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We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC 297! We have a fun 12-fight slate on DraftKings and two title fights on the line. It also helps that on DraftKings we have another $100,000 to first place in the main contest!

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.

Malcolm Gordon vs Jimmy Flick
Gordon, -130; Flick, +110

Malcolm Gordon is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Jake Hadley at UFC 286 last March. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and could be fighting for his job in this one. Gordon is a notorious flake in terms of his durability as he has been knocked out five times in his career and submitted twice as well. On the feet, he is low volume but technically sound until you land something clean. He gets hurt with nearly everything that lands and has been hurt to the body multiple times as well. He has a decent ground game and holds a black belt in BJJ, but he gets very sloppy and better grapplers can take advantage.

His opponent, Jimmy Flick is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Alessandro Costa in June. Flick is also on a two-fight losing streak and the loser of this one may get their walking papers. Flick is a dangerous submission grappler with 14 of his 16 wins coming by submission. He is likely the better wrestler in this matchup as well with good entries on his takedowns and a powerful double leg. The problem with Flick is that he is even worse than Gordon with his durability as he has been knocked out in six of his seven professional losses.

This is a great fight to target on DraftKings right off the bat as I expect the winner to score well regardless of who it is. Both fighters have clear durability issues, but I favor Flick as the better wrestler and the better submission grappler who clearly has more finishing ability. Flick by submission is the official pick.

Jasmine Jasudavicius vs Priscila Cachoeira
Jasudavicius, -395; Cachoeira, +310

Jasmine Jasudavicius is coming off a decision loss to Tracy Cortez in September. She is a physical fighter and has a well-rounded skillset. She is strong in the clinch and averages over two takedowns per 15 minutes. She is hittable on the feet though and usually needs to clinch up and get her grappling going to have success.

Her opponent, Priscila Cachoeira is coming off a third-round submission loss to Miranda Maverick at UFC 291. That loss snapped a two-fight winning streak for her and she looks to rebound this weekend. Cachoeira is one of the heaviest hitters in the division, but she is very one-dimensional as she needs to keep the fight on the feet and land her big shots. However, she has no semblance of a ground game and once you take her down, she is likely not working back to her feet.

This fight is straightforward to me as Jasudavicius should be able to land multiple takedowns here as Cachoeira only defends at 65% in the UFC. Jasudavicius will be able to control her for as long as she wants once the fight hits the mat. The only real question here is whether or not you think Jasudavicius gets the finish or wins a decision. I am torn on it myself but slightly lean that it hits the scorecards. Jasudavicius by decision is the official pick.

Yohan Lainesse vs Sam Patterson
Lainesse, -155; Patterson, +130

We last saw Yohan Lainesse lose by first-round submission against Mike Malott last February. He is a low-volume striker but has clear power early in fights. Of his nine career victories, six of them have come by knockout. But he is very one-dimensional and clearly has cardio issues as he has gassed in every fight that gets extended. He is also a low-activity fighter so if the big shots do not materialize then he is likely not winning many rounds. Lastly, his defensive grappling needs work and that gets exaggerated as his cardio worsens throughout the fight.

His opponent, Sam Patterson is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Yanal Ashmouz at UFC 286 last March. It was a brutal knockout and Patterson is moving up a weight class with nearly a full year since that fight. Patterson was huge for the Lightweight division so the move up is not surprising, but it is yet to be determined if he has filled out his frame more and if that will translate to the bigger division. Patterson is primarily a striker and has some powerful leg kicks and a solid jab as well. But his best asset is likely his submission grappling as he has some strong chokes and has finished four of his fights by guillotine. The glaring issue with Patterson is that he is very hittable and his durability is suspect, especially coming off the brutal knockout.

This fight has a wider range of outcomes as if it does not end in a finish then both fighters would likely bust in a victory. However, I do think a finish is likely on either side as Lainesse has the power to hurt Patterson early. But I also feel the market is too low on Patterson here as he is clearly the better submission grappler and we know that Lainesse turns into a pumpkin after the first 5-6 minutes. If Patterson can avoid getting clipped early then I think he takes over in round two and gets a finish. Patterson by submission is the official pick.

