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We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Sao Paulo! We have a fun 13-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.

Marc Diakiese vs Kaue Fernandes
Diakiese, -170; Fernandes, +145

Marc Diakiese is coming off a second-round submission loss to Joel Alvarez in July. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and looks to rebound this weekend. Diakiese is a technical kickboxer with flashy leg kicks and six knockout victories on his record. But he is low volume on the feet and is at his best when he is mixing in the wrestling as he averages 3.32 takedowns per 15 minutes. He will need to be careful though as he has been submitted three times in his career including his last fight.

His opponent, Kaue Fernandes is making his UFC debut this weekend. He is an 8-1 Brazilian prospect who previously fought in LFA. Of his eight professional victories, six of them have come inside the distance. He has some very powerful leg kicks that he will look for repeatedly, but he is also a black belt in BJJ and has good control when he gets in favorable positions on the mat. The concern with Fernandes is that one of the few times the fight got extended on the regional scene, he gassed badly, and it cost him the fight including giving up takedowns and being controlled.

This is an interesting matchup as Diakiese clearly has more decision equity to me, but Fernandes has more round one finishing potential. For that reason, I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings, but the official pick is Diakiese by decision.

Eduarda Moura vs Montserrat Ruiz
Moura, -535; Ruiz, +400

Eduarda Moura is coming off a submission victory on Dana White’s Contender Series this season. She is a 9-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of Brazil so will have the home crowd pop in her favor. Of those nine victories, eight of those have come by finish and seven of them were inside the first round. She has yet to be tested much on the regional scene and has only been fighting professionally for a little over a year. She trains out of the same gym Jailton Almeida and has competed in multiple grappling tournaments and holds a purple belt in BJJ.

Her opponent, Montserrat Ruiz is coming off a third-round TKO loss to Jaqueline Amorim in August. She is currently on a two-fight losing streak and could be fighting for her job in this spot. Ruiz is just simply not a very good fighter. Her skillset is virtually limited to her patented scarf hold which is only going to work against inexperienced grapplers.

I expect Moura to be the better grappler in this fight. She is more explosive as well and will carry a lot more power in his strikes. Moura by submission is the official pick.

Denise Gomes vs Angela Hill
Gomes, -125; Hill, +105

Denise Gomes is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Yazmin Juaregui in July. She has now won two straight by knockout after dropping her UFC debut to Loma Lookboonmee last September. Gomes has obvious punching power and for that reason she is never out of the fight. But she is also hittable in striking exchanges and tends to slow down as the fight goes on as well. I think she is being overrated by the market currently and this is likely her toughest test to date.

Her opponent, Angela Hill is coming off a decision loss to Mackenzie Dern in May. Even at 38 years old, Hill is still one of the better gatekeepers in the division. She comes from a Muay Thai striking background and is a high-volume striker that can push a pace for 15 minutes if needed. Historically, the way to take advantage of Hill is by taking her down and forcing her to grapple. When you choose to stand and strike with her then she is going to be very competitive at the very least.

I do not expect Gomes to have much grappling success even if she tries to which I doubt. This should be a competitive kickboxing match for 15 minutes. Gomes is going to have more power, but Hill is the cleaner striker and I expect that to show in this fight especially as it gets extended down the stretch. Hill by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target on DraftKings.

Vitor Petrino vs Modestas Bukauskas
Petrino, -218; Bukauskas, +180

We last saw Vitor Petrino as he cashed us a huge ticket on his third-round submission over Marcin Prachnio in July. He is a 9-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of Brazil. Of his nine victories, six of them have come by knockout. He has clear power on the feet and has shown the ability to go to his grappling as well as he averages nearly 4.5 takedowns per 15 minutes. He should be able to win this fight wherever it goes.

His opponent, Modestas Bukauskas is coming off a decision win over Zac Pauga in June. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak since returning to the UFC and looks to keep that momentum going. But Bukauskas is not a very skilled fighter. He is a low-volume leg kicker and struggles defensively. He can also be taken down although he is okay at working back to his feet.

I expect Petrino to have every advantage in this fight. He is the more powerful striker and the much better wrestler and grappler. Petrino by knockout is the official pick and he is a solid DraftKings target.

Daniel Marcos vs Victor Hugo
Marcos, -245; Hugo, +200

Daniel Marcos is coming off a split-decision victory over Davey Grant in July. He is a 15-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of Peru. Of his 15 career victories, eight of them have come by knockout. He is primarily a striker and has explosive burst on the feet. He will also try some flying knees and other unorthodox attacks, but he has shown he can push a pace if needed. Lastly, he seems to be very durable as well.

