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We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 55 in Las Vegas. We have a fun 11-fight slate on DraftKings and a few fights that could end up being some fan favorite bangers. It also helps that on DraftKings we have another $100,000 to first place in the main contest.

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.

Elise Reed vs Sam Hughes
Reed, -170; Hughes, +150

Elise Reed is coming off a split-decision victory over Cork McKenna her last time out in March. She was taken down multiple times in that fight but worked back to her feet well and won the striking exchanges due to damage and volume. She is primarily a kickboxer and although her takedown defense is not great, she is typically difficult to control on the mat.

Her opponent, Sam Hughes is coming off a majority decision victory over Istela Nunes last month. That was her first UFC victory as she lost three straight coming into that fight. Hughes is similar to Reed in that she is primarily a striker, and she struggles to defend takedowns herself. However, she is more willing to land takedowns and that could be a potential path to victory for her in this matchup.

I view both of these fighters as very similar prototypes. Reed is a little more powerful and clean with her striking technique but Hughes more liable to proactively grapple. It should be a very close fight, but I slightly lean towards Reed in being able to keep the fight standing for the most part and edge the striking exchanges. Reed by decision is the official pick but there are much better fights to target this week on DraftKings.

Felipe Colares vs Chase Hooper
Colares, -170; Hooper, +150

Felipe Colares is fresh off a split-decision loss to Chris Gutierrez last October. He had the right game plan by trying to force the grappling exchanges but was unable to execute properly. His wrestling has never been good while he averages 1.8 takedowns per 15 minutes but only defends at 43%. His striking is not good as he is very sloppy and reckless in the pocket. He is a low volume striker but will aggressively move forward and initiate the grappling.

His opponent, Chase Hooper is coming off a decision loss to Steven Peterson at UFC 263 last June. Hooper just doesn’t have the physicality to compete at a high level in this division. His striking defense remains to be a huge concern as he eats a ton of clean punches although his durability has been good so far. His best asset is that he does have very good jiu jitsu and is always capable of finding a submission on the mat against any opponent.

I expect Colares to give Hooper the grappling match that he wants which may not be the best gameplan. I would have interest in either fight that is lined as an underdog and I will have more exposure to Hooper on DraftKings. This is a classic buy low spot for Hooper in what is actually a decent matchup for the kid. Hooper by submission is the official pick.

Jonathan Martinez vs Vince Morales
Martinez, -220; Morales, +180

Jonathan Martinez is coming off a decision victory over Alejandro Perez in February and is currently on a two-fight win streak. Martinez is a technical kickboxer maintains range well and will throw in volume with the majority being his kicking attacks. He has powerful leg kicks, but his biggest issue is he gets countered a lot when throwing them and has been knocked down four times in the UFC.

His opponent, Vince Morales is looking to keep his momentum going as he earned his first finish in the UFC when he knocked out Louis Smolka inside the first round back in December. Morales is a one-dimensional boxer and although he has a wrestling background, he never uses it inside the octagon. I expect this fight to play out at range for the most part with Martinez edging it with his kicks. Morales will need to get inside boxing range where he can counter effectively and potentially hurt Martinez as well.

 This fight should play out closer than the line indicates but I still think Martinez likely gets the nod as Morales is very susceptible to kicks and outside of a knockout or big moments, he probably loses. Martinez by decision is the official pick but he does not carry much upside at his price unless he can finish via leg kicks like Chris Gutierrez did.

Omar Morales vs Uros Medic
Morales, -160; Medic, +140

After a few not so exciting matchups to start the card, this one will definitely get the juices flowing as Omar Morales squares off against Uros Medic. Morales is coming off a second-round submission loss to Jonathan Pearce last September at UFC 266. He is a technical kickboxer that will throw powerful head kicks and counter hook shots. He is not very high volume, but he picks his spots well and makes them count.