Gillian Robertson vs Polyana Viana
Robertson, -230; Viana, +190

Gillian Robertson is coming off a decision loss to Tabatha Ricci in June. That loss snapped a two-fight winning streak for her and she looks to get back in the win column this weekend. Robertson is an aggressive grappler and averages just under 2.5 takedowns per 15 minutes and holds a black belt in BJJ. But she is not very physical and her striking is a net negative against most matchups. She is very one-dimensional but also very dangerous when she gets the fight where she needs it.

Her opponent, Polyana Viana is coming off a second-round submission loss to Iasmin Lucindo in August. Much like Robertson, Viana is also an aggressive submission grappler with eight of her 13 career wins coming by submission. She is also the better striker in this fight and has some underrated power in her hands. The issue with Viana is that she is way too willing to give up takedowns and play off her back looking for submissions. This is likely not going to work against a good top position grappler in Robertson.

I expect these two to grapple for the majority of the fight and I have to favor Robertson as the one I expect to be in top position. Robertson is not only very dangerous in top position but she is also a strong grappler that should be able to stay safe and avoid getting submitted in that position. Robertson by submission is the official pick and she is a strong target on DraftKings.

Serhiy Sidey vs Ramon Taveras
Sidey, -185; Taveras, +154

These two fought on the past season of Dana White’s Contender Series and it ended in a controversial stoppage by Michael McDonald.

We’ll start on the Sidey side as he will be fighting in front of his Canadian crowd this weekend. He is 10-1 prospect fighting out of Canada and the former Bantamweight champion in BFL promotion. Of his 10 professional victories, seven of them have come by knockout. He is the striking coach at his local gym and primarily a striker and seems to have a solid skillset. He is capable of landing takedowns, but he is not aggressively looking to get the fight to the ground and Tavares easily defended the few attempts last fight. His only professional loss came against Mateus Vogel who also fought on Contender Series but his overall level of competition was very low on the regional scene.

His opponent, Ramon Taveras is a 9-2 prospect fighting out of Florida. Of his nine victories, five of them have come by knockout. He fights out of the southpaw stance and clearly wants to keep the fight at range where he can manage distance and look to land his powerful counter shots. He is a clean striker and has some devastating body kicks as well and he regularly works the body in his combinations. He can be susceptible to leg kicks at times and can probably be taken advantage of by strong grapplers. I also think he will be at a disadvantage in the durability department.

I expect this fight to be very competitive and closer than the betting odds suggest. Sidey is more well-rounded and likely has better durability than Taveras, but Taveras is the better pure boxer. In the first fight, we saw Taveras punish Sidey for the leg kicks and I expect that to be a key factor this time around as well. Assuming the chin holds up, I could see Taveras keeping the fight on the feet and getting the better of the striking exchanges as well. Tavares by TKO is the official pick.

Charles Jourdain vs Sean Woodson
Jourdain, -190; Woodson, +145

Charles Jourdain is coming off a first-round submission victory over Ricardo Ramos in September. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak and looking to build on that momentum this Saturday in front his home crowd. Jourdain is a dangerous fighter that pushes a high pace and 13 of his 15 career wins have come inside the distance. He is primarily a striker that wants to stand and bang but he is also a capable submission grappler and has five submission victories. The main weakness of Jourdain is that he gives up takedowns too easily as he defends at under 50% in the UFC.

His opponent, Sean Woodson is coming off a decision victory over Dennis Buzukja in August. He is 10-1-1 and has a very long frame for the division with a nine-inch reach advantage in this fight. He is primarily a boxer and has some slick boxing combinations and uses his jab very well. He has also shown good takedown defense, so he usually forces his opponents to strike with him at range. However, he has not looked as good in his last two fights with his volume taking a noticeable dip along with his durability as well. It has been encouraging to see him mix in some wrestling lately though as that seems to be an element that he has added in recent fights.