His opponent, Victor Hugo is coming off a submission win on this season of Contender Series just last month. He is a 24-4 prospect fighting out of Brazil. Of his 24 career victories, 17 of them have come inside the distance. He is currently on a 13-fight winning streak and he finished six of those inside the first round. He trains out of Astra fight team and is a training partner of current UFC fighter, Saimon Oliveira and former UFC fighters, Humberto Bandenay. He has power on the feet but typically is not putting a ton of volume out there as he wants to clinch up and look to get the fight to the ground. He has some slick submissions and will go for them nonstop on the mat.

The volume of Marcos should give him the advantage on the feet but Hugo has the great equalizer with his power when he connects. I also still have questions about Marcos takedown defense and defensively grappling. If Hugo gets the fight to the ground then he could look like the favorite in this fight along with the potential to finish. Hugo by submission is the official pick.

Rinat Fakhretdinov vs Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos
Fakhretdinov, -355; Dos Santos, +280

Rinat Fakhretdinov is coming off a first-round submission victory over Kevin Lee in July. He is a 21-1 prospect fighting out of Russia and quickly making a name for himself in the UFC with three straight dominant victories. Of his 21 professional victories, 17 of them have come inside the distance. He has some power on the feet but is at his best when he goes to his grappling as he averages 5.82 takedowns per 15 minutes and is very good at controlling his opponents on the mat.

His opponent, Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos is coming off a split-decision win over Abubakar Nurmagomedov in June. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak and has won three of his last four fights. Historically, he is a dangerous finisher with explosive power on the feet. But he has always struggled to defend takedowns at 65% and better grapplers will be able to control him on the ground which is a key note in this matchup.

I expect the Fakhretdinov hype train to roll in this spot as he should be able to land takedowns repeatedly and be able to consolidate position and control. Fakhretdinov by decision is the official pick and he is a strong target on DraftKings.

Elves Brener vs Kaynan Kruschewsky
Brener, -170; Kruschewsky, +145

Elves Brener is coming off another huge upset in his last fight with a win over Guram Kutateladze. Make it back-to-back upsets for the UFC newcomer and now he is finally getting some respect in the betting market. Brener was mostly known as a submission grappler on the regional scene with 11 of his 15 wins coming by submission. But it has been his striking doing much of the damage over his last few fights as he is clearly willing to duke it out on the feet and can hold his own there.

His opponent, Kaynan Kruschewsky is stepping in on short notice to make his UFC debut. He won a contract on this past season of Dana White’s Contender Series with a submission victory. He is an explosive fighter with 14 of his 15 wins coming inside the distance. He has a kill or be killed style but he is likely outmatched in this fight.

Brener is never someone I like to trust at a chalky price tag due to his style but he is the better fighter here and has the advantage of a full camp as well. I expect him to get the better of the grappling exchanges and have the better gas tank down the stretch. Brener by TKO is the official pick and he is going to be one of the highest owned fighters on DraftKings as he is underpriced due to the opponent change.

Ismael Bonfim vs Vinc Pichel
Bonfim, -500; Pichel, +380

Honestly not much to even discuss with this one. The UFC is clearly giving Bonfim a winnable fight to get back in the win column in front of his home crowd. Vinch Pichel turns 41 years old in a few weeks and is all but shot to bits at this point in his career. Pichel will not be able to keep up with the speed and volume of Bonfim and will likely try to wrestle which won’t work either. Bonfim by TKO is the official pick.

Rodolfo Vieira vs Armen Petrosyan
Vieira, -110; Petrosyan, -110

Rodolfo Vieira is coming off a second-round finish over Cody Brundage last time out in April. Leave it to Vieira to make even a layup matchup seem sketchy as he got rocked and nearly finished in round one. We know he has a dangerous submission game as he is a world-class grappler and holds a black belt in BJJ. However, his wrestling has never been good and he is known for having obvious gas tank concerns as he has gassed out multiple times in the UFC. On the feet, he has improved his striking and has a solid jab but is still hittable on defense. I have some serious concerns with him in this fight if he is unable to get the fight to the ground or control his opponent for extended periods.

His opponent, Armen Petrosyan is coming off a decision victory over Christian Leroy Duncan in June. Petrosyan is a 9-2 prospect fighting out of Armenia. Of his nine professional victories, six of them have come by knockout. He is primarily a striker and has powerful kicks that he will look for repeatedly. He can be taken down but is historically very difficult to control and pops back up to his feet constantly. On the feet, he should be the more technical striker and much better defensively.

