We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Noche! We have a fun 11-fight slate on DraftKings and hopefully we do not have any fights fall off. It also helps that on DraftKings we have another $100,000 to first place in the main contest.

Josefine Knutsson vs Marnic Mann
Knutsson, -485; Mann, +370

Josefine Knutsson just fought on Dana White’s Contender Series a few weeks ago. She won a decision but was not awarded a contract but was later signed to the UFC anyway. She comes from an experienced kickboxing background and five of her six career wins have come by decision. On the feet, she has some strong leg kicks and looks to move forward and pressure her opponents. But she is not a high-volume striker as she is very patient and waits for her openings. She is also well-rounded and looks to hold her opponents against the fence for extended periods and that is typically where she looks to mix in some takedowns as well.

Her opponent, Marnic Mann is a 6-1 prospect fighting out of Montana. She is making her UFC debut on short notice and I am not optimistic that she sticks around long. She previously fought in LFA and Contender Series but was knocked out by Bruna Brasil last year. Mann’s best asset is just being tough. She is not very good at anything really and wants to close distance and clinch and use her wrestling.

I do not expect Mann to have much success in the clinch or trying to grapple Knutsson. I expect Knutsson to get the better of those exchanges along with being the better striker as well. Knutsson by decision is the official pick but she is an easy fade at her price on DraftKings.

Charlie Campbell vs Alex Reyes
Campbell, -400; Reyes, +300

Charlie Campbell is making his UFC debut this weekend. He is coming off a first-round TKO victory in June over in Cage Fury. He is a 7-2 prospect with five of his wins coming by knockout. He fought on Dana White’s Contender Series last season and was knocked out by Chris Duncan. He is primarily a striker and mixes things up nicely on the feet. I do not fully trust his defensive grappling but it really should not matter in this matchup.

His opponent, Alex Reyes is coming off a six-year layoff and stepping in on short notice. Apparently, the UFC could not find another warm body than the guy who got knocked out by Mike Perry six years ago and is coming off the couch. Reyes has a bunch of early finishes on the regional scene a long time ago but I do not think it is very relevant now.

This is clearly Campbell’s fight to lose and I do not expect him to. Campbell by TKO is the official pick and he is a strong play on DraftKings.

Tracy Cortez vs Jasmine Jasudavicius
Cortez, -118; Jasudavicius, -102

Tracy Cortez is coming off a decision victory over Melissa Gatto at UFC 274 last May. She is 4-0 in the UFC and has won all four fights by way of decision. On the feet, she has some decent boxing but struggles defensively and needs to go to her wrestling to have success. But she is good at getting the fight to the ground and averages nearly three takedowns per 15 minutes with good control as well.

Her opponent, Jasmine Jasudavicius is coming off a dominant performance over Miranda Maverick at UFC 289 in June. She is 3-1 in the UFC with the only loss coming against Natalia Silva. Jasudavicius is similar to Cortez in that she is a decent boxer but is at her best when she is winning the clinch battles and getting takedowns. I expect her to be the more physical fighter in the clinch which may be the difference here.

This should be a very competitive fight as I could see both fighters have success landing takedowns. But I feel that most of the upside is on the Jasudavicius side as she is the more powerful striker and will be stronger in the clinch. She is also more dangerous in top position and if this ends up being more on the feet then I like her chances there as well. Jasudavicius by decision is the official pick.

Edgar Chairez vs Daniel Lacerda
Chairez, -250; Lacerda, +205

Edgar Chairez is coming off a tough UFC debut where he dropped a decision to Tatsuro Taira at UFC 290 in July. He is a 10-5 prospect fighting out of Mexico and all 10 wins have come by finish. He trains out of Entram gym in Mexico and is a regular training partner of Andres Luna and Brandon Moreno. He seems to have some power in his hands and is a finisher by nature, but the level of competition leaves more to be desired on the regional scene. The glaring issue of Chairez is his defensive grappling as he has been submitted in twice in his career although he avoided it against Taira in his last fight.

