fbpx

We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 68 in Las Vegas! We have a fun 12-fight slate on DraftKings which is not ideal but enough to get the juices flowing after a week off. It also helps that we have $100K up for grabs to first place and we successfully KILLED late swap!!!

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.

Tatsuro Taira vs Jesus Aguilar
Taira, -1150; Aguilar, +750

Tatsuro Taira followed up his UFC debut with another impressive performance with a submission victory over CJ Vergara in October. He is an undefeated prospect with a 12-0 record and six of his 12 career wins have come by submission. On the feet, his striking defense still needs improvement as he is very hittable, but he has nasty leg kicks and does carry real power in his punches as well. He is a very slick grappler with a strong back take and will threaten with submissions or ground and pound once he gets the fight to the mat.

His opponent, Jesus Aguilar is coming off a submission victory on this past season of Dana White’s Contender Series where he came through as a small underdog. Aguilar is an 8-1 prospect with six of his wins coming by submission. He has some solid wrestling and a tight guillotine choke but most of his wins have come against a low level of competition. He is facing a stud prospect in Taira who is going to be much bigger than him here with an eight-inch reach disadvantage.

I expect Taira to win this fight wherever it goes, and he should be the one getting the better of the grappling exchanges as well. Taira by submission is the official pick and he is an obvious target on DraftKings as well.

Junyong Park vs Denis Tiuliulin
Park, -200; Tiuliulin, +170

Junyong Park is coming off a second-round submission victory over Joseph Holmes in October. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak and has won five of his last six fights. He is a very well-rounded fighter with good volume on the feet and will mix in the takedowns as well as he averages 2.27 takedowns per 15 minutes.

His opponent, Denis Tiuliulin is coming off a knockout victory over Jamie Pickett at UFC 279 in September. Tiuliulin is a one-dimensional power puncher with nine of his 10 wins coming by knockout. He clearly has power in his hands and will try to get you of there early but his defensive grappling still needs work as he has been submitted in three of his six professional losses.

I expect Park to stay safe during the striking exchanges and go to his takedowns where he should have a clear advantage in the grappling department. Park by submission is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings as Tiuliulin always has early knockout potential.

Ji Yeon Kim vs Mandy Bohm
Kim, -265; Bohm, +225

Ji Yeon Kim is coming off a split-decision loss to Joselyne Edwards at UFC 277 last July. She is now on a four-fight losing streak and has lost five of her last six fights. To her credit, she has faced some stiff competition during that span and gave them competitive rounds for the most part. She is a high volume striker on the feet but lacks substance to her game and never looks to grapple. Most of her fights come down to competitive striking exchanges which tends to lead to a lot of split decisions.

Her opponent, Mandy Bohm is coming off a decision loss to Victoria Leonardo last July. After starting her career 7-0, she has now dropped both of her UFC bouts and has looked subpar in those fights. She is primarily a striker and does have some powerful kicks but does not throw in much volume and struggles to defend takedowns as well. Fortunately for her, she will not have to grapple at all which makes this another competitive striking match in my eyes. I do not trust either of these fighters but Kim is more skilled despite her inability to win rounds convincingly. Kim by decision is the official pick but no chance should she be this big of a favorite over almost anyone and I will have some exposure to Bohm on DraftKings.

Hyun Sung Park vs Seung Guk Choi
Park, -190; Choi, +160

This is the first of four UFC Road to the Finals bouts, and this is in the Flyweight division. Hyun Sung Park is an undefeated prospect with a 7-0 record. Six of his seven victories have come inside the distance and most have come inside the first round, including his two bouts in this tournament. He is a bit awkward on the feet but does have power and his natural athleticism and strength is evident. I have some concerns with his cardio as he is unproven late in fights and not sure if he has a back up plan if he is unable to just manhandle his opponents to the ground.

His opponent, Seung Guk Choi is coming off two decision victories in the tournament and has looked competent throughout. He is primarily a kickboxer and is looking to move forward and pressure his opponents up against the fence. He has also shown the ability to land takedowns if he needs to and was able to stuff most of the shots against him as well.

This is a low level fight but I do think Choi should be able to keep this close in the striking department. If he is able to fend off the takedown attempts of Park and avoid being put a bad position then he may be able to take over as the fight goes on as I trust him to be the more active of the two. Choi by decision is the official pick.

