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We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC 282 in Las Vegas! We have a fun 13-fight slate on DraftKings and another solid PPV lineup. It also helps that on DraftKings we have another $150,000 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.

Cameron Saaiman vs Steven Koslow
Saaiman, -275; Koslow, +230

Cameron Saaiman was originally scheduled to face Ronnie Lawrence in this fight. Lawrence pulled out of the fight so now we are getting Steven Koslow stepping up on short notice to make his UFC debut. Saaiman is the former Bantamweight champion over in EFC and won a contract on this past season of Dana White’s Contender Series with a stoppage win over Josh Wang Kim. He is young and raw but very explosive and does have legitimate power for the weight class. He is completely wreckless with his defense, but he is looking to move forward and spam heavy volume in hopes of hurting his opponent. I have some concerns with him moving forward but most of them are negated by this matchup.

His opponent, Koslow is making his UFC debut on short notice. He is primarily a submission grappler and all six of his career wins have come by first round submission. He holds a brown belt in BJJ and does have some slick submission skills that make difficult to deal with if the fight were to hit the ground. But he has faced complete jobbers on the regional scene and does not have a win over anyone with a winning record.

I would be more interested in Koslow in a different matchup and on a full camp but he is drawing thin here. Saaiman should have a clear striking advantage and be the more powerful fighter as well. I will have some exposure to Koslow with his early finishing potential but the official pick is Saaiman by TKO and this is a great fight to target for DraftKings.

Vinicius Salvador vs Daniel Da Silva
Salvador, -200; Da Silva, +170

Vinicius Salvador is another contract winner from this past season of Dana White’s Contender Series. He came through as an underdog against Shannon Ross with a second-round TKO victory. He is another fighter that is not concerned with playing defense and will likely eat some punches in a lot of his fights. But he does have clear power with 13 of his 14 career wins coming by knockout.

His opponent, Daniel Da Silva is coming off a first-round TKO loss to Victor Altamirano at UFC 278. Da Silva is 0-3 in the UFC and was finished inside the first two rounds in all of those. He is an explosive fighter early and has 10 of his 11 career wins coming inside the first round. But the biggest issue with him has always been his cardio as this guy’s ability to cardio dump would make Darrick Minner blush.

Da Silva is always live to pull off a quick submission within the first two minutes or so but that is historically not an outcome to bet on. Salvador just needs to stay patient enough and he will find his openings and put Da Silva away. Salvador by knockout is the official pick and this is another good fight to target on DraftKings.

TJ Brown vs Erik Silva
Brown, -110; Silva, -110

TJ Brown is coming off a decision loss to Shayilan Neurdanbieke in June. Brown is primarily a grappler and will push a decent wrestling pace as he averages nearly four takedwons per 15 minutes. On the feet, he has some nice leg kicks but has always had issues getting hit as he has been knocked down multiple times in the UFC already and knocked out three times in his career. He also seems to be clueless when he cannot land takedowns.

His opponent, Erik Silva is another contract winner from Dana White’s Contender Series as he won by first-round TKO in August. He is 9-1 professionally and the former Featherweight champion in LUX promotion. Of his nine career wins, seven have come inside the distance and he has won his last six fights inside the first round. He is an explosive striker with heavy leg kicks and power in his punches. But he is typically striking to initiate his grappling as he possesses a solid ground game as well and is very good at finding the back before sinking in the rear-naked choke.

I get there is some concern from the market with Silva not having faced this level of competition before, but I cannot help but see significant value on the current betting line. Stylistically speaking, this is a great matchup for Silva. He has the type of power that can hurt Brown in striking exchanges, and he is a good enough grappler to win the ground game battle as well. Silva by TKO is the official pick, and he is one of my favorite targets this week on DraftKings as I am not expecting the field to go there as much as most people do not know who he is.

