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We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 64 in Las Vegas! We have a fun 12-fight slate on DraftKings which is not quite as big as we like but there are still some really fun fights to target. 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.

Tamires Vidal vs Ramona Pascual
Vidal, -140; Pascual, +120

Tamires Vidal is making her UFC debut this weekend. She is a 6-1 prospect fighting out of Brazil and has two wins by submission. Her only career loss came against Karol Rosa back in 2019 and she was a win over current UFC fighter, Ailin Perez in November of last year. Despite the two recognizable names, the level of competition on the regional scene was low and I do not rate her skillset highly.

Her opponent, Ramona Pascual is coming off a decision loss to Joselyne Edwards in June at UFC 275. Pascual does not seem to be very talented either but she is big for the division and has occasionally shown the ability to land takedowns which is encouraging. I expect the striking to be competitive and a lot of clinch work against the fence by both fighters in this one.

This is a competitive fight and lined appropriately in that regard. But I slightly favor Pascual as the more proven fighter that has fought better competition. Pascual by decision is the official pick but this is not a good fight to target on DraftKings.

Jake Hadley vs Carlos Candelario
Hadley, -255; Candelario, +215

Jake Hadley is coming off a decision loss to Allan Nascimento in May. Despite dropping his UFC debut as a sizable favorite, the market is still giving Hadley quite a bit of respect in this fight. Hadley is primarily a grappler with four of his eight wins coming by submission. However, his wrestling is not great and he showed in his last fight that he has little off his back and can lose position after landing takedowns.

His opponent, Carlos Candelario is coming off a decision loss to Tatsuro Taira in his UFC debut in May. Candelario previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series and lost a decision to Victor Altamirano. He is low volume on the feet but does have some solid boxing and has a little bit of wrestling himself which could come into play in this matchup.

I do expect Hadley to be the better submission grappler and Candelario is likely to give up his back despite surviving the scrambles against Taira in his last fight. No way I would be laying the chalk with Hadley in this spot, but I slightly favor him in this fight to bounce back and get his hand raised. Hadley by decision is the official pick but I will have some exposure to Candelario on DraftKings for the cheap price.

Johnny Munoz Jr. vs Liudvik Sholinian
Munoz Jr., -225; Sholinian, +190

Johnny Munoz Jr. is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Tony Gravely in June. Munoz is primarily a grappler with seven of his 11 career wins coming by submission. He averages over 2.5 takedowns per 15 minutes and should have a grappling advantage in this matchup. In the striking, he is low volume but does have some powerful leg kicks at range.

His opponent, Liudvik Sholinian is coming off a over a year layoff since his UFC debut last September where he lost a decision to Jack Shore. I do not rate Sholinian’s skillset very highly. He has shown some solid leg kicks but is very low volume and is easily backed up against the fence and controlled in the clinch.

Sholinian is not going to give up the takedowns for free but I do think he will be taken down eventually and Munoz should have a clear edge on the mat. Munoz by submission is the official pick.

Polyana Viana vs Jinh Yu Frey
Viana, -140; Frey, +120

Polyana Viana is coming off a decision loss to Tabatha Ricci in May. Viana is a dangerous fighter as she is capable wherever the fight goes. She has decent striking skills but is primarily a submission grappler with eight of her 12 career wins coming by submission. All of her wins in the UFC have come by first-round armbar so it is clear where her biggest strength is.

Her opponent, Jinh Yu Frey is coming off a split-decision loss to Vanessa Demopoulos in June. Frey has never been a fighter that I thought would hang long in the UFC. She comes from a Muay Thai striking background but is not overly impressive in the striking realm. She is low volume on the feet and typically getting outlanded as well. She has solid takedown defense but rarely looks to proactively grapple.

I favor the Viana side in this matchup significantly. Viana is going to be the bigger fighter and has all the finishing potential in this fight. I would argue that she is actually the better striker of the two as well giving her advantages wherever the fight goes. Viana by submission is the official pick.

Mario Bautista vs Benito Lopez
Bautista, -285; Lopez, +240

Mario Bautista is coming off a first-round submission victory over Brian Kelleher in June. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak and will look to keep that momentum going in what should be a favorable matchup for him. Bautista is a well-rounded fighter that pushes a high pace in the striking and mixes in the takedowns as he averages over two takedowns per 15 minutes.

