We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 51 in Las Vegas. This is not the greatest card from a talent perspective, but we still have a full 14-fight card which means ownership will be more spread out than last week.

As always, I give my analysis and DraftKings strategy based on how I see each fight matchup playing out. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter  with any questions that you have leading up until fight night Saturday.

Heili Alateng vs Kevin Croom
Alateng, -180; Croom, +155

Heili Alateng is coming off a draw against Gustavo Lopez in September. He was deducted a point for grabbing the fence, but the judges had him up two rounds so the fight resulted in a draw. Either way, Alateng is not a fighter that I rate very highly. He is a low-volume striker with some power, but he typically needs to mix in his wrestling to put a stamp on rounds. His striking defense and durability are also concerns as he eats some big shots and has been knocked out three times in his career. His opponent, Kevin Croom is coming off a decision loss to Brian Kelleher in January. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak since the no contest against Roosevelt Roberts in his UFC debut in 2020. Croom is not a high-level fighter by any stretch, but he does have some positive traits especially in this matchup. For starters, he is going to be much longer than Alateng as he is six inches taller and will have a seven-inch reach advantage. His output is also greater than Alateng and I expect him to be the more active fighter of the two with repeated leg kicks along with attempted takedowns. Both fighters have issues defensively, but I favor the finishing upside of Croom along with a grappling advantage as well. Croom by submission is the official pick but I will have some exposure to both sides as I am expecting the winner to score well as this one likely ends in a finish.

Istela Nunes vs Sam Hughes
Nunes, -210; Hughes, +175

Istela Nunes is coming off a third-round submission loss to Ariane Carnelossi in her UFC debut in October. She comes from a high-level striking background and is a former two-time Muay Thai world champion. She is going to have a clear technical striking advantage in this matchup along with the volume and power as well. Her opponent, Sam Hughes is coming off a decision loss to Luana Pinheiro in November. She is 0-3 in the UFC and will likely get her walking papers if she cannot manufacture a victory on Saturday. This is a difficult matchup for her stylistically speaking as you want to fade Nunes with fighters that can mix in the wrestling and force her to grapple, and Hughes is not that type of fighter. Hughes has only attempted three takedowns in the UFC and has yet to land one. I expect this fight to play out on the feet for the majority with Nunes getting the better of the exchanges. Nunes by decision is the official pick but I am not expecting this fight to score well on DraftKings.

Trey Ogden vs Jordan Leavitt
Ogden, -130; Leavitt, +110

Trey Ogden is coming off a second-round submission victory in November and is currently on a three-fight win streak. He is a 15-4 prospect making his UFC debut to face Jordan Leavitt. Ogden is a high output fighter with decent volume on the feet as he has some power and will constantly look to beat up his opponents’ legs. Additionally, he is a good submission grappler with 11 of his 15 wins coming by submission. His opponent, Leavitt, is coming off a second-round submission victory over Matt Sayles in December. Leavitt is a slick submission grappler in his own right with six of his nine wins coming by submission. My issue with Leavitt is that his striking is Chase Hooper level bad. He does not have much power and his unorthodox striking leaves him susceptible to getting clipped on the feet. However, Ogden is comfortable taking his fights to the ground and Leavitt will likely have a chance to pull off a submission as a Ogden has been submitted in three of his four losses. Overall though, I feel Ogden’s striking advantage is the biggest factor in this matchup. If he chooses to keep the fight standing then this likely is not close. But because I do expect some grappling exchanges, I’m not ignoring the upside of Leavitt either. Ogden by decision is the official pick but I will have some exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

Martin Buday vs Chris Barnett
Buday, -225; Barnett, +185

This is your typical heavyweight slop fight where the edges are small and the variance is high. Martin Buday is coming off a first-round finish on Dana White’s Contender Series in October. He is a 9-1 prospect with seven of his wins coming by knockout. As with most heavyweights, he does have knockout power, but his cardio is not great and the only time he went the distance was a decision loss to Juan Espino back in 2017. His opponent, Chris Barnett is coming off a second-round knockout victory over again Villante in November. Similar to Buday, the majority of his win condition is an early knockout as 17 of his 22 career victories have come that way. I don’t rate Barnett highly whatsoever, but this is a high variance fight where both guys are capable of winning by knockout, so I am interested on DraftKings considering the price. The most likely outcome is Buday winning by knockout as he is a bit cleaner on the feet and his durable and cardio are more proven. Buday by knockout is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides and look to do opposite of what the field does with this fight.

