UFC Fight Night 141: Blaydes vs Ngannou 2
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We had a tricky card to navigate last week and this card is even trickier. The top of the card has two heavyweight fights favored to finish so they are obvious GPP fights. I am not a huge fan of the top four fighters on this card at these prices because I don’t see many finishes there. Three of the top four highest priced fighters are women not favored to finish their fights.
The Main Event: Curtis Blaydes $8.7K vs Francis Ngannou $7.5K
This is a rematch, and I expect it to end with Curtis Blaydes as the winner. Ngannou won the 1st fight via a 2nd round doctor stoppage, as Blaydes’ eye was closed shut. Ngannou is coming off back to back loses and is a GPP play for his punching power. This time around I expect Blaydes to rely heavily on his wrestling and put Ngannou on his back as soon as possible, then work his ground and pound. Blaydes has very good elbows from top control and is very good at earning DK points by advancing his position in addition to the takedowns I expect. Blaydes previous UFC wins have scored very well on Draftkings and if this goes five rounds, we can see a score in the 120s or 130s if he dominates with top control. I highly recommend him in GPPs of all types and would be comfortable with him in cash.
The Co-Main Event: Sergei Pavlovich $8.2K vs Alistair Overeem $8K
When I saw this 12-0 Russian fighter matched up with Overeem, I expected Pavlovich to be a wrestler with technical striking. This is not the case. Pavlovich is a Greco-Roman wrestler who uses it as defense but not offensive wrestling. His striking is also not crisp. Pavlovich has one-punch knockout power, but I would define his style as a bit wild and his punches are wide. He will lead with a left jab and follow with a right hook from range. Alistair Overeem has better technical striking, and I like him better at his price in this matchup. This is a GPP fight as both guys are heavyweights and can get a knockout at any time, but I like Overeem to win this fight. The over/under is 1.5 rounds and I like the over in this fight.
GPP Fight: Rashad Coulter $8.4K vs Hu Yaozong $7.8K
I want to be clear, both of these guys were heavyweights and neither guy should be trusted in a cash game lineup. Both of these guys can be played in GPPs, but I like Coulter to win this fight via KO/TKO in Rounds 1 or 2. This fight is at light heavyweight so we aren’t sure exactly how their fighting styles may change, but Coulter is a heavy puncher at heavyweight and I think that punching power will follow him to this weight class. Yaozong didn’t show me much power in his striking so I think Coulter can finish this when/if he lands.
Update: Coulter missed weight by three pounds. I don’t think this changes anything. I actually like that he missed weight here although I did not see the shape he was in.
GPP Fight: Kevin Holland $9.5K vs John Phillips $6.7K
I assume most people think Holland will roll to a finish here, but he plays around too much in the octagon for my liking. At his price, we need a first-round finish. He couldn’t finish his DWTNCS fight vs Will Santiago and his opponent here has a similar build to Santiago. John Phillips hasn’t looked good, but he has power on the feet and is dangerous if Holland wants to mess around. This fight should finish and Holland has a huge advantage on the ground but I don’t trust him at his price.
GPP Fight: Louis Smolka $8.8K vs Madaerji Su $7.4K
Very interesting fight here. Su is young and very interesting at this price. Smolka lost 4 straight UFC fights before he got cut by the UFC and currently has a 3 fight winning streak outside the UFC. What I know for sure is that Smolka is going to move forward and pressure Su. I’m not sure how productive Su will be with that type of pressure. On our Quant Edge Podcast, Tyler mentioned that he likes what he sees out of Su and he expects him to be the bigger fighter, so I will be on the lookout for weigh-ins to see how he looks. Smolka is a GPP play, and I may be playing Su in cash and GPP pending his weigh-in results.
Sneaky GPP Fight: David Zawada $7.7K vs Li Jingliang $8.5K
I was very impressed with David Zawada in his last fight. Zawada filled in on one week notice and took Danny Roberts tothe distance, and I believe he won. Zawada went for a trip in the first round and Roberts ended up on top, which is the only reason Roberts got the judges to award him that decision win in my opinion. Zawada was serviceable on the feet, but I really liked his clinch and his ground work. He was very crafty on the ground looking to lock in multiple submissions. Li Jingliang is very good on the feet, but he can be taken advantage of on the ground. Jake Matthews would have submitted him if not for a blatant eye poke that kept the fight going. Jingliang is a GPP option for me and so is Zawada. I am also considering Zawada in cash.
Top Tier Leans ($9.5K-$8.7K):.