This should be a fun fight as both fighters like to stand and trade and generally keep a high pace. I expect it to be very competitive but with Jourdain landing the bigger shots and having the crowd behind him has me leaning his way slightly. Jourdain by decision is the official pick.

Brad Katona vs Garrett Armfield
Katona, -198; Armfield, +164

Brad Katona put on a show with Cody Gibson at UFC 292 in August. He is now a two-time TUF winner and a very well-rounded fighter. He holds a black belt in BJJ although he is not an aggressive wrestler. His striking is technically sound, but he does not carry a ton of power. He is also undersized for the division.

His opponent, Garrett Armfield is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Toshiomi Kazama in August. He is 9-3 professionally with eight of nine career wins coming inside the distance. He is primarily a striker and has some explosive power early in the fight and has shown the ability to mix in takedowns on the regional scene as well. But his cardio is suspect and he repeatedly has put himself in bad spots grappling and paid the price as he has been submitted twice in his career.

Armfield likely needs to land something big and Katona has proven to be extremely durable and well-rounded. I think the experience pays off here and Katona starts to take over in the later rounds. Katona by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target on DraftKings.

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Movsar Evloev vs Arnold Allen
Evloev, -192; Allen, +160

The last time we saw Movsar Evloev in the octagon, Diego Lopes gave him all that he could handle in his UFC debut. In the end, Evloev won a clear decision and has continued his excellence in the UFC as he sports a perfect 17-0 professional record. Evloev is very technically sound and has a relentless grappling pace as he averages nearly five takedowns per 15 minutes. He has good cardio as well so he can keep that pace for 15 minutes which usually breaks his opponents.

His opponent, Arnold Allen is coming off a loss to Max Holloway in a main event last April. That loss snapped a 10-fight UFC winning streak for Allen and he looks to rebound this weekend as a sizable underdog. Allen is very technically sound with good striking and grappling but he is similar to Leon Edwards in the sense that he typically does not do enough to convincingly win rounds. That seems counterintuitive since he has just one loss in the UFC, but he faced very low level of competition until his last few fights and those were all close. The biggest issue for him in this matchup is that he will likely be put on his back repeatedly.

Allen has shown solid takedown defense lately, but he has not been facing any wrestlers and I expect Evloev’s relentless pace to be the difference as he should be able to land multiple takedowns and mat return Allen when he needs to. Evloev by decision is the official pick.

Chris Curtis vs Marc-Andre Barriault
Curtis, -185; Barriault, +154

Chris Curtis is coming off a no-contest against Nassourdine Imavov due to an accidental head clash. Prior to that Curtis had lost two of his last three fights. He is primarily a striker and fights out of the southpaw stance. He has smooth boxing and legitimate knockout power with 17 of his 30 career wins coming by knockout. But he is very one-dimensional as he will not look to grapple and at times fights on thin margins when the volume is not high enough.

His opponent, Marc-Andre Barriault is coming off a decision victory over Eryk Anders at UFC 289 last June. Barriault is an exciting fighter that wants to get in your face and trade blows. He is a high-volume striker and very strong in the clinch with big elbows that he loves to throw up close. 10 of his 16 career wins have come by knockout and he will likely be chasing another one in front of his home crowd in Canada.

I expect this fight to play out on the feet as neither guy is interested in grappling. I favor Curtis at distance as the better pure boxer and counter striker. But if Barriault can close distance and make it dirty then he should be able to have success in those exchanges. I just worry at how often he will be able to do that and Curtis could make him look lost at space struggling to close the gap. Curtis by decision is the official pick but I doubt this fight pops off for Draftkings.

