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

Jamey-Lyn Horth vs Veronica Hardy
Horth, -112; Hardy, -108

Jamey-Lyn Horth is coming off a decision victory in her UFC debut over Hailey Cowan back in April. She is the former LFA Flyweight champion and sports an undefeated 6-0 professional record. She is big for the division and seems to be pretty physical and well-rounded although she lacks technique and explosiveness. I do not rate her skillset very highly, but she should be fine competing against the lower levels of the division.

Her opponent, Veronica Hardy is coming off an impressive upset victory over Julianna Miller at UFC 286 in March. She returned to the octagon after three years without a fight and seemed to be improved and looked better than she had in the past. However, I still have some concerns about Hardy as she is small for the division and has never been able to monitor her gas tank. Additionally, her striking defense has always been very poor and I am not relying on her to be able to win extended grappling exchanges like she did in her last fight.

I expect this fight to be competitive with Hardy moving around the outside and blitzing in to try to land combinations. But Horth is going to be the bigger hitter and the more physically strong fighter in there and I expect that to show if Hardy tries to take her down and grapple. Horth by decision is the official pick but there are much better fights to target on DraftKings this week.

Wellington Turman vs Jared Gooden
Turman, -198; Gooden, +164

Wellington Turman is coming off a decision loss to Randy Brown in June. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and looks to rebound this weekend. He comes from a Muay Thai striking background but has been more of a grappler in the UFC as he averages around 1.5 takedowns per 15 minutes and holds a black belt in BJJ. The main issue that I have with Turman is that his activity leaves more to be desired at times so he is typically not separating in terms of winning rounds. Lastly, he has been brutally knocked out twice in the UFC and both times were inside the first round.

His opponent, Jared Gooden is coming off a decision loss to Carlston Harris in March. Gooden is just 1-4 in the UFC but he has been matched up against some solid competition in that span. Gooden is a powerful striker with 11 of his 22 career wins coming by knockout. But he is also very hittable in striking exchanges and tends to fade as the fight goes on. Lastly, despite being a solid grappler, he still struggles to defend takedowns especially once he gets tired.

This one seems pretty straightforward to me in that Turman should initiate the grappling where he will have an advantage. However, Gooden is powerful enough to land something big on Turman who has shown some questionable durability in the past. Turman by decision is the official pick but I have more interest in Gooden on Draftkings considering the cheaper price and knockout upside.

Rodolfo Bellato vs Ihor Poteira
Bellato, -455; Poteira, +350

Rodolfo Bellato just fought on Contender Series in October and looked dominant against a solid opponent. Bellato is an 11-2 prospect fighting out of Brazil with 10 of those 11 wins coming by finish. His only two career losses both came against Vitor Petrino who knocked him out on two separate occasions. The durability is a concern but it checked out in his last fight and he has a very well-rounded skillset. It is not just the volume and power on the feet but he chains submission attempts together as well and is not someone you want to spend too much time with on the mat.

His opponent, Ihor Poteira is coming off a first-round knockout loss in May to Carlos Ulberg. He is 1-2 in the UFC and was knocked out in both of his losses. His only win came against a washed up Mauricio Rua who was well past his prime. Poteira is also a Contender Series veteran but his skillset has not translated at the UFC level. He had a padded record from fighting bums on the regional scene and if he is unable to knock you out early then he simply does not have many ways to win.

It is always possible Poteira can land something big early to hurt Bellato but I would still be surprised as Bellato is clearly the more talented fighter. Bellato should be landing more volume on the feet and he is going to have a big submission grappling edge if he chooses to use it as well. Bellato by submission is the official pick.

Melquizael Costa vs Steve Garcia
Costa, -238; Garcia, +195

Melquizael Costa is coming off a decision victory over Austin Lingo in July. He is primarily a striker and fights out of the southpaw stance. Of his 20 career victories, 13 of them have come inside the distance. He keeps a good pace on the feet and his striking is sharp. He seems to be well-rounded enough, but his biggest weakness is his defensive grappling as he can give up takedowns as we saw in his debut, and he has been submitted twice in his career.

His opponent, Steve Garcia is coming off a second-round TKO victory over Shayilan Neurdanbieke at UFC 287 in April. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak with both of those wins coming by knockout. He is primarily a striker and does have clear power with 11 of his 14 career wins coming by knockout. He has also shown the ability to land takedowns although that is typically not his first gameplan. His biggest issue is that he is very hittable and has been finished twice in his career.

I expect Costa to be the better striker in this matchup. I also trust his skillset and durability more than Garcia. Costa by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target on DraftKings with a full slate.