- Song Yadong $9.1K – Song Yadong is a prospect with high upside. His striking looks to be very good and his instincts in the ring are outstanding. He has three straight finishes and is 2-0 in his two UFC fights. He is only 21 years old and trains at Team Alpha Male. His opponent, Vince Morales, lost on DWTNCS and did not get a contract. He has taken this fight on very short notice, and I believe this is a great spot for Yadong to style on Morales in a fight I fully expect to stay standing. I will be considering Yadong in all GPP formats and cash.
- Pingyuan Liu $8.9K – Liu is a power puncher who has trained at Jackson Wink and Team Alpha Male in the past. For this camp, he is at Team Alpha Male, training with Song Yadong and a few other Chinese fighters. I like his power and I think he will be the thicker fighter. Martin Day will have the four-inch height advantage, but Liu will be stronger and thicker. He will be well prepared and I really liked his pressure and skill set in his UFC debut vs Damian Stasiak. Martin Day is a volume kicker and I can see Liu’s pressure taking him right out of his game.
Update: I’m not sure if this is correct or not, but the UFC website lists Liu weighing in at 135 pounds and Day weighing 126 pounds. I assume there is a mistake here.
Mid Tier Leans ($8.5K-$7.7K):
- Alex Morono $7.9K- I believe Alex Morono wins this fight anywhere it goes and I’m surprised he’s the underdog. Morono is a black belt in BJJ and is very aggressive on the feet. He will have more volume in this fight and he will be the aggressor moving forward and controlling the center of the octagon. I like Morono in GPPs and cash games.
Lower Tier Leans ($7.6K-$6.9K): These low priced female fighters are all in play. I don’t usually rank my tiered fighters but I will do it here because they can all be used as cash punts and with a solid game plan they may be able to earn a decision.
- 1. Syuri Kondo $6.8K – Without looking at lines, I finished my DraftKings tape study and picked her to win this fight. I think she will throw more volume and could have an advantage in the clinch. This will be a striking fight and I like Kondo because she pushes forward and strikes with a high volume. She is very hittable so this could be a sneaky fight to stack in cash if you want to play Yan and Kondo, Tyler actually mentioned it on the podcast and I agree.
- 2. Yanan Wu $7K – Wu is 0-1 in the UFC at 135 pounds and is dropping down to fight here at 125 pounds. She may be the bigger fighter come fight time and has fought at 132 pounds, 137 pounds, and 143 pounds. Her opponent, Lauren Mueller, is three rounds of forward moving pressure who likes to clinch but if Wu is bigger and stronger, she may have an advantage in those areas. Mueller trains at Alliance MMA and has great training partners so this would be a significant upset victory should Wu get the win here.
- 3. Jessica Aguilar $6.9K – Aguilar has a clear path to victory if she can secure takedowns. Aguilar needs to use the jab early to keep Zhang from moving forward and clinch up when Zhang enters boxing range. At this range, she can work her knees and look for takedowns as she moves Zhang towards the fence. Aguilar is a sitting duck out in space. Zhang is a finisher with 15 of her 17 wins by finish. Aguilar needs to get her clinch game going early which is why I’m concerned with Zhang paying off that hefty price.
Here is my advice for gathering information for any UFC event:
- Go to Tapology and print out the sheet for this event with all 12 fights listed.
- Listen to the Premium Podcast and make notes on the fights as you listen.
- Read this article and Tyler’s UFC article for more information.
- Check the odds on fight day to see if any line movement opens up value plays.
Types of MMA Contests on Draftkings:
- Cash (Head 2 Heads, 50/50s, triple ups)- Depending on the card I suggest 1 to 3 cash lineups. Playing cash is a slow grind. Pay attention to line movement. Some of the line movement happens early in the week but some will happen the day of the fight. When the line moves drastically that fighter will be highly owned in cash. Stacking the 5 round fights usually pays off. I like the Conor/Khabib stack here.
- Single Entry GPPs- Draftkings runs a $12, $5, and $1 single entry tournament every week. I play in them as my main source of GPP exposure. You don’t have to be overly risky here but you do want finishes here.
- Low Entry GPPs (less than 20 entries)- You play play these a few different ways. Sometimes I will spread around my exposure but other times I will work a 2 or 3 fighter core and only spread the remaining fighters in those other spots. A good place to fade fights or fighters. Draftkings runs a 20 entry $4 tourney most weeks. They also run a 3 entry $3 contest and a 3 entry $20 contest.
- High Entry GPPs (more than 20 entries)- You need the nuts to bring the big prize home!