We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 69 in Las Vegas! We have a fun 11-fight slate on DraftKings which is not ideal but enough to get the juices flowing after a big PPV card. It also helps that we have $100K up for grabs to first place!

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.

Clayton Carpenter vs Juancamilo Ronderos
Carpenter, -280; Ronderos, +235

Clayton Carpenter is making his UFC debut fresh off a win on Dana White’s Contender Series last season. He was one of the better prospects to come off last season and will look to make some noise in the Flyweight division. He is an undefeated prospect with four of his six wins coming inside the distance. He has a strong ground game as he holds a brown belt in BJJ and will look to get the fight to the mat aggressively. On the feet, he has some powerful kicks, but the main concern is his striking defense as he is very hittable.

His opponent, Juancamilo Ronderos is coming off nearly a two-year layoff since he made his UFC debut back in 2021. The only reason he is on the UFC roster is because they needed somebody on short notice, and he was submitted by David Dvorak inside of two minutes. Simply put, he is not a UFC caliber fighter and Carpenter is better than him wherever the fight goes. The only possible path to victory for him is if he can land something heavy on the feet and take advantage of Carpenter’s lack of defense but I doubt it.

Carpenter is getting a soft ball matchup here and he likely proves he belongs in the UFC by making quick work of Ronderos. Carpenter by submission is the official pick and he is a strong target on DraftKings.

AJ Fletcher vs Themba Gorimbo
Fletcher, -255; Gorimbo, +215

AJ Fletcher is coming off a decision loss to Ange Loosa in August. He has lost both his UFC bouts so far but has had big moments in each of them. I am not ready to give up on Fletcher just yet. He has a solid skillset with strong takedowns and explosive striking. The main issue with him is that he cardio dumps badly after the first round and that makes him extremely hittable in striking exchanges.

His opponent, Themba Gorimbo is making his UFC debut and was originally supposed to fight Billy Goff who pulled out of the fight. Gorimbo is the former Welterweight champion in EFC promotion. He is a good athlete and has some crafty submissions on his record but lacks some of the basic fundamentals. He has been finished twice on the regional scene and has been taken down and controlled on multiple occasions.

I have a ton of interest in this fight for DraftKings as I am expecting the winner to score well. Fletcher only knows one speed and the way that he fights typically leads to finishes and Draftkings points. Fletcher by knockout is the official pick.

Nazim Sadykhov vs Evan Elder
Sadykhov, -180; Elder, +155

Nazim Sadykhov is another Dana White’s Contender Series fighter from this past season making his UFC debut. He was one of the more complete fighters from this past season and I’m excited to see what he can do at the UFC level. He trains out of Longo and Weidman MMA in New York and is a very explosive athlete with knockout power. Five of his seven wins have come by knockout but he has also shown some solid takedown defense, good cardio, and the ability to land takedowns as well.

His opponent, Evan Elder made his UFC debut against Preston Parsons last April and lost a decision. To his credit, that was up a weight division and on short notice and he did have some moments throughout the fight. However, he was taken down multiple times and controlled in the grappling. He is technically skilled in most areas but does not posess much upside and is hittable on the feet.

I expect them to stand and trade for much of the early stages of this fight with Sadykhov having the bigger moments and the more finishing potential as well. If either guy takes the fight to the ground then I would expect Sadykhov to be the one landing takedowns and he constantly stays aggressive throughout the fight. Sadykhov by decision is the official pick but a knockout would not surprise me either.

Philipe Lins vs Ovince Saint Preux
Lins, -205; Preux, +175

Philipe Lins is coming off a decision victory over Marcin Prachnio last April. That was his first win inside the UFC octagon, and he gets another favorable matchup this weekend. Lins is the former PFL million-dollar tournament winner, but it has not translated well over to the UFC. He looked subpar in his first two fights but relied on his wrestling in his last bout which was encouraging and ultimately is what ended up getting him his hand raised.

His opponent, Ovince Saint Preux is coming off a split decision victory over Mauricio Rua at UFC 274. At this point, I have zero interest in backing Saint Preux in any way shape or form. He turns 40 in April and has looked like a shell of himself over his last few fights. Even in a very favorable matchup in his last fight, he looked uninspiring and barely got the victory.