Billy Quarantillo vs Alexander Hernandez
Quarantillo, -165; Hernandez, +140

Billy Quarantillo is coming off a decision loss to Shane Burgos last November at UFC 268 in what was a back and forth banger. He always brings an exciting fight as he throws in high volume and is nonstop action from the opening bell. He is also capable of mixing in some grappling as he averages around 1.5 takedowns per 15 minutes and holds a black belt in BJJ with five submission victories on his record. The main concern with Quarantillo is that he is wreckless on defense and good strikers will make him pay.

His opponent, Alexander Hernandez is coming off a second-round submission loss to Renato Moicano at UFC 271 in February. Hernandez is a well-rounded fighter with technical striking and a decent ground game as well. However, the skills has never been the issue with him as it has been his lack of output and durability concerns. He has been hurt and knocked out multiple times and now just seems to panic any time he gets in a bad spot or gets hit which is never a good sign.

I expect this to be competitive early but I just trust Quarantillo a lot more in terms of output and willingness to fight through adversity. Quarantillo by decision is the official pick and he is solid but there are better fights to target on DraftKings.

Joaquin Buckley vs Chris Curtis
Buckley, -155; Curtis, +135

Joaquin Buckley is coming off a decision loss to Nassourdine Imavov in September. That loss snapped a three-fight winning streak for him and he will look to get back in the win column this weekend. Buckley is a powerful striker with 11 of his 15 career wins coming by knockout. He will occasionally mix in some takedowns as well but that likely will not be a path to victory here as Chris Curtis has excellent takedowns defense.

Curtis is coming off a decision loss to Jack Hermansson in July. He is a high volume striker with technical boxing and legitimate knockout power. Of his 29 career wins, 16 have come by knockout. He should have the striking advantage here and I expect him to stuff any attempts at grappling to keep this in open space.

This should be a competitive striking match where both guys have legitimate power. However, I favor Curtis slightly on the feet and in terms of durability as Buckley has been knocked out three times in his career. Curtis by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target on this slate.

Edmen Shahbazyan vs Dalcha Lungiambula
Shahbazyan, -280; Lungiambula, +235

We last saw Edmen Shahbazyan take a beating against Nassourdine Imavov at UFC 268 when he lost by TKO in the second round. After starting hot with four straight wins inside the UFC, he is now on a three-fight losing skid and really needs a win here. He is an explosive fighter with legitimate knockout power early in the fight and nine of his 11 career wins have come by first-round knockout. The issue with him has always been his inability to manage his cardio and he can be taken down and controlled by competent grapplers.

His opponent, Dalcha Lungiambula is coming off a second-round knockout loss to Punahele Soriano in July. Lungiambula is also on a three-fight losing streak and his only two UFC victories were against guys that were cut by the promotion. Lungiambula has power in his hands but rarely lets them go. He can also mix in takedowns at a decent rate but he is not a very good wrestler. His durability is also a concern as he has been hurt multiple times and finished in three of his four UFC losses.

This is a bounce back fight for Shahbazyan who desperately needs a victory. Stylistically, this is a good matchup for him as he has the power to hurt Lungiambula and could have success wherever the fight goes. He is always at risk for gassing out after round one so I would stay away from making him a core play this week but he still projects well for DraftKings. Shahbazyan by TKO is the official pick.

Raul Rosas Jr. vs Jay Perrin
Rosas Jr., -230; Perrin, +195

Raul Rosas Jr. made history earlier this year as he became the youngest fighter to be signed to the UFC. He got a win on Dana White’s Contender Series at just 17 years old and did so in impressive fashion. He comes from a high level grappling background and holds a black belt in BJJ with four of his six wins coming by submission. It is clear that is going to be the game plan as his striking is still developing. He fights out of the southpaw stance and is willing to trade a little before getting the fight to the ground. But his striking defense is not great and I would be worried about him against fighters that can keep it standing and keep him in open space. When he gets the fight to the ground though, he is smothering and has some very slick submission attempts and continuously stays busy on the mat.

