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We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 90! We have an action-packed 13-fight slate on DraftKings which makes for a very interesting Saturday evening. 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.

Melissa Mullins vs Nora Cornolle
Mullins, -345; Cornolle, +265

Melissa Mullins is coming off a decision win in her UFC debut against Irina Alekseeva in October. She is a 6-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of England. She has previously faced a low level of competition on the regional scene prior to her UFC debut. On the feet, she struggles defensively as she is very hittable, but she is aggressive on the mat and holds a brown belt in BJJ. She will likely have a big grappling edge in this fight and I expect that to be the gameplan.

Her opponent, Nora Cornolle is coming off a decision win over Joselyne Edwards in September. That was her UFC debut and her grappling looked very poor to be controlled by Edwards for the majority of the fight. Cornolle is a powerful striker and very aggressive on the feet but her takedown defense needs work and she has no semblance of a get up game and seems to fade as the fight goes on.

Cornolle needs to hurt Mullins early in this fight and it’s possible with the lack of striking defense for Mullins. But it’s much more likely that Mullins is able to get the takedowns and establish her edge in the grappling department. Mullins by decision is the official pick.

Dylan Budka vs Cesar Almeida
Budka, -155; Almeida, +130

Dylan Budka won a contract on this past season of Dana White’s Contender Series with a decision victory over Chad Hanekom. He comes from a collegiate wrestling background and has relied on that for most of his fights. On the feet, he has some solid leg kicks but does not throw much volume and wants to clinch his opponents against the fence and turn it into an ugly fight.

His opponent, Cesar Almeida also fought on last season of Contender Series and won a decision as a big underdog. He comes from a high-level kickboxing background and is clearly the better striker in this matchup. The issue is that his defensive grappling is still untrustworthy and he was taken down multiple times in that contender series fight as well.

I like the underdog in this fight as Almeida’s advantage on the feet should be the biggest edge in this fight. He has been working on his defensive grappling as well and showed in his last fight that the takedowns will not come easy. Almeida by TKO is the official pick.

Jean Matsumoto vs Dan Argueta
Matsumoto, -185, Argueta, +154

Jean Matsumoto is another Contender Series graduate from this past season and was one of the more promising prospects at that. He is a 14-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of Brazil. Of his 14 professional victories, eight of them have come inside the distance. He is a high paced striker on the feet and has some sharp leg kicks that he will look for repeatedly. He has good cardio as well and can keep up that pace for 15 minutes if needed. The concern with Matsumoto is that he can be taken down and controlled at times.

His opponent, Dan Argueta is coming off a no-contest against Miles Johns in September. Argueta is primarily a grappler and averages over 2.5 takedowns per 15 minutes. He needs to get this fight to the ground and rely on his wrestling as he is likely a sitting duck on the feet. But because of the potential wrestling upside, he is a live dog in this fight. I just worry he will not have the cardio to wrestle heavy for 15 minutes.

Matsumoto is a better live bet than pre-fight, but I do think he wins this as he should have a clear striking edge on the feet. I would also expect Matsumoto to take over if the fight gets extended. Matsumoto by decision is the official pick.

Piera Rodriguez vs Cynthia Calvillo
Rodriguez, -166; Calvillo, +140

Piera Rodriguez is coming off a second-round submission loss to Gillian Robertson last April.  She is a well-rounded prospect that will push a decent pace on the feet. She can be taken down at times, but she is a physical grappler and has shown the ability to land takedowns of her own as well. Her biggest weakness to me is that she slows down as the fight goes on and the volume starts to decrease which you do not love to see.

Her opponent, Cynthia Calvillo is coming off a split decision loss to Loopy Godinez. She is currently on a five-fight losing streak and could be fighting for her job this weekend. At her best, Calvillo is a high-volume striker that can mix in some grappling at times as well as she holds a black belt in BJJ. But she has quit on the stool in the past and repeatedly teased retirement as well which are clear red flags.

It is hard to know what version of Calvillo we are going to get here but I lean with Rodriguez as the better round winner. Calvillo’s wrestling is not great and I expect Rodriguez to be the more physical fighter in the clinch and could even land some takedowns of her own. Rodriguez by decision is the official pick.

Victor Hugo vs Heili Alateng
Hugo, -122; Alateng, +102

NOTE: This fight has been cancelled and UFC is searching for replacement to keep Hugo on the card.

Victor Hugo is coming off a submission win on this past season of Contender Series. 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 Saimon Oliveira. 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.

