This article is part of our UFC Picks series.
A week after the fireworks of UFC 266, the organization is back with a card that is overflowing with potential finishes. We cover every fight across five platforms in this week's edition of The MMA Mashup in order to give players the best shot at a profit. All lines are taken from the William Hill online sportsbook and are accurate as of the post date of this article.
Without further ado, let's get to it
Plays to Consider on DraftKings
Karol Rosa ($9,300)
Rosa has shown she can do a little bit of everything, as she generally begins with a pressure striking attack before mixing in her wrestling game. Rosa comes armed with what seems like an unlimited gas tank, as evidenced by the whopping 7.73 significant strikes she has landed per minute in three UFC bouts. Bethe Correia has power and decent technical boxing, but it will be incredibly surprising if she is able to withstand the pace that will be put on her over the course of 15 minutes.
Casey O'Neill ($9,000)
I always get a bit nervous when a fight seems too cut-and-dry, but all three of Antonina Shevchenko's losses in the Octagon have come via opponents who realized the quickest path to victory was to take the Muay-Thai practitioner to the ground. O'Neill has been absolutely relentless with takedowns and clinch control in her first two UFC bouts, which has led to an average of 125 DraftKings points per appearance. While she will be in danger for as long as she is at range, O'Neill should be able to close the distance quickly and get the fight where she wants it.
Aspen Ladd ($8,900)
Ladd is a strong, committed wrestler who is heavy on top and willing to unleash ferocious ground and pound. While I would never sully the good name of this article series by using MMA math, it must be pointed out that Lina Lansberg absolutely dominated Macy Chiasson in the clinch and on the ground, scoring two takedowns while racking up nearly eight minutes of control time in a decision victory. Meanwhile, Ladd needed just one takedown to finish Lansburg on the ground when the two fought in 2017.
Jared Gordon ($7,800)
Joe Solecki has looked good in every phase of a fight so far in his UFC career, but I see Gordon as the better combination puncher who will control the center of the cage. Jim Miller had no issues taking Solecki down and controlling him in the first round of their fight, and while he can be a handful off of his back, it should be noted that Gordon has yet to be submitted in 21 professional MMA fights. "Flash" came into the organization as a wrestler with endless cardio, which should allow him to grind away on Solecki until he breaks.
Kyle Daukaus ($7,700)
At this point, it's hard to pick Kevin Holland against anyone who plans on wrestling him. While that may sound simplistic, "Trailblazer" has been absolutely dominated by committed wrestlers in his last two fights and spent the third round of his win over Darren Stewart eating hard shots on the bottom. Dauakus has been hesitant to use his wrestling at times, but I doubt he'll want to spend too much time striking with someone as dynamic and fast as Holland. As long as Daukaus keeps the pressure on, he should be able to secure top position and hunt for submissions en route to a victory.
Plays to Consider on FanDuel
Shanna Young ($15)
Young may have lost her bout against Macy Chiasson, but the 30-year-old showed noticeable improvement since her time on the Contender Series, as she discarded her flat-footed stance and became much more agile and elusive. Chiasson proved to be the stronger fighter in the clinch, but I don't think this will be the case with Stephanie Egger, who completed just one of her six takedown attempts against Tracy Cortez. Young may choose to grapple at times when she would be better served by staying at range, but being on the right side of the physicality equation should help her tremendously here.
Plays to Consider on SuperDraft
Jamie Mullarkey – 2.1x Multiplier
The eye test practically begs one to pick Devonte Smith here, as he is the longer fighter who is more athletic, faster, and more powerful. However, Smith tends to leave himself wide open in exchanges, which resulted in a knockout loss to Khama Worthy and a staggering shot absorbed from Justin Jaynes. Mularkey used a slick combination to KO Worthy in their fight and will have wrestling in his back pocket if he needs to mix things up.
Misha Cirkunov - 2.25x Multiplier
Cirkunov was floored twice in his last bout before being TKO'd by Ryan Spann, but he will face a decidedly less dangerous fighter in Krzysztof Jotko on Saturday. While he may not be the smoother striker of the two, Cirkunov will have a significant power advantage, and will also be the more accomplished submission grappler when the fight hits the ground. This leaves Jotko without many paths to victory, forcing him to choose between absorbing the power of his opponent or attempting to take him down.
Alex Oliveira – 2.2x Multiplier
It wasn't long ago that pundits were marveling at the physical attributes of Oliveira, as his ability to cover distance and power has led to more than a few highlight knockouts. A 2-5 record over his last seven fights has dulled enthusiasm ahead of his bout with Niko Price, who is known for getting in the face of his opponents and throwing hammers until someone falls. The issue for him here will be that "Cowboy" is also skilled at finding countershots, and Price tends to wade into the pocket with reckless abandon. Either man could knock out the other before we've had a chance to blink, but it seems as though this multiplier is based too heavily on matchups that didn't suit Oliveira as well as this one.
Plays to Consider on Prize Picks
Alexander Hernandez UNDER 10 Minutes of Fight Time and Thiago Santos UNDER 7.5 Minutes of Fight Time
We have seen Hernandez stumble when he has tried to rise in the ranks, but "The Great" has always excelled when he has been able to press a notable advantage. In the matchup against Mike Breeden, that advantage will be speed. Hernandez absolutely trucked Chris Gruetzemacher when the two fought last year, and while the debutante is a bit better defensively, he is similarly flatfooted. When combined with his power, I expect that speed will lead to a stoppage victory sooner rather than later.
Thiago Santos looked a step slow in his fight with Aleksandar Rakic. While this wasn't entirely unexpected as he works his way back from multiple knee injuries, it remains concerning as he gears up to take on an explosive finisher in Johnny Walker. This makes a winner more difficult to call, but our focus should be on the fact that neither competitor likes to see the final bell, with the pair racking up a whopping 34 finishes between them. Walker's only fight to go over the 7.5-minute mark in the UFC occurred when Nikita Krylov decided to have a wrestling match, and Santos is far more likely to oblige him on the feet.
Bets to Consider
Alejandro Perez vs. Johnny Eduardo Goes to Decision: (+120)
This bout is the story of two veterans who have a lot of finishes on their respective records but may not be the dangerous fighters they once were. Perez, for example, has just one finish on his record in his last eight fights. This can be attributed to "Turbo" fighting at a much slower pace, as he hasn't tallied more than 61 significant strikes in any of his last five decisions. Eduardo has been the more lethal of the two but will be making his first trip to the Octagon in three years at 41 years old. I expect more of a nip-and-tuck kickboxing match than a brawl, which should result in the competitors hearing the final bell.
Gaetano Pirrello Defeats Douglas Silva de Andrade: (+200)
Pirrello didn't show much of anything in his debut against Ricky Simon, but he's hardly the first fighter to be completely shut down by Simon's unyielding pace and wrestling. De Andrade is explosive and powerful, but all that muscle tends to drain his gas tank, and Gaetano loves wearing on his opponents in clinch situations while throwing knees and elbows. Gaetano will need to be careful in space, though we need to keep in mind that de Andrade hasn't knocked out an opponent since 2016 and should allow Gaetano to control the range as he looks to land big counter shots.