His opponent, Jay Perrin is coming off a decision loss to Aori Qileng at UFC 278 in August. Perrin is 0-2 in the UFC and likely fighting for his job but has faced much higher level of competition. He is a well-rounded fighter that is capable wherever the fight goes. He has some sharp boxing and can fight at a high pace and mix in some takedowns as well. The biggest issues with Perrin are his fight IQ and inability to get off the fence. He is generally good at working back to his feet when taken down but finds himself being controlled for extended periods in the clinch and along the fence.

Rosas is a high level submission grappler and I do think he can find a finish on the ground if he can get Perrin flat on his back. That being said, there is also a world where Rosas struggles to get takedowns and we see a lot of control along the fence which could mean this fight underperforms for DraftKings. I will have some exposure to both sides, but neither are our core play for me this week. Rosas by submission is the official pick.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs Chris Daukaus
Rozenstruik, -170; Daukaus, +145

Jairzinho Rozenstruik is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Alexander Volkov in June. He is currently on a two-fight losing skid and will look to get back in the win column this Saturday night. Rozenstruik is a powerful kickboxer with legitimate one-punch power. Of his 12 career wins, 11 have come by knockout. He is historically not a great minute winner but always live to land that big fight stopping kill shot.

His opponent, Chris Daukaus is coming off a second-round knockout loss at the hands of Curtis Blaydes in March. Daukaus started off red hot in the UFC with four straight knockout victories. Since then, he has lost two straight fights, both by knockout. He is primarily a striker with fast hands and 11 of his 12 career wins coming by knockout. The big concern with Daukaus is his durability as he has now been knocked out four times in his career and I do not trust him to go to war in a back and forth style of fight.

Either fighter can win by knockout but I trust the durability and the technicality of Rozenstruik more than Daukaus which has me favoring him in this fight. Rozenstruik by knockout is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

Ilia Topuria vs Bryce Mitchell
Topuria, -135; Mitchell, +115

Ilia Topuria is coming off a second-round knockout victory over Jai Herbert in March. Topuria has burst onto the scene in the UFC with four straight wins and three of them coming by knockout. He is an undefeated prospect with a 12-0 record with 11 of those wins coming inside the distance. He is a powerful boxer and works the body well but also has legitimate wrestling skills to go along with his black belt in BJJ. He does tend to slow down when forced to fight in the later rounds which is basically the only blemish that we have seen of his skillset thus far.

His opponent, Bryce Mitchell is coming off a decision win over Edson Barboza at UFC 272 in March. Mitchell is also undefeated with 15 career wins and nine of them coming by submission. He is a relentless grappler that averages 3.4 takedowns per 15 minutes. His striking is not great, but he is very durable and knows he needs to get the fight to the mat and has great control and threatening ability while on the ground.

This is one of the best matchups on the entire card. Someones zero has to go and I am leaning towards Mitchell as he has faced stiffer competition and is more proven over 15 minutes. If Bryce can survive the first round then I think he will take over and have grappling success as the fight goes on. Mitchell by decision is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

Dricus Du Plessis vs Darren Till
Du Plessis, -180; Till, +155

We last saw Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 276 in July as he won a decision over Brad Tavares. He is historically a good finisher as 16 of his 17 wins have come inside the distance. But despite the clear finishing ability, I still have concerns with Du Plessis overall. His striking defense makes me uncomfortable as he is wreckless in the pocket and eats a ton of clean shots. He has also been finished in both of his professional losses. That being said, a powerful guy with a legitimate skillset and the cardio to carry his power can go far in this division.

His opponent, Darren Till is coming off a lengthy layoff since his last fight in September of last year. He is coming off a third-round submission loss to Derek Brunson and has now lost four of his last five fights. Till is a low volume striker but has clear knockout power when he lets his hands go and 10 of his 18 professional wins have come by knockout. The concern with Till is his low output and his durability as he has been finished in three of his four professional losses and seemingly always is fighting through some sort of injury.