Mike Malott vs Neil Magny
Malott, -340; Magny, +270

Mike Malott is coming off a second-round submission victory over Adam Fuggitt at UFC 289.  He is a dangerous finisher and nine of his 10 career wins have come inside the first round. He is a technical striker with explosive power but is a strong submission grappler as well, so you need to be aware of how dangerous he is in multiple areas. The concern with Malott is that his cardio is entirely unproven but he is finishing most of his opponents so we have yet to see him extended.

His opponent, Neil Magny is coming off a decision loss to Ian Garry at UFC 292. Magny is a solid gatekeeper for the division and a litmus test for up and coming prospects like Malott. Magny is technically sound and can fight behind his jab and mix in the clinch work and grappling. However, he struggles to defend takedowns and he continuously puts himself in bad spots. He has been submitted six times in his career which is a big red flag in this matchup.

This is a tailor-made matchup for Malott fighting in front of his home crowd against a fighter that is notorious for getting submitted. Malott finds the neck here at a high clip. Malott by submission is the official pick and he is a strong target on DraftKings.

Mayra Bueno Silva vs Raquel Pennington
Bueno Silva, -166; Pennington, +140

Mayra Bueno Silva is coming off a submission win over Holly Holm that was later ruled a no-contest due to failed drug test. Either way, Bueno Silva is currently on a four-fight winning streak in my book and fighting for her first ever world title. She is 4-0 in the Bantamweight division since returning to this weight class and is a dangerous submission grappler with seven of her 10 career wins coming by submission. She has power on the feet as well and is strong in the clinch but her cardio has been suspect in the past which is concerning for her first main event.

Her opponent, Raquel Pennington is coming off a split-decision win over Ketlen Vieira in January. She is currently on a five-fight winning streak in one of the least memorable runs that I can remember. Pennington is a good boxer but very one-dimensional as she averages less than one takedown per 15 minute. I would not expect her to look to grapple at all with Bueno Silva here. One key advantage that I expect Pennington to have is in the cardio department down the stretch.

This is a fight that I think could be over-owned on DraftKings. Bueno Silva clearly has more finishing potential but if she does not finish then I am not sure the winner of this fight will be optimal depending on the pace. I do not have a strong read here as I could see a Bueno Silva submission early or Pennington edging a decision that she took over in the later rounds. I will side with Bueno Silva because she is more entertaining to me, but this is certainly not a fight that I am hanging my hat on. Bueno Silva by submission is the official pick.

Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis
Strickland, -135; Du Plessis, +114

Sean Strickland captured the Middleweight strap when he beat Israel Adesanya in a convincing decision at UFC 293 in September. Strickland is a very technical kickboxer that uses a great jab and is very active with the leg kicks as well. He likes to get ahead of his opponents on the scorecards and lull them into a sparring match where it is tough to match his volume. He also has great defense and makes it tough for his opponents to land clean shots on him. He has also never been submitted in his career, so he is no slouch on the mat either, although most of his fights take place on the feet.

His opponent, Dricus Du Plessis is coming off an impressive second-round TKO victory over Robert Whittaker at UFC 290 last July. Du Plessis is currently on a six-fight winning streak in the UFC and five of those wins came inside the distance. He is a very aggressive finisher and has clear power on the feet and will swing wildly with overextending combinations. But he is also active with the kicks and has a decent ground game as well. He should be able to match the pace of Strickland early, but I worry about his cardio down the stretch if the fight makes it to the later rounds. He has been able to push through being tired in three round fights but I have concerns that he may not be able to in a five rounder with nonstop volume.

Du Plessis likely needs to hurt Strickland in the first few rounds which is certainly possible but I trust Strickland’s durability and cardio to be the difference in this fight. We know Strickland can keep that high pace for 25 minutes if needed and I struggle to see Du Plessis winning rounds four or five if he needs to. Strickland by TKO is the official pick.

Want more DraftKings UFC strategy and analysis? Every week I do a DraftKings Deep Dive show where we go over big picture strategy for DFS and micro-strategy specific to each slate along with referencing FightPickSim to help us build well-informed lineups each week.