His opponent, Benito Lopez is coming off a lengthy absence with his last fight being a decision win over Vince Morales in July of 2019. Many people thought he lost that fight too for what it’s worth. Lopez is primarily a striker with nasty leg kicks but his game is very one dimensional and he gets hit a lot in the striking exchanges as well.

I favor Bautista in this fight as I expect him to be competitive in the striking and carry more power in his punches as well. But where the edge really comes is when he grapples as Lopez will give up a takedown or two in this fight and Bautista should be able to control him and potentially even submit him on the mat. Bautista by decision is the official pick but a finish would not surprise me at all. Bautista is a good target on DraftKings either way.

Miranda Maverick vs Shanna Young
Maverick, -610; Young, +460

Miranda Maverick is coming off a dominant performance with a second-round submission win over Sabina Mazo in March. It was a good rebound win for her after hitting a two-fight losing streak with the controversial loss to Maycee Barber and getting outgrappled by the exciting prospect, Erin Blanchfield.

This should be another favorable matchup for her against Shanna Young as Maverick is better in all areas of mixed martial arts. Maverick is not going to push a high pace, but she is very sound defensively and should have the striking advantage with her Muay Thai background. But clearly her biggest advantage is on the mat as she averages over two takedowns per 15 minutes and holds a brown belt in BJJ.

Shanna Young is coming off a big upset victory over Gina Mazany with a second-round finish back in April. That was her first UFC victory and likely saved her job thanks to Mazany death gassing after winning the first round. I have never been impressed with Young as she is simply not a good round winner and rarely has finishing upside. She has also been through multiple serious injuries and has been finished twice in her career and one of those was by former UFC fighter, Sarah Alpar.

Her striking is awkward, and she is liable to get one of her kicks caught and spend a lot of this fight on her back. Maverick should be able to dominate the grappling and possibly find a finish on the mat as well. Maverick by submission is the official pick.

Shayilan Neurdanbieke vs Darrick Minner
Neurdanbieke, -205; Minner, +175

Shayilan Neurdanbieke is coming off a decision win over TJ Brown in June and is currently on a two-fight winning streak. He is primarily a wrestler as he averages three takedowns per 15 minutes and has banked at least six minutes of control time in every one of his UFC fights. Despite having decent wrestling and cardio, there is not much substance to his game and he has been submitted six times in his career which is a glaring red flag in this matchup.

His opponent, Darrick Minner is coming off a decision loss to Ryan Hall in December of last year at UFC 269. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak but has faced much tougher competition than Neurdanbieke. Minner is historically a very dangerous submission grappler in the first round as 22 of his 26 career wins have come by submission with the majority being in the first round. His cardio is not good but he is very live early in this fight.

I cannot help but feel this line is due to recency bias based on both of their last performances. I am considering Minner as a very live underdog and I expect him to have moments early in the fight with the potential to end it as well. Neurdanbieke’s defensive grappling flaws are too much for me to overlook considering his gameplan will be to look to grapple with Minner. Minner by submission is the official pick and he is my favorite underdog to target on DraftKings.

Grant Dawson vs Mark Madsen
Dawson, -215; Madsen, +185

Grant Dawson is coming off a third-round submission victory over Jared Gordon in April. Dawson is yet to taste defeat in the UFC with a 6-0-1 record in the promotion. He is 18-1 professionally with 12 of his wins coming by submission. He is relentless with getting the fight to the ground and averages just under four takedowns per 15 minutes. His striking is still a work in progress and he is way too hittable on the feet to make you feel comfortable but the ability to land takedowns is always in his back pocket.

His opponent, Mark Madsen is coming off a decision win over Vinc Pichel in April at UFC 273. He is 12-0 professionally with six of his wins coming inside the distance. Madsen comes from an Olympic level wrestling background and averages 3.9 takedowns per 15 minutes. Madsen is not a great striker either but I would say he is the better boxer of the two and does have enough power to potentially hurt Dawson on the feet.

