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We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 75 in Las Vegas! We have an action-packed 14-fight slate on DraftKings which is always fun with so many different possibilites. 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.

Modestas Bukauskas vs Zac Pauga
Bukauskas, -185; Pauga, +160

Modestas Bukauskas made his return to the UFC with a big upset victory over Tyson Pedro at UFC 284 in February. He is currently riding a three-fight winning streak if you’re counting his two wins over in Cage Warriors after being released from the UFC. Bukauskas is certainly nothing special, but he is a solid striker that is going to be throwing leg kicks and trying to stay on the outside. Nine of his 14 wins have come by knockout, so he does carry some power in his hands as well. He never looks to grapple and his striking defense needs improvement as he gets hit too often and has been knocked out multiple times as well.

His opponent, Zac Pauga is coming off a decision victory over Jordan Wright in February. He is the only fighter to take Jordan Wright to a decision across his entire professional career. Pauga is primarily a striker as well, but he lacks big power and only has one knockout victory. He has more of a stick and move point fighting style as opposed to being a powerful brawler. He just lacks upside in most matchups as he fights on thin margins, but this should be a competitive matchup for him.

This is a low-level fight and should be a competitive kickboxing matchup. I see it as more of a true coinflip which has me leaning towards the value side in the underdog. Pauga has little to no finishing upside, but he is sharper defensively than Bukauskas and will likely have a cardio advantage down the stretch. Pauga by decision is the official pick but there are much better fights to target on DraftKings this week.

Ronnie Lawrence vs Dan Argueta
Lawrence, -190; Argueta, +160

Ronnie Lawrence is coming off a decision loss to Saidyokub Kakhramonov in July of last year. That loss snapped a five-fight winning streak for him and showed his limitations when facing opponents that can stuff takedowns and be more physical than him. That is typically what he is best at though as he averages over seven takedowns per 15 minutes and has good cardio to keep that relentless wrestling pace for 15 minutes if needed. On the feet, he is low volume and is pretty hittable as well, so he is not bulletproof as we saw in his last fight.

His opponent, Dan Argueta is coming off a decision win over Nick Aguirre in January. Argueta is a 9-1 prospect with six of his wins coming inside the distance. He previously fought on The Ultimate Fighter and made his UFC debut against Damon Jackson last June but lost a decision. He comes from a wrestling background and averages 2.5 takedowns per 15 minutes. He is low volume on the feet but does carry some power. He is a good wrestler but can be controlled on the mat by decent grapplers.

This fight should be competitive with both fighters looking to mix in the wrestling and repeat takedowns. I favor the aggressiveness and cardio of Lawrence and think that will be the difference here but I am less confident than the market seems to be. In any event, Lawrence is typically DraftKings gold because he repeats so many takedowns and does not have good control which allows for him to rack up points. Lawrence by decision is the official pick and he is a strong target this week.

Tereza Bleda vs Gabriella Fernandes
Bleda, -260; Fernandes, +220

Tereza Bleda is coming off her UFC debut where she lost by TKO in the third round to Natalia Silva in November. Bleda previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series last season and is a 6-1 prospect with three first-round finishes. She is an aggressive wrestler and very physical as well. Once she gets you down, she is very aggressive hunting submissions or landing big ground and pound. Her biggest issue is that she does not have much in the striking department and she tends to fade after round one, especially if you make her work to land the takedowns.

Her opponent, Gabriella Fernandes is coming off a decision loss to Jasmine Jasudavicius in February. Fernandes is a good striker but very one-dimensional and has proven to have no resistance to takedowns or any ability to work back to her feet. I expect her to have a clear striking advantage in this fight but her defensive grappling is going to do her in for this matchup. Bleda likely steamrolls her on the mat while she is fresh. Bleda by submission is the official pick.

Zhalgas Zhumagulov vs Felipe Bunes
Zhumagulov, -155; Bunes, +135

Zhalgas Zhumagulov was supposed to fight last month against Rafael Estevam but Estevam was pulled from the card at the last minute. He is coming off a split-decision loss to Charles Johnson in November and has now lost five of his last six fights – one loss for each one of his wives. At this point, we know what to expect from Zhumagulov as he is high-floor/low-ceiling style of fighter. He fights on thin margins and that is why we always seem to see him in close decisions that usually do not go his way. On the feet, he basically just spams overhand rights but does have power when he is able to find the target. He is a capable wrestler as well but mostly results in cage push as he only averages around 1.5 takedowns per 15 minutes.

