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$9K Anthony Ivy vs $7.2K Christian Aguilera

Anthony Ivy comes in as a (-195) favorite and the comeback on Christian Aguilera is (+160). Anthony Ivy was signed to the UFC to come in as a short-notice replacement for Ian Heinisch last week after a false test for one of Heinisch’s cornermen. Since Heinisch was still able to fight, the UFC needed to give Ivy a fight so they bring in Christian Aguilera who is on a two fight win streak and will make his UFC debut along with Ivy. Ivy is the former WXC Welterweight champion and on a five fight win streak. He does have some power in his hands and some okay wrestling chops but still needs work and this is a very low level matchup. His opponent, Aguilera, is on a two-fight win streak and is a decent boxer and wrestler. These guys are actually pretty similar in their fighting styles but I would give the wrestling advantage to Aguilera. The problem with Aguilera is that he has been KO’d four times in his professional career, all of which came in the first round. Ivy has a strong ITD line at (-110) making him a strong play on DraftKings but I do have a decent amount of interest on Aguilera too. Ivy has yet to be KO’d but he was nearly finished in his last fight and if they stand and trade long enough then anything can happen. For that reason, I’ll be overweight on this fight as a whole as I think the winner scores well and ownership will only be on one side in what should be a competitive bout. Ivy by knockout is the official pick.

$8.9K Jordan Griffin vs $7.3K Darrick Minner

Jordan Griffin comes in as the (-165) favorite and the comeback on Darrick Minner is (+145). Griffin is coming off the second round submission victory over TJ Brown but he honestly didn’t look as good as I expected in that fight. He is a solid striker and a purple belt in BJJ. His opponent, Darrick Minner, is a regional grinder who fought Herbert Burns on Dana White Contender Series and got submitted in the first round. More recently, he made his UFC debut against Grant Dawson and got choked out in the second round. He comes from a college wrestling background and is a very aggressive submission grappler. Make no mistake about it – he is going for the finish. I would equate him to being the “poor man’s” Tim elliott if that helps you visualize what to expect. 21 of his 24 wins have come by submission and only three of his 35 professional fights have gone the distance. While the fight plays out on the feet I expect Griffin to have a significant advantage in the striking as he is the more technical fighter and has more power than Minner. Minner is wild on the feet and mainly throws in flurries to try to initiate his wrestling and grappling. A lot of those times when he rushes in, he tends to get hit so he needs to be careful with the power of Griffin. On the mat, I give Minner the advantage as the better submission grappler but Griffin has solid defense and had some exciting scrambles and exchanges with Chas Skelly previously. Additionally, these two guys fought each other in LFA back in 2018 and Griffin won by armbar. Outside of an early submission, I don’t see a way that Griffin loses this fight. A ton of money has come in on the underdog, Minner, since the open and he is a good underdog target on DraftKings in that if he does win – it is very likely coming by an early finish. Griffin by submission is the official pick and this is another strong fight to target as it’s currently (-195) not to go to decision.
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**UPDATE** Darrick Minner got sick during the weight cut and pulled out. This fight has been scrapped.

$7.7K Zarrukh Adashev vs $8K Tyson Nam

This was originally supposed to be Ryan Benoit but he pulled out and Zarrukh Adashev will make his UFC debut on short notice here. Adashev has only four professional fights and is on a three fight win streak over in Bellator with two of those wins coming by knockout. He is a southpaw with an exciting fighting style as he has decent power and wrestling. Tyson Nam is 0-2 in the UFC and is coming off a decision loss to Kai Kara-France back in February. While he is more experienced, he hasn’t given us much to think about during his UFC tenure. He showed a decent chin in his two fights but he doesn’t throw enough volume for someone that wants to stand and trade which is why he generally loses rounds. I favor Adashev to be more active on the feet and see him as the more well-rounded fighter despite the lack of UFC experience. Nam does have a little power himself but just does not throw enough volume to really threaten. Give me the UFC newcomer Adashev and if you’re going to bet him then do it FAST because he opened at (+175) and is already downn to (+120).
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**UPDATE** Adashev missed weight by a few lbs. This isn’t a surprise considering how short-notice this fight was. My opinion of him doesn’t change and I’m still on him heavy on DK and FD as he is near minimum price over there.

$9.3K Julia Avila vs $6.9K Gina Mazany

Julia Avila comes in as the biggest favorite on the card at (-485) and the comeback on Gina Mazany is (+385). Avila is coming off her UFC debut where she looked pretty dominant against Pannie Kianzad last July. She is a strong boxer with lots of power and good in the clinch as well. She also has a pretty strong gas tank as she kept up a very high pace in her debut without gassing. She understands when to go for the killshot and is not afraid to throw combinations in bunches when she smells blood in the water which is something I always like to see when backing fighters. Gina Mazany was 1-3 in the UFC and had just one fight against a 44 year old can on the regional scene before the UFC brought her back for this matchup. I see Avila having every advantage here and her power is going to be too much for Mazany. She has a strong inside distance line that keeps moving but is currently at (-125). She is the most expensive fighter on DraftKings so you’re going to have to pay for her but she is one of the safest options on the board this week. Avila by KO is the official pick.

$7.8K Charles Rosa vs $8.4K Kevin Aguilar

Kevin Aguilar comes in as the (-170) favorite and Charles Rosa, the underdog at (+150). Aguilar is currently on a two-fight losing skid but those losses came against Dan Ige and most recently Zubaira Tukhugov in February. Charles Rosa is coming off the fight against Bryce Mitchell where he got absolutely man-handled for the course of 15 minutes just last month on the UFC 249 card. It doesn’t take long to realize what Charles Rosa is about. He is either subbing guys or losing a decision almost every single time. He is not a good enough striker to stand and trade with most guys in this division but he is a black belt in BJJ and is always dangerous off his back. That being said, Kevin Aguilar is a solid striker who is tough as nails and has excellent takedown defense at 89%. Enrique Barzola who is a much better wrestler than Charles Rosa struggled with takedowns against Aguilar and ultimately lost a striking decision and that is exactly how I see this one playing out. I expect Aguilar to get the better of exchanges on the feet and continuously stuff the takedown attempts of Rosa who will end up pulling guard multiple times in attempts to get this fight to the mat. The most likely outcome is Aguilar avoids the takedowns, defends the submission attempts and wins a relatively low scoring decision. Aguilar by decision is the official pick but I like the bet more than the play on DraftKings. I will have some exposure to Rosa as an underdog because he is alwasy live for an early submission although it’s unlikely in this specific matchup.

$8.7K Mariya Agapova vs $7.5K Hannah Cifers

The newcomer, Mariya Agapova comes in as a (-185) favorite and the comeback on Hannah Cifers is (+155). Agapova is making her UFC debut here and getting a lot of respect in this matchup. She fought Tracy Cortez on Dana White Contender Series last year where she lost a unanimous decision which is the only loss of her professional career. Since then she rebounded nicely with a first round submission victory followed by a first round knockout in October. She is only 23 years old but trains at American Top Team and is improving with every fight. She is also going to have a massive size advantage as she is much taller and will have an eight inch reach advantage. I thought we might get a better price on her against the experienced Hannah Cifers but due to the back to back losses of Cifers, it’s not surprising. Cifers just fought Mackenzie Dern on the May 30th card but she lost via submission early in the first round so is looking to rebound quickly here as a short-notice replacement. I do believe that Cifers is being undervalued here as she is a tough boxer and I expect this to be primarily a striking affair. With that being said, the problem with backing Cifers is that not only is she moving up a weight class here but she doesn’t have the wrestling and grappling skills that Tracy Cortez does and won’t be able to control Agapova. That is the easiest way to beat Agapova and because I don’t see Cifers posessing those skills, I’m going with Agapova as the much bigger and more well-rounded fighter. Agapova by decision is the official pick.

$8.5K Jordan Espinosa vs $7.7K Mark De La Rosa

Jordan Espinosa comes in as the (-165) favorite and the comeback on Mark De La Rosa is (+145). This matchup should be an interesting one as both guys are on losing streaks and fighting for the jobs in the UFC. Espinosa has lost back to back fights by submission in the very first round and four of his seven professional losses have come by way of submission. That is clearly the path to victory for Mark De La Rosa who is a black belt in BJJ and wants to get this fight to the mat. De La Rosa is currently on a three fight losing streak and most recently was KO’d by Raulian Paiva back in February. While this fight plays out on the feet, neither guy is a great striker but I expect Espinosa to have the advantage. He uses alot more kicks and is quick with diving in and out of range, especially considering De La Rosa’s reach disadvantage. With that being said, De La Rosa does have a little power in his hands when he does connect and his striking is always looking a little better each time while trianing out of Factory X Muay Thai. I can see this fight playing out in two ways: Espinosa avoids going to the mat and stays alive to win a low scoring decision or De La Rosa catches him with something and submits him. That is how I am going to play this fight on DraftKings with Espinosa as a fade for me and De La Rosa as a high risk/high upside underdog. The official pick is Espinosa by decision.

$8.6K Andre Fili vs $7.6K Charles Jourdain

Andre Fili comes in as a sizable favorite here at (-225) and Charles “Air” Jourdain is (+185). Fili is coming off a decision loss to Sodiq Yusuff back in January where he looked good. Yusuff is one of the bright up and comers in this division and Fili beat him in round one and outstruck him in round three but the judges gave it to Yusuff anyway. Charles Jourdain is coming off a big second-round KO over Doo Ho Choi last December as a big underdog. He is a southpaw striker that loves to throw the flying knee which is likely how he earned the nickname “Air Jourdain.” He attempted it multiple times against Desmond Green in his UFC debut and against Doo Hoo Choi where he landed it several times. He is a solid striker and finisher as the only two losses of his career are the only fights that he has had end in a decision. I like Jourdain as an underdog and he is live in this matchup but Fili is clearly the better all-around fighter. Fili has good boxing and wrestling and the experience should go a long way here. I expect the stand up striking to be pretty even with a slight lean to Fili but I expect him to use his wrestling advantage in this one and land a few takedowns as well and that’s really the difference here. Fili by decision is the official pick and I recommend betting it as long as you can get plus money (currently at (+115).