Medic fought on the same card at UFC 266 but lost by first-round submission to Jalin Turner. I still do not fully know what to make of Medic, but I am leaning towards him being a fraudulent fighter. He came from the Alaskan regional scene which is notoriously bad in terms of talent. His first-round knockout over Aalon Cruz looked great but Cruz went 0-2 and was cut by the UFC so it has not aged well.

Medic does have some power though, so you can never rule out an early knockout. But outside of an early knockout, I think Morales styles on him and finds a finish himself. Morales does hold a blackbelt in BJJ and would have a clear grappling advantage if he chose to go there but he rarely does so I am expecting this to play out on the feet for the most part. Morales by knockout is the official pick and this is a good fight to target on DraftKings as I am expecting the winner to score well.

Jailton Almeida vs Parker Porter
Almeida, -630; Porter, +450

Jailton Almeida is an exciting prospect that followed up his victory on Dana White’s Contender Series last Fall with a first-round knockout win over Danilo Marques in his UFC debut in February. He is a physical specimen and will have a clear grappling advantage in this matchup.

His opponent, Parker Porter is coming off a decision victory over Alan Baudot in February and is currently on a three-fight win streak. Porter is a high-volume striker and has good enough cardio to fight for 15 minutes if needed. He has also looked to mix in takedowns in multiple fights but that will not a be a path to victory for him in this matchup as he will need to keep the fight standing.

There is a world where Porter keeps the fight standing and wins a striking based decision or potentially hurt Almeida on the feet. However, those are both small percentage outcomes as the grappling advantage is very clear, and I expect Almeida to take the path of least resistance. The odds are giving too much respect to the prospect, but he likely gets the job done either way. Almeida by submission is the official pick and he is a strong play on DraftKings.

Joseph Holmes vs Alen Amedovski
Holmes, -195; Amedovski, +165

Joseph Holmes is coming off a decision loss to Jamie Pickett in his UFC debut in January. Shout out to us for being all over Pickett in that spot.

Anyway, I will keep pounding the table until people understand Holmes is not a great fighter by any means. He got exposed in his debut against the likes of Pickett and now is being sold as a sizable favorite.

Let’s start with the good – Holmes is long and rangy for the division and will have a significant six-inch reach advantage. Additionally, his grappling is not great at all, but he should be the better grappler in this matchup. As for the bad, Holmes does not use his length well at all and regularly lets his opponent’s close distance. His wrestling is not great either, so it is no guarantee he gets this fight to the mat to use one of his only advantages. Lastly, his cardio is bad and that was basically what did him in against Pickett who does not even push a high pace and he still gassed out.

His opponent, Alen Amedovski is 0-2 in the UFC and coming off nearly a three-year layoff. All eight of his career wins have come by knockout and six of them came inside the first round. He clearly has knockout power but outside of that there is not much to worry about, and he can be neutralized on the mat.

There are obvious concerns on both sides of this matchup but I’m willing to embrace the unknown in that Amedovski could have made some improvements during his lengthy absence. Also, even the previous version that we saw from him is able to have some success against Holmes and potentially hurt him on the feet. I am expecting a sloppy fight but it likely scores well for DraftKings so I will have exposure to both sides with a lean towards Amedovski. Amedovski by knockout is the official pick.

Jun Yong Park vs Eryk Anders
Park, -205; Anders, +160

Jun Yong Park is coming off a second-round knockout loss to Gregory Rodrigues in October. That was the first knockout loss of his career and will look to rebound against another powerful athlete in Eryk Anders.

Park is one of those fighters that are decent everywhere but not great anywhere. He is also at an athleticism disadvantage in this matchup against Anders which will likely play a factor in who is going to have success grappling.

But Anders has never been a fighter that I have a strong read on as he is so hot and cold each time out it seems. He is generally low-volume and can mix in takedowns but rarely makes them a priority even if he is losing striking exchanges. I actually think he could have success landing takedowns against Park and even controlling him on the mat, but I do not trust him to do that whatsoever.

I expect this fight to be a close decision where the rounds are not super clear, and we are stuck relying on the judges. For that reason, it’s mostly a pass for me but the official pick is Anders by decision.

