We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC San Diego in California! We have a fun 13-fight slate on DraftKings with a couple that were supposed to take place last week. 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.

Youssef Zalal vs Da’mon Blackshear
Zalal, -115; Blackshear, -105

Youssef Zalal is coming off a split-decision loss to Sean Woodson last June. After starting his UFC career with three straight victories, he has now lost his last three fights. Zalal has always been a prospect that I felt was overrated and it seems like the market has finally corrected on him. His strengths are his footwork and cardio as he is going to dance around the outside of the octagon and dart in and out of the pocket looking to land his jab and some solid leg kicks. He will occasionally mix in takedowns as well but only when he has a wrestling advantage and struggles to land them against stronger opponents.

His opponent, Da’Mon Blackshear is the Bantamweight champion over in Cage Fury and is coming off a third-round submission victory in May. He trains out of Jackson-Wink MMA and has fought some respectable competition across the regional scene including current UFC fighters, Pat Sabatini, Tony Gravely and Kris Moutinho. Blackshear is big and powerful for this division. He has some powerful leg kicks and will look to land some spinning attacks on the feet. But he also has a very nice ground game with strong control on the mat and will aggressively look for submission attempts.

I expect this fight to be competitive standing with Zalal on the back foot and mostly retreating while Blackshear struggles to cut off the cage initially. However, as the fight goes on, I see Blackshear being able to close distance and put his hands on Zalal and take him to the mat where he should have the grappling edge and overall strength advantage. Blackshear by decision is the official pick and he is a solid target on DraftKings in the mid-range this week.

Ode Osbourne vs Tyson Nam
Osbourne, -230; Nam, +195

Ode Osbourne is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Zarrukh Adashev in June. He is 3-2 in the UFC, but his two losses have come against Brian Kelleher and Manel Kape. Osbourne is an explosive athlete and a finisher by nature as nine of his 11 wins have come by finish and nine of his last 10 fights have ended inside the first round. He has big knockout power for the Flyweight division and his willingness to go for the flashy stuff like flying knees and spinning attacks give him more knockout upside as he fights riskier than most. But he also has some strong chokes in his arsenal and has shown the ability to land takedowns if he needs to.

His opponent, Tyson Nam is coming off a year and a half layoff after dropping a decision to Matt Schnell in January of last year. Nam has knocked out Adashev and Jerome Rivera just like Osbourne, so they share that on their list of accomplishments. However, Nam does not have the well-rounded game like Osbourne as he is basically just a one-dimensional power puncher. He needs to land the big punch or else he is likely not winning rounds and his defensive grappling has always been suspect as well.

On the feet, both guys have power and either can win by knockout, but I favor the speed and volume of Osbourne who will be much more explosive. Additionally, if Osbourne implements the grappling, then he will look like a sizable favorite in this one. Lastly, the durability favors Osbourne as well and if these guys are going to stand and trade then I favor him to get his hand raised. Osbourne by knockout is the official pick.

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.

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.

Gabriel Benitez vs Charlie Ontiveros
Benitez, -350; Ontiveros, +290

Gabriel Benitez is coming off a first-round knockout loss to David Onama in February. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and has now dropped four of his last five bouts. It is clear that Benitez best days are behind him, but he is still a technical kickboxer with some of the nastiest leg kicks in the game. His issue lately has been his durability as he has been in some wars, and it is finally catching up to him as he has been finished in six of his 10 professional losses.

His opponent, Charlie Ontiveros is coming off a second-round knockout loss to Steve Garcia last October. Ontiveros is super long for the division and will have a seven-inch reach advantage in this matchup. However, this guy is no good and cannot take a punch. Even if he shows any type of success on the feet in this fight, it is only a matter of time before he gets hit and wilts under the pressure. He has been knocked out in all eight of his professional losses and I do not see that changing here. Benitez by knockout is the official pick and this is another good fight to target on DraftKings.

Martin Buday vs Lukasz Brzeski
Buday, -250; Brzeski, +210

Martin Buday is coming off a technical decision victory over Chris Barnett in his UFC debut in April. He is currently on a nine-fight win streak, but the level of competition has been lacking outside of a loss to Juan Espino early on the regional scene. Buday has seven of his 10 wins coming by knockout, but he typically like to grind guys up against the fence and wear on them. If he gets on top of you then it is going to be tough to get back up.

His opponent, Lukasz Brzeski fought on Dana White’s Contender Series last season as well. He had a win over Dylan Potter which was later deemed a no contest as he was suspended by USADA for failing a drug test. Brzeski is your typical low level heavyweight prospect. He has some power in his hands but has faced very low competition and does not have much in the cardio department either.

I expect this to be a very sloppy fight as I am not sold on either of these prospects. I slightly favor Buday as he should get the better of the clinch positions and have better cardio as well. Buday by TKO is the official pick, but this fight has a wide range of outcomes for DraftKings.

Lupita Godinez vs Angela Hill
Godinez, -340; Hill, +280

Lupita Godinez is coming off a dominant performance over Ariane Carnelossi at UFC 274 in May. Godinez has shown to be a strong prospect for this division and her combination of striking skills and developing ground game make her a tough test for many in this division. She is low volume on the feet but has technical boxing with power in her hands and will mix in takedowns as she averages over five takedowns per 15 minutes.

Her opponent, Angela Hill is coming off a decision loss to Virna Jandiroba in May. She has now won just one fight over her last six bouts. Hill is a solid striker that will throw in high volume on the feet and comes from a Muay Thai striking background. Her biggest issue has always been her ground game as she has been submitted multiple times and can be controlled on the mat. Her takedown defense has improved over the years but is still just 76% in the UFC.

I expect the striking to be competitive in this fight but Godinez willingness to mix in the takedowns along with her boxing is going to be the difference here. Hill has solid takedown defense in open space but Godinez likes to pressure her opponents against the cage before peeling them to the ground. I expect this to be much of the same for Godinez as she likely lands multiple takedowns and cruises. Godinez by decision is the official pick and she is a solid target on DraftKings due to the wrestling upside.

Bruno Silva vs Gerald Meerschaert
Silva, -280; Meerschaert, +235

Bruno Silva is coming off a decision loss to Alex Pereira back in March. That fight snapped a seven-fight win streak for him and was his first loss under the UFC banner. Silva is a powerful striker with 19 of his 22 wins coming by knockout. He is not very technical but very explosive and will put you out if he connects clean. His biggest issue is his defensive grappling as he has been submitted in five of his seven professional losses.

His opponent, Gerald Meerschaert is coming off a decision loss to Krzysztof Jotko in April. That loss squashed a three-fight win streak for him. At this point, we know what to expect from Meerschaert as he is one of the most dangerous submission grapplers on the roster. His last six wins have all come by submission and he is certainly capable of pulling off another here.

This fight is very clear to me as if it stays standing then Silva is very likely to knock out Meerschaert. On the flip side, if Meerschaert can force any type of grappling exchange, then he is liable to find a submission. The most likely outcome is that Silva finds the chin and puts him out, but I will have some exposure to both sides on DraftKings as I am expecting the winner to score well.

Cynthia Calvillo vs Nina Nunes
Calvillo, -155; Nunes, +135

Cynthia Calvillo is coming off a second-round knockout loss to Andrea Lee in November. She is currently on a three-fight losing streak but has faced some stiff competition as of late. Calvillo is primarily a boxer that will look to mix in some takedowns if she has the strength to get the fight to the ground. The problem in her last few fights is that she had no shot at landing takedowns and controlling her opponents and was losing most of those striking exchanges as well.

Her opponent in this matchup is Nina Nunes who is coming off a first-round submission loss to Mackenzie Dern in April of last year. Nunes turns 37 years old later this year and is on a two-fight losing streak while taking some time off due to pregnancy, so the red flags are certainly there. However, this fight basically comes down to if Calvillo can land takedowns as I expect the striking to be competitive on both sides.

If Calvillo is able to implement her grappling at all then I would feel comfortable backing her, but she has shown little ability to do that lately and it is not even like she has been aggressive in making that part of her gameplan either. Nunes has too many red flags to trust but if this fight becomes a kickboxing match, then she is very capable of winning a decision based on volume and power. Nunes by decision is the official pick but this fight is an easy pass on DraftKings.

Azamat Murzakanov vs Devin Clark
Murzakanov, -165; Clark, +140

Azamat Murzakanov is another Dana White Contender Series product from last season. He is undefeated with an 11-0 record and eight of those wins coming by knockout. He previously served a USADA suspension that delayed his UFC debut and has looked a bit slower post suspension. He does have some power in his hands and has shown the ability to land takedowns, but the cardio is not great and Tafon Nchukwi was exposing him prior to being dropped with a massive knee in round three.

His opponent, Devin Clark is coming off a third-round TKO over William Knight in April. Clark is mostly known for his wrestling as he comes from a collegiate wrestling background and averages just under 2.5 takedowns per 15 minutes. Clark is a solid minute-winner against low to mid-tier fighters, but his biggest issue has always been his durability as he has been knocked out multiple times and finished in five of his six professional losses.

I expect Murzakanov to have the striking advantage with his speed and powerful boxing. He has the ability to hurt Clark on the feet, but I doubt he will be able to wrestle Clark. This is a high variance fight that I do not have a strong read on, but Murzakanov showed in his last fight that he cannot be trusted at a favorite price tag. I will be hedging this on DraftKings as Clark is certainly a live underdog in this spot. Murzakanov by TKO is the official pick.

Yazmin Juaregui vs Jasmin Lucindo
Juaregui, -210; Lucindo, +180

Yazmin Juaregui is an undefeated prospect with an 8-0 professional record. She is making her UFC debut and is looking to make a statement with another knockout victory. You typically do not see knockouts in this weight division, but six of her eight wins have all come by way of knockout. She is a powerful striker with heavy punches and nasty elbows that she looks for in the clinch. She has yet to be tested against good level of competition, but I am optimistic that her striking will translate to the next level. The question is, will her ground game?

Her opponent, Jasmin Lucindo is a 12-4 prospect making her UFC debut as well. She has faced mostly low-level opponents as well, but she is currently on a seven-fight win streak including a win over former UFC fighter, Sarah Frota. I expect her to be at a striking disadvantage in this one, but she has shown the ability to land takedowns and could have a grappling edge if she can get this fight to the mat.

This is a high variance fight because we do not have much data on either woman, but I do have interest on DraftKings as I am expecting the winner to score well. Juaregui’s upside is a knockout victory while Lucindo has multiple takedown upside if she wins. The most likely outcome is that Juaregui keeps the fight standing and gets the better of the exchanges, but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings. Juaregui by decision is the official pick.

David Onama vs Nate Landwehr
Onama, -210; Landwehr, +180

David Onama is coming off a second-round submission victory over Garrett Armfield in June. His only professional loss came against Mason Jones in his UFC debut on short notice. He trains out of Glory MMA fitness with head coach and betting savant, James Krause. He is an explosive athlete with powerful striking as six of his 10 wins have come by knockout and all of his wins have been inside the distance.

His opponent, Nate Landwehr is coming off a third-round submission victory over Ludovit Klein last October. Landwehr fights like a mad man and has a high-paced motor and will keep his foot on the gas. He has knockout power himself although to a lesser degree than Onama. I expect him to be able to keep the fight standing if Onama tries to take him down which means we have a striking match for as long as it will last. Landwehr throws in high volume but is reckless defensively and has paid the price multiple times as he has been knocked out twice in the UFC.

In a high-paced striking match, I favor the power and durability of Onama which has me leaning his way. He is a solid target on DraftKings but I prefer others in his price range so I will look to be even with the field at best or possibly a little under depending on his ownership.

Marlon Vera vs Dominick Cruz
Vera, -210; Cruz, +180

Marlon Vera is coming off an impressive main event performance victory over Rob Font in April. He is currently on a three-fight win streak and will look to keep the momentum going with what would likely be his biggest win against Dominick Cruz. Full disclaimer, I am a big Chito Vera fan but he has never been a great minute-winner which makes him tough to bet on, especially at a favorite price tag. He is well-rounded fighter with technical boxing and nasty leg kicks. He holds a black belt in BJJ and has eight submission victories on his record although he rarely looks for takedowns.

His opponent, Dominick Cruz is the former Bantamweight champion and coming off a decision victory over Pedro Munhoz in December. Cruz has always had a very high fight IQ and historically a great round winner which makes this a tough matchup for Vera. Cruz footwork will be key as he can likely avoid most of the power shots of Vera who probably needs to hurt him to convincingly win rounds. Cruz can also lean on his wrestling background as he averages over two takedowns per 15 minutes and Vera defends at under 70%.

This is going to be a great fight and one that I cannot wait for but in terms of a betting perspective, you have to see value on the underdog in Cruz anyway you slice it. He is the better round winner and his ability to mix in the takedowns against Vera who likes to play guard just adds another element and path to victory for him here. Cruz by decision is the official pick.