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UFC Vancouver: Maia vs Condit Breakdown

Dan Tom

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Demian2

Demian Maia (23-6)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 38 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: Submission win / Matt Brown (5-14-16)
  • Camp: Demian Maia BJJ (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Excellent

Supplemental info:
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   2x BJJ World Champion
+   2007 ADCC Winner
+   11 Submission wins
+   10 first round finishes
+   17-2 w/at least 1 takedown scored
+   Excellent wrestling ability
^   Solid hips, under-hooks, & takedowns
+   Crafty leg dexterity
^   Uses to pass guard/complete passes
+   Superb top game/control
^   84 passes in 23 fights
+   Steady & smooth transitions to submissions
^   Actively looks for backs
+   Improved striking
^   Underrated left hand
+   Deceptively strong inside the clinch
–    Propensity to fade late
^   Gas tank bares watching

 

UFC 195: Lawler v Condit

Carlos Condit (30-9)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 32 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 76″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Robbie Lawler (1-2-16)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC Interim Champion
+   WEC Welterweight Title
+   15 KO victories
+   13 Submission wins
+   21 first round finishes
+   Consistent pace & pressure
^   Well conditioned & strikes w/volume
+   Diverse kicking attacks
+   Dangerous knees & elbows
+   Improved boxing & head movement
^   Utilizes unique angles
+   Steadily improved wrestling
–    Traditionally struggles defending takedowns
^    40% Takedown defense
+   Good guard retention/get-up urgency
+   Active from the bottom
^   Constantly attempts sweeps & sub attempts
+/-Sometimes starts slow
^   Steadily comes strongly

Summary:

The main event on FOX is a classic styles match as two of the division’s most respected competitors in Demain Maia and Carlos Condit collide. Mentioning the possibility of retirement following his fight-of-the-year candidate with Robbie Lawler last January, the Natural Born Killer has apparently rethought his stance as he now meets Demian Maia. Arguably the division’s top contender next to Stephen Thompson, Maia will look to cement his case by extending his five-fight winning streak against a dangerous fan-favorite and perennial Top-5 fighter.

Although this fight has much more depth than your typical “striker versus grappler” matchup, Carlos Condit has the clear advantages on paper for however long this contest remains on the feet. Although the New Mexican native may not lean heavily on his in patent kicking diversities, his renown knees, and elbows will undoubtedly be at play. More importantly, I feel the improvements within Condit’s boxing and footwork(which I suspect is in thanks to Brandon Gibson) will be crucial in keeping him a threat standing. Despite Demian not likely exchanging with Condit(as this has been his trend since dropping to welterweight), the Brazilian has some legitimate striking tools that could serve him well in this fight.

Even though Carlos has made excellent improvements in his offensive head movement, his head still tends to go upright upon retreat as he slightly leans to his right side. This tendency has traditionally made Carlos more open to left hands as opposed to anything else. With Maia’s straight left being his most effective strike, expect the Brazilian to look for this on the feet when aiming to get Condit’s attention or respect. Aside from that, let us not get too hung up in the striking realm as this fight will likely be decided by the grappling exchanges. With that in mind, it can be easy to see this as a trap fight for Carlos as wrestling pressure has seemingly been the common culprit in most of his defeats.

When you consider that Maia is 17-2 in the UFC when able to score a minimum of just 1-takedown, it is hard not to see a path for the Brazilian to take against Condit. However, numbers do not always tell the story in our sport as there are multiple takeaways here. Although 84-passes in 23-fights looks impressive, it could also suggest that Maia can dominate from bell-to-bell within his own realm and still not produce a finish. Now that is no critique on Demian, as his style secures him rounds and is exciting for grappling fans such as myself to watch. That said, Maia’s style of grueling but steady pressure has gotten him into trouble late in fights where he could not find the finish.

Although those trends may be troubling, you cannot deny the mastery in which Maia operates. Most impressive are the evolutions of his wrestling, as Demian has found a style that melds his MMA and Jiu-jitsu game into one solid sword. Not only does Demian wield an improved reactive shot that serves him well against aggressive strikers, but it is his ability to produce results against the cage that will likely come to light in this fight. Deceptively strong inside the clinch, Maia demonstrates an excellent use of under-hooks and a preternatural ability to keep his hips in close. What is most fun to watch is the slick leg dexterity in which Demian utilizes to finish his takedowns, as his background in Judo and Karate show themselves in these spaces of sweeps & trips.

Despite Condit’s quiet improvements to his takedown defense under grappling guru Ricky Lundell, I do not doubt that Maia will be successful in getting this fight to the floor on multiple occasions. That said, it is the skill sets & knowledge that a coach like Ricky Lundell can bring to Carlos that are so valuable, as we have seen steady improvements in their subsequent camps together. Often compared to Maia’s previous opponent in Matt Brown, Carlos conducts himself in an aggressive manner from the bottom, as he falls back on his breakneck pace to eventually win out fights should his submissions fail. That said, I feel Condit offers a much more technical and diverse game than Brown(which is no slight on Brown), as I feel Carlos’ guard-game may be a crucial stifling point in this fight.

Like many long framed grapplers, Condit poses the problems you would expect from the bottom, whether it is high-guard options or the angles in which he can get leverage on his submission attempts. However, it is the intricacies of Carlos’ guard game that will at the very least give Demian a different look than he has been accustom to in the UFC. Not just using his long legs to climb into attack positions from the guard, Condit is one of the few guard players north of the UFC’s lightweight division, who maintains persistent efforts in hip elevation and debasing his opposition. Preferring to operate out of a guard variation known as K-control, Carlos will under-hook his opponent’s leg as he looks to slide his shin across the belly and up into the chest of his opposition. This combination allows Condit to compromise the base of his opponent while opening up the offense on his terms. Assisting this effort is Carlos’ free hand, in which he will either use to throw strategic strikes(in a baiting effort) or help win the defensive/offensive grip battles.

From here, Condit has a multitude of submission threats from triangle chokes to leg-locks or options of sweeps and scrambles. Although I feel that K control is a great tool for MMA in the appropriate hands, I am sure that Maia should have an answer for this as well as any other guard type you throw at him. That said, I believe that this guard style is the antithesis to Maia’s top game in regards to styles that will make him work. Similar to the great Rickson Gracie, Demian focuses his game on the mastery of fundamentals. Although you cannot understate the effectiveness of his approach, the Brazilian often takes the same path each time when advancing from topside.

Maintaining consistent pressure, Demain will elevate his hips as he utilizes his leg dexterity to complete leg-weaves or knee-slice passes. With Condit’s guard style providing him with an initial wall to work behind, it will be interesting to see how he uses this space as his activity will likely make Maia earn his advances. In my opinion, the key junction in this fight will take place within the scrambles created by these scenarios. Although Carlos is one of the best at getting back to his feet, he tends to turtle out sometimes, which could give your back to a specialist like Maia. That is where I feel Ricky Lundell’s presence will come in handy, as Carlos now shows the hand-fighting and wrestling awareness that may help him navigate these spots.

Though Condit’s slow burn will likely cost him takedowns as well as rounds early on, I feel that the on-paper advantages of Maia will start to unwind should he not find a finish by the third(a round where he traditionally tires). We all talk about a “1st round Rumble” or “5th round Robbie“, but my favorite MMA trope is the “3rd round, Carlos Condit”. Whether we are talking about the head kick landed on St. Pierre, the momentum shifts against Diaz & Lawler, or the demon that came out to fight Johny Hendricks in their final frame, a “3rd round Carlos Condit” is a consistent and dangerous being. Please do not mistake my enthusiasm for bias, as a dominate performance and finish by Demian would not surprise me, nor should it surprise you as I caution playing this one. Although I do believe that Maia has the tools to win the majority of the battles, I feel that Condit will have the proper intangibles to win the war.

Official Pick: Condit – Inside the distance

 

Anthony2

Anthony Pettis (18-5)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 29 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Edson Barboza (4-23-16)
  • Camp: Roufusport/Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC Lightweight Champion
+   WEC Lightweight Title
+   6 Submission wins
+   9 KO victories
+   12 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Athletic & Agile
+/-Works along the outside
^   Moves well laterally
+   Accurate shot selection
+   Diverse kicking game
^   Dangerous body attacks
+   Excellent feint utilization
+   Active bottom game
+   Improved takedown defense
^   Uses the cage to stand
–    Struggles w/wrestling pressure
+/-1st fight at featherweight

 

DoBronx4

Charles Oliveira (21-5)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 26 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 74″
  • Last Fight: Submission win / Myles Jury (12-19-15)
  • Camp: Macaco Gold Team (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Brown Belt BJJ
+   Multiple Grappling Accolades
+   13 Submission wins
+   6 KO victories
+   10 first round finishes
+   Solid Muay Thai arsenal
^   Dangerous knees & elbows
+   Accurate left hook
+/-Reverts to shell-defense
–    Upright head & posture
^   Body shot availabilities
+   Underrated wrestling
+   Crafty clinch game
^   Favors takedown attempts here
+/-Will pull guard
^   Deadly off of his back
+   Superb transition grappler
^   Diverse submission acumen

Summary:

The co-main event for UFC on FOX is a promising predicament as the former lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis drops down to featherweight to meet Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira. Coming off of a 3-fight losing skid, Anthony Pettis is searching for a career rejuvenation at a weight-class he has long talked about visiting. Looking to the play the spoiler, former lightweight Charles Oliveira will once again welcome another fighter to the division.