Rafa Garcia vs Jesse Ronson
Garcia, -120; Ronson, +100

Rafa Garcia is coming off a decision victory over Natan Levy in November which was his first UFC victory. Garcia is a high-output fighter that is going to come forward and be in your face for the majority of the fight. His striking defense is a concern, but he does go to his wrestling often and averages four takedowns per 15 minutes which is very solid. His durability checks out as well as he has never been finished in his career even after taking a beating from Nasrat Haqparast in his UFC debut. His opponent, Jesse Ronson made his return to the UFC in 2020 when he beat Nicolas Dalby by first-round submission. However, that fight was overturned to a no contest due to Ronson failing a drug test for a banned substance. Ronson is now 36 years old and while he does have some submission grappling skills, I consider him a finish-reliant fighter as he is not a good minute winner. I expect Garcia to be the more active striker moving forward and mixing in the takedowns. Outside of Ronson snatching up a submission, Garcia should get his hand raised. Garcia by decision is the official pick and I have a little interest on both sides for DraftKings.

Drakkar Klose vs Brandon Jenkins
Klose, -600; Jenkins, +435

Drakkar Klose comes in as the biggest betting favorite of the entire card this week. He will face Brandon Jenkins who is coming off a knockout loss to Zhu Rong in his UFC debut in September. Simply put, Jenkins is not a very good fighter. He does have a handful of knockout finishes that consists of flying knees, spinning elbows and other flashy attacks. But as we already know, that is tough to expect that to translate against actual UFC talent. He is not a good minute winner and will need a big moment or finish in most fights as he is just 2-5 in fights that go to decision. This is a very difficult matchup for him against Klose. Klose is the better striker and wrestler and has better durability as well. The better question is can close pay off his price on DraftKings? I am leaning that he knocks out Williams as his chin seems to be fading and is outclassed here. However, Klose is historically more of a decision fighter and could start slow coming off the long layoff. I am leaning towards a late knockout victory or decision by Klose but either way he likely does not pay off his expensive price tag on DraftKings.

Pannie Kianzad vs Lina Lansberg
Kianzad, -435; Lansberg, +330

Pannie Kianzad is coming off a decision loss to Raquel Pennington in September which snapped a four-fight win streak for her. She comes from a Muay Thai striking background and throws at a high-volume on the feet. Additionally, she is a competent grappler as well and has above average takedown defense. Her opponent, Lina Lansberg is coming off a two-year layoff after she lost a decision to Sara McMann where she only landed one strike across 15 minutes. She also just turned 40 years old which makes you wonder if she can seriously compete at this level anymore. Kianzad should have a clear striking advantage over Lansberg and I expect her to keep this fight on the feet and piece her up for 15 minutes. Kianzad by decision is the official pick but I am not expecting this to be a good fight to target on DraftKings on either side.

Devin Clark vs William Knight
Clark, -170; Knight, +150

Devin Clark is now on a two-fight losing streak after dropping a decision to Ion Cutelaba in September. Clark’s boxing is not bad, but he does not throw in volume and is mostly striking to close distance to look for takedowns. Clearly, his best asset is his wrestling as he is a former high school and Junior college wrestling champion. He averages 2.5 takedowns per 15 minutes, and I expect that to be the gameplan in this matchup. His opponent, William Knight is coming off a decision loss to Maxim Grishin in February where he stepped in on short notice and missed weight by a country mile. Knight is powerful and Clark does have some durability concerns, but I doubt Clark will keep this fight at space very often. I expect Clark to close distance and fight his typical cage push style until he peels Knight to the mat repeatedly. Clark by decision is the official pick and I have some interest in both sides on DraftKings as Knight does have knockout upside while Clark has multi-takedown upside.

Mounir Lazzez vs Ange Loosa
Lazzez, -195; Loosa, +160

Mounir Lazzez is coming off a knockout loss to Warlley Alves in January of last year. He is a high-volume kickboxer with legitimate knockout power as eight of his 10 victories have come by knockout. However, when he is forced to defend takedowns and grapple, he does not fare so well. His opponent, Ange Loosa is stepping in on short notice to make his UFC debut. Loosa fought on Dana White’s Contender Series last season where he lost a decision to Jack Della Madalena. Loosa is an explosive striker with knockout power himself with five of his eight wins coming by knockout. He trains out of Sanford MMA and I am excited to see if he can make some noise in the UFC. What is interesting in this matchup is that he does have some solid wrestling if he decides to use it. On the feet, either guy can win by knockout but Loosa can be losing on volume and optics outside of any big moments. But if he goes to the wrestling then she should have a clear advantage on the mat and takedowns can swing rounds if the striking is competitive like I expect. Despite the short notice, Loosa is one of my favorite underdogs on the slate. Loosa by decision is the official pick.

