We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Vegas 41 in Las Vegas. This card is not great but that does not mean we do won’t have an opportunity to make some money.

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 or in the MMA DFS Discord with any questions that you have leading up until fight night Saturday.

 

 

Zviad Lazishvili vs. Jonathan Martinez

Lazishvili, -110; Martinez, -110, DraftKings Sportsbook

Martinez is coming off a second-round knockout loss to Davey Grant his last time out in March. He is a technical striker who trains out of Factory X in Colorado. He does carry some power with his hands and has finishing potential with his legs as well with two knockout victories in the UFC so far. His biggest issue is that he cannot defend takedowns well at just 63% in the UFC. 

Lazishvili is the former bantamweight champion in LFA and comes from a high-level grappling background. He has a black belt in Judo and typically takes his opponents down immediately and starts hunting submissions. Nine of his 12 career wins have come by submission, and Martinez is going to be in trouble if he allows the takedowns here.

Lazishvili's cardio is untested, and this is certainly a step up in competition but one that I think he can handle. Lazishvili by submission is the official pick. 

Livinha Souza vs. Randa Markos

Souza, -125; Markos, +105, DraftKings Sportsbook

Souza is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Amanda Lemos her last time out in March. She is not a fighter I put much stock into as she is your typically low-volume striker who will look to mix in some takedowns. Despite her background in Judo and black belt in BJJ, she is not an overly dangerous grappler and typically struggles to control her opponents on the mat. 

Markos is coming off a DQ loss to Luana Pinheiro in May. She is currently on a four-fight losing streak, although I am confident she would have won her last fight if the fight had not been stopped. Her level of competition is also much better than Souza so I will not fault her too much. However, she is similar to Souza in that she is not a good minute winner and also winds up on her back too many times to feel comfortable.

I want to think this is Markos’ fight to lose, but her fight IQ concerns along with giving up a few takedowns makes me feel this fight has split decision written all over it which makes it mostly a pass for me. Markos by split decision is the official pick, but there are better fights to target on DraftKings this week. 

Jeff Molina vs. Daniel Lacerda

Molina, -170; Lacerda, +150, DraftKings Sportsbook

Molina is coming off a decision victory over Qileng Aori in his UFC debut in April. It was an exciting, back-and-forth fight with Molina pouring it on in the third round which had most people on their feet by the end of the match. He is a technical striker who trains out of Glory MMA with James Krause. He is also a competent grappler with four of his nine wins coming by submission and he holds a purple belt in BJJ. He also very good at working back to his feet if he does give up takedowns. The concern with Molina is that he struggles when pressured and his striking defense leads to him eating some clean shots to the head. 

Lacerda is making his UFC debut and is currently on a three-fight win streak. He is 11-1 with all of his fights ending inside the distance and he has only been out of the first round once in his career. He is an aggressive striker and dangerous on the mat with six of his 11 wins coming by submission and all of them inside the first round and holds a brown belt in BJJ.

This is a solid fight to target, as Lacerda’s win condition is an early finish while Molina will likely take over in Rounds 2 and 3 with the potential for a late finish as well or a high-paced striking decision. Molina by decision is the official pick but I would plan to be overweight on Lacerda as I expect the field will not own him enough and he does have real finishing potential. 

Jai Herbert vs. Khama Worthy

Herbert, -180; Worthy, +155, DraftKings Sportsbook

Herbert is coming off a second-round submission loss to Renato Moicano his last time out in June. He is 0-2 in the UFC but has faced stiff competition. Of his 13 career fights, just one of them have gone to decision and all three of his losses have ended inside the distance. He is a powerful striker but does not throw enough volume on the feet and has some durability concerns for the way he likes to fight. 

Worthy is coming off a first-round knockout to Jamie Mullarkey back at UFC 260. Worthy is a powerful striker with nine of his 16 wins coming by knockout. However, similar to Herbert, he has some serious durability issues. He has been knocked out seven times in his career and five of those came inside the first round.

Due to both fighters’ style and their durability concerns, I expect these two to stand and bang until someone goes to sleep. This is another strong fight to target as I am expecting the winner to win by knockout early in the fight. Herbert by knockout is the official pick.

Laureano Staropoli vs. Jamie Pickett

Staropoli, -240; Pickett, +195, DraftKings Sportsbook

Staropoli is coming off a decision loss to Roman Dolidze in June where he was taken down five times and controlled for nearly 10 minutes of the fight. He is now on a three-fight losing streak and the two UFC wins that he has are against fighters that are no longer with the promotion. He is a flashy kickboxer that will throw spinning head kicks and spinning elbows along with fast combinations when his opponents try to close distance. The concern with Staropoli is that he needs to keep the fight at range to convincingly win rounds and even then, does not overwhelm his opponents with damage or volume. Additionally, his takedown defense continues to plague him at just 52% and was a key factor in him losing his last three fights. 

