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We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 80! 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.

Montana De La Rosa vs JJ Aldrich
De La Rosa, -130; Aldrich, +110

Montana De La Rosa is coming off a second-round submission loss to Tatiana Suarez in February. She is currently on a two-fight losing streak and has just one victory over her last five fights, but she has faced stiff competition in that span. De La Rosa is primarily a grappler and averages just under two takedowns per 15 minutes. But on the feet, De La Rosa is low volume and way too hittable, so she needs to get the fight to the ground.

Her opponent, JJ Aldrich is coming off a second-round TKO victory over Na Liang in August. She is primarily a boxer and fights out of the southpaw stance and needs to keep this fight upright. The problem is she has struggled to defend takedowns recently as she was taken down twice by Ariane Lipski and three times in the Liang fight. She does not carry much power so her round winning margins are thin and because of the matchup, it leaves her with a narrow path to victory.

I expect this fight to be competitive on the feet, but De La Rosa likely lands a takedown or two and should be the better grappler on the mat. De La Rosa by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target on DraftKings.

Johnny Munoz vs Aori Qileng
Munoz, -110; Qileng, -110

Johnny Munoz is coming off a decision loss to Daniel Santos in June. He has now lost two of his last three fights and will try to flip the script this Saturday. Munoz fights out of the southpaw stance and is low volume on the feet but does have some powerful kicks at range. He wants to be grappling though and typically needs to get the fight to the ground and he averages just under two takedowns per 15 minutes. He holds a black belt in BJJ and has seven submission victories on his record although most of those came against low level talent on the regional scene. The concern with Munoz is that he does not have a backup plan if he cannot get the takedowns and he seems to have some quit in him as well.

His opponent, Aori Qileng is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Aiemann Zahabi at UFC 289 in June. That loss snapped a two-fight winning streak for him and he is looking to get back in the win column this weekend. He is not the most technical fighter but he will throw in volume and continuously move forward on the feet. He is basically only throwing punches as he rarely mixes in the leg kicks and he gets very hittable as he starts to get tired. He also struggles to defend takedowns at 55%.

This is a tough fight to have a strong read on as I could see it going multiple ways. However, I feel best about it going to a decision and am very interested in betting overs depending on prices. Qileng by decision is the official pick but Munoz has more upside on DraftKings so I will likely tilt my exposure that way.

Kanako Murata vs Vanessa Demopoulos
Murata, -355; Demopoulos, +280

Kanako Murata is making her return to the octagon after a brutal injury she suffered against Virna Jandiroba in 2021. That loss snapped an eight-fight winning streak for her and was just the second loss of her professional career. She comes from a high level wrestling background and averages 2.4 takedowns per 15 minutes. She is very physically strong and has a solid submission game as well so most fighters do not want to go to the ground with her. Really the only concern with Murata is the ring rust but I doubt it factors in much in this fight.

Her opponent, Vanessa Demopoulos is coming off a decision loss to Karolina Kowalkiewicz in May. She is primarily a submission grappler but she is a guard player and she typically struggles to land takedowns effectively. On the feet, she struggles defensively and I expect her to give up takedowns repeatedly and try to fish for submission attempts off her back which is generally not a winning strategy.

I expect the takedowns to come early and often for Murata who should be defensively sound and physical enough to withstand any attempts from Demopoulos and possibly even threaten with her own. Murata by decision is the official pick and she is a solid spend up option on DraftKings.

Mateus Mendonca vs Nate Maness
Mendonca, -258; Maness, +210

Mateus Mendonca is coming off a decision loss to Javid Basharat in January. That was his first career loss and it was likely a good learning experience for him against a high level opponent. Mendonca previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series and trains with Charles Oliveira. He comes from a Muay Thai background but has a well-rounded ground game and holds a black belt in BJJ.

His opponent, Nate Maness is coming off a first-round submission loss to Tagir Ulanbekov last November. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and I have never been high on him as a prospect in the UFC. He is low volume on the feet and typically being outworked and landed on. He has solid first level takedown defense but once you get him flat on his back then you can control him on the mat. I do not fully trust his durability either as he has been finished in two of his three professional losses and hurt in others as well.