Drakkar Klose vs Joe Solecki
Klose, -125; Solecki, +105

We last saw Drakkar Klose in July of last year when he won a decision over Rafa Garcia. He is now coming off a sizable layoff and nearly 36 years old which is always a concern. But Klose is a well-rounded fighter with powerful striking and the ability to mix in some wrestling as he averages 1.8 takedowns per 15 minutes. He keeps a solid pace on the feet and he has yet to be submitted in his career which is key in this matchup.

His opponent, Joe Solecki is coming off a submission victory over Carl Deaton in February. We know what to expect from Solecki as his striking is not good and he is not remotely interested in keeping the fight at range. He is a dangerous submission grappler and holds a black belt in BJJ. Nine of his 13 career wins have come by submission, but his wrestling has never been good which is a red flag.

This fight is easy to breakdown as it basically comes down to how often you think Solecki can force grappling exchanges and find a submission. Because outside of that, he is not winning this fight. There are some concerns with Klose getting older and body wearing down a bit, but he is still a much better striker and I think he can keep this on the feet where he will have the biggest advantage in the fight. Klose by decision is the official pick but a late round knockout is in the cards as well.

Zach Reese vs Cody Brundage
Reese, -218; Brundage, +180

Zach Reese earned a UFC contract this past season on Contender Series. He is an undefeated propsect with a 6-0 record fighting out of Texas. He has not faced much competition on the regional scene outside of Aaron Phillips who previously fought on TUF along with a decision loss to Kevin Holland as an amateur. All six of his wins have come inside the first round and his defensive grappling and cardio are big question marks but he seems to be pretty well-rounded. He fights out of the southpaw stance and has legitimate knockout power with multiple tools on the feet. But he also has some sneaky submissions as well and he looked to grapple more as an amateur, but we have not seen much of it as a pro because he is finishing everyone so quickly. I have some serious concerns with him moving forward against legitimate competition but fortunately, this matchup is not very threatening.

His opponent, Cody Brundage is coming off a first-round win via disqualification by Jacob Malkoun in September. He technically got the win but real ones know that is four straight losses by Brundage. He is powerful early and will look to jump guillotine at any opportunity. But unless he clips you or snatches the neck within the first few minutes, he does not have much else to worry about and typically fades away after that.

This fight has big time meme potential as we have two memestars squaring off against each other. I am siding with Reese as the bigger more powerful striker but would not be surprised to see either guy win by first-round finish. Reese by TKO is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings as this is a great fight to target.

Julia Avila vs Meisha Tate
Avila, -155; Tate, +130

Julia Avila makes her return to the UFC octagon after two and a half years since she last fought. Avila is a very explosive striker but is one-dimensional and wants to keep it on the feet. She typically does not throw a ton of volume but when she lets her hands go, it is in powerful combinations. She is also very durable as well which helps in matchups that will be fought on thin margins like this one.

Her opponent, Meisha Tate is coming off a decision loss to Lauren Murphy in July of last year. Tate is now 37 years old and coming off a sizable layoff again. Her striking has never been great as she is very hittable and slow on defense. Additionally, she is low volume as well and typically needs to mix in some takedowns to separate in rounds.

This is a fight that will likely be won on thin margins but I favor Avila as the more powerful striker and more durable as well. Avila by decision is the official pick but there are much better fights to target on this slate so I will be fading both sides on DraftKings.

Joaquim Silva vs Clay Guida
Silva, -340; Guida, +270

Joaquim Silva is coming off a third-round TKO loss to Armen Tsarukyan in June. He is a powerful striker with legitimate knockout power. Seven of his 12 career wins have come by knockout but he also holds a black belt in BJJ although he rarely looks to grapple. The main concern with silva is the glaring durability issue as he has been knocked out three times in his career.

His opponent, Clay Guida is coming off a decision loss to Rafa Garcia in April. He turns 42 years old next week and it’s truly remarkable that he is still participating in cage fights at his age. He is also still a tough out for many opponents as he is a scrappy fighter with strong wrestling as he averages over three takedowns per 15 minutes. The main concern with Guida is that he needs to have wrestling success and he is also liable to getting his neck stuck in submissions.

I expect Guida to be more competitive than the betting line suggest but ultimately do see him getting finished. Silva by TKO is the official pick.

Punahele Soriano vs Dustin Stoltzfus
Soriano, -270; Stoltzfus, +220

Punahele Soriano is coming off a second-round TKO loss to Roman Kopylov in January. Soriano is a powerful boxer and fights out of the Southpaw stance. He has legitimate knockout power with six of his nine career wins coming by knockout. The main issue with Soriano is his gas tank as he has repeatedly faded in fights and he has lost three of his last four fights mainly due to cardio.

