This article is part of our Drake's Takes series.
Jeremiah Wells (9-2-0, 1NC) v. Mike Mathetha (3-0-0)
Fight Analysis: Wells is making his second UFC fight after successfully winning his debut with a second-round knockout. He is a well-rounded fighter with solid power, technical striking and good movement. If he scores a knockdown, he will look to jump the back and find a choke. Mathetha is making his UFC debut after his most recent unanimous decision win in Eternal MMA. He is a gritty kickboxer with solid power and decent grappling.
DFS Perspective: Matheta is not UFC-ready, and I do not believe he should have this fight. Wells should dominate immediately and finish early.
My Pick: Wells
Douglas Silva de Andrade (27-4, 1NC) v. Sergey Morozov (17-4)
Fight Analysis: Silva de Andrade will be making his tenth UFC fight and has alternated wins and losses over the last seven, with the most recent being a knockout win. He is a knockout artist with 20 KO/TKOs in his 27 wins, has great movement and decent defense. Morozov found great success on the mat in his previous fight, earning a unanimous decision win to move to 1-1 in the UFC. He has solid striking with considerable power, elite grappling, and terrific footwork.
DFS Perspective: de Andrade is getting up there in age and is starting to show in his fights. He still has power and can score a flash knockout, but I expect Morozov to get this fight to the mat early and control for multiple rounds.
My Pick: Morozov
A.J. Dobson (6-0-0) v. Jacob Malkoun (5-1-0)
Fight Analysis: Malkoun will be fighting in his third UFC bout, going 1-1, the most recent being a unanimous decision win. He is a decent striker with excellent forward pressure, quick hands and a fantastic ground game. Dobson is making his UFC debut after a successful run on Dana White's Contender Series in September. He is a powerful striker with an excellent all-around game, fast hands and a knack for first-round finishes.
DFS Perspective: Dobson is an absolute killer and will have every chance to score an early finish in the first couple of rounds. After that, It is hard to know where his cardio will be, given he has only been out of the first one time. Malkoun has a path to victory, chaining takedowns and keeping control on the mat.
My Pick: Dobson
Carlos Ulberg (5-1-0) v. Fabio Cherant (7-3-0)
Fight Analysis: Ulberg floundered in his UFC debut, dominating until he was overly fatigued and knocked out early. However, he is a high-volume kickboxer with decent power, fast hands and solid defense. Cherant has his back up against the wall, having lost his first two UFC fights, both by finish. He is a submission specialist with excellent grappling, decent striking and great cardio.
DFS Perspective: This may very well be Cherant's last fight. He has not been impressive, and I do not see him having much chance. Ulberg struggled with cardio last fight, and I think that gets corrected here. I expect him to come out with a slightly slower game plan and pace himself to an easy decision or potential finish.
My Pick: Ulberg
Alexander Hernandez (13-4-0) v. Renato Moicano (15-4-1)
Fight Analysis: Hernandez enters the night on a high, scoring a first-round knockout last time out. He is a strong striker with great grappling, decent volume and solid takedowns. Moicano has been up and down over his last six fights, earning three rear-naked choke wins, but he has also been knocked out three times. The Brazilian is an 11-fight veteran with decent striking and power, but he thrives on the mat with excellent takedowns, control and submissions.
DFS Perspective: This is a tough fight to call, as both fighters have gone up and down in the UFC. Moicano's path to victory is on the mat via submission. Hernandez has a clear advantage on the feet but is also well-versed in grappling, giving him a leg up as the dog.
My Pick: Hernandez
Mana Martinez (9-2-0) v. Ronnie Lawrence (7-1-0)
Fight Analysis: Martinez had a successful UFC debut, earning a close split-decision win. He is a technical striker with considerable power, solid leg kicks and a crafty submission game off his back. Lawrence earned a dominant win in his UFC debut, scoring a third-round knockout after controlling for nearly eight minutes on the mat. He is a great striker with high volume, exceptional takedown and control ability, and high fight IQ.
DFS Perspective: Martinez can succeed on the feet and potentially find an early knockout or possible submission off his back. Lawrence, however, will likely have more volume and be the aggressor. He should find success chaining takedowns and keeping control throughout the fight.
My Pick: Lawrence
William Knight (10-2-0) v. Maxim Grishin (31-9-2)
Fight Analysis: Knight will be making his fifth UFC fight and looking to go 4-1 in the UFC after a strong unanimous decision win in his last contest. He is a monster of a man with immense power striking, good volume and features a much-improved grappling game. Grishin lost a close fight in his previous contest, losing via unanimous decision. He is an MMA vet with a combined 42 fights (three in the UFC) and is a well-rounded fighter with precise striking, good movement and solid wrestling.
DFS Perspective: Grishin has much more experience and size advantage that he should look to use. If he keeps the fight at range and mixes in a takedown or two, he will find himself winning on the scorecards. Knight should be the aggressor and fight in the pocket, looking for a mix of power and volume. Knight is live for the upset and could find an early finish.
My Pick: Knight
Alex Perez (24-6-0) v. Matt Schnell (15-5-0, 1NC)
Fight Analysis: Perez gets his first fight after his unsuccessful title shot and acquiring his first loss in the UFC. He is an aggressive, well-rounded fighter with great striking, excellent takedowns and strong submissions. Schnell most recently lost a unanimous decision, but it was overturned, so he is still 5-2 in his UFC tenure. He is a high-volume striker with excellent footwork, good defense and a phenomenal submission game.
DFS Perspective: Perez is the far superior fighter here, and he should make quick work of Schnell. However, Schnell can be sneaky off his back and wiggle his way out of problems, giving him a shot at a reversed submission attempt and potential win.