His opponent, Felipe Bunes is making his UFC debut and coming off a first-round TKO finish in LFA in January. He is a 13-6 prospect fighting out of Brazil and is 33 years old. He seems to be well-rounded as he is a solid striker and capable submission grappler as well with eight of his 13 wins coming by submission. He is not the best wrestler though and can give up takedowns as he throws a lot of spinning attacks leaving his back vulnerable. He will be working with a five-inch reach advantage as long as he can keep himself off the fence here.

I expect this to be a competitive fight as most of Zhumagulov’s fights tend to be. Zhumagulov is certainly more proven, but Bunes has the higher upside and more finishing potential as well which has me interested in him as an underdog on DraftKings. I still think the most likely outcome is that Zhumagulov edges a decision but will have more exposure to the underdog in Bunes this weekend. Zhumagulov by decision is the official pick.

Denys Bondar vs Carlos Hernandez
Bondar, -125; Hernandez, +105

Denys Bondar had an unfortunate UFC debut as he snapped his elbow during an exchange with Malcolm Gordon in February of last year. But it was not just due to injury as Gordon was having success the entire first round up to that point as well. Bondar is a 14-3 prospect fighting out of Ukraine and all of his career wins have come inside the distance. Prior to that debut loss, he was on an eight-fight winning streak but most of those came against low level competition on the regional scene. The jury is still out on Bondar so it is hard to have much confidence in what to expect from him this weekend, especially if the fight gets extended.

His opponent, Carlos Hernandez is coming off a first-round submission loss to Allan Nascimento in January which snapped an eight-fight winning streak for him. Hernandez is another former Contender Series product and seems to be well-rounded enough to compete at the lower levels of the UFC. He is a good boxer and will keep a good pace on the feet but struggles with giving up takedowns at just 66%. The positive is that he is typically hard to control and good at working back to his feet, so he is not clueless on the mat.

Bondar is likely to be able to land a takedown or two, but I doubt he can control Hernandez very long. I expect Hernandez to be the cleaner striker and favor him as the fight gets extended past round one as well. Hernandez by decision is the official pick but I will have some exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

Christian Quinonez vs Kyung Ho Kang
Quinonez, -180; Kang, +155

Christian Quinonez made a splash in his UFC debut with a first-round knockout victory over Khalid Taha in September. He fights behind a strong jab and carries some power in his punches as well with 10 of his 18 career wins coming by knockout. He is not usually looking to grapple much but he is capable wherever the fight goes. His biggest issue is his durability as he can be baited into brawls and has been finished in all three of his professional losses.

His opponent, Kyung Ho Kang is coming off a decision victory over Danaa Batgerel last June at UFC 275. Kang is primarily a grappler as he averages two takedowns per 15 minutes and 11 of his 18 wins have come by submission. He does not throw much volume on the feet but he makes it count as he has landed three knockdowns over his last five fights. The biggest issue with Kang is that he tends to fade in fights and if he cannot have grappling success then he is drawing thin.

I expect Quinonez to have a clear striking advantage and use that jab to stay on the outside and out point Kang while the fight plays out at range. Even if Kang pushes the grappling, Quinonez is not easy to take down and is well-rounded enough to not get instantly submitted either. Quinonez likely takes over as the fight goes on as well. Quinonez by decision is the official pick.

Alessandro Costa vs Jimmy Flick
Costa, -240; Flick, +200

Alessandro Costa made his UFC debut against Amir Albazi in December but lost by TKO in the third round. He previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series in week one of last season but won by split-decision and was not awarded a contract on the show. He fights out of Brazil and is a very well-rounded prospect with powerful striking and a strong ground game as well. He did most of his work on the regional scene with his grappling but has seemed to fall in love with his hands lately which I do not love considering he has been knocked out twice in his career now.

His opponent, Jimmy Flick is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Charles Johnson in January. Flick is an exciting fighter because of his submission skills as 14 of his 16 career wins have come by submission including a flying triangle against Cody Durden in his UFC debut in 2020. But the glaring issue with Flick has always been his durability as he has been knocked out five times in his career.