His opponent, Heili Alateng is coming off a decision loss to Chris Gutierrez last October. That loss snapped a two-fight winning streak for him and he looks to get back in the win column this weekend. He is primarily a striker and carries some knockout power on the feet. He will also look to mix in some takedowns here and there as he averages just under two takedowns per 15 minutes. The concern with Alateng is that he has been finished multiple times in his career and I think he can be vulnerable to submissions on the mat.

Hugo is not a good minute winner, but he does have more finishing upside in this fight. Both fighters are capable of hurting each other on the feet but Hugo has all of the finishing upside when the fight hits the mat like I expect it to. Hugo by submission is the official pick.

Norma Dumont vs Germaine de Randamie
Dumont, -175; de Randamie, +145

Norma Dumont is coming off a decision victory over Chelsea Chandler last July. She is currently on a three-fight winning streak and is 6-2 in the UFC overall. She is a low volume striker on the feet but is solid defensively and doesn’t take many chances. She will mix in some grappling as well and averages nearly 1.5 takedowns per 15 minutes and holds a brown belt in BJJ.

Her opponent, Germaine de Randamie is coming off a sizable layoff as we last saw her in October of 2020 when she submitted Julianna Pena. Aside from the long layoff, de Randamie turns 40 years old in just a few weeks which does not inspire a ton of confidence if backing her. At her best, she is one of the better strikers in the division, but she can be taken down and get stuck on the fence as well.

I do not have much interest in this fight on DraftKings as I expect it to be a lower scoring decision win for Dumont which is not going to do it for us at her price. Dumont by decision is the official pick.

Alex Morono vs Court McGee
Morono, -298; McGee, +240

Alex Morono is coming off a decision loss to Joaquin Buckley in October. Morono is typically a high-volume striker with a solid jab and sharp leg kicks. He also holds a black belt in BJJ although he rarely goes to his grappling. The concern with Morono is the durability as he has been knocked out three times in his career.

His opponent, Court McGee is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Matt Brown last May. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and was knocked out in both of those losses. He also turns 40 years old at the end of this year. I think he could be competitive early but expect Morono to have more potential to hurt him and the better cardio as well. Morono by decision is the official pick.

Charlie Campbell vs Trevor Peek
Campbell, -218; Peek, +180

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We last saw Charlie Campbell last September when he made a statement in his UFC debut with a first-round knockout victory over Alex Reyes. He is primarily a striker and mixes things up nicely on the feet. Of his eight professional victories, six of them have come by knockout. The concern with Campbell is that I do not fully trust his defensive grappling but it really should not matter in this matchup.

His opponent, Trevor Peek is coming off a decision victory over Mohammad Yahya at UFC 294 last October. Peek is a wild man and he is going to move forward and try to brawl with you until someone goes to sleep. He does not have much technique, but he has big power and eight of his nine wins have come by knockout. The issue with Peek is that he has no backup plan and good strikers can navigate his attacks fairly easily.

I expect this fight to be a banger and one that you want exposure to on DraftKings as I expect the winner to score well. I favor the Campbell side as he is clearly the more technical striker and should be able to outpoint Peek and eventually hurt him. Campbell by TKO is the official pick.

Valter Walker vs Lukas Brzeski
Walker, -310; Brzeski, +250

Valter Walker is the brother of current UFC fighter, Johnny Walker and he makes his UFC debut this weekend. He is an 11-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of Russia. Of his 11 professional victories, six of them have come by knockout, including each of his last four fights. He seems to have your typical Heavyweight power on the feet, but he is much less explosive and athletic than his brother. However, he makes up for it with his wrestling ability as he has proven to be capable of landing takedowns as he has throughout his regional tape.

His opponent, Lukas Brzeski is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Waldo Cortes-Acosta last August. He is 0-3 in the UFC and likely fighting for his job in this fight. He keeps a decent pace on the feet for the division, but he has struggled to defend takedowns and has been hurt in back to back fights as well.

I expect Walker to lean on the wrestling in this one and get the fight where he wants it. He is capable of hurting Brzeski on the feet as well, but his wrestling will be the path of least resistance. Walker by TKO is the official pick and he is a strong target on DraftKings.

Ignacio Bahamondes vs Christos Giagos
Bahamondes, -345; Giagos, +275

Ignacio Bahamondes is coming off a decision loss to Ludovit Klein last August. He is a very long and rangy striker and comes from a high-level kickboxing background. He uses his length well offensively with a flashy kicking attack but leaves himself open to being countered at times. We have seen his chin checked multiple times so that is a concern in this fight.

