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We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC 293! We have a fun 12-fight slate on DraftKings and hopefully we do not have any fights fall off. It also helps that on DraftKings we have another $200,000 to first place in the main contest to get us prepared right before NFL Week 1.

Kevin Jousset vs Kiefer Crosbie
Jousset, -155; Crosbie, +130

Kevin Jousset is making his UFC debut this weekend. He is an 8-2 prospect fighting out of New Zealand and is another City Kickboxing guy that will have the local crowd behind him in this fight. Of his eight victories, four of them have come by knockout. I do not see this guy having much of a ceiling at the UFC level. He is the definition of ‘mid’ on tape as his striking is not bad but overall pretty basic. He seems to be strong in the clinch and is not terrible on the mat if he ends up in dominant positions. But I do not like his striking defense and would like for him to be more aggressive at times as well. Fortunately for him, this is a great matchup to debut against.

His opponent, Kiefer Crosbie is making his UFC debut as well. He is a 10-3 prospect fighting out of Ireland and trains out of SBG Ireland. Most of his wins have come by finish but he has faced pretty low level on the regional scene outside of his last fight as he knocked out Alex Oliveira. On the feet, Crosbie is going to swing powerful hooks in the pocket if he can close distance. But he lacks any real defense and does not react well to being hit either. He can also be taken down and outgrappled and when he tries to wrestle himself, he sticks his neck out there waiting to be submitted.

I am not super impressed with Jousset but this is really his fight to lose as Crosbie has no business being in the UFC. Crosbie needs to land a big shot early in the fight to win. That is possible but I do not think it is likely. Jousset likely takes over and feeds off the crowd to pull away in the later rounds. Jousset by decision is the official pick.

Shane Young vs Gabriel Miranda
Young, -175; Miranda, +145

Shane Young is coming off a decision loss to Blake Bilder his last time out in February. He is currently on a three-fight losing streak and has not won a single round in the UFC since 2019. He is primarily a volume striker but at times the volume has not been there as much which is concerning. He does not have much power on the feet and struggles to defend takedowns at 65% in the UFC. I feel like the UFC has given Young every chance to succeed and he just continuously comes short so I do not have much faith in him in general despite the favorable matchup.

His opponent, Gabriel Miranda is coming off a second-round TKO loss to Benoit Saint-Denis in his UFC debut last September. Miranda is a 16-6 fighter who is primarily a submission grappler. All but one of his wins have come by submission and the majority of those came inside the first round. He is more than happy to flop to his back and give up minutes while looking for a submission. He is not a good round winner and likely needs to catch you with something in order to win the fight.

This is a gift of a matchup for Young but still does not make me confident in him considering his lack of IQ or skills. He is clearly the better round winner but I still do not trust him. Miranda needs to pull off an early submission or he will likely lose a decision here. I will have some exposure to both sides on DraftKings but the official pick is Young by decision.

Charles Radtke vs Blood Diamond
Radtke, -298; Diamond, +240

Charles Radtke is making his UFC debut and is a sizable favorite this weekend. He is the former Welterweight champion in Cage Fury promotion and seems to have a solid skillset. Of his seven professional victories, five of them have come inside the distance and he is pretty well-rounded wherever the fight goes. He has some legitimate knockout power on the feet but his takedown defense is not great and he has been controlled in multiple fights on the mat.

His opponent, Blood Diamond is coming off a decision loss to Orion Cosce last July at UFC 277. He is 0-2 in the UFC and likely fighting for his job but will have the home crowd cheering for him. He is primarily a striker and does have some solid kickboxing skills and is going to be the longer fighter in this matchup. But his defensive grappling has always been a concern as well and he has been submitted in the past as well.

I expect this fight to play out primarily on the feet. I favor the power and technical ability of Radtke who is more defensively sound. Radtke would be the more likely of the two to land takedowns as well but I doubt it factors in much this fight. Radtke by decision is the official pick.

Nasrat Haqparast vs Landon Quinones
Haqparast, -470; Quinones, +360

Nasrat Haqparast is coming off a decision victory over John Makdessi last September. That win snapped a two-fight losing streak for him and he looks to keep that momentum going this weekend as one of the biggest favorites on the card. We know what to expect from Haqparast as he is going to be bouncing in and out of the pocket landing his punching combinations and staying light on his feet. He is also very durable and will keep a high-volume pace as well. He has solid takedown defense as well which forces his opponents to stand and trade with him.

His opponent, Landon Quinones is making his UFC debut this weekend. He is a 7-1 prospect fighting out of Florida and trains at Kill Cliff FC. Of his seven professional victories, five of them have come by knockout. He is primarily a striker and fights out of the southpaw stance. But he has also shown the ability to land takedowns and has good timing with his entries. But he is going to be outclassed on the feet here and I doubt he will have much success trying to grapple Haqparast. Haqparast by decision is the official pick.

Jamie Mullarkey vs John Makdessi
Mullarkey, -265; Makdessi, +215

Jamie Mullarkey is coming off a second-round TKO loss to Muhammadjon Naimov in June. That fight snapped a two-fight winning streak for him and he is trying to get back in the win column this weekend. Mullarkey has an exciting fighting style as he is willing to go to war on the feet and will mix in the takedowns at a high rate as well as he averages nearly three takedowns per 15 minutes. The main concern with Mullarkey is his durability as he has been knocked out four times in his career.

His opponent, John Makdessi is coming off a decision loss to Nasrat Haqparast last September. He is now 38 years old and has lost two of his last three fights. He is a one-dimensional striker and it is clear that he needs to keep the fight on the feet. He has very good boxing and despite the older age, he will likely be the better striker in this fight. He has always had good takedown defense at 85% in the UFC and is difficult to control on the mat as well.

I think Mullarkey makes sense as a favorite due to his high pace and grappling along with the aging of Makdessi. However, I cannot help but feel this line is wide given Mullarkey’s lack of defense and willingness to trade blows on the feet. The official pick is Mullarkey by decision but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

Jack Jenkins vs Chepe Mariscal
Jenkins, -205; Mariscal, +170

Jack Jenkins is coming off a controversial split-decision victory over Jamall Emmers in June.

Jenkins previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series and sports an 12-2 professional record fighting out of Australia. Jenkins is a good athlete but not a great fighter. What I mean by that is that he has clear power and good cardio but him outgrappling bums on the regional scene is not indicative of him having grappling success against good wrestlers at the UFC level. On the feet, he has some devastating leg kicks that are his best weapon, but he is very hittable in striking exchanges.

His opponent, Chepe Mariscal is coming off an exciting UFC debut where he won a decision over Trevor Peek in June. Mariscal is a very well-rounded fighter and has been tested by some of the best regional fighters for years prior to joining the UFC. He will keep a high pace on the feet and has the cardio to do so for 15 minutes if needed. But he also has a solid ground game as well and landed four takedowns in his debut. The main concern with him is his durability as he has been knocked out three times in his career.

I expect this to be a competitive fight with both fighters having some success on the feet. I expect the leg kicks of Jenkings to play a big role here and both guys could probably land some takedowns too. I slightly lean Jenkins due to durability and trust him more to go for it down the stretch. Jenkins by decision is the official pick.

Carlos Ulberg vs Da Woon Jung
Ulberg, -270; Jung, +220

Carlos Ulberg is coming off a first-round TKO victory over Ihor Poteira in May. He is currently on a four-fight winning streak and has finished his last three opponents all by knockout. He is a powerful striker and fights out of the southpaw stance. He is high volume as well and has some powerful kicks that he will implement into his striking combinations. We still do not really know about his defensive grappling but I do not think this is the matchup where it is very relevant.

His opponent, Da Woon Jung is coming off a decision loss to Devin Clark in February. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and looks to play spoiler this weekend as a big underdog. He is a powerful striker in his own right with 11 of his 15 wins coming by knockout. But his last couple outings have been discouraging as the volume simply isn’t there at times and he was knocked out inside the first round by Dustin Jacoby.

I expect Ulberg to have a clear striking advantage in terms of volume and power. Jung likely needs to get this fight to the mat and I’m not sure how much success he will have even if he does that. Ulberg by TKO is the official pick.

Anton Turkalj vs Tyson Pedro
Turkalj, -115; Pedro, -105

Anton Turkalj is coming off a decision loss to Vitor Petrino in March. He is 0-2 in the UFC so far but has had some brutal matchmaking. This is a potential get right spot in what should be a legitimate test against Tyson Pedro. Turkalj is very explosive on the feet with many first-round knockout victories but he gets very sloppy defensively and will eat some shots. He is at his best when he is going to his grappling as he can land takedowns repeatedly and has good cardio as well.

His opponent, Tyson Pedro is coming off a decision loss to Modestas Bukauskas in February. Pedro is a decent striker on the feet with some very powerful leg kicks but he is pretty one-dimensional in that sense. He is also a good submission grappler but rarely looks to initiate takedowns and his cardio has looked poor in the past.

I like the Turkalj side in this matchup. He is just as likely to hurt Pedro on the feet and while he is more sloppy grappling, he has the cardio to pursue it for 15 minutes if needed. Turkalj by submission is the official pick.

Justin Tafa vs Austen Lane
Tafa, -218; Lane +180

These two tried to fight at UFC Jacksonville earlier this year but Austen Lane poked Justin Tafa in the eye and the bout was stopped. Justin Tafa is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Parker Porter at UFC 284 in February. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak and will look to keep the train rolling this weekend. It is easy to know what to expect from Tafa as he is very one-dimensional. He has big power on the feet and all six of his career wins have come by knockout. He will push a good pace in terms of the striking but I have concerns with his defensive grappling if you can take him down which we have yet to see in the UFC.

His opponent, Austen Lane is making his UFC debut this weekend. He previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series this past season and is currently on a six-fight winning streak. Of his 12 career victories, 11 have come by knockout. He is lean for the Heavyweight division but has clear knockout power and carries it through every round. He will also be much taller than Tafa and working with a six-inch reach advantage as well. Lane has showed he is capable of wrestling on the regional scene but I would be surprised to see him be able to take Tafa down in this fight. The main concern with Lane is that he is hittable and can be countered and Tafa is good at doing just that. Lastly, Lane has been knocked out three times in his career.

It is always tough to trust Heavyweight chalk but I do see Tafa being able to keep the fight standing and land a big counter shot. Tafa by TKO is the official pick and this is another good fight to target on DraftKings.

Manel Kape vs Felipe Dos Santos
Kape, -395; Dos Santos, +310

Manel Kape is coming off a decision victory over David Dvorak in December. He is currently on a three-fight winning streak and is set up to keep that momentum going as he is one of the bigger favorites on the card. He is a legitimate contender in this division with powerful striking and fast hands. His athleticism and footwork on the feet complement his ground game nicely as he holds a black belt in BJJ as well. The only concern with him is the volume is not always there but the tools certainly are.

His opponent, Felipe Dos Santos is making his UFC debut on short notice. He was previously scheduled to fight on Dana White’s Contender Series, but his original opponent pulled out and then the replacement missed weight. He is a 22-year-old prospect fighting out of Brazil. He sports an undefeated 7-0 professional record with five wins coming inside the distance. He is a Chute Boxe prospect and trains with UFC fighters, Charles Oliveira, Danny Santos and Mateus Mendonca among others. Dos Santos relies on constant pressure. He moves forward and utilizes his kicking attack with switch kicks and front kicks consistently. He has also shown the ability to land takedowns although his control is not great. I do worry about him though as he gets very sloppy when pressing forward and will eat some shots. He can also give up takedowns and only sometimes works back to his feet. This is also clearly the biggest test in competition for him.

I expect Kape to have multiple advantages in this fight but the early pressure and pushing forward by Dos Santos could make this is an exciting fight. Kape should outclass this kid on the feet and the mat though before getting his hand raised. Kape by decision is the official pick.

Alexander Volkov vs Tai Tuivasa
Volkov, -245; Tuivasa, +200

Alexander Volkov is coming off a first-round TKO over Alexander Romanov in March. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak and finished both his opponents in the first round. Volkov’s best days are behind him but he is still clearly one of the better strikers in the division. He is very long and powerful and uses his length well and is strong in the clinch as well. He can be taken down but only by the better wrestlers in the division and is difficult to control for extended periods. Despite being knocked out twice in his career, he has proven to be very durable throughout his career.

His opponent, Tai Tuivasa is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Sergei Pavlovich in December. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and was knocked out in both of those fights. Tuivasa is a big-time power puncher and not afraid to engage in a brawl. He is willing to eat a couple shots just to land a big one of his own and 13 of his 14 wins have come by knockout. But outside of being able to land a big shot, there is not much else to his game. He struggles to defend takedowns and tends to fade as the fight goes on.

Both fighters are capable of winning by knockout, but I favor the length, power and durability of Volkov in this matchup. Volkov by TKO is the official pick, but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

Israel Adesanya vs Sean Strickland
Adesanya, -650; Strickland, +470

Israel Adesanya recaptured the Middleweight strap at UFC 287 in April. Adesanya is a high-level striker with a variety of tools and excellent range management. He keeps a good pace on the feet and has legitimate knockout power when he lets his hands go. He has also made it a point to improve his ground game over the years as well.

His opponent, Sean Strickland is coming off a second-round TKO victory over Abusupiyan Magomedov in July. Strickland is a very technical boxer but lacks power and aggression which is frustrating at times. At times, it seems like he turns his fights into casual sparring matches. But to his credit, he is very good defensively and makes it tough for his opponents to get out ahead on the scorecards. He also has a well-rounded ground game but never uses it unless he is forced to.

I expect this fight to start slow with both fighters respecting the others striking skills. I have to give the advantage to Adesanya on the feet as he is more powerful and the better counter striker as well. Adesanya is also going to mix in the leg kicks which could play a major role in this fight. Adesanya by decision is the official pick.