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We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 83! We have an action-packed 12-fight slate on DraftKings which hopefully 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.

Rayanne Amanda vs Talita Alencar
Amanda, -166; Alencar, +140

Rayanne Amanda is making her UFC debut this weekend. She previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series but dropped a decision to Denise Gomes last August. She is currently on a three-fight winning streak and previously fought in LFA. She comes from a high-level submission grappling background and holds a black belt in BJJ. Of her 14 career victories, eight of them have come by submission. The issue with her is that her wrestling is not great and she tends to struggle against fighters that are physically stronger than her.

Her opponent, Talita Alencar is coming off a draw on the Contender Series this past season. She started off strong but eventually gassed badly and got dominated in the third round. Of her four career victories, three of them have come by submission and she previously won her LFA debut by way of decision. Alencar also comes from a high-level grappling background as she holds a black belt in BJJ and is a six-time IBJJF world champion. It is clear that she wants to get the fight to the ground and I believe she is the better submission grappler in this fight. However, the cardio is always a concern.

Amanda will have the striking advantage but I expect these two to grapple and so I am siding with who I believe to be the better grappler in Alencar. Alencar by decision is the official pick but she has submission upside as well.

Tatsuro Taira vs Carlos Hernandez
Taira, -550; Hernandez, +410

Tatsuro Taira is coming off a decision win over Edgar Chairez in July. He is an undefeated prospect with a 14-0 record and seven of his 14 career wins have come by submission. On the feet, his striking defense still needs improvement as he is very hittable, but he has nasty leg kicks and does carry real power in his punches as well. He is a very slick grappler with a strong back take and will threaten with submissions or ground and pound once he gets the fight to the mat.

His opponent, Carlos Hernandez is coming off a technical decision over Denys Bondar in June. Hernandez is a 9-2 prospect fighting out of Illinois. He is primarily a striker and is mainly looking to counter his opponents but keeps a solid pace as well. He has solid initial takedown defense but if you chain wrestle then you should be able to land takedowns. Additionally, he gives up his back a lot in those exchanges which is very problematic in this fight.

Taira is a high-level submission grappler and has a great back take. I think he will have multiple opportunities here to get to the back and eventually find a submission on Hernandez. Taira by submission is the official pick.

Luana Santos vs Stephanie Egger
Santos, -155; Egger, +130

Luana Santos is coming off a statement victory in her UFC debut as she won by TKO over Julianna Miller in August. She is a 6-1 prospect fighting out of Brazil. She previously fought over in LFA and of her six career victories, three of them have come by submission. She is a solid striker with a powerful right hand, but she comes from a high-level Judo background. She is very young at just 23 years old, but she seems to be improving from fight to fight and has leaned on her wrestling and Judo to control her opponents on the mat in multiple regional fights.

Her opponent, Stephanie Egger is coming off a first-round submission loss to Irena Alekseeva in August. She is 3-3 in the UFC but all three wins have come inside the distance. Her striking is not good but she is a physical grappler with a Judo background and has shown the ability to threaten with submissions as well. I worry that if she does not have the Judo advantage and cannot get her grappling going then she is going to struggle against Santos.

I favor Santos in this fight as the clearly better striker and she may even have the advantage in the grappling exchanges as well. Santos by decision is the official pick.

Melquizael Costa vs Steve Garcia
Costa, -270; Garcia, +220

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.

Hyun Sung Park vs Shannon Ross
Park, -600; Ross, +440

Hyun Sung Park is coming off his UFC debut where he won by third-round submission over Seung Guk Choi in February. He is an undefeated prospect with a 8-0 record. Seven of his eight victories have come inside the distance and most have come inside the first round, including his two bouts in the Road to UFC  tournament. He is a bit awkward on the feet and gets sloppy defensively but he carries real power and his natural athleticism and strength is evident. I think he is likely a fade in the future but not while he is getting cupcake matchups like this one.

His opponent, Shannon Ross is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Jesus Aguilar at UFC 290 in July. He is 0-2 in the UFC and was knocked out inside of one minute in each of those fights. He was also knocked out in his Contender Series fight as well. Simply put, he is not UFC level. He does have a decent skillset but the durability is clearly a major flaw and his fighting style will likely get him hurt in most of his fights.

I expect Park to eventually land something big that hurts Ross and sits him down. Park by TKO is the official pick and he is an obvious DraftKings target.

Kevin Jousset vs Kenan Song
Jousset, -142; Song, +120

Kevin Jousset is coming off a first-round submission victory over Kiefer Crosbie in his UFC debut in September. He is an 9-2 prospect fighting out of New Zealand and is a City Kickboxing guy that has a similar style to the rest of them but likely not as skilled. Of his nine career victories, five of them have come inside the distance. Despite the big win in his debut, I still do not think this guy is very talented. He seems like a generic striker that is hittable in striking exchanges and leaves his chin way up in the air. He has a solid jab and will mix in the leg kicks but I do not like the pace and style and also have some questions about his bottom game as well.

His opponent, Kenan Song is coming off a big upset victory over Rolando Bedoya in August. He is a powerful striker that is capable of bombing on you if you are not careful. He has landed a knockdown in three of his last four fights and that was against some solid competition as well. Of his 20 career victories, nine of them have come by knockout. He has also occasionally mixed in takedowns although he usually wants to just stand and trade. The main concern with him is always the durability as he has been knocked out four times in his career.

The question becomes, do you think Jousset has the power to put Song out? Because if he does not, then you have to expect this to be a very competitive fight and there is an argument to favor Song in that scenario. Song is going to be the much harder hitter and could potentially clip Jousset on the feet. I do not expect him to wrestle much so he likely needs to win by knockout but I think it is very possible considering Jousset’s defense. Song by TKO is the official pick and he is my preferred play on DraftKings.