Lins is historically not someone I would trust as a sizable favorite. But this is a good matchup for him as I expect him to be more active than Saint Preux along with being more likely to land takedowns as well. At the end of the day, I do not trust either of these fighters and do not want much exposure to this fight in any fashion. Lins by decision is the official pick.

Khusein Askhabov vs Jamall Emmers
Ashkabov, -155; Emmers, +135

Khusein Ashkabov is making his UFC debut as a highly touted undefeated prospect from Russia. He sports a 23-0 professional record with 16 wins coming inside the distance. He comes from a high-level sambo background and seems to be a well-rounded prospect with explosive striking and a solid ground game as well. The concern is that he has not fought professionally since March of 2020. Additionally, the level of competition has been subpar and he is rarely pushed into the later rounds of fights which adds another layer of volatility to this matchup.

His opponent, Jamall Emmers is coming off a sizable layoff since getting submitted by Pat Sabatini in August of 2021. Emmers is just 1-2 in the UFC but has looked better than that record suggests. He is an above average striker with sharp leg kicks and comes from a collegiate wrestling background and has shown the ability to land takedowns at the UFC level. My concern with Emmers is two-fold. First, his fight IQ has never been good. He failed to wrestle Giga Chikadze as often as he should have and that cost him the decision. He also decided to roll around with Sabatini and got his leg tore off. Second, his body seems to be not in great shape as the fights are catching up to him. Let’s not forget he pulled out of the Chas Skelly fight with back spasms, had the leg injury against Sabatini and had a fight called off with Daniel Chavez as well. It could mean nothing, but it is worth mentioning.

This is another fight that projects to be volatile with the many unknowns of ashkabov along with the stunt pulling of Emmers. It is tough for me to have a confident read on the fight due to the questions I have with Ashkabov but it makes sense to lean into Emmers being the more proven fighter at the UFC level that has looked solid at times. Emmers by TKO is the official pick but I will look to be overweight to this fight on both sides on DraftKings.

Mayra Bueno Silva vs Lina Lansberg
Silva, -475; Lansberg, +380

Mayra Bueno Silva is coming off a first-round submission victory over Stephanie Egger in the infamous “no tap” scandal last August. She is now on a two-fight winning streak and six of her nine career wins have come by submission. Despite having legitimate submission skills on the mat, she has never actually landed a takedown in the UFC across any of her seven fights. On the feet, she can throw decent volume and certainly has power for this division but she is also very hittable and her cardio is untrustworthy.

Her opponent, Lina Lansberg is coming off a decision loss to Karol Rosa in October. She is currently on a three-fight losing streak and turns 41 years old next month so the writing is on the wall. Despite her age and declining athletic ability, Lansberg is low volume on the feet and cannot defend takedowns at under 50% in the UFC.

Lansberg’s path to victory is very thin in this fight and with most fights. Bueno Silva is tough to trust as a huge favorite with her known cardio issues but stylistically speaking, this is a slam dunk matchup for her. Bueno Silva by decision is the official pick.

Alexander Hernandez vs Jim Miller
Hernandez, -225; Miller, +190

Alexander Hernandez is coming off a second-round TKO loss to Billy Quarantillo in December. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and was finished in both of those. At this point, Hernandez is on the brink of being cut by the UFC and is entirely untrustworthy in terms of his durability and cardio. He does have a solid ground game and his striking is good but typically only lasts five to seven minutes before it all falls apart.

His opponent, Jim Miller is coming off a second-round submission victory over Donald Cerrone at UFC 276 last July. Miller turns 40 years old later this year but is currently on a three-fight winning streak with three straight finishes. “A-10” is a legend of the fight game and comes from a wrestling background with a very slick submission game as 19 of his 35 career wins have come by submission. The concern with Miller has always been his cardio as he has similar struggles to Hernandez in that regard.

This is a fight that I want a lot of exposure to on DraftKings. Both guys are untrustworthy, but both have clear finishing potential as well and I am expecting the winner of this fight to score well. Miller by submission is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

William Knight vs Marcin Prachnio
Knight, -120; Prachnio, +100

We last saw William Knight lose by third-round knockout last April. His last two fights were at Heavyweight and he is dropping back to 205 lbs. so keep an eye on weigh-ins on Friday. He looked poor over his last two fights and his skill set was always limited to begin with. He is very powerful and has some wrestling upside as he is very powerful in getting his opponents down. However, the cardio is still a concern along with the durability as well. He doesn’t even put much volume out there and still gasses badly.