You can never fully count out Flick because of his submission ability but Costa is no slouch on the mat either and he is going to be much more powerful on the feet and he likely lands something big early that hurts him. Costa by TKO is the official pick and this is a great fight to target on DraftKings.

Raoni Barcelos vs Miles Johns
Barcelos, -225; Johns, +190

Raoni Barcelos is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Umar Nurmagomedov in January. He has now lost three of his last four fights and just turned 36 years old which is considered pretty old for Bantamweight. Despite the age concern, Barcelos is still a very well-rounded fighter with good striking and a strong ground game as well. He keeps a high pace on the feet and is capable of mixing in some takedowns as well as he averages 1.63 takedowns per 15 minutes.

His opponent, Miles Johns is coming off a decision victory over Vince Morales in November. Johns comes from a wrestling background, but he has mostly relied on his boxing in the UFC as he has two knockout victories inside the octagon. He is a tough fighter to predict because he has looked like a promising prospect at times but has also looked disengaged and gassy in other fights. The guys who have given him the most trouble are fighters that can defend takedowns and have a solid gas tank.

Barcelos is the more technical fighter, but I do not expect him to cover this big of a price tag against Johns in this fight. Johns should be able to keep the striking competitive and has the upside to hurt Barcelos on the feet as he is getting older and the durability is not as it used to be. Barcelos winning a decision here is the most likely outcome, but I am treating Johns as a live underdog and I have much more interest in him on DraftKings.

Muslim Salikhov vs Nicolas Dalby
Salikhov, -180; Dalby, +155

Muslim Salikhov just turned 39 years old a few days ago and is coming off a third-round knockout victory over Andre Fialho in November. He is a very technical kickboxer with legitimate knockout power as 13 of his 19 career wins have come by knockout. However, he is low volume on the feet so he typically relies on big moments or knockouts to win fights.

His opponent, Nicolas Dalby is coming off a split-decision victory over Warrley Alves in January. Dalby is currently on a two-fight winning streak and has won three of his last four fights. Dalby has never been one of my favorite fighters to watch as he is usually low volume and just does not do enough to convincingly win minutes which makes him tough to back. He will be working with a four-inch reach advantage, but I still expect Salikhov to be landing more shots and the bigger strikes as well.

I imagine Dalby can make this fight competitive if he avoids getting hurt on the feet, but I still have no interest in backing him or even getting to him on DraftKings. Salikhov is a much cleaner striker and is liable to hurt Dalby on the feet and never allows his opponents to get off much offense against him either. Salikhov by decision is the official pick but he is live for the knockout as well.

Manuel Torres vs Nikolas Motta
Torres, -190; Motta, +160

Manuel Torres made his UFC debut in May of last year and won by first-round knockout over Frank Camacho. He previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series two years ago and is mostly known as a round-one finisher or bust style of fighter. In fact, of his 15 career fights, just one of them have reached the second round. He is very aggressive and explosive swinging big shots on the feet and will mix in some power style takedowns as well. But he is very unproven in terms of the level of competition and it is very likely he does not have the cardio or skillset to win rounds at the UFC level over 15 minutes.

His opponent, Nikolas Motta is coming off a first-round knockout over Cameron VanCamp in September. He is a 13-4 prospect fighting out of Brazil. He is one-dimensional counter striker but does have real power with nine of his 13 wins coming by knockout. The concern with Motta is his defensive grappling and his durability as he has been knocked out three times and finished in all of his professional losses.

This fight is going to be a banger. There is just no way around it. The way these two fighters matchup makes us likely to see some fireworks. Torres is definitely more dangerous in the first round but both of them are capable of finding the knockout. I expect Motta to be the cleaner striker and be able to counter Torres throwing his wild looping hook shots. You want exposure to both sides as there is clear upside from either fighter, but the official pick is Motta by TKO.

Pat Sabatini vs Lucas Almeida
Sabatini, -190; Almeida, +160

Pat Sabatini is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Damon Jackson in September. That loss snapped a six-fight winning streak for him and he looks to get back in the win column this weekend. Sabatini comes from a collegiate wrestling background and is a high-level submission grappler with 10 of his 17 career wins coming by submission. He does not have much volume on the feet and has been rocked multiple times which is concerning but his ground game is strong and that is his path to victory here.

