We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC 286 in London! We have an action-packed 14-fight slate on DraftKings and a very solid PPV lineup with the headliner being the trilogy matchup between Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards. 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.

Juliana Miller vs Veronica Macedo
Miller, -410; Macedo, +330

Juliana Miller is coming off a third-round TKO victory over Brogan Walker in her UFC debut last August. That was the Ultimate Fighter finale and she will look to keep that momentum going this weekend. She is still very green as she only has four professional fights but she fights with intensity and will look to proactively grapple. She landed four takedowns in her last fight and has shown she is a capable submission grappler as well and holds a brown belt in BJJ. I still have concerns with striking but her grappling and pace should be enough to win fights at the lower level of the division.

Her opponent, Veronica Macedo is coming off a three-year layoff as she last fought Bea Malecki in March of 2020 and lost a decision. Macedo is coming back down to Flyweight so keep an eye on the weigh-ins as she is a candidate to come in heavy this weekend. Additionally, she is just not a great round winner as she is typically being out landed on the feet and struggles to defend takedowns as well at just 46% in the UFC. Lastly, she retired after that Malecki loss due to concussion issues and considering that and the fact she previously went just 1-4 in the UFC, it is difficult to put much faith in her.

This seems like a set up fight for Miller and one that I see her taking full advantage of. She has holes in her game for sure but the pace and grappling nature along with being the more physical fighter with better cardio makes her warrant being a big favorite. Miller by submission is the official pick and she is a solid target on DraftKings.

Ludovit Klein vs Jai Herbert
Klein, -170; Herbert, +145

Ludovit Klein is coming into this fight on a two-fight winning streak as he last beat Mason Jones to a decision last July. Klein is a powerful striker with eight of his 19 wins coming by knockout. But he has also shown the ability to grapple as he averages over one takedown per 15 minutes and has eight submission victories on his record. The concern with Klein is that he can be outpaced as he is not a huge volume guy and has had cardio issues in the past as well.

His opponent, Jai Herbert is coming off a decision victory over Kyle Nelson last July. Herbert is primarily a striker with clear knockout power as nine of his 12 career wins have come by knockout. He is historically low volume on the feet but makes it count when he does connect. The glaring issue with Herbert is his durability as he has been knocked out three times in his career and finished in all four of his professional losses.

I expect both fighters to have moments on the feet but I favor Klein as I trust his durability more and potential to mix in the grappling as well. Klein by TKO is the official pick and this is a fight that I want some exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

Joanne Wood vs Luana Carolina
Wood, -175; Carolina, +150

Joanne Wood is coming off a first-round submission loss to Alexa Grasso last March. At 37 years old, she has now lost four of her last five fights so the optics are not great on paper. However, she has mostly been facing the top tier of the division and this is a significant step down for her in this fight. When she is at her best, Wood is a high volume striker that is going to be landing leg kicks repeatedly while also mixing in takedowns at over 1.5 per 15 minutes. I do have concerns with her willingness to fight through adversity at this stage in her career but she may not face any in this matchup.

Her opponent, Luana Carolina is coming off a third-round knockout loss to my queen, Molly McCann. Carolina is a one-dimensional striker that rarely looks to do anything but stay at range and kickbox. She is long and rangy for the division and will have a few inches of reach in this fight but she is not very powerful and has issues with defensively grappling.

I expect this fight to mainly play out at kicking range with both women trading volume. The margins are thin but I favor JoJo assuming she still wants to compete at this level as she is the more well-rounded fighter. Wood by decision is the official pick but there are much better fights to target this week on DraftKings.

Jake Hadley vs Malcolm Gordon
Hadley, -380; Gordon, +310

After a letdown performance in his UFC debut, Jake Hadley rebounded nicely with a convincing victory over Carlos Candelario in November with a second-round submission. Hadley formerly fought on Dana White’s Contender Series two seasons ago and is primarily a grappler. His wrestling is not great but he will look to get the fight to the ground and is a crafty submission grappler with five of his eight victories coming in that fashion. His striking is not bad either as he fights out of the southpaw stance and carries some power in his left hand along with some heavy leg kicks. The main issue with Hadley is that he is not positionally sound at all and we saw him pay the price for that in the Nascimento fight as he gets too sloppy in the grappling and can be controlled.