His opponent, Marcin Prachnio is coming off a decision loss to Philipe Lins last April. He was taken down four times in that fight and that is a reoccurring issue for him as he defends takedowns at 53% in the UFC. He has also been knocked out four times in his career as well so the durability is a concern. That being said, he is a good striker and will put out much more volume than Knight if he keeps the fight at distance.

As with the theme of this card, I don’t trust either fighter. Skill for skill, Prachnio is better but his weaknesses play right into Knight’s strength which has me worried to back him. Knight by TKO is the official pick but this is another fight I want some pieces of both sides in the mid-range on DraftKings.

Jamal Pogues vs Josh Parisian
Pogues, -245; Parisian, +205

Jamal Pogues is another Dana White’s Contender Series alumni making his UFC debut this weekend. He is a 9-3 prospect with four wins by knockout. He is a high volume striker and does seem to have decent cardio for the Heavyweight division. Additionally, he has landed multiple takedowns in the past and I think we see him showcase more of that side of his game at the UFC level.

His opponent, Josh Parisian is coming off a second-round TKO victory over Alan Baudot last June. Parisian has typical heavyweight power with 11 knockout victories on his record. However, he is a known gas can as well and cannot defend takedowns at all at just 42% which is a clear leak in his game.

I expect both fighters to have some success in the striking. But Pogues is the more technical boxer over 15 minutes. He should also have the better gas tank along with the wrestling upside as well. Pogues by TKO is the official pick.

Zac Pauga vs Jordan Wright
Pauga, -275; Wright, +23

Zac Pauga is coming off a second-round knockout loss to Mohammad Usman in his UFC debut in August. Pauga previously fought on The Ultimate Fighter and has a 5-1 professional record with just one win coming by knockout. He is not a huge threat in the striking and is not an aggressive grappler either. His best skillset is likely his cardio as he keeps a decent pace for this division but that will only be enough in certain matchups and I have no interest in backing him as a big favorite against anyone.

His opponent, Jordan Wright is coming off a second-round TKO loss to Dusko Todorovic in October. He is now on a three-fight losing streak and was finished inside two rounds in every one of those fights. His last fight was just the third time in his career that he fought into the second round. We know he only has one speed and he is either going to bomb on his opponent early or die trying.

This is another fight that you need exposure to on Draftkings as Wright fights always score well. I plan to be overweight to Wright as he has the tools to explode on Pauga early but just know that he comes with significant risk as he wilts after one round. Pauga by TKO is the official pick.

Jessica Andrade vs Erin Blanchfield
Andrade, -135; Blanchfield, +115

We just saw Andrade fight Lauren Murphy at UFC 283 just four weeks ago. She largely dominated that fight and won a convincing decision for her efforts. Andrade landed an absurd 231 significant strikes across 15 minutes and to be able to do that with how much power she throws with is very impressive. Andrade is widely regarded as one of the best fighters in the division with explosive power on the feet and eight submission victories as well. She is taking the fight on short notice so we will see if her cardio checks out as well as it did against Murphy.

Her opponent, Erin Blanchfield was originally scheduled to fight Talia Santos but Santos pulled out of the fight. Blanchfield is one of the more exciting prospects in the division. But this is a massive step up in competition for her coming off a submission victory against Molly McCann in November. She is primarily a grappler and averages four takedowns per 15 minutes and holds a black belt in BJJ. That is clearly her best path to victory in this fight but I am not sure how easy it will be to get Andrade to the ground.

Andrade has historically shown solid takedown defense and stuffed all 15 of Murphy’s attempts in her last fight. Blanchfield has okay wrestling, but I doubt she will be rag dolling the powerful Andrade in these exchanges. Additionally, Andrade will have a massive striking advantage along with being the much more dangerous fighter on the feet as well. The line movement has been puzzling in this fight so far but I believe it will be too much too soon for Blanchfield. Andrade by TKO is the official pick.