His opponent, Lucas Almeida is coming off a third-round knockout victory over Michael Trizano last June. He previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series two seasons ago but lost a competitive matchup with Daniel Zellhuber. He is a 14-1 prospect fighting out of Brazil and all 14 of his career victories have come inside the distance. He is an explosive striker and will have a clear advantage while the fight plays out on the feet. He also holds a black belt in BJJ but has been controlled on the mat in some of his regional fights.

Sabatini has a clear advantage in the wrestling and grappling department, but Almeida is much more dangerous on the feet and will be winning the striking exchanges. Sabatini is very one-dimensional, and Almeida is not easy to take down. This is a great fight to target on DraftKings as both guys have upside. I plan to be overweight to both sides, but I think Almeida can hurt Sabatini on the feet and put him out. Almeida by TKO is the official pick.

Christian Leroy Duncan vs Armen Petrosyan
Duncan, -145; Petrosyan, +125

Christian Leroy Duncan made his UFC debut at UFC 286 in March. He won by TKO in the first round over Dusko Todorovic who blew his leg out a few minutes in. Duncan is the former Middleweight champion in Cage Warriors and fights out of England. He is an undefeated prospect with six of his eight career wins coming by knockout. He is low volume on the feet but extremely powerful when he lands and will look for flying knees repeatedly throughout his fights. I have concerns with his round winning ability if those big moments do not materialize.

His opponent, Armen Petrosyan is coming off a decision victory over AJ Dobson in October. Petrosyan is an 8-2 fighter with six wins coming by knockout. He comes from a high-level kickboxing background and pushes a high pace on the feet with good volume and power. His biggest issue is his inability to defend takedowns as he has been taken down multiple times in every UFC fight. He is difficult to control though and generally pops back to his feet quickly. Lastly, he will be at an eight-inch reach disadvantage in this matchup.

I have a feeling I am going to keep fading Duncan until he loses and that is not changing here. He has big power and is liable to land a flying knee TKO or something, but I favor the kicking attack and volume of Petrosyan to be winning the minutes if he avoids getting hurt. Petrosyan by decision is the official pick.

Arman Tsarukyan vs Joaquim Silva
Tsarukyan, -1050; Silva, +750

Arman Tsarukyan is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Damir Ismagulov in December. He has only lost to Mateusz Gamrot and Islam Makhachev in the UFC. He is clearly one of the best fighters in the division and extremely well-rounded. He trains out of American Top Team and 12 of his 19 career wins have come by finish. He has excellent cardio and can mix in the takedowns as well as he averages 3.3 takedowns per 15 minutes.

His opponent, Joaquim Silva is coming off a second-round finish over Jesse Ronson in October. Silva is a powerful striker with seven of his 12 career wins coming by knockout. His glaring issue is his durability as he has been knocked out in two of his last three fights and they were brutal finishes. Tsarukyan is the biggest favorite on the card, so it is no surprise that we expect him to beat Silva. But the bigger conversation is on DraftKings where Tsarukyan is priced at $9800 which is the highest price we have ever seen.

I think there is a clear way to treat this fight on DraftKings when it comes to large-field GPPs and it is to ignore Tsarukyan entirely. Not only would he need a massive score to pay off that price, but salary is meaningful on this slate. Additionally, there are 14 fights this weekend which just creates many other variations of lineups to outscore teams with Tsarukyan. Tsarukyan by TKO is the official pick, but I doubt it is good enough to be optimal on this slate.

Marvin Vettori vs Jared Cannonier
Vettori, -110; Cannonier, -110

Marvin Vettori looked career worst his last time out against Roman Dolidze where he lost a decision at UFC 286 in March. Vettori is still one of the top-tier fighters in this division with good volume on the feet and a capable ground game as well. He is very durable and has never been finished in his career, but he is a blockhead and very hittable in striking exchanges.

His opponent, Jared Cannonier is coming off a split-decision win over Sean Strickland in December. Cannonier is a powerful striker with 10 of his 16 career wins coming by knockout. I expect him to have a clear power advantage on the feet as he lands much harder than Vettori. Additionally, I do not expect Vettori to be able to have much grappling success, if at all. For that reason, I favor Cannonier in this matchup and expect the damage to favor him significantly. Cannonier by decision is the official pick.