Pickett is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Jordan Wright in May. He is currently 0-2 in the UFC, but I still feel like he is being slept on in this matchup. He will be at a disadvantage in terms of speed and technicality. But he is going to be much longer with a nine-inch reach advantage. He is also a good wrestler and has looked to wrestle in all his fights and I expect him to have success doing so against Staropoli. Pickett is also a brown belt in BJJ and the better submission grappler and Staropoli loves to give his back when working back to his feet.

It is possible Pickett gets stuck at range and gets pieced up on the feet, but I have interest in the bigger fighter with the grappling upside who should be able to land takedowns and he will be one of the lowest owned fighters on the slate. Pickett by decision is the official pick. 

Tabatha Ricci vs. Maria de Oliveira Neta

Ricci, -225; Oliveira, +185, DraftKings Sportsbook

Ricci is coming off a knockout loss to Manon Fiorot in her UFC debut in June. I am not going to fault her as that was a horrible matchup moving up a weight class on short notice and was an expected outcome. She is a well-rounded prospect as she is a competent striker but shines when she goes to the mat. She typically looks to mix in the takedowns and has good top control and is a dangerous submission grappler and holds a black belt in BJJ and Judo.

“Neta” Oliveira is making her UFC debut and is currently on a two-fight win streak. Seven of her 12 victories have come by knockout, but her record is extremely padded as she has only beaten two fighters with a winning record, and they were both very inexperienced. She has also shown she could be taken down and controlled on the mat and has lost by submission twice on the regional scene.

I expect Ricci to be the better fighter in every area, but the takedowns should be there for her, and she likely finds a finish on the mat. Ricci by submission is the official pick, and she is a solid target this week on DraftKings. 

Mason Jones vs. David Onama

Jones, -550; Onama, +375, DraftKings Sportsbook

Jones is coming off a no contest against Alan Patrick in June after an accidental eye poke that resulted in the fight being stopped. However, Jones was dominating the fight and nearly finished Patrick prior to the eye poke. He is an aggressive striker with legitimate knockout power with his last two victories coming by first-round knockout. 

Onama is making his UFC debut on just a few days’ notice and is coming off a first-round knockout just two weeks ago. He is 8-0 with all of his wins coming inside the distance and trains out of Glory MMA with head coach, James Krause. Onama does have power and is an opportunistic finisher, but this is a massive step up in competition on short notice for him and likely too tall of a task.

Jones by knockout is the official pick and Onama is simply a low-owned leverage play in the main GPP on DraftKings if running multiple lineups only. 

Jun Yong Park vs. Gregory Rodriguez

Park, -115; Rodriguez, -105, DraftKings Sportsbook

Jun Yong Park is coming off a majority decision victory over Tafon Nchukwi in May. He is currently on a three-fight win streak although the level of competition could be better. Park is a decent minute winner in that he has a good jab and is competent on the feet but will also mix in takedowns over fighters that he has a wrestling advantage over. 

Rodriguez is coming off a decision victory in his UFC debut over Dusko Todorovic in June. He is an aggressive striker and very physical which could be an issue for Park if he cannot outmuscle him to land takedowns. Rodriguez is also a black belt in BJJ and should have a grappling advantage on the mat.

I do not have a strong read on this fight, but I favor the power and aggressiveness of Rodriguez to be winning the fight early. His durability is a concern and Park is possible to take over later in the fight, but I would be a little surprised. Rodriguez by decision is the official pick. 

Nicolae Negumereanu vs. Ike Villanueva

Negumereanu, -220; Villanueva, +180, DraftKings Sportsbook

Negumereanu is coming off a split-decision victory over Aleksa Camur his last time out in June. I gained a lot of notoriety for being the only person in the world touting him in that matchup, but he was a big underdog in that spot and now we see him as a heavy favorite, which seems like it could be an overcorrection. He is very hittable on the feet as he does not move his head, but he does carry some power with a big overhand right and six of his 10 career wins have come by knockout. 

Villanueva is coming off a second-round knockout loss to Marcin Prachnio in June. He is 1-3 in the UFC with all three losses coming by knockout. Villanueva is an early knockout or bust fighter and he should have his opportunity early in this fight. However, outside of an early knockout, he will fade quickly as he will be at a cardio disadvantage and a massive wrestling and grappling disadvantage as well.

If Negumereanu comes in and looks to wrestle right away, he likely dominates. Negumereanu by TKO is the official pick, but you should get exposure to both sides of this high variance matchup. 

 

 

Francisco Trinaldo vs. Dwight Grant

Trinaldo, -130; Grant, +110, DraftKings Sportsbook

Trinaldo is coming off a decision loss to Muslim Salikhov his last time out in June, which snapped a three-fight win streak. Trinaldo is always tough for me to get a read on because I always want to think he is slowing down and over the hill at 43 years old, but he continues to prove that narrative wrong despite the recent loss. Another reason I find it hard to back Trinaldo is that he is hardly ever winning rounds convincingly as he is low volume on the feet and does not mix in his grappling enough. 