I think I am finally just out on Vieira becoming anything decent at the UFC level. He will always be a submission threat with his elite grappling but he still has so many red flags that I cannot continue to overlook. Petrosyan has seen similar matchups to this multiple times with guys that just want to take him down and he generally does well against them. With how hittable Vieira is on the feet and especially if he starts to fade, I see Petrosyan finding the knockout. This is another good fight to target on DraftKings.

Caio Borralho vs Abusupiyan Magomedov
Borralho, -290; Magomedov, +235

Caio Borralho is coming off a second-round submission victory over Michal Oleksiejczuk in April. He is now 4-0 in the UFC since he came off Contender Series and seems to be a tough stylistic matchup for most at 185 lbs. He is a high IQ fighter that will fight smart and use his length and powerful kickboxing at range. But it is his grappling that makes him most dangerous as he averages 2.63 takedowns per 15 minutes and is capable of finding a submission on the mat as well.

His opponent, Abusupiyan Magomedov is coming off a TKO loss to Sean Strickland in July. Magomedov is an explosive fighter early and has the power to put your lights out. But as we saw in his last fight, he does not have many other skills to fall back and tends to fade if the fight gets extended. He struggled to defend takedowns at times on the regional scene and has been submitted multiple times as well which is key in this fight.

I expect Borralho to play it safe at range while the fight plays out on the feet. But eventually I think he closes distance and gets the fight to the ground where he will have the biggest advantage. Borralho by submission is the official pick.

Rodrigo Nascimento vs Don’Tale Mayes
Nascimento, -185; Mayes, +154

Rodrigo Nascimento is coming off a split-decision victory over Ilir Latifi in May. He is a 10-1 prospect fighting out of Brazil so is another local fighter that the crowd will certainly get behind. Nasicmento is not a very skilled Heavyweight, but he is a decent grappler and averages over 1.5 takedowns per 15 minutes. He holds a black belt in BJJ and has six submission victories on his record. But the concern is that he has failed to separate much in rounds and that is why he is coming off back to back split decisions.

His opponent, Don’Tale Mayes is coming off a knockout victory over Andrei Arlovski in June. Mayes fights out of the southpaw stance and has the typical Heavyweight punching power. Of his 10 career victories, six of them have come by knockout. At times, he has shown the ability to wrestle which adds an element to his game but it was mostly against guys that were clueless at defending takedowns and grappling and that is not the case in this fight.

Mayes likely has more finishing upside early in the fight due to his power. But you simply cannot trust him at all and he does not set up his strikes whatsoever so needs to sort of get lucky. I more so expect it to be a low volume slop fest with Nascimento winning due to some grappling upside. Nascimento by decision is the official pick but he has some submission potential as well.

Gabriel Bonfim vs Nicolas Dalby
Bonfim, -600; Dalby, +440

Gabriel Bonfim is the younger brother of Ismael Bonfim who is fighting on the prelims of this card. They both previously fought on Contender Series and won a contract on the same night with highlight finishes. I expect something similar for this weekend as both of them are the some of the biggest favorites on the card. Bonfim has some power on the feet but he is an opportunistic submission grappler with 12 of his 15 career wins coming by submission. The concern with Bonfim at this price is that he is very hittable and has some cardio concerns as well.

His opponent, Nicolas Dalby is coming off a decision win over Muslim Salikhov in June. He is surprisingly on a three-fight winning streak despite turning 39 years old this month. I have never been a huge fan of Dalby’s fighting style as he is typically low volume and wants to hold his opponents against the fence and stall. When he does get into firefights, he has been hurt multiple times recently and I question the durability at this stage in his career.

I think Dalby has the chance to make it interesting if the fight gets extended but I really do not see that happening. Bonfim has the power to hurt him on the feet or snatch up his neck during a grappling exchange. Bonfim by submission is the official pick.

Jailton Almeida vs Derrick Lewis
Almeida, -485; Lewis, +380

This was originally supposed to be Curtis Blaydes but he pulled out of the fight and Derrick Lewis has volunteered to be sacrificed to Almeida on short notice. Almeida is a killer in the Heavyweight division as he is an explosive athlete with clear knockout power. But he an even better grappler and he averages nearly 6.5 takedowns per 15 minutes. When he gets you down on the mat, he is very physically strong and good at controlling his opponents while hunting for submission attempts. His weakness – there is none.

His opponent, Derrick Lewis is coming off a knockout victory over Marcos Rogerio De Lima at UFC 291. We know what to expect from Lewis as he owns the most knockouts in UFC Heavyweight history. He is always going to be dangerous to land a fight-ending blow. But I doubt he will have many opportunities to do so as I expect Almeida to get the fight to the ground as fast as possible and he likely finishes Lewis before the first round ends. Almeida by TKO is the official pick.