Rinya Nakamura vs Toshiomi Kazama
Nakamura, -425; Kazama, +340

Rinya Nakamura ran through both of his Road to UFC opponents inside the first round. He is a 6-0 prospect with four of his wins coming inside the first round. He is an explosive athlete and will swing wildly on the feet but has legitimate power if he connects. He is also capable of landing takedowns and is very physical on the mat.

His opponent, Toshiomi Kazama had just one Road to UFC bout so far and won a decision as an underdog. He does not have much in the striking department and plays little defense on the feet. However, he is a good grappler as he holds a brown belt in BJJ and is a former IBJJF Asian Open winner as a purple belt. The issue is that his wrestling is not that great and he is likely going to get bombed on the feet. If he is able to survive the early explosions from Nakamura then he can make this a dog fight but I have my doubts. Nakamura by knockout is the official pick.

Jeong Leong Lee vs Zha Li
Lee, -250; Li, +210

Jeong Leong Lee is coming off two first-round finishes in his two Road to UFC fights. He is an explosive fighter with a 9-1 professional record with five of those wins coming inside the first round. He carries some real power for the Featherweight division and will look to swing like crazy and take your head off early. Outside of his finishing power though, there is not much else to his game and his defense leaves more to be desired.

His opponent, Zha Li is coming off decision victory in his last fight after winning by first-round submission before that. Li sports a 21-3 professional record with 10 of those wins coming by submission. His striking is basic but he is an aggressive grappler who averages nearly eight takedowns per 15 minutes across his two fight sample.

I expect Lee to have a striking advantage and to be the more powerful fighter as well. But if Li can stay conscious long enough to get the fight to the mat then he can make Lee work and take him in to deeper waters. The most likely outcome is Lee by knockout but I will have some exposure to both sides on DraftKings as Li has multiple takedown potential if he can pull off the upset.

Anshul Jubli vs Jeka Saragih
Jubli, -120; Saragih, +100

Anshul Jubli had just one fight in the Road to UFC tournament and came through as an underdog with a split-decision victory. He was mostly known for his wrestling on the Indian regional scene but that was against a very low level of competition. In his last fight, he was content to stand and trade at boxing range for the majority of it and did have some success offensively. He works the body well and seems to throw with some power but he is extremely hittable on the feet and I have concerns about his cardio as well.

His opponent, Jeka Saragih is coming off a first-round knockout victory and won both of his fights with highlight reel knockouts. He sports a 13-2 professional record with eight of his wins coming by knockout. He throws with bad intentions on the feet and although he is reckless, it is clear he has legitimate power. Both of his professional losses came by submission but he has shown the ability to land takedowns of his own and seems to be fine while in top position.

Both of these guys are hittable on the feet but I favor Saragih’s power by far. I doubt Jubli will be able to have much grappling success and expect him to eat some big shots on the feet. Additionally, I expect Saragih to have more gas in the tank if this somehow hits the later rounds as well. Saragih by knockout is the official pick and this is a solid fight to target on DraftKings.

Yusaku Kinoshita vs Adam Fuggitt
Kinoshita, -320; Fuggitt, +265

Yusaku Kinoshita is coming off a knockout victory on this past season of Dana White’s Contender Series and is making his UFC debut. He has just seven professional fights and has ended five of them inside the first round. The level of competition he faced on the regional scene was exceptionally poor so I still have some doubts that he will be able to perform at such a high level. He fights out of the southpaw stance and it is clear he has legitimate knockout power with four of his wins coming in that fashion. However, his defensive grappling is entirely unproven and his cardio could be tested if the fight plays out at a higher pace than the low volume fighter on Contender Series.

His opponent, Adam Fuggitt is coming off a knockout loss to Michael Morales in his UFC debut at UFC 277 in July. He comes from a Muay Thai striking background and is going to be working with a six-inch reach advantage in this one. He is surprisingly well-rounded too as he has shown the ability to land takedowns and holds a brown belt in BJJ. The main concern with Fuggitt is that he leaves himself open to counters when throwing so many kicks and he is facing a powerful counter striker in Kinoshita.

