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We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 92!

We have an action-packed 12-fight slate on DraftKings which makes for a very interesting Saturday afternoon. 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.

Emily Ducote vs Vanessa Demopolous
Ducote, -325; Demopolous, +265

Emily Ducote is coming off a decision win over Ashley Yoder in October. That win snapped a two-fight losing streak for her and she looks to keep that momentum going this weekend. She is primarily a striker and she can fight behind her jab and mix in the constant leg kicks as well. She keeps a high pace on the feet and has good takedown defense as well which is key in this matchup. But I also think Ducote has been exposed to a degree and I do not trust her to cover big margins like this.

Her opponent, Vanessa Demopolous is coming off a very suspect decision “victory” over Kanako Murata in October. She is primarily a grappler with four of her 10 wins coming by submission. But her wrestling has never been good and only averages 0.49 takedowns per 15 minutes. On the feet, she stays active and tries to start fast but her striking defense is nonexistent, and she gasses out as well.

I am not a fan of Ducote, especially as a big favorite. But this is not a matchup that should give her troubles as she is the more well-rounded fighter and will have a clear striking advantage. Ducote by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target this week.

Kleydson Rodrigues vs Heili Alateng
Rodrigues, -155; Alateng, +130

Kleydson Rodrigues is coming off a first-round submission loss to Farid Basharat in September. He is a powerful striker that wants to move forward and put a pace on his opponents. He keeps a high output and has legitimate knockout power with four of his eight career wins coming in that fashion. He is also well-rounded and capable of landing takedowns and aggressively hunting submissions. The main concern with him is that his striking defense is not great and his cardio is dicey at times as well.

His opponent, Heili Alateng is coming off a decision loss to Chris Gutierrez in 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 as well although that may not matter in this fight.

I expect Rodrigues to be the faster fighter on the feet and to be landing the bigger shots with his flashy striking style. I do not trust either guys gas tank and think both of them are capable of mixing in a takedown or two as well. Rodrigues by TKO is the official pick.

Piera Rodirguez vs Ariane Carnelossi
Rodriguez, -175; Carnelossi, +145

Pepe has a bet on this fight… See who he is backing NOW

We last saw Piera Rodriguez in April of last year and lost by second-round submission. She is a well-rounded fighter with solid striking on the feet and can mix in the wrestling as well as she averages 3.31 takedowns per 15 minutes. Her striking defense could use some improvement and her gas tank has looked spotty in the past as she slows in extended fights.

Her opponent, Ariane Carnelossi is coming off a two-year layoff since she dropped a decision to Loopy Godinez at UFC 274 back in 2022. She suffered a knee injury that fight and has had multiple surgeries since then to address it which is part of the reason for the long layoff. She is a powerful striker with biceps that I can only dream of. Nine of her 14 wins have come by knockout. But her takedown defense and defensive grappling is very bad as she defends takedowns at 8% in the UFC and can be controlled on the mat.

Carnelossi has the power to drop anyone if she connects clean but I would still be surprised in this fight. Rodriguez seems to be durable and has the wrestling to fall back on here which I expect her to lean on. Rodriguez by decision is the official pick and I think this could be an underrated fight to target on DraftKings.

Abus Magomedov vs Warlley Alves
Magomedov, -278; Alves, +225

Abus Magomedov is coming off a decision loss to Caio Borralho in November. He is currently on a two-fight losing skid and looking to bounce back this weekend. Magomedov is an explosive fighter early and has the power to put your lights out. But as we saw in his last two fights, he does not have many other skills to fall back and tends to fade if the fight gets extended.

His opponent, Warlley Alves is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Ikram Aliskerov at UFC 294 last October. He has lost four of his last five fights and was finished in three of those fights. He has also fought most of his career at 170 lbs. and will be giving up significant size in this fight. Alves is explosive early and most of his wins have come by finish but I worry about his durability and gas tank if the fight gets extended.

In general, I do not trust Magomedov but this seems like a solid bounce back opportunity for him if he can avoid getting hurt early. Magomedov by TKO is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

Melissa Gatto vs Tamires Vidal
Gatto, -380; Vidal, +300

Melissa Gatto is coming off a split-decision loss to Ariane Lipski last July. She is primarily a grappler with a dangerous guard and four of her eight victories have come by submission. But she is a capable striker as well although she does not show it off as much as she should. The main issue with Gatto is that being a guard player, she is willing to accept takedowns and at times could spend too long on her back giving up dominant positions for extended periods.

Her opponent, Tamires Vidal is coming off a split-decision loss to Montserrat Rendon in September. Vidal is not someone that I have ever been impressed with and not sure if she even belongs at the UFC level. She is primarily a kickboxer and carries some power for the division but her defensive grappling is a clear hole in her game and one that I think is worrisome in this matchup.

I expect Gatto to be competitive on the feet and to have a massive advantage when she goes to the grappling like I expect her to. She likely even finds a finish on the mat. Gatto by submission is the official pick.

Oumar Sy vs Antonio Trocoli
Sy, -270; Trocoli, +220

Oumar Sy is making his UFC debut this weekend. He is a 9-0 undefeated prospect with seven of his nine wins coming inside the distance. He is primarily a wrestler and has good entries on his takedowns but gets sloppy in the grappling positions and scrambles. On the feet, he has some power but is susceptible to leg kicks and typically needs to get the fight to the ground.

His opponent, Antonio Trocoli is making his UFC debut as well on short notice here. Trocoli previously fought on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2019 and won by first-round submission but it got overturned to a no contest due to a failed drug test. He is coming off a two-and-a-half-year layoff and definitely more of a question mark in terms of his skillset. He fights out of the southpaw stance and has some powerful kicks at range. He also holds a black belt in BJJ and five of his 12 career wins have come by submission. But he faced really low level of competition on the regional scene since moving up in weight and I still have a lot of questions about him moving forward.

I think this fight plays out competitively and think either fighter is capable of finishing each other. But I expect Trocoli to be the better striker and submission grappler. Sy is going to look to take him down and I could see him making mistakes on the mat as he has done across multiple fights throughout his career. I am still going to pick Sy here but think this fight should be lined much more competitively and will treat Trocoli as a very live underdog this weekend. Sy by decision is the official pick.

Tom Nolan vs Victor Martinez
Nolan, -440; Martinez, +340

Tom Nolan laid an egg in his UFC debut with a knockout loss to Nikolas Motta in January. Of his six career victories, four of them have come by knockout and he previously fought on the Contender Series as well. He seems to be a well-rounded fighter with power on the feet, but he also holds a brown belt in BJJ. He fights out of the southpaw stance and has powerful leg kicks and is always looking to land heavy knees and elbows in the clinch. If he gets in dominant position on the mat, he has some vicious ground and pound, but he can give up takedowns and be controlled by better grapplers. His striking defense clearly still needs work as well.

His opponent, Victor Martinez is coming off a longer layoff as he last fought Jordan Leavitt in February of last year and lost by first-round knockout. I personally do not think this guy is very good at all and doubt he sticks around the UFC roster long. I bet Leavitt in that fight so it’s no surprise that I expect Nolan to dominate this matchup. Easy setup fight to get Nolan a bounce back win in highlight fashion. Nolan by TKO is the official pick.

Angela Hill vs Luana Pinheiro
Hill, -135; Pinheiro, +114

Angela Hill is coming off a decision win over Denise Gomes in November. She comes from a Muay Thai striking background and is a high-volume striker that can push a pace for 15 minutes if needed. She has also improved her takedown defense over the years and defends at 75% in the UFC. But she is now 39 years old which is concerning despite her still being one of the better gatekeepers in the division.

Her opponent, Luana Pinheiro is coming off a third-round knockout loss to Amanda Ribas in November. She is an explosive fighter early with a ton of first-round finishes on the regional scene and on Dana White’s Contender Series. But she is limited with low volume on the feet and mixes in some takedowns but that usually makes her gas out quicker. Her biggest issue is her gas tank as we have seen her get very tired in fights that get extended.

This one is interesting to break down because I expect Pinheiro to win round one at a decent clip. But I also favor Hill strongly in round three if the fight gets there which means this could solely come down to round two if it goes the distance. I slightly favor Hill with the pace and experience to pay off enough to get her hand raised in a close one. Hill by decision is the official pick.

Adrian Yanez vs Vinicius Salvador
Yanez, -360; Salvador, +285

We last saw Adrian Yanez fight Jonathan Martinez who destroyed his leg on the way to losing by knockout. He is now on a two-fight losing skid and was knocked out in both of those losses. But he is still a good boxer with legitimate knockout power in his own right with 10 of his 16 wins coming by knockout. He works the body well in combinations too and that could pay off in this matchup if the fight gets extended. Lastly, he is a black belt in BJJ although he rarely looks to grapple and I do not expect him to in this fight.

His opponent, Vinicius Salvador is coming off a decision loss to CJ Vergara at UFC 291 last year. He is 0-2 in the UFC since coming off the Contender Series in 2022. He is a powerful striker with 13 of his 14 career wins coming by knockout. But he does not manage his gas tank well and regularly slows after the first round. He also struggles with his defensive grappling although I expect these two to keep it on the feet.

This is another great fight to target on DraftKings as both guys can be hurt and potentially finished. I am siding with Yanez mainly due to the cardio as I expect him to keep up the pace for as long as needed to find the finish. Yanez by TKO is the official pick.

Themba Gorimbo vs Ramiz Brahimaj
Gorimbo, -148; Brahimaj, +124

All three of our MMA experts are aligned on a bet here… See who they’re backing NOW

Themba Gorimbo is coming off a first-round TKO victory over Pete Rodriguez in February. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak and looks to keep that momentum going on Saturday. His striking is janky on the feet, but he does carry some power when he connects clean as we witnessed in his last fight. But he primarily wants to get the fight to the ground and he averages 3.39 takedowns per 15 minutes.

His opponent, Ramiz Brahimaj is coming off a two-year layoff since he won by first-round submission over Michael Gilmore back in 2022. He is primarily a grappler and all 10 of his career wins have come by submission – nine of those were inside the first round. He averages 1.9 takedowns per 15 minutes himself and I expect this fight to hit the mat.

Brahimaj was my first bet this weekend and I agree with the line movement in his favor. Despite the long layoff, I expect him to be very competitive here against Gorimbo who I think is being overvalued by the market. Gorimbo gets sloppy at times grappling and Brahimaj is dangerous enough to make him pay. Brahimaj by submission is the official pick and this is another solid fight to target on DraftKings.

Khaos Williams vs Carlston Harris
Williams, -135; Harris, +114

Pepe has a bet on this fight… See who he is backing NOW

Khaos Williams is coming off a split-decision win over Rolando Bedoya at UFC 288 last year. Williams is a powerful striker with seven of his 14 career wins coming by knockout, including three of those at the UFC level. He keeps a solid pace on the feet and seems to be very durable. He will not look to grapple but has good enough takedown defense to keep the fight on the feet against most opponents.

His opponent, Carlston Harris is coming off a third-round comeback submission win over Jeremiah Wells last August. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak and his only loss in the UFC came against Shavkat Rakhmonov. He is more of a grappler as his striking is a bit awkward and he averages over two takedowns per 15 minutes. But I do not trust his durability as he has been hurt and knocked out twice in his career.

I expect Williams to be able to keep this fight on the feet for the majority and potentially hurt Harris  at some point in this fight. Harris is the better submission grappler but I doubt he gets the fight where he needs it and likely gets hurt trying to. Williams by TKO is the official pick.

Lerone Murphy vs Edson Barboza
Murphy, -148; Barboza, +124

We last saw Lerone Murphy when he won a decision over Josh Culibao last July. He is currently on a five-fight winning streak and gets his first main event slot this weekend. Murphy is a technical kickboxer with powerful leg kicks and seven of his 14 career wins have come by knockout. But historically he does not push a pace on the feet and he only mixes in takedowns at 1.29 per 15 minutes. His defensive wrestling has not been good at times either although it may not factor in this fight.

His opponent, Edson Barboza is coming off a decision win over Sodiq Yusuff in a main event last October. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak and looks to play spoiler this weekend. Barboza has some of the nastiest leg kicks on the UFC roster and keeps a solid pace on the feet as well. I think he could be the better grappler here as well but I am not confident he will look for takedowns. The main concern with Barboza is that he is 38 years old and he has never been the most durable guy with four knockout losses on his record.

I think this fight comes down to whether or not Murphy can hurt Barboza on the feet. If he doesn’t hurt him or knock him out then I think he is fighting an uphill battle here. He typically fights on thinner margins as it is and I think Barboza could land more strikes, potentially hurt his leg or even land takedowns if he wants to. He just needs to avoid getting hurt and I think he gets his hand raised. Barboza by decision is the official pick.

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