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We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 72 in Las Vegas! We have a lackluster 11-fight slate on DraftKings which is lacking known talent but should not be lacking in entertainment value. 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.

Hailey Cowan vs Jamey-Lyn Horth
Horth, -125; Cowan, +105

Jamey-Lyn Horth is making her UFC debut this weekend. She is the former LFA Flyweight champion and sports a 5-0 professional record. All five of her career wins have come inside the distance. However, she has not faced much level of competition on the Canadian regional scene prior to her LFA fight. She is big and physical but does not seem very technical or talented to me and I doubt she has much of a future in the UFC.

Her opponent, Hailey Cowan was scheduled to fight Ailin Perez at UFC Vegas 70 but pulled out of the fight due to a medical issue. She is a 7-2 prospect with four of her wins coming inside the distance. She spent most of her regional time in LFA before fighting on Dana White’s Contender Series last season and delivered with a decision victory. She is an exceptional athlete and former NCAA all-American gymnast and seems to have a well-rounded skillset. She is primarily a striker and fights from the southpaw stance and will look to land some heavy leg kicks while the fight plays out at range. But she has also shown a solid ground game as well for the lower levels of the division as she is a good scrambler on the mat. She is dangerous when she gets in dominant position but is careless defensively and has been submitted in both of her professional losses.

I could see this being a competitive low volume kickboxing match with plenty of cage push. It may be decided by whoever lands in top position the longest which makes it an easy fight to stay away from for me. Cowan by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target this week on DraftKings.

Journey Newson vs Marcus Mcghee
Newson, -190; Mcghee, +160

Journey Newson was originally scheduled to face Brian Kelleher until the other day when Kelleher pulled out of the fight. He is coming off a decision loss to Sergey Morozov in December. Newson is a low volume striker but does have some power in his hands. He is not going to push a pace on the feet and has always struggled to defend takedowns at under 50% in the UFC. Lastly, I do not trust his durability either as he was knocked out twice in the first round.

His opponent, Marcus Mcghee is making his UFC debut on less than a week’s notice to replace Kelleher. Mcghee is a 6-1 fighter with all six of his wins coming by knockout and his sole loss coming by submission. He recently fought over in LFA in January and will look to make some noise in his UFC debut. He seems to have decent striking and is always looking to get his opponents out of there which is encouraging. His defensive grappling seems below average but I am not sure if Newson will be wise enough to take advantage of it.

If it was not for the extreme short notice, I would expect Mcghee to win this fight. I still consider him a live underdog but he likely needs to hurt Newson early which is possible. I have more interest in this fight for DraftKings than I originally thought and will have more exposure to the underdog. Mcghee by TKO is the official pick.

Stephanie Egger vs Irina Alekseeva
Egger, -305; Alekseeva, +255

Stephanie Egger is coming off a second-round submission victory over Ailin Perez in September. Egger comes from a high-level Judo background and has a solid ground game as well with four of her eight career wins coming by submission. Her striking is not great and she is very low output on the feet but she has landed at least one takedown in all of her fights and she averages over three takedowns per 15 minutes. She knows where she needs to get the fight to and does a good job of doing so in most cases.

Her opponent, Irina Alekseeva is making her UFC debut this weekend. She is coming off a decision win in her Bellator debut and sports a 4-1 professional record with three of those fights going the full 15 minutes. She calls herself the “Russian Ronda” but she could only dream of being half as talented as Rousey. She is big for the division and seems to have some power, but she is a complete brawler. She fights with her hands down and swings big shots with little to no setup or technique. She has also shown the ability to land takedowns but that likely will not be an advantage for her in this matchup. Lastly, I do not think her cardio checks out as all the big explosive movements seem to wear on her in extended fights.

Egger will likely have to survive an early flurry on the feet from Alekseeva, but I expect her to use that Judo base and get the fight to the mat where she needs it. She is the much better grappler and I expect that to show in this fight. Egger by submission is the official pick.

Josh Quinlan vs Trey Waters
Quinland, -180; Waters, +155

Josh Quinlan was originally scheduled to fight Ange Loosa but Loosa pulled out and will be replaced by Trey Waters stepping in on short notice. Quinlan is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Jason Witt last August. He is a 6-0 undefeated prospect with all six wins coming inside the distance and he has only reached the third round twice in his career. He previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series and got a first-round win but was overturned as he failed a drug test. He is a powerful striker with sharp leg kicks and legitimate knockout power. The biggest concern with Quinlan is that he is still very unproven as he has yet to be tested really and with most of his fights ending quickly, it just does not tell us much.

His opponent, Trey Waters is the former LFA Welterweight champion and is coming off a second-round knockout victory just two weeks ago. Waters previously fought on Contender Series as well but got matchup up with a stud prospect in Gabriel Bonfim who submitted him inside the first round. Waters sports a 7-1 professional record with six of his wins coming inside the distance. He is very long and rangy as he is big for the division and uses his length well with his jab. But he also fights with his hands low and is very hittable in striking exchanges. More worrisome is his defensive grappling as he has issues with being controlled and held against the cage for extended periods.

I expect the striking to be competitive but favor Quinlan defensively. I also think Quinlan has a sizable grappling edge if he goes to his wrestling and I expect that to be the difference. Quinlan by TKO is the official pick.

Charles Johnson vs Cody Durden
Johnson, -145; Durden, +125

Charles Johnson is coming off a split-decision loss to Ode Osbourne in February. That loss snapped a two-fight winning streak for him. Johnson is an impressive athlete and well-rounded fighter but never seems to do enough to convincingly win rounds. He is a good scrambler and works back to his feet quickly but struggles to defend takedowns at just 60% in the UFC. He typically has good cardio, but it did not seem like it in his last fight and he failed to take over down the stretch with poor optics along the way.

His opponent, Cody Durden is coming off a decision victory over Carlos Mota in October. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak and has won three of his last four fights. Durden comes from a collegiate wrestling background and averages over four takedowns per 15 minutes. He is not a very dangerous striker but does have some solid leg kicks and I trust him to be more active early in the fight. The main concern with Durden is always his gas tank as he typically starts fast and sometimes fades in fights that get extended.

I expect Durden to win the first round here at a high clip as he is a fast starter and is going to be much more active than Johnson. He will be able to mix in the wrestling early so it basically comes down to how rounds two and three will go. Johnson will likely have a cardio edge in round three but similar to his last fight, it’s possible he does not take advantage and may be down two rounds by that point. Durden by decision is the official pick and he is a solid underdog target on DraftKings.

Jake Collier vs Martin Buday
Collier, -115; Buday, -105

Jake Collier is coming off a second-round TKO loss to Chris Barnett at UFC 279 last September in what was one of the more exciting Heavyweight fights we have seen in a while. Collier emptied the tank chasing the finish in round one and completely gassed himself out. He has now lost three of his last four fights although some of that was due to poor judging. Collier is high volume striker for this division but is rarely going to look to grapple and is not a huge finishing threat either.

His opponent, Martin Buday is coming off a split-decision victory over Lukas Brzeski in August. He is an 11-1 fighter with his sole career loss coming against Juan Espino years ago on the regional scene. Despite the impressive record, Buday seems like a flawed fighter to me. He does have some knockout power and is capable of cage pushing but he has cardio issues of his own and does not really land takedowns either.

I expect this to be a competitive kickboxing match with both fighters landing some shots on the feet. Buday is likely more of a finishing threat and could probably have some success cage pushing early here as well. Both guys have gas tank issues but I slightly lean Buday. Buday by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target this week.

Marcos Rogerio De Lima vs Waldo Cortes-Acosta
De Lima, -180; Acosta, +155

Marcos Rogerio De Lima is coming off a first-round submission victory over Andrei Arlovski in October. De Lima is a dangerous finisher with 17 of his 20 career wins coming inside the distance. Of those 17 finishes, 15 of them have come inside the first round which speaks to his ability to end fights early while he is still fresh. The issue with De Lima is mainly cardio as he is notorious for slowing down outside of round one and typically gets himself finished because of that.

His opponent, Waldo Cortes-Acosta is coming off a decision victory over Chase Sherman in November. He is 2-0 in the UFC after earning a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series last season. He has a 9-0 professional record with four of his nine wins coming by knockout. He is high volume striker for the Heavyweight division and pushes a pace on the feet. He is very unproven in terms of his grappling but he has not been easy to take down so we have yet to see it tested much.

De Lima is going to be dangerous early in the fight especially if he lands takedowns because he is liable to submit Acosta if it gets down there. However, I do not trust the cardio of De Lima or his ability to get the fight there and I expect Acosta to take over as the fight gets extended. Acosta by decision is the official pick.