I have a ton of interest in this fight for DraftKings as both fighters have a legitimate path to victory that correlates well to the scoring format. It is possible that Kinoshita is able to find the kill shot and knock out Fuggitt but I am sticking to my priors on this one. Fuggitt is the more well-rounded of the two and I expect him to implement the grappling and test Kinoshita like we have yet to see him tested. Fuggitt by  submission is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

Doo Ho Choi vs Kyle Nelson
Choi, -180; Nelson, +155

Doo Ho Choi is coming off a lengthy absence as he last fought Charles Jourdain in 2019 and lost by TKO. He is currently on a three-fight losing streak and has been finished in back to back fights. Choi is historically a dangerous finisher with legitimate punching power as 11 of his 14 career wins have come by knockout. The concern with him, aside from the long layoff, is that he does not have much of a backup plan if he cannot find the early finish.

His opponent, Kyle Nelson is coming off a decision loss to Jai Herbert in July. Nelson is dropping back to 145 lbs. in this one and that is a bit of concern as he has not looked good at Featherweight in the past. He also gassed out bad at Lightweight so the extra cut is likely to play a factor. Honestly, I do not think Nelson belongs in the UFC. He has lost four of his five UFC bouts with his only victory coming against Marco Polo Reyes.

There are obvious concerns on both sides but Choi should be able to overwhelm Nelson and find the kill shot early. Choi by knockout is the official pick.

Marcin Tybura vs Blagoy Ivanov
Tybura, -135; Ivanov, +115

Marcin Tybura is coming off a majority decision win over Alexander Romanov at UFC 277 last July. He has now won six of his last seven fights and will look to keep the momentum going this weekend. Tybura is not a high-volume striker, but he can keep a decent pace and will mix in the grappling as well as he averages right around 1.5 takedowns per 15 minutes. He should have a clear grappling advantage if he gets the fight to the ground, and I expect him to have the better gas tank over 15 minutes as well.

His opponent, Blagoy Ivanov is coming off a decision victory over Marcos Rogerio De Lima at UFC 274 last May. That win snapped a two-fight losing streak for him and there was an argument that De Lima deserved that one as well. Ivanov has never been an impressive fighter to me. He is a solid striker and does have a little power. But he can be taken down and out grappled and I expect that to be the case in this matchup. Tybura by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target on DraftKings this week.

Da Un Jung vs Devin Clark
Jung, -240; Clark, +200

Da Un Jung is coming off a first-round knockout to Dustin Jacoby last July. That was his first loss across his last 15 fights. Jung is primarily a kickboxer and has clear power on the feet. 11 of his 15 career wins have come by knockout and he is going to go for it as often as possible. The concern is that he is not good defensively as he gets hit too often and is coming off a knockout loss.

His opponent, Devin Clark is coming off a knockout loss to Azamat Murzakanov in August. He has now lost three of his last four fights and has been finished in six of his seven professional losses. He comes from a collegiate wrestling background, but he is not aggressive enough in pursuing takedowns as he only averages just over two takedowns per 15 minutes. Jung has also shown solid takedown defense so far which does not bode well for the one-dimensional Clark.

I expect Jung to stuff any takedown attempts from Clark and use his size to keep the fight where he needs it to be. Jung by TKO is the official pick, and he is a solid target on DraftKings.

Serghei Spivac vs Derrick Lewis
Spivac, -230; Lewis, +195

Serghei Spivac is coming off a second-round TKO over Augusto Sakai in August. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak and has won five of his last six fights. Spivac is a well-rounded prospect for the Heavyweight division. He keeps a decent pace on the feet and his striking is serviceable enough for him to eventually close distance and implement the grappling. He averages over four takedowns per 15 minutes and is an underrated grappler. The concern with Spivac is his durability as he has been knocked out in two of his three professional losses.

His opponent, Derrick Lewis is coming off a knockout loss to Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 277 last July. He has been facing some killers, but he has lost three of his last four fights. The knockout power of Lewis is obvious though, as he holds the record for most knockouts in UFC history. He is always capable of finding the chin of any opponent, but his durability is not great either as he has been knocked out seven times in his career. He also seems to give up when things are not going well for him which is never a quality you want to bet on. I expect Spivac to go right to the grappling and close distance before peeling Lewis to the mat. Lewis likely works back to his feet and makes Spivac work early before eventually wilting to the pace and pressure. Spivac by TKO is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings as I am expecting a finish either way.