His opponent, Daniel Lacerda is coming off a second-round TKO loss to CJ Vergara in March. He is 0-4 in the UFC and was finished inside of two rounds in each of those fights. Despite failing to find success in the UFC yet, he has had spurts of success in all of his fights and nearly even finished a few of those as well. He comes out like a bat out of hell and tries to put it on his opponents with powerful kickboxing and flashy submission attempts. The problem is when he cannot get the early finish, he typically wilts and gets finished as we have seen.

This is my favorite fight to target on DraftKings as the winner is a guarantee to score well. I will have heavy exposure to both sides on DraftKings and am hoping the field has lost faith in Lacerda as a high-upside underdog. Chairez by TKO is the official pick.

Roman Kopylov vs Josh Fremd
Kopylov, -345; Fremd, +275

Roman Kopylov is coming off a second-round TKO victory over Claudio Ribeiro at UFC 291 in July. He is currently on a three-fight winning streak with all three of those wins coming by knockout. He is a powerful striker with legitimate knockout upside and has solid takedown defense as well so he forces his opponents to stand and trade with him. His cardio has been spotty in the past but it is serviceable enough and he has multiple finishes in the later rounds across his career.

His opponent, Josh Fremd is coming off a decision victory over Jamie Pickett last month. He is making a quick turnaround here and looking to keep building momentum on a two-fight winning streak. Fremd has been a cash cow for us in the past but this seems like a tough matchup for him. Fremd comes from a high school wrestling background and is a good striker in the clinch. However, at range he is going to get touched up here as he has never been strong defensively.

I expect Kopylov to be landing more effectively and with the more powerful shots as well. Kopylov by TKO is the official pick.

Loopy Godinez vs Elise Reed
Godinez, -440; Reed, +340

Loopy Godinez is coming off a decision victory over Emily Ducote in May. She is currently on a two-fight winning streak and is set up to keep that going this weekend. Godinez is a powerful boxer that wants to get in close and fight in the phone booth. She is at her best when she is pressuring her opponents up against the fence and mixing in the takedowns as she averages nearly 3.5 per 15 minutes. She has multiple advantage in this fight but the grappling path is the most obvious.

Her opponent, Elise Reed is coming off a decision win over Jinh Yu Frey in June. Reed has never impressed me and as it is tough to compete when you are a low volume one-dimensional kickboxer that cannot defend takedowns. She gives up takedowns at a 50% clip and typically struggles to work back to her feet or try to sweep. On the feet, she has some powerful kicks but she has issues defensively and gets tagged more than you would like there as well.

I expect Godinez to have multiple advantages here. She should initiate the grappling where she will be able to land multiple takedowns and likely find a finish on the ground. Godinez by submission is the official pick.

Fernando Padilla vs Kyle Nelson
Padilla, -250; Nelson, +205

Fernando Padilla is coming off a statement win in his UFC debut as he knocked out Julian Erosa in the very first round. He sports a 15-4 professional record with 13 of those wins coming by finish. On the feet, he is mainly a counter striker but does have some clear power. He is also an opportunistic submission grappler but can be taken down and controlled at times as well. I do not think he is a great minute winner by nature but he does have some finishing ability.

His opponent, Kyle Nelson is coming off a decision win over Blake Bilder at UFC 291 in June. That win snapped a three-fight losing streak for him and likely saved his job. Nelson is primarily a striker and has power early in the fight with four first-round TKO finishes on his record. He does not push much of a pace though and is somewhat of a punching bag at times on the feet. He can mix in takedowns at times but is not overly aggressive in doing so and not a huge submission threat either. The main worry with Nelson is that he fades as the fight goes on and you cannot rely on his cardio in extended fights.

I expect Padilla to be the better striker and more of a submission threat as well. It is possible Nelson lands a takedown or two but I doubt he can do much with it and could even get himself submitted if he tries. I expect Padilla to take over and eventually get the finish. Padilla by TKO is the official pick.

Daniel Zellhuber vs Christos Giagos
Zellhuber, -285; Giagos, +230

Daniel Zellhuber is coming off a decision victory against Lando Vannata in April. It was a much better performance for him after underwhelming in his UFC debut and suffering his first career loss to Trey Ogden. Zellhuber is an exciting striker with a Muay Thai background. He is powerful and long for the division. He can be taken down by decent wrestlers but is generally good at working back to his feet and has some sneaky submission upside as well.