His opponent, Malcolm Gordon is coming off a third-round submission loss to Muhammad Mokaev at UFC 280 last October. That loss snapped a surprising two-fight winning streak for Gordon and he will look to get back in the win column with another upset this weekend. Unfortunately for Gordon, I find that difficult to see as he will be out matched on the feet as Hadley will move forward with nonstop pressure and likely land some big shots. Additionally, Gordon is a black belt in BJJ but we have seen him get outgrappled by Mokaev and Amir Albazi.

I think Gordon could have some moments in the grappling exchanges due to how sloppy Hadley gets at times but he likely needs to find a submission to win and I doubt that happens very often. I still do not trust his durability at all as Gordon has been knocked out four times and finished in all six of his professional losses. Hadley by TKO is the official pick.

Christian Leroy Duncan vs Dusko Todorovic
Duncan, -195; Todorovic, +165

Christian Leroy Duncan is the former Middleweight champion in Cage Warriors. He is a 7-0 undefeated prospect with six of his wins coming inside the distance. It is clear that he has real power and has five knockouts on his record. He has finished multiple opponents with a flying knee and he looks for that repeatedly throughout his fights. But outside of his clear finishing ability, he does seem like a fighter that will consistently win rounds in the UFC. His volume is not very high and he has issues when guys take him down as well as he can be controlled on the mat.

His opponent, Dusko Todorovic is coming off a second-round TKO over Jordan Wright in October. Todorovic is a powerful striker in his own right with eight of his 12 career wins coming by knockout. He generally keeps a high pace on the feet with constant volume and should have advantages in the grappling and up against the fence in this matchup. I do not fully trust his durability as he has been knocked out multiple times but I do expect him to be the better round winner.

Duncan is always going to be dangerous but outside of a knockout, I think he loses this fight. For that reason, you can have exposure to both sides on DraftKings but I like Todorovic to get his hand raised. Todorovic by decision is the official pick.

Lerone Murphy vs Gabriel Santos
Murphy, -160; Santos, +140

Lerone Murphy is coming off a sizable layoff as he last fought at UFC 267 in fight island when he knocked out Makwan Amirkhani in the second round. Murphy is an undefeated prospect with seven of his 11 wins coming by knockout. He has some powerful leg kicks but he typically is not putting a ton of volume out there and rarely looks to wrestle. He also struggles to defend takedowns and decent grapplers will take advantage of him.

His opponent, Gabriel Santos is making his UFC debut on short notice. He is the former Featherweight champion in LFA and sports an undefeated record at 10-0. Of his 10 career wins, seven have come inside the distance. He is primarily a striker and fights out of the southpaw stance but regularly switches and can attack from multiple angles. He has powerful leg kicks, decent hands and has shown the ability to grapple at times as well with four submission victories.

I have some interest in Santos to make this a competitive fight. He likely needs to grapple to win but I am not sure that will be the game plan and if the rounds are close then I expect Murphy to get the home town cooking. Murphy by split-decision is the official pick but I will have more exposure to Santos on DraftKings.

Muhammad Mokaev vs Jafel Filho
Mokaev, -800; Filho, +575

Muhammad Mokaev is coming off a third-round submission victory at UFC 280 last October over Malcolm Gordon. He is an undefeated prospect with a 9-0 record and four submission victories. He is just 22 years old and has looked dominant through his three UFC bouts. He is primarily a grappler and averages nearly nine takedowns per 15 minutes. He has a smothering style that makes it very hard for his opponents to get much offense going as they are constantly having to defend takedowns and work back to their feet.

His opponent, Jafel Filho is coming off a third-round TKO victory on Dana White’s Contender Series last season. He is currently on a five-fight winning streak with all five wins coming by finish. He is primarily a grappler as he holds a black belt in BJJ and has eight submission victories. However, his takedowns are not great and I expect him to be at a wrestling disadvantage in this fight. Outside of a hero submission, he gets outworked badly on the mat. Mokaev by decision is the official pick.

Sam Patterson vs Yanal Ashmoz
Patterson, -260; Ashmoz, +220

Sam Patterson is making his UFC debut fresh off Contender Series last season when he won by second-round submission. He fights out of England so will have the home crowd pop and nine of his 10 career wins have come inside the distance. He has some powerful striking and a tight guillotine choke which is one of his better weapons. However, he is extremely hittable on the feet and can be taken down as well. I attempted to fade him on Contender Series with Vinicius Cenci who took the first round off him before being submitted. Needless to say, my priors on Patterson are relatively low so I would not want to trust him as a sizable favorite in his UFC debut.

