We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 59 in Las Vegas! We have a fun 12-fight slate on DraftKings after some bigger slates in the previous weeks. 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.

Stephanie Egger vs Mayra Bueno Silva
Egger, -120; Silva, +100

Stephanie Egger is coming off a first-round armbar submission victory over Jessica-Rose Clark in February. She is currently on a two-fight win streak since dropping her UFC debut to Tracy Cortez back in 2020. She comes from a Judo background averages over two takedowns per 15 minutes and has a decent submission grappling game as well.

Her opponent, Mayra Bueno Silva is coming off a decision victory over Wu Yanan her last time out in April. Bueno Silva carries legitimate power in her hands when she lets them go although she does slow down as the fight goes on. She holds a black belt in BJJ but most of her submission wins came against lower-level talent and she can be taken down and controlled by competent grapplers.

I would expect Bueno Silva to have the striking advantage as Egger does not throw much volume on the feet and has an awkward striking style. Silva is going to be landing more and harder than Egger, but I think Egger will look to land takedowns and get this fight to the mat. Egger is a physical fighter and should have the cardio advantage to along with her positional grappling which should be enough in this fight. Egger by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target on DraftKings. I will have some exposure to Egger for the line value as she is the favorite now and $200 cheaper.

Cory McKenna vs Miranda Granger
McKenna, -225; Granger, +190

Cory McKenna is coming off a split-decision loss to Elyse Reed in March. That loss snapped a four-fight win streak for her including her Dana White’s Contender Series victory against Vanessa Demopolous and her UFC debut against Kay Hansen. McKenna is not much of a striker and typically relies on her ground game and she landed three takedowns in her last fight was unable to do much with them. She is going to be way undersized against Miranda Granger who will have a 10-inch reach advantage.

Granger is coming off a sizable layoff as she last fought Ashley Yoder in November of 2020 and lost a decision. She was taken down multiple times in that fight and controlled for extended periods on the mat which is a theme for her. In terms of the striking dynamic, I do expect Granger to be the better boxer, but she does not put enough volume out there. Lastly, her inability to work back to her feet after being taken down is a red flag especially considering that is likely going to be McKenna’s gameplan.

I want to believe the better striker with a big size advantage at an underdog price should be value, but I do not know if I can get there with Granger. I just expect her to struggle with getting McKenna off of her in what should be a low-volume and boring affair. McKenna by decision is the official pick but there are much better fights to target on DraftKings.

Josh Quinlan vs Jason Witt
Quinlan, -215; Witt, +185

Josh Quinlan fought on Dana White’s Contender Series last September and impressed everyone with a knockout inside of the first minute. However, it was later deemed a no contest as he tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended by USADA because of it. He will now make his UFC debut and I am expecting him to show up in a big way similar to what I expected of him on Contender Series.

He is a powerful striker with devastating leg kicks and fast hands with 3 of his five wins coming by knockout. His wrestling isn’t terrible either and that is surely to be tested against his opponent here.

Jason Witt is coming off a TKO loss to Phil Rowe in February and that makes it six knockout losses in his career. Witt comes from a high-level wrestling background and averages nearly seven takedowns per 15 minutes. The problem is he is not a dangerous finisher when he does get you down and his durability makes him a complete liability in the striking department.

I expect Quinlan to put hands on Witt and hurt him early in this fight. Even if Witt has some wrestling success, it is only a matter of time before he dies on the feet. Quinlan by knockout is the official pick and he is a strong play on DraftKings.

Bryan Battle vs Takashi Sato
Battle, -245; Sato, +205

Bryan Battle is coming off a decision victory over fellow TUF competitor, TreSean Gore in February. Gore was clearly landing the more impactful shots, but Battle is tough as nails and was putting much more volume out there and mixing up his attack nicely. It is tough to describe Battle’s style as he is not really great in any area, but he is solid wherever the fight goes and has good enough cardio to fight hard for 15 minutes.

His opponent, Takashi Sato is coming off a decision loss to Gunnar Nelson in March and has now lost three of his last four fights. Sato is a one-dimensional striker, but he does have knockout power and 11 of his 15 career wins have come in that fashion. The biggest issue with Sato has always been his defensive grappling as he has been submitted in three of his five professional losses. Even when he avoids getting submitted, he does not defend takedowns well and can be controlled in dominant fashion.

I expect the striking to be competitive, but Battle should be the more active fighter with a clear size advantage and four-inch reach advantage as well. Once Battle starts initiating the clinch and getting this fight to the ground that is where he will have a clear advantage. Battle by submission is the official pick.

Terrance McKinney vs Erick Gonzalez
McKinney, -850; Gonzalez, +600

Terrance McKinney is coming off an absolute war with Drew Dober his last time out in March which resulted in a TKO loss in the first round. That loss snapped a five-fight win streak for him and his last seven fights have all finished inside the first round. At this point, we know what to expect from McKinney as he comes out guns blazing and throws the kitchen sink at you trying to get a finish.

His opponent, Erick Gonzalez is coming off his UFC debut against Jim Miller where he was knocked out in the second round. Gonzalez has some finishing ability himself with eight of his 14 career wins coming by knockout. But those came against low level competition, and he is outclassed in every area of this matchup. His durability is not great either as he has been submitted multiple times aside from the knockout loss to Miller.

I expect McKinney to pressure Gonzalez until he breaks him by landing something heavy like a headkick or taking him down and dominating him on the mat. McKinney by submission is the official pick and he is my favorite play on DraftKings this week and expected to be one of the highest owned on the slate.

Michal Oleksiejczuk vs Sam Alvey
Oleksiejczuk, -600; Alvey, +450

Michal Oleksiejczuk is coming off a decision loss to Dustin Jacoby in March. He is primarily a striker with strong boxing skills and will throw in volume on the feet. His defensive grappling has always been an issue as he has been submitted in three of his five professional losses but that likely will not be an issue in this matchup.

His opponent, Sam Alvey is coming off a submission loss to Brendan Allen in February. Alvey has fought eight times in the past four years and has not won a single fight, yet the UFC continues to keep giving him chances. He is a low-volume striker that will typically get backed up against the fence and look to land one of his powerful counter hook shots. Outside of one of those landing clean on Oleksiejczuk, I do not see him winning this fight.

I expect Oleksiejczuk to pressure Alvey and pour on the volume before eventually hurting him and putting him away. Oleksiejczuk by knockout is the official pick but I prefer other fighters in that expensive price range on DraftKings.

Ariane Lipski vs Priscila Cachoeira
Lipski, -175; Cachoeira, +150

Ariane Lipski is coming off a dominant performance in a win over Mandy Bohm last September. That win snapped a two-fight losing streak for her. The “Queen of Violence” comes from a striking background and has some power in her hands with six knockout victories. However, her durability is a concern as she seems a little chinny to me and has been knocked out three times in her career. Lastly, her defensive grappling has always plagued her, but she should have the better ground game in this matchup.

Her opponent, Priscila Cachoeira is coming off a questionable decision victory over Ji Yeon Kim in February. Cachoeira is a one-dimensional power puncher with six of her 11 career wins coming by knockout. She is willing to move forward and walk her opponents down even if it means eating multiple shots in doing so. Fortunately for her, I expect this fight to play out on the feet where both women should be able to land some damage.

I think if Lipski were to grapple here, she would have a significant advantage. However, she has only landed one takedown in the UFC so you cannot trust her to take the easiest path to victory here. On the feet, it should be competitive but because I do not trust Lipski’s durability, I cannot trust her at this favorite price tag. Lipski by decision is the official pick but I will have more exposure to Cachoeira on DraftKings as she has more finishing upside.

Serghei Spivac vs Augusto Sakai
Spivac, -245; Sakai, +205

Serghei Spivac is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Greg Hardy in March. Spivac is a quality Heavyweight prospect at just 27 years old. His striking is not great, but it is solid enough to compete before mixing in his takedowns as he averages over three takedowns per 15 minutes. He does his best work on the mat with his smothering control and ground and pound along with his submission skills. 12 of his 14 wins coming inside the distance and six of those by submission.

His opponent, Augusto Sakai is coming off a second-round knockout loss to Tai Tuivasa in December. He started his UFC career 4-0 and has since dropped three straight all by knockout. He is a high-volume striker with a strong jab but lacks the typical heavyweight power. I expect him to be throwing more volume on the feet, but he only defends takedowns at 68% in the UFC and I expect that to be the difference here. Spivac by TKO is the official pick.