His opponent, Christos Giagos is coming off a second-round submission loss to Daniel Zellhuber in September. He has lost three of his last four fights and was finished in all of them. Giagos is someone that wants to push a grappling pace but doesn’t have the cardio to do it for more than a round or so. He has power on the feet as well but is typically low volume. His durability is a major concern as he has been finished in eight of his 11 professional losses.

Bahamondes is chinny enough that I would not consider laying the juice at this price tag. But this is his fight to lose as he is going to be working with a four-inch reach advantage and has the ability to finish Giagos on the feet or on the mat. Bahamondes by TKO is the official pick.

Morgan Charriere vs Chepe Mariscal
Charriere, -122; Mariscal, +102

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Morgan Charriere won by first-round knockout in his UFC debut against Manolo Zecchuni last September. He is a well-rounded prospect with powerful striking and 11 of his 19 career wins have come by knockout. But he has a solid ground game as well. He is a dynamic athlete and can fight behind his jab and will mix in some heavy leg kicks as well. He is also very durable and has never been knocked out in his career. The main issue with Charriere is that he usually fights on thin margins and that is why he has lost many decisions in his young career.

His opponent, Chepe Mariscal is coming off a TKO victory due to an arm injury over Jack Jenkins at UFC 293 last September. Mariscal is a very well-rounded fighter and has been tested by some of the best regional fighters for years prior to joining the UFC, which is likely why he has seen some early success at the UFC level. He will keep a high pace on the feet and has the cardio to do so for 15 minutes if needed. But he also has a solid ground game as well and landed four takedowns in his debut and another against Jenkins in his last fight. The main concern with him is his durability as he has been knocked out three times in his career.

This should be a really competitive fight with both guys having success at times. I slightly favor the Charriere side as his kicks could be the difference maker in such a close fight. Charriere by decision is the official pick.

Alexander Hernandez vs Damon Jackson
Hernandez, -205; Jackson, +170

Alexander Hernandez is coming off a decision loss to Bill Algeo in October. He has now lost three of his last four fights with his sole win coming against Jim Miller last February during that span. Hernandez is a technical kickboxer but rarely lets his hands go as much as he should. He has a strong ground game as well as he averages 1.2 takedowns per 15 minutes and holds a brown belt in BJJ. The concern with Hernandez is that he is a mental midget and he has been knocked out three times in his career.

His opponent, Damon Jackson is coming off a decision loss to Billy Quarantillo last August. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and looking to get back in the win column on Saturday. Jackson is primarily a grappler and averages just under 2.5 takedowns per 15 minutes. Of his career 22 wins, 15 of them have come by submission. On the feet, he carries some power but is too willing to engage in a bar fight when he does not have the chin to do it as he has been knocked out four times in his career.

If Hernandez loses this fight then send him to PFL as damaged goods. He should have Jackson beat wherever the fight goes but it’s Hernandez so he may make this much harder than it needs to be. Hernandez by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target on DraftKings.

Brendan Allen vs Chris Curtis
Allen, -205; Curtis, +170

These two fought back in 2021 and now three years later, will rematch for the main event this weekend. The first fight resulted in a TKO victory for Chris Curtis so Brendan Allen is chomping at the bit to get his revenge. Allen is a high paced fighter that wants to move forward and put a pace on his opponents. His striking has clearly improved but he still struggles defensively and it is clear that he is much better on the mat. 14 of his 23 wins have come by submission and he holds a black belt in BJJ but his wrestling is not great and Curtis has great takedown defense historically.

His opponent, Chris Curtis is coming off a split-decision win over Marc-Andre Barriault in January. Curtis is a powerful counterstriker and fights out of the southpaw stance. Of his 31 career wins, 17 of them have come by knockout. The main thing that will come into play in this fight is his takedown defense as he defends at 92% in the UFC. Curtis is one-dimensional but Allen’s gameplan plays right into Curtis strengths as someone that wants to sit back and counter you with power. 

As much as it pains me to say it, I lean with Curtis in this fight. It all comes down to the takedown defense and if Allen does not get the fight to the ground then he could be in trouble. We just saw this exact scenario play out last week with Erin Blanchfield and I view this matchup similarly for Allen except he is facing someone even more dangerous. Curtis by TKO is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides on Draftkings as this is an obvious fight to target heavily.

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