawson with volume. Dawson has power in his hands but will be chasing takedowns looking to get this fight to the mat where he can grapple his way to a submission. There is a small cardio concern with Dawson if the fight hits the later rounds, giving Gordon some GPP appeal, but give me Dawson for cash and GPP.

My Pick:  Dawson

Andre Fili (21-8-0, 1NC) v. Joanderson Brito (12-3-1)

Andre Fili - Height: 5-11 - Reach: 74 inches - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling, average grappling 
~ 12 finishes in 21 wins

Joanderson Brito - Height: 5-8 - Reach: 72 inches - Orthodox 
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 10 finishes in 12 wins

DFS Perspective: Brito has immense power and will look to flurry in the pocket to make this a brawl, but his path to victory is likely only by knockout. Fili is the better all-around fighter and should have the advantage everywhere. So long as he avoids the knockout, I expect him to control where the fight goes, throw more volume and dominate on the mat. Fili is safe for cash and GPP.

My Pick:  Fili

Andrei Arlovski (33-20-0, 2NC) v. Jake Collier (13-6-0)

Andrei Arlovski - Height: 6-3 - Reach: 77 inches - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 20 finishes in 33 wins

Jake Collier - Height: 6-3 - Reach: 78 inches - Orthodox 
~ High volume
~ Average wrestling/grappling
~ 9 finishes in 13 wins

DFS Perspective: Arlovski continues to play gatekeeper in the heavyweight division and draws his fifth fight since the beginning of 2021. He is a patient striker who forces fighters to fight at his pace. There is still power in his hands, but nearly all of his fights now go to the scorecards. Collier is the younger and much quicker fighter. He will be looking to pressure forward and piece Arlovski with volume. It is difficult to back fighters in their 40s, and Arlovski's defense has to break at some point. I think Collier is the one to do it. He will pressure forward with no fear of eating a shot, knowing he will land more volume than his opponent. I would be more concerned if Arlovski were still a real knockout threat. If Arlovski wins, it likely will be a lower-scoring decision. If Collier wins, he should hit value given his volume in a decision.

My Pick:  Collier

Rob Font (19-5-0) v. Marlon Vera (18-7-1)

Rob Font - Height: 5-8 - Reach: 71 inches - Orthodox
~ High volume
~ Average wrestling/grappling
~ 12 finishes in 19 wins

Marlon Vera - Height: 5-8 - Reach: 70 inches - Orthodox 
~ Moderate volume
~ Average wrestling, plus grappling
~ 15 finishes in 18 wins

DFS Perspective: This should be an explosive 25-minute war. Font will have a considerable edge in volume, while Vera should hold an edge in grappling. Both fighters are tough to finish, and I expect this to primarily play out on the feet, where Font's elite cardio and volume should get him the win in a decision. Given that this fight has a greater potential to go all five rounds, it would make sense to stack both fighters in your cash line.

My Pick:  Font

FANDUEL SCORING

Moves Scoring
Significant Strikes = 0.6 pts
Takedown = 6 pts
Takedown Defense = 3 pts
Knockdown = 12 pts
Submission Attempt = 5 pts

Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win = 100 pts
2nd Round Win = 75 pts
3rd Round Win = 50 pts
4th Round Win = 35 pts
5th Round Win = 25 pts
Decision Win = 20 pts

Scoring Notes

  • Significant Strikes are distance strike or clinch/ground strikes that are considered "power strikes" by official scorers.
  • A knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider a substantial time.

DRAFTKINGS SCORING

Moves Scoring
Strikes: +0.2 pts
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 pts
Control Time: +0.03 pts/Second
Takedown (TD): +5 pts
Reversal/Sweep (REV): +5 pts
Knockdown (KD): +10 pts

Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win (1rW+): +90 pts
2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 pts
3rd Round Win (3rW+): +45 pts
4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 pts
5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 pts
Decision Win (WBD+): +30 pts
Quick Win Bonus: +25 pts
(fight is finished in 60 seconds or less)

Scoring Notes

  • Significant Strikes are any distance strike or clinch/ground strikes that are considered "power strikes" by official scorers.
  • A Significant Strike will count as both a strike and a significant strike and will be worth a total of 0.4 pts.
  • Control Time is the time spent in the dominant position on the ground or in the clinch. +0.03 points are awarded per second.
  • A Knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider an appreciable time.
  • A Quick Win Bonus is awarded to the winning fighter if they win in the first round in 60 seconds or less.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Drake Burden plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Dburdz, DraftKings: Dburdz.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Drake Burden
Drake is a proven DFS winner with multiple four-figure paydays under his belt. He took an interest to writing MMA during the pandemic and is active in various Discords and other social media communities.
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