I expect Mendonca to have a clear striking advantage and to be ladning the more powerful shots as well. I also think Mendonca is more likely to land takedowns and will threaten with his submission grappling. Mendonca by TKO is the official pick.

Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Diana Belbita
Kowalkiewicz, -162; Belbita, +136

Karolina Kowalkiewicz is coming off a decision win over Vanessa Demopoulos in May. She is currently on a three-fight winning streak and looks to keep that momentum building this weekend. At nearly 38 years old, many wondered if she still had the fight in her at this stage in her career but she has proved the doubters wrong and put together a nice little win streak. She is getting older for sure, but she is still a high volume striker and has clearly been improving her grappling chops as well.

Her opponent, Diana Belbita is coming off a decision win over Maria Oliveira in June. She is primarily a striker and will throw in high volume as well. But similar to Kowalkiewicz in that she struggles to block punches coming back her way. She can occasionally mix in some takedowns but not nearly enough to make it meaningful and she regularly gets out muscled in the physicality department.

This should be a close fight as I expect it to play out on the feet with both fighters landing good volume. I side with Kowalkiewicz as the more proven fighter, even at this stage in her career and think she edges it on the scorecards. Kowalkiewicz by decision is the official pick.

Ion Cutelaba vs Philipe Lins
Cutelaba, -148; Lins, +124

Just when I think I am out, he pulls me back in. Ion Cutelaba won by first-round knockout over Tanner Boser in April. That win snapped a three-fight losing streak for him and he looks to build on that this Saturday. Cutelaba has always had explosive power and the ability to land multiple takedowns and rag doll his opponents in the first round. His biggest issues have always been his cardio and durability as he fades after one round and typically gets himself finished.

His opponent, Philipe Lins is coming off a decision win over Maxim Grishin in June. He is currently on a three-fight winning streak and won two of those by way of decision. Lins is a former PFL tournament winner and was brought over to the UFC but started off slow with two straight losses. Since then, he has racked up a few wins over respectable competition but will likely have his hands full this weekend. Lins is low volume on the feet and has some wrestling ability but is rarely aggressive in getting the fight there. On the feet, I do not fully trust his durability as he has been knocked out in four of his five professional losses.

I am going back to Cutelaba this weekend as the explosive power is too much for me to pass against someone as chinny as Lins. Cutelaba has clear risks with the gas tank but I do see him landing a big shot early that has the power to put Lins lights out. Cutelaba by knockout is the official pick and he is a great target on DraftKings.

Bill Algeo vs Alexander Hernandez
Algeo, -142, Hernandez, +120

Bill Algeo is coming off a second-round submission victory over TJ Brown in April. He is an exciting fighter that wants to put a pace on his opponents with nonstop output on the feet and he holds a black belt in BJJ as well. The worry with Algeo is that he can be hit on the feet as he fights with his hands down and he can be taken down as he only defends at 55% in the UFC.

His opponent, Alexander Hernandez is coming off a decision win over Jim Miller in February. Hernandez is a very well-rounded fighter with technical striking and a legitimate ground game as well. The skillset has always been there for Hernandez but he typically struggles in the mental department. He is tough to trust because the second that he starts to face any adversity he completely panics.

The matchup sets up well for Hernandez who should have more power on the feet and is the cleaner overall striker. Hernandez is also a solid wrestler and averages just under 1.5 takedowns per 15 minutes. If he goes to the grappling here then he should be able to consolidate position and control Algeo on the mat. Hernandez by decision is the official pick but I will likely be underweight to this fight on DraftKings.

Drew Dober vs Ricky Glenn
Dober, -455; Glenn, +350

I was at UFC 288 and had a bet on Drew Dober to win by knockout. Needless to say, I was not thrilled to see Matt Frevola finish him. At this point, we know what to expect from Dober as he is a very powerful striker and is looking to get inside and land his big left hand. His last six wins have come by knockout and he needs to keep the fight on the feet as he is not a good defensive grappler. Lastly, the cast iron chin has clearly taken it’s toll as he has now been rocked in most of his recent fights and been knocked out twice now.