Julianna Miller vs Brogan Walker
Miller, -120; Walker, +100

The first of two TUF finale fights have Julianna Miller squaring off against Brogan Walker this Saturday. Miller is just 2-1 professionally as she turned pro just three years ago. Her last professional loss came against Claire Guthrie in 2021 but she faced her again in the Ultimate Fighter house and won by decision. Her striking needs improvement but she is aggressive in getting things to the ground where she has some submission grappling skills and holds a brown belt in BJJ.

Her opponent, Brogan Walker is coming off back-to-back decision wins in the Ultimate Fighter house. She is a well-rounded fighter with much more experience against quality level of competition including a win over Miranda Maverick on the regional scene. She should be the better striker in this matchup, but she does have a black belt in BJJ as well. However, she just turned 34 years old and does not put a stamp on rounds when she spends a lot of time defensive wrestling like I expect her to here. Lastly, her durability is a bit suspect despite never being finished she does seem to get rocked quite a bit.

I expect this to come down to cardio as Miller should have some wrestling success early, but Walker has shown good takedown defense and will be able to stuff them if Miller gets tired. Either way, I lean with the younger fighter that should be the more aggressive of the two including a wrestling edge. Miller by decision is the official pick.

Zac Pauga vs Mohammed Usman
Pauga, -240; Usman, +200

In this matchup, we have the other Ultimate Fighter finale as Zac Pauga faces Mohammed Usman in the Heavyweight division. Pauga is an undefeated prospect at 5-0 training out of Elevation Fight Team in Colorado. He seems to be a solid striker on tape and will have the advantage on the feet in this matchup. The biggest edge for him that I see is in the cardio department as he can go a hard 15 minutes and is 4-0 in decisions while his opponents slows down.

Mohammad Usman is the younger brother of Welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman. He is nowhere near his brother from a skillset standpoint. However, he is massive and will be the bigger fighter against the undersized Pauga on Saturday. He is going to have a power advantage and is the more likely of the two to land takedowns, so I do have some interest in him as an underdog on DraftKings.

The most likely outcome is that Pauga is able to stuff some takedowns and win the fight in the striking department. I would expect him to take over as the fight goes on and Usman starts to get tired. But the finishing upside along with the takedown upside is firmly on the Usman side so he is my preferred play on DraftKings.

Vicente Luque vs Geoff Neal
Luque, -180; Neal, +155

Vicente Luque is coming off a main event decision loss to Belal Muhammad in April. That loss snapped a four-fight win streak for him. Luque is a powerful striker with 11 of his 21 wins coming by knockout. He is a credentialed grappler as well but typically loves to bang in the pocket and slug it out on the feet. He has yet to be knocked out but we have seen him hurt multiple times in fights and he is hittable on the feet, so it is a valid concern due to his fighting style.

His opponent, Geoff Neal is coming off a split-decision victory over Santiago Ponzinibbio in December at UFC 269. That win squashed a two-fight losing streak for him and he will look to keep that momentum going on Saturday. Neal is a powerful striker in his own right with eight of his 14 professional wins coming by knockout. He has been outclassed by better strikers like Stephen Thompson, but Luque is not super technical and tends to get reckless on the feet.

I expect this to be a competitive striking match where both fighters will have moments of success on the feet. I think Luque has more finishing upside, but Neal should be able to make this fight close if it goes to the scorecards which has me interested in him on DraftKings. This is not a slate with a ton of strong underdogs, and you can do worse than Neal this weekend. Luque by decision is the official pick.

Jamahal Hill vs Thiago Santos
Hill, -275; Santos, +230

Jamahal Hill is coming off an impressive first-round knockout victory over Johnny Walker in February. He is a 10-1 prospect with his only loss coming against Paul Craig when he snapped his arm during a grappling exchange. Hill is a powerful striker with 6 of his 10 wins coming by knockout. His speed and footwork make him a tough opponent for anyone in this division.

His opponent, Thiago Santos is coming off a main event decision loss to Magomed Ankalaev in March. He has won just one fight over his last five bouts and that came against Johnny Walker in what was one of the most boring main events in UFC history (Rose Namajunas vs Carla Esparza begs to differ). Santos still has knockout power but at this stage in his career he is knockout or bust as the volume is simply not there anymore.

Both fighters are capable of knocking each other out but all of the advantages lie on the Hill side which has me favoring him in this matchup. Hill by knockout is the official pick and he is a solid play on DraftKings as well.