We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 79! We have an action-packed 11-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.

Tamires Vidal vs Montserrat Rendon
Vidal, -230; Rendon, +190

Tamires Vidal is coming off an impressive first-round TKO victory over Ramona Pascual in November. She is a 7-1 prospect fighting out of Brazil. She is basically a one-dimensional kickboxer and her only career loss came against Karol Rosa on the regional scene. She does have two wins by submission, but she is not much of a grappler and can be taken down as well.

Her opponent, Montserrat Rendon is making her UFC debut this weekend. She is a 5-0 prospect fighting out of Mexico. Of her five career victories, all of them have come by decision. She is primarily a grappler and holds a brown belt in BJJ, but she lacks the wrestling to get the fight where she needs it. On the feet, she is a stationary boxer and I do not rate her striking very highly.

This is a low-level fight but I favor the striking of Vidal and I think she is able to keep it on the feet. She mixes up the kicks well and has more power than Rendon as well. Vidal by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target this week on DraftKings.

Mizuki Inoue vs Hannah Goldy
Inoue, -298; Goldy, +240

Mizuki Inoue makes her return to the octagon after a three-year layoff due to an ACL injury. She is a capable boxer on the feet and is able to mix in some grappling as well. It is tough to know exactly what she will look like as some ring rust is expected post-surgery and with the layoff.

Her opponent, Hannah Goldy is coming off a first-round TKO loss to Molly McCann in July of last year. I have never been a Goldy believer as she is a one-dimensional striker and struggles to defend takedowns at 55% in the UFC. Her karate style kicks at range just do not seem to do enough damage if her opponents are landing the bigger punches.

I expect the striking to be competitive here but Inoue is more likely to spend time in top position and I trust her durability more as well. Inoue by decision is the official pick but she is an easy fade on DraftKings which makes me have more interest in Goldy as the underdog.

Mohammed Usman vs Jake Collier
Usman, -155; Collier, +130

Mohammed Usman is coming off a decision victory over Junior Tafa in April. He is 2-0 in the UFC but take that with a grain of salt because he is one of the worst UFC fighters ever to win their first two fights. He is extremely low volume on the feet and needs to land one of the few punches he throws and knock you out or go to his wrestling. It is possible he can take his opponent down and lay on them but I really do not trust his round winning ability and think he is ripe for the fade.

His opponent, Jake Collier is coming off a decision loss to Martin Buday in April. He is currently on a three-fight losing streak and has lost four of his last five fights. Despite how bad that looks on paper, Collier had moments in all of those fights and arguably won at least two of them. He is a high-volume striker for the Heavyweight division and I expect him to be landing much more than Usman here. The concern with Collier is that he gasses at times and struggles to work back to his feet if taken down.

Despite the takedown concerns for Collier, I still favor him in this fight. I expect him to be way ahead on the feet and as long as he can avoid spending eight minutes on his back here then he should win. Collier by decision is the official pick.

Jacob Malkoun vs Cody Brundage
Malkoun, -485; Brundage, +370

Jacob Malkoun is the biggest betting favorite of the card. He is coming off a wrestling masterclass over Nick Maximov last October. He has now landed 30 takedowns over his last four fights – that is not a typo. It is clear what the game plan is going to be as he wants to wrestle early and often which he is very good at. He sticks to his opponents like glue because it is difficult to deal with and because he does not want to be striking at space where he struggles.

His opponent, Cody Brundage is coming off an embarrassing loss against Sedriques Dumas in June. He is currently on a three-fight losing streak and likely fighting for his job here. But the problem with Brundage is that he looked like he didn’t want to fight at all last time out. He is basically just looking to land a big shot early or pull guillotine but if that doesn’t work then he is cooked after a few minutes.

I expect Malkoun to get the takedowns early and often and dominate Brundage with his smothering control. Malkoun by decision is the official pick but I will have some exposure to Brundage as well because I expect him to be very low owned and he still does have the round one finishing upside if he pulled it off. This is a great fight to target on DraftKings.