Madsen should make this a competitive fight and I expect him to get the better of the striking exchanges. However, he only defends takedowns at 50% and I expect Dawson to be able to go to them repeatedly and Madsen does not offer much off his back. Dawson by decision is the official pick but I will have some exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

Tagir Ulanbekov vs Nate Maness
Ulanbekov, -215; Maness, +185

Tagir Ulanbekov is coming off a decision loss to Tim Elliott in March. That loss snapped a five-fight win streak for him. He is primarily a grappler and averages 3.67 takedowns per 15 minutes. Six of his 13 professional wins have come by submission but he is more of a lay and pray artist then an aggressive finisher on the ground. He is not very threatening on the feet and it’s clear he wants to get the fight to the mat.

His opponent, Nate Maness is coming off a decision loss to Umar Nurmagomedov in June. He literally did nothing the entire fight but try not to get submitted which ruined everyone’s Nurmagomedov ITD bets. Maness has never been a fighter that I rate very highly, and I still believe he has had a very fortunate run throughout the UFC. He has some power on the feet but is low volume and has decent takedown defense initially but will give them up especially after he gets tired. He is also dropping to 125 lbs. which is concerning for him.

This is a fight where I do not like either fighter very much and doubt they have much of a future in the promotion. However, I side with Ulanbekov as the takedowns and control should be the difference maker. Ulanbekov by decision is the official pick.

Chase Sherman vs Josh Parisian
Sherman, -130; Parisian, +110

Chase Sherman is coming off a third-round knockout victory over Jared Vanderaa in July. That was his first win over his last five fights and makes 15 of his 16 career wins coming by knockout. Sherman is historically a power puncher early in the fight but tends to fade when pushed to the later rounds. His cardio did look a bit better in his last fight, but Vanderaa is extremely hittable so not weighing it too heavily.

His opponent, Josh Parisian is coming off a second-round TKO over Alan Baudot in June. Parisian is one of the worst to do it in the UFC, but this should be a decent matchup for him. Parisian is a powerful striker himself with 11 of his 15 career wins coming by knockout. He can be taken down and controlled but I doubt we see that from Sherman in this fight. Parisian also showed off some offensive wrestling which was encouraging in his last fight as he landed three takedowns.

This is your typical heavyweight slopfest which means I am much more likely to have some interest in the underdog. Add in the fact that Parisian has the wrestling upside as well and he is my preferred target on DraftKings. Parisian by TKO is the official pick.

Neil Magny vs Daniel Rodriguez
Magny, -120; Rodriguez, +100

Neil Magny is looking to rebound after a second-round submission loss to Shavkat Rakhmonov in June. Magny is a veteran of the fight game and a tough opponent for many in this division. He is very well-rounded and can hang wherever the fight goes. He fights behind a strong jab and averages 2.3 takedowns per 15 minutes.

His opponent, Daniel Rodriguez is coming off a split-decision victory over Jingliang Li in September. Many people thought he may have lost the fight but regardless he is on a four-fight winning streak. Rodriguez is primarily a boxer that will throw in high volume and 12 of his 17 career wins have come inside the distance.

I expect this to be a very competitive fight, but I side with Magny who will have a six-inch reach advantage and has fought the much tougher level of competition. Magny by decision is the official pick but I will have some exposure to both sides on DraftKings in the mid-range.

Marina Rodriguez vs Amanda Lemos
Rodriguez, -215; Lemos, +185

Marina Rodriguez is coming off a decision victory over Yan Xiaonan in March at UFC 272. She is currently on a four-fight winning streak with her past three fights going the full distance. She is primarily a striker and does have some power for the division as she has six knockouts on her record including one over Amanda Ribas at UFC 257. Historically, the way to beat her is by taking her down and controlling her as her  defensive grappling is her biggest weakness and she only defends takedowns at 65%.

Her opponent, Amanda Lemos is coming off a second-round submission victory over Michelle Waterson in July. Lemos is an explosive striker that can match Rodriguez’s power and has seven of her 12 career wins coming by knockout. She will likely have a submission grappling edge but only averages one takedown per 15 minutes. The biggest issue that I have with Lemos is her cardio as she historically slows as the fight goes on when she cannot find the early finish and that is a huge problem in a five round fight.

I expect this fight to be very competitive early and Lemos to look good in round one. However, Rodriguez fights smart and she will likely build into the fight as she will have a clear cardio advantage outside of round one and I expect her to take advantage of it over 25 minutes. Rodriguez by decision is the official pick but a finish would not surprise me if Lemos death gasses.