Jun Yong Park vs Andre Muniz
Park, -175; Muniz, +145

Jun Yong Park is coming off a second-round submission victory over Albert Duraev in July. He is 7-2 in the UFC with his only two losses coming against Anthony Hernandez and Gregory Rodrigues. He keeps a high pace on the feet and has a well-rounded ground game as well as he averages over two takedowns per 15 minutes. He is similar to Belal Muhammad in that he is not exceptional in any key area but he is solid in all areas and has great cardio as well which tends to break many of his opponents.

His opponent, Andre Muniz is coming off a second-round TKO loss to Paul Craig in July. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and looks to rebound this weekend. Muniz is a very dangerous submission grappler as he holds a black belt in BJJ and has 15 of his 23 wins coming by sub. The glaring issue with Muniz has always been his cardio as he tends to fade heavily after the first round and typically gets finished in extended fights.

You can never count out a guy like Muniz who is always dangerous enough to win by submission in the first round. However, Park is very solid defensively and I have to favor him as the fight gets extended as his cardio will be a massive advantage. Park by TKO is the official pick.

Tim Elliott vs Su Mudaerji
Elliott, -142; Mudaerji, +120

Tim Elliott is stepping in on short notice to replace Allan Nascimento this weekend. Elliott is coming off a third-round submission loss to Muhammad Mokaev in October. Elliott is a high-level wrestler and averages 3.73 takedowns per 15 minutes. He keeps a high pace on the feet as well, but you never feel comfortable with him there as he gets hit a lot and his chin is not what it used to be. He is going to have a significant grappling advantage in this fight but will be at a clear disadvantage on the feet which is concerning.

His opponent, Su Mudaerji is coming off a year and a half layoff since we last saw him inside the octagon. That fight against Matt Schnell was one of the most exciting fights I have ever witnessed. He ended up losing by submission but he landed some huge shots on Schnell and nearly had a finish on multiple occasions. He is a powerful striker with 13 of his 16 wins coming by knockout. But his defensive grappling has never been good as he defends takedowns at just 66% and has been submitted in all five of his professional losses.

This is my favorite fight to target on DraftKings as it is very clearly going to score well. I favor the grappler in Elliott who knows the assignment this weekend. If he lands multiple takedowns and does not stay on the feet for long then he should cruise here and eventually find the submission. But he is not the brightest fighter so I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings. Elliott by submission is the official pick.

Nasrat Haqparast vs Jamie Mullarkey
Haqparast, -192; Mullarkey, +160

Nasrat Haqparast is coming off a decision win against Landon Quinones at UFC 293 in September. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak and looks to keep the momentum building this weekend. We know what to expect from Haqparast as he is going to be bouncing in and out of the pocket landing his punching combinations and staying light on his feet. He is also very durable and will keep a high-volume pace as well. He has solid takedown defense as well which forces his opponents to stand and trade with him.

His opponent, Jamie Mullarkey is coming off a decision victory over John Makdessi in September. Mullarkey is rarely in a boring fight and that last one against Makdessi was probably the least entertaining of his career. He was likely not taking many chances because his durability has not held up in recent fights as he has been knocked out four times in his career. He generally keeps a high pace in most of his fights as he will swing heavy on the feet and mix in the takedowns as he averages right around 2.5 takedowns per 15 minutes.

I favor Haqparast to keep the fight standing and do not trust Mullarkey to fight the smartest gameplan either. Haqparast should have the striking advantage and may even have the power to hurt Mullarkey as well. Haqparast by decision is the official pick but he has some upside for a knockout as well.

Khalil Rountree vs Anthony Smith
Rountree, -230; Smith, +190

Khalil Rountree is coming off a first-round TKO victory over Chris Daukaus in August. He is primarily a kickboxer and wants to keep the fight standing. Of his 12 career victories, eight of them have come by knockout. The concern with Rountree is that he never looks to grapple, cannot defend takedowns well and has had volume issues in the past. Lastly, he has been finished in three of his five professional losses. He will need to rely on his power advantage in this matchup.

His opponent, Anthony Smith is coming off a split-decision victory over Ryan Spann. Smith has never been a good round winner, but he is a great finisher with 34 of his 37 professional victories coming inside the distance. He has power on the feet and holds a black belt in BJJ as well. He really only struggles against better grapplers or other powerful strikers that can test his durability. Lastly, he took this fight on short notice so I do not expect the cardio to hold up much past the first round either.

I expect Rountree to have the striking advantage by significant margin. He has been looking better recently and will have the power and volume advantage in this fight. Rountree by TKO is the official pick.

Yadong Song vs Chris Gutierrez
Song, -380; Gutierrez, +300

Yadong Song is clearly being featured here in the main event as the card was originally supposed to be in China. He is coming off a fifth-round TKO victory over Ricky Simon and has won four of his last five fights. He is an impressive striker with fast hands and underrated power. Of his 20 career victories, nine of them have come by knockout. He keeps a high pace on the feet and has a well-rounded ground game as well as he is not easy to grapple with.

His opponent, Chris Gutierrez is coming off a decision victory over Heili Alateng in October. Gutierrez is a one-dimensional striker with nasty leg kicks that he looks to throw repeatedly. The main issue with Gutierrez is that he can be taken down and outgrappled if you can get past his kicking attack. Additionally, we have seen him not have any real backup plan if the kicking approach is not working.

I expect Gutierrez to be competitive early but once Yadong figures out his range and forces Gutierrez to do more than just stand at range, he should be able to pick him apart. I expect Song to have a cardio advantage as well. Song by decision is the official pick.