His opponent, Ricky Glenn is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Christos Giagos in April. Glenn is a technical striker and has some sneaky power with 13 knockout victories on his record. But at 34 years old, he seems to be on the back end of his career. The skillset is still there but I am not sure his body can hold up to the damage and now he is facing a dangerous power puncher in Dober.

I expect this to be a firefight for as long as it last. Both fighters have durability concerns, but I trust the power of Dober and expect him to get the finish. Dober by knockout is the official pick and this is a good fight to target on Draftkings.

Joaquin Buckley vs Alex Morono
Buckley, -170; Morono, +142

Joaquin Buckley is coming off a second-round knockout victory over Andre Fialho in May. Buckley is an explosive athlete with legitimate knockout power. Of his 16 career wins, 12 of them have come by knockout. But he is very one-dimensional and typically does not throw a ton of volume either. Occasionally, he will try to mix in some clinch work and wrestling but that will not work against more well-rounded opponents. Lastly, his durability is suspect as he has been knocked out four times in his career.

His opponent, Alex Morono is coming off a second-round submission victory over Tim Means in May. He has now won five of his last six fights and two of those came by finish. Morono is not the cleanest striker, but he will consistently throw in volume and has good leg kicks and a strong jab. He is not the most powerful fighter, but his output and well-rounded game make him dangerous enough. Similar to Buckley, the main concern is the durability as Morono has been knocked out three times in his career.

I expect this to be a fun fight with both guys capable of landing a big shot. I favor the power of Buckley on the feet, but Morono will be throwing more volume and is the better grappler if the fight were to hit the ground. Morono by decision is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

Joe Pyfer vs Abdul Razak Alhassan
Pyfer, -410; Alhassan, +320

Be Joe Pyfer. Pyfer is coming off an impressive first-round knockout victory over Gerald Meerschaert in April. He is another prospect that came from Dana White’s Contender Series and is 2-0 since earning his UFC contract. Both of those wins came by first round knockout and it is clear that the power in Pyfer’s hands is for real. But he is also a capable grappler as well and has shown the ability to land takedowns across multiple fights although that is not the primary gameplan. The only real downside of Pyfer is that he is typically low volume on the feet so he needs to win by knockout or have big moments if he is not going to grapple.

His opponent, Abdul Razak Alhassan is coming off a second-round knockout over Claudio Ribeiro in January. Alhassan is a very powerful fighter in his own right with all 12 of his career wins coming by knockout and the majority of those were inside the first round. But he is very one-dimensional despite having a strong judo background, he rarely looks to use his wrestling. The major concern with him is the gas tank as he has repeatedly slowed in fights that were extended.

This is an exciting matchup with two powerful strikers. Pyfer is much younger, more durable, and has more paths to victory which has me siding with him in this matchup. Pyfer by TKO is the official pick.

Grant Dawson vs Bobby Green
Dawson, -410; Green, +320

Grant Dawson is coming off a dominant performance with a decision win over Damir Ismagulov in July. Dawson is an aggressive wrestler and averages 3.7 takedowns per 15 minutes. He is yet to lose in the UFC through nine bouts but has had some very sweaty moments in multiple fights including a draw against Ricky Glenn. His grappling is great but on the feet, he is still a complete punching bag and gets stung repeatedly which is concerning. He has always been good about forcing it to the ground when getting hurt on the feet and he is one of the best back takers in the division. When he gets that body lock in there you are not going anywhere.

His opponent, Bobby Green is coming off a submission victory over Tony Ferguson at UFC 291. Green is a very slick boxer with technical striking and a well-rounded game. He has one of the better jabs in the division and is constantly putting volume out there between the leg kicks and quick punching combinations. He has also shown the ability to land takedowns but I doubt he looks to do so in this matchup. He will be more focused on keeping the fight standing where he will have a clear advantage and he is not the easiest fighter to takedown either as he defends around 75% in the UFC.

The most likely outcome is that Dawson is able to repeatedly get the takedowns and control Green for extended periods over 25 minutes. But I do not think it is a given as the market seems to think so. Green can make it tough to get the takedowns and he is going to be landing everything on the feet. Additionally, Green is going to have a clear cardio edge if the fight gets extended which has me treating him like a live underdog on DraftKings. Dawson by decision is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings.