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We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 78 in Las Vegas! We have an action-packed 13-fight slate on DraftKings which is usually the sweet spot for me assuming we don’t lose any fights. 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.

Luana Santos vs Juliana Miller
Santos, -140; Miller, +120

Luana Santos is making her UFC debut this weekend. She is a 5-1 prospect fighting out of Brazil. She previously fought over in LFA and of her five career victories, three of them have come by submission. She is a solid striker with a powerful right hand, but she comes from a high level Judo background. She is very young at just 23 years old, but she seems to be improving from fight to fight and has leaned on her wrestling and Judo to control her opponents on the mat.

Her opponent, Juliana Miller is coming off a decision loss to Veronica Hardy in her last fight at UFC 286 in March. Miller flopped as a big favorite in that fight and was honestly one of the worst performances I have seen from a massive betting favorite. Miller is just 3-2 professionally and is the former TUF winner. But she is very raw in terms of MMA skills and was taken down four times by Hardy which is a terrible look considering her grappling is typically how she wins fights. I have some serious concerns about Miller sticking around in the UFC long if we do not start seeing some big improvements.

I think Santos should be a bigger favorite in this fight. She should have a clear advantage in terms of the wrestling and judo. But she is also the more technical stronger and should be more physical than Miller as well. Santos by decision is the official pick.

Jaqueline Amorim vs Montserrat Conejo
Amorim, -250; Conejo, +210

Jaqueline Amorim had her hype train derailed in her UFC debut as she dropped a decision to Sam Hughes in April at UFC 287. That was her first career loss and it was clear that she does not manage her cardio well. She has relied on early submissions throughout her career in LFA and she nearly pulled it off against Hughes but she is very one-dimensional and has poor cardio as well. I still rate her grappling high for the division and she is going to be dangerous in round one against any opponent but just be aware of the obvious risks with her.

Her opponent, Montserrat Conejo is coming off a two-year layoff as she was knocked out by Amanda Lemos in July of 2021. She is basically a one-dimensional scarf-hold fighter and needs to get that position to be successful in fights. I do not see her being able to out grapple Amorim in any scenario and she does not have much to threaten her on the feet. Lastly, she is going to be giving up a ton of reach in this fight and will likely struggle to close distance.

Amorim is going to get the fight where she needs it and likely finds a finish early. Amorim by submission is the official pick and she is a solid target on DraftKings.

Martin Buday vs Josh Parisian
Buday, -205; Parisian, +170

Martin Buday is coming off a decision victory over Jake Collier in April. He is 3-0 in the UFC and currently on an 11-fight winning streak. Of his 11 professional victories, seven of them have come by knockout. He has some power on the feet and throws decent volume for Heavyweight, but he fights on thin margins. He cage pushes his opponents and holds them there but does not really land takedowns and his cardio seems suspect as well.

His opponent, Josh Parisian is coming off a decision loss to Jamal Pogues in February. 11 of his 15 career wins have come by knockout and he has power early in the fight. But he consistently fades in his fights and has never been able to defend takedowns at under 50% in the UFC. Lastly, I do not trust his durability either as he has been finished in three of his six professional losses.

I am not particularly high on Buday and think he is ripe for a fade in the near future. But Parisian is one of the worst to do it in the UFC. I expect Buday to be landing more volume on the feet and will have all the grappling upside in this fight as well. Buday by decision is the official pick.

Francis Marshall vs Isaac Dulgarian
Marshall, -165; Dulgarian, +140

Francis Marshall is coming off a disappointing performance against William Gomis his last time out in April where he lost a split-decision. That was his first career loss and he really struggled to find his range the entire fight. Gomis did not help by playing a very safe boring game but Marshall could not figure out how to close distance without swinging at the air. His wrestling was also not as overpowering as it had previously looked. Overall, it was a learning experience for a very green fighter but there are still some tools that make Marshall an interesting prospect. It is mostly due to the fact that he has great cardio and typically goes to his wrestling which makes him a solid round winner despite the recent let down. His biggest weakness is his striking defense and range management as we saw his last time out.

His opponent, Isaac Dulgarian is making his UFC debut this weekend. He was booked to fight Dan Arguetta back in January but pulled out of the fight last minute. He is the former FAC featherweight champion and sports an undefeated 5-0 professional record. Of his five career wins, all of them have come inside the first round although most of his opponents were subpar. He seems to have some power in his hands and comes from a collegiate wrestling background as well. He likes to take the fight to the ground as soon as possible and is very good in dominant position with some vicious ground and pound. The concern with him is that he is entirely unproven in extended fights and we do not really know what the cardio will look like either. I expect this fight to be a banger from the opening bell.

Both of these fighters want to get after it and you should expect some fireworks. I favor Dulgarian in terms of the power on the feet and he is the better technical wrestler as well. Marshall needs to survive the early blitz and take over late if the fight gets extended, but I am not sure this is going past the first round. Dulgarian by TKO is the official pick.

Terrance McKinney vs Mike Breeden
McKinney, -275; Breeden, +215

Terrance McKinney is back in the octagon once again making a quick turn around as he fought just a few weeks ago. He is coming off a second-round submission loss to Nazim Sadykhov and looking to rebound here on short notice. McKinney is a firecracker that is going to start fast and try to land something big or take you to the ground. He has great wrestling and power on the feet but all that explosiveness only lasts for a few minutes before he starts to fade. If he cannot get you out of there early then he usually gets himself finished via exhaustion.

His opponent, Mike Breeden is coming off a decision loss to Natan Levy last year. He is 0-2 in the UFC and is likely getting his walking papers with a loss here. He is generally a knock out or bust fighter as eight of his 10 wins have come by knockout. But he struggles to defend takedowns and that is going to be an issue for him against McKinney who will take him down with ease. Additionally, he has been knocked out twice in his career and that is another red flag against someone as explosive as McKinney.

This is a quick turnaround for McKinney, but it is a tailor made matchup for him to get a first-round finish and I expect him to do just that. McKinney by TKO is the official pick and he is a great target on DraftKings.

Marcus McGhee vs JP Buys
McGhee, -400; Buys, +300

Marcus McGhee is coming off an impressive UFC debut as he submitted Journey Newson in the second round in April. He is a 7-1 fighter coming out of the MMA lab in Arizona. Of his seven professional victories, all of them have come by finish. He is primarily a striker and does carry some power on the feet. His one professional loss came by submission and it is clear he should keep the fight standing where he will have an advantage in the fight.

His opponent, JP Buys is coming off a first-round knockout to Cody Durden last year. He is 0-3 in the UFC and was knocked out in two of those fights. He is likely fighting for his job here and needs to pull off a big upset. Buys is coming back up to Bantamweight here and I expect him to be giving up a little size in this matchup. Buys is capable of landing takedowns and five of his nine wins have come by submission. On the feet, he has some power in his punches but his defense is poor and he does not let his hands go very often. Lastly, he can give up takedowns and control against better wrestlers as he defends at just 25% in the UFC.

I expect McGhee to keep the fight on the feet where he should have a clear advantage. McGhee will be landing more volume and should have the power advantage as well. I think McGhee will eventually get to the chin of Buys in the second or third round and find the finish. McGhee by knockout is the official pick.

Josh Fremd vs Jamie Pickett
Fremd, -340; Pickett, +270

Josh Fremd will always be a king for cashing as a sizable underdog against Sedriques Dumas in March. He dominated that fight and won by second-round submission. Fremd is a well-rounded fighter as he comes from a high school wrestling background and is a powerful striker on the feet. He is constant with the leg kicks and has some sharp knees and elbows in the clinch. The main concern with Fremd is that his striking defense is below average as he typically fights with his hands down and is a bit noodly on the feet.

His opponent, Jamie Pickett is coming off a first-round submission loss to Bo Nickal at UFC 285 in March. He is currently on a three-fight losing streak and could be another fighter trying to stick around in the UFC and needs a win. Pickett is powerful on the feet with nine of his career wins coming by knockout but he rarely lets his hands go. He struggles to defend takedowns and has always been able to give up positions to better grapplers. Of his nine professional losses, he has been finished in six of those.

Both guys have holes but I expect Fremd to be the sharper striker and he should be able to have success with the leg kicks as well. Fremd is also the better wrestler and may be able to mix in takedowns. Fremd by late finish is the official pick.

Tafon Nchukwi vs AJ Dobson
Nchukwi, -145; Dobson, +125

Tafon Nchukwi is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Carlos Ulberg last June. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and was knocked out in both of those losses. He is a one-dimensional kickboxer that looks to keep a high pace in terms of the striking volume. He also carries some real power and four of his six wins have come by knockout. The issue with Nchukwi is his durability now that he is coming off two straight knockout losses, but he has also been taken down multiple times as well.

His opponent, AJ Dobson is coming off a decision loss to Armen Petrosyan at UFC 280. He is 0-2 in the UFC but has faced two tougher matchups in the division. Dobson is primarily a striker as well and three of his six wins have come by knockout. He is not as good defensively as he is very hittable in striking exchanges, but he is capable of mixing in some takedowns although he is not a good control grappler.

I expect this to be a very competitive fight with it mainly playing out at striking range. I slightly favor the defense and power of Nchukwi but he is at a durability disadvantage which makes it a little dicey. Nchukwi by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target on DraftKings this week.

Iasmin Lucindo vs Polyana Viana
Lucindo, -192; Viana, +160

Iasmin Lucindo is coming off a dominant decision victory over Brogdan Walker in April. Lucindo is an exciting young prospect in the division and she seems to be pretty well-rounded. On the feet, she is looking to push a pace with her powerful kicking attack and is willing to bite down on the mouth piece and fight in the phone booth. She has also shown the ability to land takedowns and grapple a little on the regional scene and she reverted back to that in her last fight which was encouraging to see. The main concern with Lucindo is that she is still young and has been submitted multiple times on the regional scene.

Her opponent, Polyana Viana is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Jinh Yu Frey in November. Viana is a dangerous opponent in that she is powerful on the feet and has a very active guard as well. She is a black belt in BJJ and eight of her 13 wins have come by submission and we know that she has a very solid armbar that she will look for. Viana is dangerous early but if you can stay safe in grappling exchanges then you can certainly win rounds against her. All but one of her wins have come inside the first round as she typically fades into fights and is willing to play off her back and lose minutes while looking for a submission.

Lucindo should be the better minute winner in this matchup. Viana is always live to catch her in a submission during one of their exchanges but outside of that, I do not see her winning this fight. Lucindo by decision is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

Khalil Rountree vs Chris Daukaus
Rountree, -205; Daukaus, +170

We last saw Khalil Rountree in October of last year as he won a split-decision over Dustin Jacoby which aged well last weekend. However, many people thought he lost that fight as he was outlanded in every single round. In any event, he is currently on a three-fight winning streak and looking to keep that momentum through this weekend. He is primarily a kickboxer and wants to keep the fight standing. Of his 11 career victories, seven of them have come by knockout. The concern with Rountree is that he never looks to grapple, cannont defend takedowns well and has had volume issues in the past. Lastly, he has been finished in three of his five professional losses.

His opponent, Chris Daukaus has had a rough go of it over his last few fights as he is currently on a three-fight losing streak and was knocked out in all three of those bouts. But the level of competition has been much steeper as he has faced a murderer’s row lately. Daukaus is primarily a striker as well and has clear knockout power with 11 of his 12 career wins coming by knockout. But Daukaus typically fades and has been knocked out five times in his career so it is tough to trust his chin whatsoever.

This is a high variance matchup as I have concerns with both sides. But I have a hard time seeing Rountree as this big of a favorite despite the durability issues with Daukaus. Daukaus is going to be throwing more volume early and he is live to catch the chin of Rountree as well. Daukaus by TKO is the official pick.

Hakeem Dawodu vs Cub Swanson
Dawodu, -238; Swanson, +195

Hakeem Dawodu is coming off a decision loss to Julian Erosa at UFC 279 in September. He has now lost two of his last three fights both those came against guys that were clearly looking to grapple him. Dawodu is a one-dimensional striker with fast hands and is going to keep a high volume pace over 15 minutes. Where he struggles is if you can take him down and force him to grapple. But at space, he is very fast and will dance around the outside and try to out volume you.

His opponent, Cub Swanson is coming off a second-round TKO loss to Jonathan Martinez in October. Swanson has also lost two of his last three fights and is looking to get back in the win column. He turns 40 years old in just a few months and it is clear that his best days are behind him. He does still possess some finishing upside though as his last two wins have both come by knockout. Swanson is a good striker himself and will have a grappling edge but he rarely uses it these days.

I expect the speed difference to be key in this fight as Dawodu is the faster, younger fighter with better durability. Dawodu by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target this week.

Rafael Dos Anjos vs Vicente Luque
Dos Anjos, -118; Luque, -102

Rafael Dos Anjos is coming off a second-round submission victory over Bryan Barberena in December. At nearly 39 years old, Dos Anjos is still a force to be dealt with at Welterweight as he has won three of his last four fights. He is undersized at Welterweight but he is very well-rounded as he has sharp striking skills and a strong ground game as well. He averages over two takedowns per 15 minutes and his grappling has held up among some of the better grapplers across multiple divisions. The only real concern with Dos Anjos is age but so far, he seems to still be fighting at nearly full capacity.

His opponent, Vicente Luque is coming off a third-round TKO loss to Geoff Neal last August. He has recently dealt with some sort of brain injury which is concerning but he has been fully cleared so we have to treat him as healthy coming into this fight. Even being healthy though, this is a bad stylistic matchup for him. Luque is a very exciting fighter and has been in a ton of back and forth wars but he is very hittable in striking exchanges and has taken a ton of damage over his career. Additionally, he can be taken down as well as he only defends takedowns at 61% in the UFC. He is going to be working with a six-inch reach advantage in this matchup but because of the way he likes to brawl and fight close, I do not think it will be much of an advantage for him.

I expect RDA to be the cleaner striker with better defense but also to be able to mix in the grappling as he does in many of his fights. Dos Anjos by submission is the official pick.