Pat Sabatini vs TJ Laramie
Sabatini, -450; Laramie, +340

Pat Sabatini is coming off a dominant performance over Tucker Lutz in a decision victory in November. Sabatini trains out of Renzo Gracie and is a high-level wrestler and submission grappler. He relies heavily on his collegiate wrestling background and has great top control along with his slick submission skills as well. His opponent, TJ Laramie is coming off a first-round submission loss to Darrick Minner in his UFC debut in September of 2020. That loss snapped a four-fight win streak for him and unfortunately for him, I doubt he gets back in the win column here. Laramie is a low-level prospect who has been finished in the first round in three of his four career losses. Sabatini has already faced tougher competition than Laramie and passed those tests, so I have a hard time seeing him struggle in this matchup. Sabatini by submission is the official pick and he is a strong play on DraftKings this week.

Mayra Bueno Silva vs Yanan Wu
Silva, -450; Wu, +340

Mayra Bueno Silva is coming off a decision loss to Manon Fiorot in October. She has just one victory over her last four bouts and that came against Mara Romero Borella in 2020. She has power in her punches and likes to move forward but she struggles to defend punches and her cardio seemingly always fails her. She does have some slick grappling though and five of seven wins have come by submission. Her opponent, Yanan Wu is coming off a decision loss to Joselyne Edwards in January of last year. She has lost three of her four UFC fights with her lone victory coming against Lauren Mueller who is no longer on the roster. Yanan is not a fighter that I have any sort of confidence in, but I do expect this fight to play out much closer than the betting odds indicate. Silva is just not someone that can cover this hefty price tag without an early finish and if this goes to decision then I can see a case for the underdog in Wu. For that reason, I will have some exposure to the underdog on DraftKings, but this fight is mostly a pass for me considering the price. Silva by decision is the official pick.

Miguel Baeza vs Andre Fialho
Baeza, -170; Fialho, +150

Miguel Baeza is coming off a third-round knockout loss to Khaos Williams in November. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak after winning his first three UFC bouts. He is a powerful striker with nasty leg kicks and sharp hands. Seven of his 10 victories have come by knockout, but he is too willing to brawl in the pocket and disregards his defense altogether. His opponent, Andre Fialho is coming off a decision loss to Michel Pereira at UFC 270. Fialho is a powerful striker himself with 11 of his 14 career victories coming by knockout, 10 of those inside the first round. I expect Baeza to be landing much more on the feet and beating up the legs of Fialho but he is liable to get hit which is concerning. If Baeza were to go to his grappling, then he will have a clear advantage on the mat although I expect this to be a striker’s delight. This is a good fight to target as I expect the winner to win by knockout, but I favor the volume and durability of Baeza. Baeza by knockout is the official pick.

Gadzhi Omargadzhiev vs Caio Borralho
Omargadzhiev, -140; Borralho, +120

Two fighters that fought on last season of Dana White’s Contender Series are set to square away in this week’s co-main event. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev is coming off a first-round submission victory in October and is a 13-0 prospect with 11 of his wins coming inside the distance. He is more of a grappler and most of his wins have come via ground and pound. That being said, the level of competition that he has faced so far is subpar and if he cannot get the fight to the ground then he is likely to struggle against many opponents. His opponent in this matchup is Caio Borralho. Borralho actually fought twice on Contender Series and won both times with his most recent victory being a first-round knockout. He is a technical striker with legitimate power and nasty leg kicks. He stays light on his feet and his straight punch combinations are likely to be a problem for Omargadzhiev if this fight plays out at range. Additionally, Borralho holds a black belt in BJJ and should be able to hang tight in the grappling realm assuming he does not get stuck on bottom too often. Both fighters have cardio concerns, but I favor the well roundedness of Borralho and lean him in this matchup. Borralho by knockout is the official pick.

Vicente Luque vs Belal Muhammad
Luque, -170; Muhammad, +150

The main event this week is a rematch between two fighters that first squared off back in 2016 which resulted in a first-round knockout victory for Vicente Luque. Luque is one of my favorite fighters to watch as he is never in a boring fight. He is constantly looking to brawl, but he is also very technical and mixes up his strikes very well. Additionally, he is dangerous on the mat as well with his front choke series and holds a black belt in BJJ and his last two wins have come by submission. His opponent, Belal Muhammad is coming off a decision victory over Stephen Thompson in December. Outside of the eye poke no contest against Leon Edwards, he is on a six-fight win streak. But the level of competition has not been great until recently and this is a tough test for Muhammad despite the improvements he has made since the last time they fought. Muhammad has made a living on being a high-output fighter that will throw in volume and continuously mix in the takedowns and use his good cardio as a weapon. But I struggle to see him having much success taking down Luque and controlling him on the mat without being at risk to get submitted. And on the feet, I favor the striking of Luque as the volume will be close, but Muhammad is mostly empty volume whereas Luque’s punches are going to be impactful. The only real advantage I see Muhammad having is his cardio and the potential to land takedowns. Unfortunately, that will not be enough for him on Saturday night and Luque likely finishes him again. Luque by knockout is the official pick and he is a strong play on DraftKings.