His opponent, Dustin Stoltzfus is coming off a first-round TKO loss to Abus Magomedov last September. He has lost four of his five UFC bouts and was finished in three of those. I have never thought he was UFC level and I doubt much has changed since we last saw him. It also appears that he has been going through some personal issues this training camp which is hard to quantify but does not seem like a positive.

I expect Soriano to be the more powerful striker and it will only be a matter of time before he lands that heavy left hand. Soriano by KO is the official pick.

Sean Brady vs Kelvin Gastelum
Brady, -120; Gastelum, +100

Sean Brady was scheduled to fight Jack Della Maddalena back in July, but a nasty staph infection forced him to pull out of the fight. Brady is one of the better grapplers in the division as he averages just under three takedowns per 15 minutes and holds a black belt in BJJ. His striking is serviceable, but he is at his best when he goes to the mat and better strikers can take advantage of him on the feet.

His opponent, Kelvin Gastelum is coming off a decision victory over Chris Curtis at UFC 287 in April. Gastelum is primarily a striker and fights out of the southpaw stance. He trains out of Fight Ready and seems to be in great shape for this fight. We have seen him recently lean more on his wrestling in certain matchups, but I doubt that will be the gameplan in this matchup.

I expect this to be a competitive fight with both Gastelum likely getting the better of the striking exchanges. However, he only defends takedowns at 61% and I expect Brady to eventually get the fight where he needs it. Brady by decision is the official pick.

Rob Font vs Deiveson Figueredo
Font, -135; Figueredo, +114

Rob Font is coming off a main event decision loss to Cory Sandhagen in August. He has now lost three of his last four fights, but he has faced some of the best fighters in the division during that span. Font is a high-volume striker with a strong jab and a well-rounded skillset. He has shown the ability to mix in takedowns in certain matchups as well but I doubt he tries that much in this fight.

His opponent, Deiveson Figueredo is moving up to 135 lbs. in this fight. His last four fights have all been against Brandon Moreno at 125 lbs. so it will be interesting to see how he stacks up at the new weight class and against a different opponent. Figueredo was known as one of the hardest hitters at Flyweight and I expect his power to translate to Bantamweight as well. He also has a very tight guillotine which will likely make Font think twice before shooting any takedowns.

This is a fun fight and one that I am leaning into the variance and backing Figueredo. His power and speed should be the difference maker as Font’s durability has come into question over his last few fights. Figueredo by submission is the official pick.

Jalin Turner vs Bobby Green
Turner, -218; Green, +180

Jalin Turner is stepping in on short notice to replace Dan Hooker. He is coming off a split-decision loss to Dan Hooker in July at UFC 290. Turner is very long for the division and is a dangerous striker with legitimate knockout power. He wants to move forward and land some bombs but if you are able to trade with him or force him to grapple then you can give him issues.

His opponent, Bobby Green is coming off a first-round knockout over Grant Dawson in a main event in October. Green is a flashy striker with fast hands and quick combinations. He is also a very capable wrestler although he rarely goes to it. The main issue with Green is that he typically wins on thin margins but as an underdog, that is somewhat negated.

I expect the striking to be very competitive in this fight. But I do think Turner is being overvalued in the betting market. Green is a live underdog in any fight where someone is going to stand and trade with him. I expect this fight to play out on the feet and both guys will have striking success, but I lean on Green’s cardio advantage especially with Turner being on short notice. Green by decision is the official pick.

Arman Tsarukyan vs Beneil Dariush
Tsarukyan, -278; Dariush, +225

Arman Tsarukyan is coming off a third-round TKO victory over Joaquim Silva in June. He is 7-2 in the UFC with his only losses coming against Islam Makhachev and Mateusz Gamrot. He is easily one of the top fighters in the division for my money. He has freak athleticism and explosive power on the feet with eight of his 20 career wins coming by knockout. But he has a strong ground game as well as he averages nearly four takedowns per 15 minutes and has the cardio to push a pace through the entire fight.

His opponent, Beneil Dariush is coming off a first-round TKO loss to Charles Oliveira at UFC 289 in June. That loss snapped an eight-fight winning streak for him and he looks to rebound as a sizable underdog this weekend. Dariush has always been one of my favorite fighters because he is highly skilled everywhere and always puts on entertaining fights. He mixes in takedowns around two per 15 minutes and is likely the best pure scrambler in the division. The glaring issue with Dariush is his durability as he gets reckless in there and has paid the price for it as he has been knocked out four times in his career.

This is an exciting main event and one that you need exposure to on DraftKings as the winner is going to score very well. The most likely outcome is that Tsarukyan’s power is the difference maker and he should find a finish but Dariush is very live to win, especially if he can avoid getting knocked out. I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings but the official pick is Tsarukyan by TKO.