Andre Fialho vs Tim Means
Fialho, -175; Means, +145

Andre Fialho is coming off a second-round TKO loss to Joaquin Buckley in May. He is currently on a three-fight losing streak and was knocked out in all three of those fights. Fialho is a powerful striker with 13 of his 16 career wins coming by knockout. But he is very one-dimensional in that he has to land a big shot to win and his durability is now a major concern having been knocked out five times in his career.

His opponent, Tim Means is coming off a second-round submission loss to Alex Morono in May. He is currently on a three-fight losing streak as well but has faced tougher competition. Means is a high volume striker with technical boxing and the ability to land takedowns as he averages 1.21 takedowns per 15 minutes. Means typically struggles with defensive grappling but he should have multiple advantage in this fight.

Fialho is always a high risk, high reward target on DraftKings as his win condition is an early knockout but he likely gets finished if he loses. For that reason, I will still have plenty of exposure to him but I favor Means as the better striker who should be landing more and has the wrestling upside as well. Means by knockout is the official pick.

Dan Argueta vs Miles Johns
Argueta, -185; Johns, +154

Dan Argueta is coming off a dominant performance over Ronnie Lawrence which was deemed a no contest. Argueta has looked very good since he dropped his short notice UFC debut to Damon Jackson. The TUF alum has relied on his wrestling background to get the job done recently and his submission grappling seems to have improved as well. On the feet, he has some power but typically does not throw much volume as he wants to get it to the ground.

His opponent, Miles Johns is coming off a decision win over Vince Morales last November. He is primarily a boxer as he comes from a wrestling background but does not have the cardio to push a wrestling pace so has mostly abandoned that game plan. The gas tank is his glaring weakness as he slows down and wilts in fights that he isn’t controlling. But he should be the more powerful striker on the feet while he is fresh.

I expect Johns to have success boxing early but worry about the cardio as usual and trust Argueta to take over down the stretch. Argueta by submission is the official pick.

Charles Jourdain vs Ricardo Ramos
Jourdain, -135; Ramos, +114

Charles Jourdain is coming off a decision victory over Kron Gracie at UFC 288 in May. He is a high-volume striker that wants to slug it out on the feet and put on a show for the fans. But he is one-dimensional and has always struggled to defend takedowns at under 50% in the UFC. He has also shown poor fight IQ in the past and has been submitted before as well.

His opponent, Ricardo Ramos is coming off a first-round TKO victory last June. Ramos is a technical kickboxer with flashy leg kicks and legitimate knockout power. But he is at his best when he goes to his grappling as he averages nearly 2.5 takedowns per 15 minutes and holds a black belt in BJJ. The concern with Ramos is that he gasses out at times and his durability is a liability as he has been knocked out twice and finished in three of his four losses.

I do not trust Jourdain as a favorite in this matchup. He is likely going to be throwing more volume but the striking should be competitive and Ramos has all the grappling upside as well. I think Ramos could put him in some tricky spots on the mat assuming his cardio holds up. Ramos by submission is the official pick.

Bryan Battle vs AJ Fletcher
Battle, -175; Fletcher, +145

Bryan Battle is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Gabe Green in May. Don’t look now but the former last round pick in TUF is now 4-1 in the UFC with three finishes. Battle does not push a super high pace on the feet but he does possess fight ending power. He is also a sneaky good submission grappler but he struggles to defend takedowns at just 38% in the UFC. The concern I have with Battle is that despite his improvements, he is still not a great minute winner. I also think he has high-rolled some finishes against lower competition or guys with clear durability issues. It makes me think the market is rating him higher than I do.

His opponent, AJ Fletcher is coming off a second-round submission victory over Themba Gorimbo in February. Fletcher is undersized for the division and will be at a 10-inch reach disadvantage in this fight. But what he lacks in size, he makes up for in explosiveness. Fletcher comes from an athletic background and has big power if he is able to connect clean. He puts everything into his leg kicks and will try flying knees and other big explosive actions to try to take your head off. But he can also lean on his wrestling as he is able to land takedowns and is a good submission grappler as well with his patented head and arm choke. The main concern with Fletcher aside from the size, is that he typically pushes such a high pace that he gasses if the fight gets extended.