His opponent, Yanal Ashmoz is making his UFC debut this weekend. He is a 6-0 prospect fighting out of Israel. He previously fought in PFL and seems to be well-rounded with five of his six wins coming inside the distance. He has shown he can wrestle on the regional scene but the size difference in this fight will likely give him some issues. On the feet, it will likely be hard for him to get inside and find his range against the lengthy Patterson and when he shoots takedowns the guillotine threat will be there. I still think Patterson is overrated by the market but he should be fine in this matchup. Patterson by submission is the official pick.

Omar Morales vs Chris Duncan
Morales, -125; Duncan, +105

Omar Morales is coming off a second-round knockout loss to Uros Medic last May. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and at nearly 38 years old, desperately needs to get back in the win column. He is a technical kickboxer with powerful kicks and throws everything into his hooks. He also holds a black belt in BJJ but does not look to wrestle as much as he should. The concern with Morales is his durability at this stage in his career along with his inability to deal with pressure. His gas tank has looked suspect in the past as well.

His opponent, Chris Duncan is making his UFC debut after earning a contract on Contender Series this past season with an exciting knockout victory. He is super raw but is going to move forward and try to land some heavy shots. Seven of his nine professional wins have come by knockout and it is clear what he is trying to do. But he is also a capable wrestler although he does not show it often, much like Morales in that regard. The main issue with Duncan is that he is super hittable and when he fights guys that are faster than him, he is just one step behind in the striking.

I expect Duncan to try to pressure Morales and try to land something big. However, I favor the technicality and powerful counterstriking of Morales. He will need to avoid being taken down and controlled but he likely lands the bigger shots on the feet despite having worse durability. Morales by knockout is the official pick but this is a high variance matchup and I expect the winner to score well either way.

Jack Shore vs Makwan Amirkhani
Shore, -500; Amirkhani, +400

Jack Shore is coming off a second-round submission loss to Ricky Simon last July. That was his first professional loss and the physicality of Simon proved to be too much for him in grappling exchanges. However, Simon is a great wrestler and very strong and I doubt many other fighters in this division will be able to replicate that performance. Shore averages over 3.5 takedowns per 15 minutes and eight of his 16 wins have come by submission.

His opponent, Makwan Amirkhani is coming off a second-round TKO loss to Jonathan Pearce last July. He has now lost four of his last five fights and was knocked out in his last two losses. Amirkhani is a dangerous submission grappler if you give him the opportunity to grab a hold of your neck. But really outside of that he does not offer much resistance. He can be taken down and controlled and always gasses out as well. Add in the durability concerns now and he is a sitting duck outside of an early submission. Shore by TKO is the official pick.

Marvin Vettori vs Roman Dolidze
Vettori, -295; Dolidze, +245

Marvin Vettori is coming off a decision loss to Robert Whittaker in September. Over his last 11 fights in the UFC, his only three losses have come against Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker. He is a very well-rounded fighter that will land in volume on the feet but can also mix in the grappling as he averages just under two takedowns per 15 minutes. He has repeatedly proven that he is a difficult opponent in any matchup outside of the elite tier.

His opponent, Roman Dolidze is coming off an impressive TKO stoppage win over Jack Hermansson in December. Dolidze is currently on a four-fight winning streak and has three straight knockout victories. It is clear that he has real power and is much slicker than you expect in grappling exchanges. However, this guy is still fraudulent to me in that he is not a consistent round winner. He is very low output on the feet and repeatedly gasses out even in low paced fights. He is finish reliant and I cannot bank on that as he continues to fight up in competition.

I expect Vettori to be much more active in the striking and should be able to land some takedowns as Dolidze only defends at 33% in the UFC. Vettori should also have a massive cardio edge if the fight gets extended. He is also extremely durable and has never been finished in his career. Vettori by TKO is the official pick.

Casey O’Neill vs Jennifer Maia
O’Neill, -165; Maia, +140

Casey O’Neill fought Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 271 last February and won by “split” decision. She set a record for significant strikes landed in the division and the fight was never all that close. She is a 9-0 undefeated prospect with five of her nine wins coming inside the distance. She is coming off ACL surgery layoff but is one of the more exciting prospects in the division. Her striking defense still needs improvement as she regularly eats some big shots but her output and cardio make her a great round winner. She also has a solid ground game as she can mix in takedowns at over 2.5 takedowns per 15 minutes. When she gets in dominant position, she is extremely dangerous with vicious ground and pound and always looking to do damage.