Grant is coming off a split-decision victory over Stefan Sekulic in April. He is also a fighter that is tough for me to trust. He is going to be much longer than Trinaldo and will sport a six-inch reach advantage in this matchup and is likely to land more volume on the feet. However, if Trinaldo tries to wrestle here then he could have some success landing takedowns and will be the better grappler.

Both fighters are likely past their prime and I have concerns on both sides but I lean with Trinaldo to edge a competitive decision. Trinaldo by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target on this slate. 

Seung Woo Choi vs. Alex Caceres

Choi, -300; Caceres, +235, DraftKings Sportsbook

Choi is coming off an exciting first-round knockout victory over Julian Erosa in June. He comes from a high level Muay Thai background and is technical striker with legitimate knockout power as six of his 10 career wins have come by knockout. He looks to be improving each time out as well as we have started to see him mix in the clinch work and wrestling as well. The main concern with Choi is his striking defense. As good as his offense is, he does not move his head much and is there to be hit. Although that may not be an issue in this matchup as Caceres is not necessarily known for his punching power.

Caceres is a longtime UFC veteran and currently on a four-fight win streak with a decision win over Kevin Croom his last time out in February. Caceres is likely the better submission grappler here, but I doubt he has the physicality or the wrestling to take Choi down and control him. Additionally, he will be outclassed on the feet as I expect Choi to walk him down and try to unleash.

Caceres will need to make Choi respect his power to stop the forward pressure, but I am not convinced that he can. Choi by decision is the official pick but he has upside for a knockout as well. 

Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Joselyne Edwards

Clark, -145; Edwards, +125, DraftKings Sportsbook

Clark is coming off a vicious beating of Sarah Alpar her last time out in September. She dominated every minute of the fight before eventually getting the KO stoppage victory. 

She is a high-output fighter that will throw in volume and occasionally mix in the takedowns when she can. However, all three of her UFC wins came against fighters no longer with the promotion and she seemingly was outclassed when facing tougher competition. 

Edwards is coming off a decision loss to Karol Rosa in February. Funny story is Edwards actually lost a split-decision to Alpar in LFA back in 2018. It means basically nothing but notable that they both fought the same opponent and looked levels apart despite the improvements Edwards has made since then. She is also a striker and will look to keep the fight standing and spam kicks. She struggles to defend takedowns and gave up four against Rosa and even one in her UFC debut to Wu Yanan.

I expect this fight to play out primarily on the feet where I see it as even with Edwards having a six-inch reach advantage but Clark being the better boxer of the two. It is the wrestling and the possibility of takedowns from Clark where I have to favor her in this matchup. Landing even one takedown is enough to swing competitive striking rounds in her favor. Clark by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target on DraftKings this week. 

Grant Dawson vs. Rick Glenn

Dawson, -365; Glenn, +280, DraftKings Sportsbook

Dawson is coming off a third-round knockout victory over Leonardo Santos in March. He is 17-1 and currently on an eight-fight win streak. He is a relentless grappler that will repeatedly rag doll his opponents to the ground until he eventually breaks them. His striking defense is a concern as he is hittable on the feet and struggles if he cannot land the takedowns. 

Glenn is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Joaquim Silva in June. Coming into that fight, Glenn was coming off nearly a three-year layoff and major surgery, so it was good to see him get a win even if we did not get to see the fight play out longer. Glenn is well-rounded and will likely be the more technical striker in there and holds a black belt in BJJ. However, he struggles to defend takedowns at just 66% in the UFC and Dawson is going to be aggressive in pursuing them.

Glenn will need to keep the fight standing and even in that scenario, I am not sure his edge will be enough to win minutes. More than likely, I see Dawson breaking him over the course of the fight and finding a finish in round two or three. Dawson by TKO is the official pick, and he is a strong target on DraftKings. 

Marvin Vettori vs. Paulo Costa

Vettori, -145; Costa, +125, DraftKings Sportsbook

Vettori is coming off a decision loss to middleweight champion Israel Adesanya back in June. That loss snapped a five-fight win streak since the last time Adesanya beat Vettori in 2018. He is extremely well-rounded in that he is a technical kickboxer with good striking defense but is also a capable wrestler with a decent ground game and holds a brown belt in BJJ. 

Costa is also coming off a loss to Adesanya but in September of 2020. Costa was strangely very timid in that fight and that was the last we have seen him since 2019 so I do not know what to make out of it really being that he was previously known as being very aggressive. Regardless, we know he is very powerful when he does let his hands go and 11 of his 13 career wins have come by knockout. He has shown strong takedown defense over the course of his career, but it is likely to be tested here as Vettori is good at mixing up his approach and should have the wrestling advantage.

Costa’s best path to victory is to come out like his old aggressive self and try to hurt Vettori early in the fight. Vettori is historically durable though and if Costa cannot hurt him early then Vettori will tax his cardio and take over as the fight goes on which has me favoring him in this matchup. Vettori by TKO is the official pick but either fighter should score well in a win.