$9.2K Merab Dvalishvili vs $7K Ray Borg

Merab Dvalishvili comes in as a big (-420) favorite and the comeback on Ray Borg is (+335). Dvalishvili is coming off the unanimous decision victory over Casey Kenney back in February. Ray Borg is coming off the split decision loss to Ricky Simon on May 13th. Realistically, it shouldn’t have been a split as Simon clearly dominated. Anyway, this one is pretty straight forward: Dvalishvili is nicknamed “The machine” for a reason and I have to back him in this matchup. While Ray Borg is an excellent wrestler and decent grappler, Dvalishvili is the better version of him everywhere in this fight. He lands strikes at nearly three times more than Borg per minute and averages nearly double the amount of takedowns. This guy has cardio for days and he leads the bantamweight division in fantasy points per minute at 4.52 which is second highest in the UFC across all weight division (Tatiana Suarez 4.57). Ray Borg is just outgunned on the feet and doesn’t have the cardio or strength to keep up with Dvalishvili’s wrestling pace. Dvalishvili by decision is the official pick and he is a very strong play on DraftKings.
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UPDATE: Ray Borg pulled out of the fight and has been replaced by Gustavo Lopez. This changes nothing except that it makes Dvalishvili an even safer and stronger play than he already was. He is now the heaviest favorite on the card and I have zero interest in Lopez.

$8.8K Marvin Vettori vs $7.4K Karl Roberson

Marvin Vettori comes in as the (-230) favorite and the comeback on Karl Roberson is (+190). Marvin Vettori is coming in on a two fight win streak and most recently a decision victory against Andrew Sanchez back in October of last year. Karl Roberson is also on a two fight win streak, coming off a third-round submission victory over Roman Kopylov in November. This matchup is very interesting to me as we have two talented fighters although neither of them are necessarily considered a “big name” in the sport. Roberson has been known to not be afraid of a brawl and has been improving his grappling every time out it seems. However, this is a really tough matchup for him as Marvin Vettori does all the same things as Roberson except a little bit better. Neither fighter is super active on the feet but Vettori does have the edge there landing just under four significant strikes per minute. He is also a brown belt in BJJ so I don’t expect Roberson to be able to control him on the mat. Lastly, he has excellent takedown defense as he defends at just under 80% and that is where I expect the biggest advantage to be in this fight. It should be a competitive decision but the pick is Vettori here as I think he outstrikes him and proves he is the stronger wrestler in this matchup. He is priced at $8800 which makes it tough for him to outperform that salary without a finish. Vettori by decision is the official pick.
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**UPDATE** Roberson missed weight again but the fight will go on. Vettori might try to take his head off in the octagon – should be a fun one.

$8.3K Jessica Eye vs $7.9K Cynthia Calvillo

This fight opened up with Calvillo as the slight favorite at (-130) but the line flipped with Jessica Eye as a slight favorite on some books and others have it at a dead-even pick’em currently. I am definitely on #TeamCalvillo in this one and am surprised she isn’t a favorite here. She is coming off a draw against Marina Rodriguez back in December which was a terrible decision as she clearly won rounds one and three. Regardless, her only loss in her professional career was a decision to Carla Esparza back in 2017. She is a good wrestler and grappler and that is her clear advantage in this matchup against Jessica Eye. To be honest, I’ve never been impressed with Jessica Eye and always thought she was a bit overvalued. She came in to the UFC and won just one of her first seven fights, takes some time off and puts together a three fight win streak and all of a sudden fights for the belt? Get out of here. She could have some moments on the feet but I expect that to be relatively even and Calvillo to dominate the wrestling and grappling exchanges. Eye only defends takedowns at 56% and has given up multiple takedowns in most of her fights. This one seems pretty clear cut to me and the odds don’t reflect that. Calvillo by decision is the official pick. At $7.9K and five rounds to work on getting those takedowns and advances, Calvillo is a strong play this week.
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**UPDATE** Jessica Eye missed weight and looked very bad at the weigh-ins. She has struggled with making weight in the past so this isn’t a huge surprise but he did look very bad. Makes me feel more confident in my initial lean on Calvillo and the line quickly moved in her favor after weigh-ins.

Favorite Bets:

Zarrukh Adashev ML (+120)
Avila by KO (+130)
Aguilar by decision (-110)
Fili by decision (+115)
Dvalishvili by decision (-180)
Vettori by decision (+115)
Calvillo by decision (+200)