Tabatha Ricci vs Polyana Viana
Ricci, -120; Viana, +100

It’s Baby Shark SZN! Tabatha Ricci is coming off a decision victory over Maria Oliveira in October which was her first UFC win. She is a 6-1 prospect with her only loss coming against Manon Fiorot up a weight class on short notice.

Ricci comes from a high-level grappling background and holds a black belt in BJJ. She is small for the division, but she landed five takedowns in her last fight and can hold position on the mat which will be important in this matchup.

Her opponent, Polyana Viana is coming off a first-round submission victory over Mallory Martin in February of last year at UFC 258. She is a finisher by nature and all 12 of her career victories have come inside the distance. In fact, she has just one victory outside of the first round. She is a dangerous grappler as well but is way too willing to play guard and I would be surprised if she can submit Ricci off her back.

Viana will have a size advantage though, to go along with a six-inch reach advantage. I expect the striking to be competitive, but it is likely Ricci who will be landing takedowns and staying in dominant position on the mat. Ricci by decision is the official pick and this is a sneaky good fight to target on DraftKings.

Chidi Njokuani vs Dusko Todorovic
Njokuani, -220; Todorovic, +180

Chidi Njokuani is coming off an impressive UFC debut when it took him just 16 seconds to knock out Marc-Andre Barriault in February. Njokuani is primarily a striker who uses his length well and will hold a six-inch reach advantage in this matchup. His grappling is still a concern, but I expect this fight to play out on the feet mainly and in the clinch which is where Njokuani excels.

His opponent, Dusko Todorovic is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Maki Pitolo in December. Todorovic is a low-volume boxer that relies primarily on head movement which is never great unless you are among the elite and he has paid the price for it already in the UFC. He also likes to clinch against the fence quite a bit and that is an area that he will be at a disadvantage in this matchup as Njokuani is strong in that position and has nasty knees that he will land on Todorovic.

Njokuani is being hyped a little from the big debut, but the price is warranted as this is a favorable matchup for him stylistically speaking. Njokuani by decision is the official pick and this fight is in the mix on DraftKings as there are not many elite options on this slate.

Michel Pereira vs Santiago Ponzinibbio
Pereira, -120; Ponzinibbio, +100

Michel Pereira is coming in hot on a four-fight win streak and most recently beat Andre Fialho to a decision victory in January. He is extremely athletic and big for the division. He has explosive power and 10 of his career 27 victories have come by knockout. He has been tough to trust in terms of his fight IQ and showmanship but more recently he has fought with a smart game plan.

His opponent, Santiago Ponzinibbio is coming off a split-decision loss to Geoff Neal in December. Since Ponzinibbio has returned to fighting in 2021, he has looked like a shell of the former welterweight contender. He has clearly lost a step and his durability is a concern for me as well especially facing a powerful athlete like Pereira.

I expect Pereira to be the one landing the more powerful shots on the feet. He is also more likely to land takedowns and bank control time as well. Pereira by knockout is the official pick and he is a strong play on DraftKings in the mid-range this week.

Holly Holm vs Ketlen Vieira
Holm, -250; Vieira, +200

It has been over a year and a half since we last saw Holly Holm when she put up a dominant performance over Irene Aldana in a main event victory. Holm turns 41 years later this year but clearly still has some gas in the tank coming off one of her better performances in years.

Her opponent, Ketlen Vieira is coming off a main event victory of her own when she won a decision over Miesha Tate in November. Vieira is a low-volume striker that is typically losing striking exchanges. She is a good grappler and averages just under two takedowns per 15 minutes, but it would be surprising if she could blanket Holm for 25 minutes.

Her cardio has always been a concern and although it looked a little better against Tate, Holm will likely have a decent advantage in that area. This is shaping up to be a boring main event and we could see a typically clinch fest against the cage for the majority. I expect it to be close early in the fight but Holm to take over in the later rounds and get her hand raised. Holm by decision is the official pick but this is another week where the main event is not a must play on DraftKings.