Her opponent, Jennifer Maia is coming off a decision win over Maryna Moroz in November. Maia is one of the better boxers in the division but historically not a great round winner as she is typically being out volumed on the feet and struggles to defend takedowns at just 55% in the UFC. She does have some good submission attempts but has just one submission in 10 UFC fights. She regularly lets opponents control her on the mat which just does not translate to winning minutes which is a concern for me in this fight.

I expect Maia to have some success as the better pure striker but O’Neill will get be outworking her as the much more active fighter. Additionally, O’Neill always finds a way to get the fight to the ground and that generally does not end well for opponents as she will be constantly working and should have the cardio advantage as well. O’Neill by decision is the official pick and this is a solid fight to target on DraftKings.

Gunnar Nelson vs Bryan Barberena
Nelson, -435; Barberena, +350

Gunnar Nelson is coming off a decision victory over Takashi Sato last March. He is a dangerous submission grappler with 12 of his 18 wins coming by submission. He is very low volume on the feet and clearly needs to get the fight to the ground and he averages nearly two takedowns per 15 minutes. But he struggles with fighters than can defend takedowns and force him to strike with them.

His opponent, Bryan Barberena is coming off a second-round submission loss to Rafael Dos Anjos in December. Barberena is a high volume striker that is willing to stand and trade with anyone in the division. However, his durability is not what it used to be as he has been finished multiple times and has always struggled to defend takedowns at just 54% in the UFC.

I do not trust Nelson at this massive price tag but he should be able to land multiple takedowns here. When he does take Barberena down, I expect him to be able to control him for extended periods and eventually find a submission. Nelson by submission is the official pick but I prefer other fighters in his price range on DraftKings.

Rafael Fiziev vs Justin Gaethje
Fiziev, -225; Gaethje, +190

Rafael Fiziev is coming off a fifth-round knockout victory over Rafael Dos Anjos last July. He is currently on a six-fight winning streak since dropping his UFC debut back in early 2019. Fiziev is one of the most technical strikers in the division and he has extremely powerful leg kicks. He keeps a solid pace on the feet and has strong takedown defense so he generally forces his opponents to strike with him. While the fight plays out at range, he is going to blast you with body kicks all day long but he is vulnerable as he does not have great defense and has paid the price for it in the past.

His opponent, Justin Gaethje is coming off a sizable layoff since we last saw him get submitted by Charles Oliveira back at UFC 274. Gaethje is one of the most fun fighters in the division as he is wants to move forward and trade blows until someone drops. He keeps a nonstop pace on the feet as he lands right around 7.5 significant strikes per minute. Where he struggles is when he faces good wrestlers and grapplers as he has been submitted in two of his last three fights.

I feel the value has to be on Gaethje in this matchup. The market is down on him because of some recent performances but those were against two of the best submission grapplers the UFC has ever seen. Gaethje is still extremely powerful and is willing to go to war and outlast anyone put across from him. I’m not sure I can say the same about Fiziev yet and that is a big price tag to pay for someone that is not going to grapple and has proven to be very hittable as well. Gaethje by TKO is the official pick.

Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards
Usman, -245; Edwards, +205

The trilogy is here. I still believe Kamaru Usman is pound for pound one of the best fighters to ever step in the octagon despite the loss the last time these two fighters faced each other. He showed once again that he is the better wrestler in this matchup, and he averages three takedowns per 15 minutes. But it has been the evolution of his striking skills over the past few years that have truly made him a champion and why he will reclaim the throne this weekend.

His opponent, Leon Edwards is coming the come from behind head kick knockout win over Usman at UFC 278 last August. He is currently on a 10-fight winning streak not including the no contest against Belal Muhammad. Edwards is definitely one of the more skilled fighters in the division, but this is still a very difficult matchup for him. He was largely dominated the first time they fought back in 2015 and was a few minutes away from a similar result last August.

Credit to Edwards for landing the big head kick last time but that is simply not a result that I can expect to happen at a remotely high clip. Usman is simply the better fighter in nearly every area, and I have to favor him to get his hand raised and reclaim the title. Usman by decision is the official pick and he is a great target on DraftKings this week.