My Pick: Perez
Roxanne Modafferi (25-20-0) v. Casey O'Neill (8-0-0)
Fight Analysis: Modafferi is set to make her farewell after this fight, calling it after what will be 46 fights, eight of which were in the UFC. She is a grinder with smooth technical striking from range and decent ground game. O'Neill has blasted her way through her first three opponents in the UFC, all by early finish. She is an ultra-aggressive monster with a non-stop motor, excellent striking and fantastic footwork. She is solid everywhere the fight can go.
DFS Perspective: I do not see a way in which Modafferi goes out a winner against O'Neill. She grinds out decisions and is tough to put away but does not have much left in the gas tank. I think O'Neill makes a statement and becomes the first person to finish her in the UFC. She has won her first three UFC fights, and I see no reason that stops here.
My Pick: O'Neill
Andrei Arlovski (32-20-0, 2NC) v. Jared Vanderaa (12-6-0)
Fight Analysis: The veteran Arlovski enters the night having won two in a row and four of five, all by unanimous decision. He is a technical striker with great defense, good footwork and solid leg kicks. Vanderaa moved to 1-2 in the UFC after a stinging second-round knockout in his last fight. He is a high-volume striker with excellent kicks and good movement.
DFS Perspective: Arlovski is the gatekeeper for the heavyweights, and I do not think Vanderaa is at his level yet. Arlovski is strong and forces guys to fight at his pace, controlling the fight. Vanderaa will likely look to fight from range and attack with various leg kicks. Heavyweights always have a chance to score big knockout wins, but I think this goes to the card with Arlovski taking it.
My Pick: Arlovski
Bobby Green (27-12-1) v. Nasrat Haqparast (13-4-0)
Fight Analysis: After two tough decision losses, Green rebounded with a first-round knockout win last time out, moving his UFC record to 9-7-1. He is a high-volume striker with good footwork, decent takedowns and solid defense. Haqparast took a tough loss last time out, losing unanimously after being dominated on the mat. He is a tricky technical striker with good volume, excellent striking and takedown defense, and great movement.
DFS Perspective: Green can dominate this fight if he finds a way to get the fight to the mat. If not, Haqparast is live for the upset win. He should be the one dictating the flow of the fight and should have the takedown defense here to keep it on the feet where he holds the advantage.
My Pick: Haqparast
Kyler Phillips (9-2-0) v. Marcelo Rojo (16-8-0)
Fight Analysis: Phillips suffered his first UFC loss in four fights, losing a majority decision after 15 minutes. He is a high-pressure machine with crisp striking, lightning-quick movement and solid takedowns and ground control. In his UFC debut, Rojo took a tough loss, getting knocked out late in the third round. However, he has a well-rounded game and is tough as they come with clean striking, defense, and great takedowns and submissions.
DFS Perspective: Phillips seems to be getting a bit of a free pass here after his loss. Not to say Rojo has no chance; he has significant power and can be crafty when hunting submissions. That said, Phillips should be the aggressor and better everywhere this goes and should take this by decision or early knockout.
My Pick: Phillips
Jared Cannonier (14-5-0) v. Derek Brunson (23-7-0)
Fight Analysis: Cannonier is back in the driver's seat after a convincing unanimous decision win last time out. He is a phenomenal striker with good power, excellent defense and solid footwork. Furthermore, he is tough to bring down and control on the mat and has 11 finishes in 14 wins. Brunson is on an impressive streak, having won five in a row and chasing that title shot. He is a decent striker but has found a ton of confidence in his wrestling during this winning streak. Moreover, he has great striking and takedown defense and good finishing ability with 16 in 23 wins.
DFS Perspective: I see this fight going one of two ways. First, Cannonier stops takedowns and punishes Brunson into an early knockout. Second, Brunson successfully has takedowns and either controls for most rounds or finds an early finish. I side with the latter. I think Brunson has gotten sneaky with his takedowns and finds success enough to win the round or find that finish.
My Pick: Brunson
Derrick Lewis (25-8-0, 1NC) v. Tai Tuivasa (13-3-0)
Fight Analysis: Lewis made a statement in his previous contest, scoring another knockout in the first round. He is a knockout artist known for his massive power and will bring in a size advantage to this fight. Tuivasa is quickly garnering a huge following with his highlight-reel knockouts, including his most recent in the second round of his previous contest. He is an excellent counter striker and will gladly let fighters walk in on him so he can send massive shots with it.
DFS Perspective: This should be a banger with one guy getting flatlined. The fight should be slower since neither guy is overly aggressive, which should favor Lewis more. Either could end up with a knockout in any round, but I will lean with Lewis to score another.
My Pick: Lewis
Israel Adesanya (21-1-0) v. Robert Whittaker (24-5-0)
Fight Analysis: Adesanya successfully defended his belt for a fourth consecutive fight, earning a unanimous decision win after 25 minutes. He is a stylistic technical striker who works phenomenally from range, plus has elite defense and incredible footwork. On the other hand, Whittaker has rattled off three in a row, earning another title shot after most recently winning unanimously after five rounds. He is a well-rounded fighter with crisp, powerful striking, great defense, and excellent footwork and head movement.
DFS Perspective: This is a rematch from just over two years ago when Adesanya knocked Whittaker out. I do not think we see that same scenario, as this fight should now be much closer. Adesanya will want to keep the fight at range and mix his striking up. Whittaker should be looking to use his wrestling more in this rematch while exchanging strikes inside the pocket.
My Pick: Whittaker