This is a fun matchup and one that I could see a case for both sides. I am going to roll with my boy again and represent the #FletchGang as this seems like a very winnable matchup for him. Both fighters struggle on defense but Battle is more of a punching bag and his inability to defend takedowns could be key here. Fletcher by TKO is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

Marina Rodriguez vs Michelle Waterson
Rodriguez, -310; Waterson, +250

Marina Rodriguez is coming off a decision loss to Virna Jandiroba at UFC 288 in May. She is currently on a two-fight losing streak and looking to get back in the win column on Saturday. Rodriguez comes from a Muay Thai background and is a high-volume striker on the feet. She does not carry a ton of power but she is capable of breaking her opponents due to pace and pressure. Her glaring weakness has always been her inability to defend takedowns as she defends at just 64% in the UFC.

Her opponent, Michelle Waterson is coming off a split-decision loss to Luana Pinheiro in April. Waterson has now lost five of her last six fights, including when she faced Rodriguez back in 2021. Her Karate kicking approach just does not translate to winning minutes at the UFC level in this day and age. She is still a good grappler but her takedowns are not good enough and she is not aggressive enough in pursuing them.

I expect this fight to look much like the first time they fought with Rodriguez clearly winning the striking and keeping it on the feet for the majority. Rodriguez by decision is the official pick.

Bryce Mitchell vs Dan Ige
Mitchell, -205; Ige, +170

We last saw Bryce Mitchell getting dog walked by Ilia Topuria at UFC 282 last December. That loss snapped a 15-fight winning streak for him and was the first loss of his career. We know what to expect from Mitchell as the striking is not great, but his grappling is very good. He averages 3.26 takedowns per 15 minutes and is a dangerous submission grappler once he gets you to the ground.

His opponent, Dan Ige is coming off a decision victory over Nate Landwehr in June. Ige is currently on a two-fight winning streak and looking to keep that momentum going through this weekend. Ige is a powerful striker with legitimate knockout power. He also holds a black belt in BJJ and will occasionally mix in some wrestling. Ige is also very durable but his biggest weakness is that he defends takedowns at just 56% in the UFC.

Ige is going to have a clear advantage on the feet but I expect Mitchell to initiate the grappling early and often where he should have the advantage. I would be somewhat surprised if Mitchell was able to submit Ige but I do think he can control him for extended periods on the ground. Mitchell by decision is the official pick and he is a good target on DraftKings.

Rafael Fiziev vs Mateusz Gamrot
Fiziev, -155; Gamrot, +130

Rafael Fiziev is coming off a majority decision loss at the hands of Justin Gaethje at UFC 286 in March. That loss snapped a six-fight winning streak for him and he looks to rebound in Saturday’s main event. Fiziev is a decorated striker and will throw in volume as well. He has legitimate fight-stopping power but his best weapons are his devastating leg kicks, mainly to the body. He has also shown very strong takedown defense and when he is taken down, he is very difficult to control. His biggest weakness is his striking defense as he does not move his head off the center line.

His opponent, Mateusz Gamrot is coming off a split-decision victory over Jalin Turner in March. Gamrot is a high-level wrestler and averages over 4.5 takedowns per 15 minutes. But he is not the best at controlling his opponents and someone like Fiziev should be able to work back to his feet quickly. On the feet, Gamrot does not have much threatening power and I do not trust his durability either. He has never been finished but he has been knocked down four times in the UFC and seems like his body cannot take the damage anymore.

I expect Gamrot to be able to land a couple takedowns but I do not think he will be able to consolidate position or land much damage. Fiziev is going to own him on the feet and I expect the body kicks to do some real damage as well. Fiziev either wins it on the scorecards clean or gets a TKO in the later rounds.