His opponent, Christos Giagos is coming off a first-round TKO victory over Ricky Glenn in April. Giagos has some power on the feet but he is low volume and struggles defensively. But he is a decent grappler and averages over three takedowns per 15 minutes. He will likely need to try to grapple in this fight as I expect him to struggle to keep pace with Zellhuber on the feet.

Zellhuber should be able to keep the fight standing for the majority and get the better of the striking exchanges. I also would not be surprised to see him snatch up something if Giagos tries to shoot on him sloppily. Zellhuber by submission is the official pick.

Raul Rosas Jr. vs Terrance Mitchell
Rosas Jr., -750; Mitchell, +525

The hype train that was Raul Rosas Jr. was quickly derailed in his UFC debut as he dropped a decision to Christian Rodriguez at UFC 287. It was a tough test for the young kid and he seemed to gas himself out working so hard for the early takedowns. Fortunately for him, he is now getting a cupcake matchup to get him back in the win column this weekend. Rosas Jr. is still very young but he is a high level submission grappler and holds a black belt in BJJ. His wrestling is solid as well and only good fighters like Rodriguez will give him fits in getting it to the mat.

Simply put, Terrance Mitchell isn’t that guy. Mitchell was brought in to the UFC on short notice to lose to Cameron Saiiman which he did. Mitchell is powerful early in fights but has always struggled defensively in the grappling realm which makes this a brutal matchup for him. I expect Rosas Jr. to get the takedowns whenever he wants them and eventually slice through Mitchell on the mat. Rosas Jr. by submission is the official pick and he is a great target this week on DraftKings.

Jack Della Maddalena vs Kevin Holland
Maddalena, -148; Holland, +124

In what appears to be #MMATwitter’s main event of the week, we have a fun matchup between Jack Della Maddalena and Kevin Holland in what should be a striker’s delight. Della Maddalena is coming off a split-decision victory in July over Bassil Hafez in July. Hafez was able to walk through all of Maddalena’s power shot and even take advantage of his main flaw – defensive grappling. Maddalena is an excellent boxer as he rips the body well and throws in heavy combinations. Of his 15 career wins, 11 of them have come by knockout including three first-round knockouts in the UFC. The only real concerns with Della are that he is a little to hittable in some of the exchanges and he can be taken down as we saw in his last fight.

His opponent, Kevin Holland is coming off a first-round submission victory over Michael Chiesa at UFC 291 in July. Holland is a great striker in his own right as he uses his length well and manages distance with the best of them. He has fast hands and legitimate power with 14 knockout victories on his record. He also holds a black belt in BJJ although he struggles to defend takedowns and work back up to his feet.

I expect this fight to play out on the feet with both fighters having moments of success and trading some big shots. I favor the boxing of Della Maddalena but do think Holland could have success with the leg kicks as well as using his eight-inch reach advantage. This should be a competitive fight but typically you need to mix in the grappling to give Holland fits and I think Holland would be the more likely to mix in grappling. Holland by decision is the official pick.

Valentina Shevchenko vs Alexa Grasso
Shevchenko, -166; Grasso, +140

Valentina Shevchenko looks to regain her title with a rematch against Alexa Grasso after losing by submission in March. She is a technical kickboxer with powerful leg kicks although she is not going to overwhelm her opponents with volume. However, she is very physical and well-rounded as she averages over 2.5 takedowns per 15 minutes and seven submission victories on her record. Despite the loss the last time they squared off, I do still think she is the rightful favorite.

Her opponent, Alexa Grasso is fresh off that title fight with Shevchenko and looking to defend this weekend. She is confidently riding a five-fight winning streak and has really made some improvements over the course of her fights. She is a high-volume striker and very technically sound with her boxing. We have seen multiple times the improvements that she has made with her grappling but she can still give up takedowns as she defends at just over 60% in the UFC.

Much like the first fight, I expect Grasso to be competitive in the striking realm and may even give her the slight edge based on volume. But the takedowns and control of Shevchenko should be the difference as long as she does not get caught like last time. Shevchenko by decision is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings.