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After the big UFC 302 PPV, we are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Louisville! We have an action-packed 14-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.

Rayanne Dos Sanots vs Puja Tomar
Dos Santos, -230; Tumar, +190

Rayanne Dos Santos is coming off a split-decision loss in her UFC debut against Talita Alencar in December. 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. On the feet, her striking is fine but is not going to blow anyone away and tends to slow in extended fights.

Her opponent, Puja Tomar is making her UFC debut this weekend. Tomar is small for the division and stands at just 4 ft 9 inches. However, she makes up for it with her power as six of her eight career wins have come by TKO. She fights out of the southpaw stance and has some serious power in her kicks. She will blitz forward and throw in combinations but tends to get reckless at times and has been submitted three times in her career.

I have some interest in Tomar for DraftKings as she is clearly powerful and should have a cardio advantage as well. But her defensive grappling issues are hard to overlook in a matchup like this because if Dos Santos gets her to the mat then it’s likely game over. Dos Santos by submission is the official pick but I will look to get exposure to both sides on DraftKings.

Taylor Lapilus vs Cody Stamann
Lapilus, -238; Stamann, +195

Taylor Lapilus is coming off a decision loss to Farid Basharat in January.  Lapilus is a technical kickboxer and uses his kicks well. Of his 19 career wins, just four of them have come by knockout. He is more of a point fighter and has solid takedown defense. That is typically his gameplan to defend any shots and force guys to strike with him. However, his upside is limited because of the lack of finishing power and the one-dimensional approach.

His opponent, Cody Stamann is coming off a decision loss to Douglas Silva de Andrade last May. Stamann comes from a division I wrestling background and averages 2.34 takedowns per 15 minutes. He is also a former golden gloves boxer and I have always thought his striking to be underrated. However, he lacks true power and will be at a nine-inch reach disadvantage in this fight.

I expect this to be a very competitive fight and it will likely come down to whether or not Stamann can close distance and find some wrestling success. I could see Lapilus stuffing the takedowns and getting the better of the striking exchanges enough to edge the decision. Lapilus by decision is the official pick but I have zero interest in him on DraftKings.

Eduarda Moura vs Denise Gomes
Moura, -166; Gomes, +140

Eduarda Moura is coming off her UFC debut where she won by TKO in November over Montserrat Ruiz. She is a 10-0 undefeated prospect fighting out of Brazil and seems to be a very physical grappler. Of those 10 career victories, nine of those have come by finish and seven of them were inside the first round. She has yet to be tested much on the regional scene and has only been fighting professionally for a little over two years. The main concern with her is that we have very little data of what she looks like in extended fights or if she is unable to have that grappling success.

Her opponent, Denise Gomes is coming off a decision loss to Angela Hill in November. Gomes is 2-2 in the UFC and came through twice as an underdog in those fights. She is primarily a striker and does carry some power for the division with six of her eight career wins coming by knockout. Her biggest weakness is her takedown defense as she defends at under 50% in the UFC.

This is an interesting matchup as I think Moura could potentially be overvalued based on her UFC debut. However, Gomes takedown defense weakness plays right into what Moura will try to do here. I could see the path to victory for either fighter but I am siding with Gomes as she should have a huge striking advantage if she can keep this fight on the feet. Gomes by decision is the official pick and a TKO is in play as well if she exposes Moura. This will likely be an underrated fight to target on DraftKings for both sides.

Daniel Marcos vs John Castaneda
Marcos, -120; Castaneda, +100

Pepe has a 3U bet on this fight… See who he is backing NOW

Daniel Marcos is coming off a no-contest against Aori Qileng in February. He sports a 15-0 undefeated record with eight of those wins coming by knockout. He is primarily a striker and has fast hands with some power behind them as well. He typically pushes a pace on the feet but is very one-dimensional. His takedown defense is solid and it is going to take a good wrestler and grappler to take advantage of him on the mat.

His opponent, John Castaneda is coming off a decision win over Kyung Ho Kang at UFC 295 last November. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak and looking to keep that momentum going this Saturday. Castaneda is a very well-rounded fighter with underrated power on the feet and a solid ground game to go with it. He has landed four knockdowns in the UFC and averages just under two takedowns per 15 minutes. He has been knocked out twice in his career which is really the only knock on him.

I expect this fight to be competitive with both fighters having some success in striking exchanges. But I trust Castaneda more at this stage and think he is one of the toughest fighters that Marcos has yet to face. Castaneda by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target this week on DraftKings.

Andrea Lee vs Montana De La Rosa
Lee, -142; De La Rosa, +120

We last saw Andrea square off against Miranda Maverick at UFC 298 in February when she lost a unanimous decision. She is currently on a four-fight losing streak and could be fighting for her job this weekend. Lee is a well-rounded fighter that can fight behind her jab and is a willing grappler as she averages just under two takedowns per 15 minutes. But she is getting older and has been hurt multiple times over her last few fights. She also has never defended takedowns well at 55% in the UFC.

Her opponent, Montana De La Rosa is coming off a decision loss to JJ Aldrich in October. Oddly enough, she only attempted one takedown in that fight and was unsuccessful. She is primarily a grappler and averages 1.71 takedowns per 15 minutes. But she does not have much in the striking department and really struggles defensively. This is also a rematch from 2019 where De La Rosa landed five takedowns but was unable to do anything with them and got clearly touched up on the feet.

Despite the recent struggles for Lee, I think this is a good bounce back spot to get her back in the win column against a beatable opponent that she has previously gotten the better of. Lee by decision is the official pick.

Brad Katona vs Jesse Butler
Katona, -600; Butler, +440

Brad Katona is coming off a decision loss to Garrett Armfield at UFC 297 in January. That loss snapped a five-fight winning streak for him and he looks to get back in the win column this weekend as the biggest betting favorite on the card. Katona is a very well-rounded fighter with solid striking and capable grappling. But he is never aggressive enough and lacks the finishing skillset to pay off this big of a price tag, particularly for DraftKings. He is one of those “thin margins” style of fighters and that just gives me zero interest at this price tag despite me thinking he wins.

His opponent, Jesse Butler made his short notice UFC debut last year and was knocked out by Jim Miller inside of thirty seconds. Butler seems like a regional grinder and I am not convinced he can hang at the UFC level. His durability and striking defense are the main concerns with him so it will likely come down to whether or not Katona has enough power to hurt him. Katona by decision is the official pick but I have no interest on DraftKings.

Carlos Prates vs Charles Radtke
Prates, -238; Radtke, +195

Carlos Prates made his UFC debut in February against Trevin Giles and knocked him out in the second round.  He comes from a high-level kickboxing background and has a ton of experience throughout the Brazilian regional scene and had a few fights in LFA prior to Contender Series. He trains regularly with Caio Borralho and the Fight Nerds and fights out of southpaw stance with heavy leg kicks and legitimate knockout power. He also holds a black belt in BJJ although he has been submitted multiple times on the regional scene. He is extremely powerful with the head kicks and body kicks, but he fights with his hands down and can be clipped himself and has been knocked out twice in his career as well.

His opponent, Charles Radtke is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Gilbert Urbina in February. He is 2-0 in the UFC and currently on a six-fight winning streak. Of his nine professional victories, six of them have come inside the distance and he is pretty well-rounded wherever the fight goes. He has some legitimate knockout power on the feet, but he lacks volume and struggles defensively as well.

I am certainly lower than the market on Prates and his future potential. However, I think the length and striking skillset will clearly be in his favor against Radtke who struggles defensively. That is likely the difference maker in this fight. Prates by TKO is the official pick.

Ludovit Klein vs Thiago Moises
Klein, -125; Moises, +105

Ludovit Klein is coming off a dominant performance over AJ Cunningham in March with a first-round TKO victory. He has now won back to back fights and looking to keep that momentum going in what is one of his toughest tests to date. Klein is a very powerful striker with nine of his 21 career wins coming by knockout. He also averages just under two takedowns per 15 minutes and is a very physical grappler as well.

His opponent, Thiago Moises is coming off a third-round TKO victory over Mitch Ramirez in March. Moises is a one-dimensional grappler and averages over 1.5 takedowns per 15 minutes. Of his 18 career victories, eight of them have come by submission and he holds a black belt in BJJ. But on the feet, he is typically low volume and struggles defensively as well. His wrestling is not great either and I could see him struggling with the physicality of Klein in this fight.

I expect Klein to have a clear power and striking advantage and has the potential to hurt Moises on the feet. But I also think Klein should be fine for the most part in grappling exchanges so that negates some of the risks in this matchup. Klein by TKO is the official pick.

Miguel Baeza vs Punahele Soriano
Baeza, -192; Soriano, +160

Miguel Baeza makes his return to the UFC octagon after more than a two-year layoff. He last fought in April of 2022 and was knocked out by Andre Fialho in the first round. He is currently on a three-fight losing streak and was knocked out in his last two fights. Baeza is a good striker and carries some power in his hands with seven of his 10 career wins coming by knockout. He also holds a black belt in BJJ but rarely ever pursues the grappling path. His durability is the clear concern along with the extended layoff.

His opponent, Punahele Soriano is coming off a second-round submission loss to Dustin Stoltzfus in December. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and has lost four of his last five fights. Soriano is a powerful striker with legitimate knockout power if he connects clean with his big left hand. Of his nine career victories, six of them have come by knockout and most of those came early in the fight. But his clear weakness is his gas tank as he regularly slows down and tends to mail it in if his opponents force him to grapple.

Baeza is the more overall skilled fighter but sometimes that is not enough, especially when you cannot take the damage anymore. I do not trust the durability of Baeza at all and I think Soriano has the power to put his lights out which makes me side with him in this fight. Soriano by TKO is the official pick and this is a great fight to target on DraftKings.

Julian Marquez vs Zach Reese
Marquez, -135; Reese, +114

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

We last saw Julian Marquez at UFC 285 in March of last year when he was knocked out in the second round by Marc-Andre Barriault. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and was knocked out in both of those losses. Marquez is not a good minute winner as his style is typically kill or be killed. All nine of his career victories have come inside the distance as he has power on the feet and a sneaky submission game as well. The main concern with him is his lack of striking defense and durability as I already mentioned the last two knockouts.

His opponent, Zach Reese is coming off a first-round TKO loss in his UFC debut against Cody Brundage in December. Reese previously earned a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series last season with a first round victory. All six of his wins have come inside the first round and his defensive grappling and cardio are big question marks. 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. I see him as a lesser version of Marquez.

These type of meme matchups, either fighter can win by finish which makes it a great fight to target both sides on DraftKings. Marquez by TKO is the official pick but I will have exposure to both sides across most of my teams this weekend.

Brunno Ferreira vs Nick Stoltzfus
Ferreira, -270; Stoltzfus, +220

Brunno Ferreira is coming off a first-round TKO victory over Phil Hawes in January. Of his 11 career wins, eight of them have come by knockout and six of those were inside the first round. He has explosive power on the feet and will occasionally mix in some power style wrestling as well. But he has a very reckless fighting style and that has bit him in the past.

His opponent, Nick Stoltzfus is coming off a second-round submission victory over Punahele Soriano who we talked about earlier. Stoltzfus is a well-rounded fighter with awkward but effective striking, mainly leg kicks. He also averages 2.4 takedowns per 15 minutes and will pursue the grappling path if it is there. The main concern with Stoltzfus is his striking defense as he is very hittable and has been hurt multiple times.

This matchup seems pretty straightforward in the sense that if Ferreira wins, it likely comes in the first round and if Stoltzfus wins then it likely comes in the later rounds or by decision. Because of the lack of defense by Stoltzfus and the questionable durability, the most likely outcome is an early knockout for Ferreira and that is the official pick.

RAUL ROSAS JR. VS RICKY TURCIOS
ROSAS JR., -230; TURCIOS, +190

Raul Rosas Jr. is coming off a first-round TKO victory over Terrence Mitchell last September. He is just 19 years old and 8-1 with five of his eight wins coming by submission. He comes from a high-level grappling background and holds a black belt in BJJ. But he is also a very solid wrestler and has shown good cardio as well. His only real weakness is on the feet as his striking is wild and he is way too reckless defensively which causes him to eat some clean shots.

His opponent, Ricky Turcios is coming off a split-decision win over Kevin Natividad in November of 2022. He’s not the most technical fighter by any stretch but he usually pushes a pace on the feet with nonstop kicks at range. My biggest issue is his willing to give up takedowns and play off his back along with poor fight IQ in general. That is going to be key in this fight as he is facing someone that wants to get the fight to the ground.

I expect Rosas Jr. to be able to get this fight to the ground as Turcios gets taken down multiple times in all of his fights. Rosas Jr. is very physical with his wrestling and good at getting to the back which is what I expect here. Rosas Jr. by submission is the official pick and he is an obvious target on DraftKings.

Dustin Jacoby vs Dominick Reyes
Jacoby, -230; Reyes, +190

Dustin Jacoby is coming off a decision loss to Alonzo Menifield at UFC 296 in December. He comes from a high-level kickboxing background and it is clear what the gameplan is in each of his fights. He is a high-volume striker that will pump volume throughout and try to avoid clinching and grappling. He is very active with the leg kicks and does carry some underrated power as well with 12 of his 19 wins coming by knockout. The issue with Jacoby is he is one-dimensional and another fighter that sometimes wins on thin margins which I am generally not a fan of backing those guys as betting favorites.

His opponent, Dominick Reyes is coming off a lengthy absence as we last saw him back at UFC 281 in November of 2022 when he lost by TKO to Ryan Spann in the first round. That makes it four straight losses for him and he was knocked out in each of his last three. His durability is completely gone at this point and even a point fighter like Jacoby probably hurts him and gets him out of there. Jacoby by TKO is the official pick.

Nassourdine Imavov vs Jared Cannonier
Imavov, -122; Cannonier, +102

Nassourdine Imavov is coming off a majority decision over Roman Dolidze in February in a main event.  I consider Imavov one of the best prospects in the division as he is a powerful striker with good pressure, pace and durability. He has a solid ground game as well although he typically does not try to grapple as often as he should. But he is very well-rounded and is tough to beat in any area.

His opponent, Jared Cannonier is coming off a main event victory over Marvin Vettori in June of last year. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak and another win here can likely get him another title shot. Cannonier is primarily a striker and is one-dimensional as he is only looking to fight at space. He carries some real knockout power with 10 of his 17 wins coming by knockout. The main concern with Cannonier is that he is on the wrong side of 40 years old and sooner or later that is going to catch up to him.

I expect this to be a competitive fight but I favor the younger and more well-rounded fighter in Imavov to do enough to edge close rounds over the course of 25 minutes. Imavov by decision is the official pick.

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