Julian Erosa vs Fernando Padilla
Erosa, -130; Padilla, +110

Julian Erosa is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Alex Caceres in December. That loss snapped a three-fight winning streak for him and he will look to rebound this weekend. Erosa is a high-volume kickboxer with power on the feet and holds a black belt in BJJ as well. He loves to brawl and does not have the chin to stay safe in those exchanges as he has been knocked out in six of his 10 professional losses.

His opponent, Fernando Padilla is making his UFC debut coming off a two-year layoff. He is a 14-4 fighter that has previously fought in LFA and has a win over former UFC fighter, Darrick Minner. Padilla is an opportunistic finisher with eight submission victories and four knockouts to his credit. He is not a great minute winner as he is basically a counter striker and can be taken down as well.

I expect this to be a fun fight with both guys capable of finishing each other. That makes this a good fight to target on DraftKings and I favor Erosa if he can avoid getting knocked out. Erosa by decision is the official pick.

Rodolfo Vieira vs Cody Brundage
Vieira, -230; Brundage, +195

Rodolfo Vieira is coming off a decision loss to Chris Curtis last June. He attempted 20 takedowns in that fight and did not complete a single one. We know he has a dangerous submission game as he is a world-class grappler and holds a black belt in BJJ. However, his wrestling has never been great and he is known for having obvious gas tank concerns as he has gassed out multiple times in the UFC. On the feet, he has improved his striking and has a solid jab but is still hittable on defense.

His opponent, Cody Brundage is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Michal Oleksiejczuk in December. Brundage comes from a collegiate wrestling background and averages 3.2 takedowns per 15 minutes but that will likely not be the gameplan in this matchup. Of his eight career wins, seven of them have come inside the distance and he typically needs to finish fights as he is not a good round winner.

On the feet, I think both fighters are capable of landing some big shots but the jab of Vieira along with the volume should give him the advantage. If we see the fight hit the mat like I expect then it should be Vieira with a clear submission grappling edge as well. Vieira by submission is the official pick and this is a good fight to target on DraftKings.

Caio Borralho vs Michal Oleksiejczuk
Borralho, -345; Oleksiejczuk, +285

We last saw Caio Borralho at UFC 280 as he won a decision over Makhmud Muradov last October. Borralho previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2021 and has since put together a three-fight winning streak with all three victories coming by decision. He fights out of the southpaw stance and has a very well-rounded skillset. He is long and has powerful kicks to go along with legitimate power in his hands. But he is at his best when he goes to the grappling as he averages over two takedowns per 15 minutes and holds a black belt in BJJ.

His opponent, Michal Oleksiejczuk is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Cody Brundage in December. Oleksiejczuk is a high-volume striker and a strong boxer. Of his 18 career wins, 13 of them have come by knockout and he has won four of his last five fights. He will likely have an advantage on the feet with his volume and power, but his defensive grappling has always been an issue and he has been submitted in three of his five professional losses.

This is a fun matchup and could see both fighters having pockets of success. But ultimately, I favor Borralho as he should be able to get the fight to the ground and will likely control Oleksiejczuk all day on the mat until he finds the finish. Borralho by submission is the official pick.

Ricky Simon vs Song Yadong
Simon, -115; Yadong, -105

Ricky Simon is coming off a dominant performance against Jack Shore last July as he won by second-round submission. He is currently on a five-fight winning streak with three of those five wins coming by finish. Simon has an explosive wrestling style as he averages over 6.5 takedowns per 15 minutes which is among the highest in the Bantamweight division. He has excellent cardio and is very difficult to win rounds against which means you likely need to finish him. That is where he has been most vulnerable is in the striking and we know Urijah Faber was able to catch him clean and put him out a few years ago.

His opponent, Song Yadong is coming off a TKO cut stoppage loss to Cory Sandhagen in September. That snapped a three-fight winning streak for him and he is looking to get back in the win column this weekend. Yadong is an explosive athlete with powerful striking and legitimate knockout power. Of his 19 career victories, eight have come by knockout and I believe that is his best chance to win this fight as well. Yadong will likely have a speed advantage and needs to keep this fight on the feet for as much as possible. He defends takedowns at 71% but is very good at working back to his feet and he makes it difficult for his opponents to control him for extended periods.

This is a great matchup and I expect Yadong to have a clear edge on the feet, particularly early in this fight. But the relentless wrestling of Simon will make it hard for Yadong to get off much volume as he will be constantly defending takedowns and working back to his feet. Yadong has more finishing upside in this spot but over 25 minutes, I have to favor Simon due to the wrestling upside and cardio advantage. Simon by decision is the official pick.