Du Plessis is never a fighter I want to lay juice on so I will not be doing that here but I also have no interest in betting on Till. I am going to have more exposure to Du Plessis on DraftKings for his finishing ability. Du Plessis by submission is the official pick.

Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Alex Morono
Ponzinibbio, -180; Morono, +155

Santiago Ponzinibbio is coming off a split-decision loss to Michel Pereira in May. He has now lost back-to-back split-decisions and has dropped three of his last four fights. He seems to be a shell of the former contender that he was years ago. At 36 years old, he seems to struggle with more athletic and faster opponents but he can still be competitive in most fights and put up volume himself. He just does not seem to have the same power and rarely looks to grapple so it leaves a narrow path to victory in most matchups.

His opponent, Alex Morono is stepping up on short notice after Robbie Lawler pulled out of the fight. Morono is currently on a four-fight winning streak and coming off a dominant performance over Matthew Semelsberger at UFC 277 in July. Morono is a high volume striker that is going to put a pace on his opponent and work behind his jab and solid leg kicks. He also holds a black belt in BJJ but rarely looks to grapple, if ever.

I expect the striking to be competitive with both guys landing volume and fighting at a high pace. I side with the underdog in Morono even on short notice as I trust his durability more and I expect him to beat Ponzinibbio to the punch in a lot of these exchanges. Morono by decision is the official pick.

Paddy Pimblett vs Jared Gordon
Pimblett, -250; Gordon, +210

OHH PADDY THE BADDY. OHHH PADDY THE BADDY. It’s Paddy Pimblett fight week which means there is always a little bit of extra buzz in the air whether you like him or not. Pimblett is coming off a second-round submission win over Jordan Leavitt in July. He has three straight finishes in the UFC and is currently on a five-fight winning streak. His striking defense is not good and he gets hit clean a lot which is never great but he does have good recover ability as we have witnessed him fight through adversity multiple times. He is a powerful striker and a dangerous submission grappler which makes him a threat wherever the fight goes even if he is not a great minute winner as he can be taken down and controlled at times.

His opponent, Jared Gordon is coming off a decision win over Leonardo Santos at UFC 278 in August. He has won four of his last five fights and all of which have come by decision. He is not much of a finisher but he does have a well-rounded skillset as he is a capable striker with a strong jab and a good ground game and he averages right around two takedowns per 15 minutes. The issue with Gordon has always been his durability as he has been knocked out four times in his career and has been finished in all five of his professional losses. Obviously, not a great look when you’re facing a legitimate finisher like Pimblett.

Pimblett is always tough to trust as a big favorite especially as he starts to climb the ranks and I think it is only a matter of time before he gets exposed to some degree. However, I do not think Gordon is the guy to do it and I expect Pimblett to have a clear power advantage in the striking exchanges and be able to finish the fight if he ends up on top of Gordon. Pimblett by TKO is the official pick and this is another great fight to target on DraftKings.

Magomed Ankalaev vs Jan Blachowicz
Ankalaev, -280; Blachowicz, +235

Magomed Ankalaev is coming off a knockout win over Anthony Smith at UFC 277. He is currently on a nine-fight winning streak since losing his UFC debut to Paul Craig back in 2018. Skill for skill, he is one of the best fighters in this division with no real weaknesses. He is a technical striker with knockout ability but is not overly aggressive in taking risks to chase finishes. He also has a strong ground game and averages one takedown per 15 minutes but will go to it more if he needs to in certain matchups.

His opponent, Jan Blachowicz is coming off a TKO win over Aleksandar Rakic in May where Rakic blew out his knee. Blachowicz is the former champion of the division and is a powerful striker in his own right with four of his last six wins coming by knockout. He will likely need to land something heavy here as I do not see him being able to win extended minutes against Ankalaev.

Ankalaev is the better technical striker and his ability to mix in the ground game here makes him a significant favorite in this fight. The only concern is that Ankalaev has been stung a few times despite never being knocked out so it’s possible Blachowicz can find the big kill shot but that is not an outcome I would be betting on. Ankalaev by decision is the official pick.