Despite Pettis coming down a division, he will be the smaller and shorter man on fight night. Not only that, but Oliveira is accustom to fighting larger men as most of his UFC competition have been current or former lightweights. That said, Pettis should have the advantage for as long as this fight stays standing. Although Oliveira has a decent Muay Thai game, he has shown little adjustments over the course of his UFC tenor. Although he has made some improvements in the areas of footwork and defense, the long framed Brazilian naturally seems to keep upright in both his approaches and retreats.

Consistently reverting to a shell defense, Charles has traditionally been susceptible to body shots. In fact, 2 of 3 TKO losses sustained by Oliveira were triggered by body shots that seemingly crippled the Brazilian. Whether or not this specific fragility is due to the issues Oliveira has had making the weight(officially missing the limit 3 times at featherweight), body kicks will be the strike to look out for considering Pettis throws them with impunity. However, Anthony may not throw them so liberally given that body kicks are the easiest to get turned into takedowns(as seen in Oliveira’s last fight with Jury).

In my opinion, Pettis will still have an edge in these scenarios given his speed, and the fact that Charles carries himself so upright that you rarely see him in a position to capitalize. Regardless of Anthony’s advantages standing, the key junction in this fight will take place inside the clinch. A place where Oliveira prefers to score his takedowns from, Anthony’s anti-clinching abilities will be put to the test here. Despite losing close scorecards due to control time in his contest with Eddie Alvarez, Pettis displayed steady improvements to his defense and base maintenance.

Pettis did an efficient job of using the fence to stand, as the found a nice balance between not fully turtling out nor fully giving his head in the process. Given Oliveira’s back taking tendencies and his acumen for chokes off a front headlock, Pettis will need to be on point when looking to get back to his feet. With Anthony having a similar taste for submissions in regards to guillotine & guard attacks, he should have an inherent edge in sniffing out the sneaky Brazilian’s attempts. That said, it is not the first attempt of Oliveira you need to worry about, as the Brazilian chains submissions like he is firing them from an M-60 machine gun.

One-after-another, Oliveira needs only but a limb to initiate his sticky style of clinching, as Charles will use his diverse approach to force his opposition into poor decision making. Capitalizing on the drop of a dime, Oliveira will dive onto a submission as his attacks come in interweaving waves. I do not doubt that Pettis has the technical wherewithal to withstand as I’m sure he is well-trained, but the real question that underlines this fight for me is his mental state. With the main stretch of his UFC career coming in the form of quick nights at the office, it is not hard to see why Anthony got so high to take this fall in the first place. Still well within his prime at the age of 29, Pettis has not suffered the traditional miles that many others have thus far in his career.

With his physical capabilities arguably in full working order, I feel that the psychology of Pettis will be more of a factor in this fight than the actual weight cut. Although Anthony tends to operate near the fence(the preferred place for Oliveira’s takedowns), I feel that his lateral movement and anti-clinch acumen will allow him to get off in the big cage. Assuming that Anthony comes in clear and operating at a minimum of 75%, I suspect he will find a finish before the final bell. However, I would be lying to you if I said I was confident in picking Pettis given his recent trend. With Oliveira being more live than the odds suggest, I recommend caution playing this one as I’ll be sitting back and enjoying the fireworks.

Official Pick: Pettis – Inside the distance

 

PVZ1

Paige VanZant (6-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age: 24 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 65″
  • Last Fight: Sub loss / Rose Namajunas (12-10-15)
  • Camp: Team Alpha Male (Sacramento, CA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   BJJ Blue Belt
+   2 Submission wins
+   1 TKO victory
+   1 first round finish
+   Relentless pace & pressure
^   Excellent conditioning
+   Aggressive clinch game
^   Dirty boxes/head & arm tosses
+   Solid scrambling ability
^   Consistently fights for position
+/-Developing striking game
–    Lacks head movement
^   Counter availabilities

 

UFC Fight Night: Rawlings v Ham

Bec Rawlings (7-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 27 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 64″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Seo Hee Ham (3-19-16)
  • Camp: Alliance MMA (San Diego, CA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   TUF 20 Alum
+   4 Submission wins
+   1 TKO victory
+   4 first round finishes
+   Aggressive pace & pressure
+   Improved boxing
^   Favors L. hooks & R. uppercuts
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Improved takedown defense
+   Active top game
^   Relentless ground striker
+   Struggles w/wrestling pressure
^   Gas tank bares watching

Summary:

In what should be a fun fight in the strawweight division, Paige VanZant squares off with Bec Rawlings. Coming off a brief hiatus in which Paige participated in ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”, the young VanZant will look to bounce back from her first UFC loss suffered last December. Seeking to play the spoiler is Bec Rawlings, an Australian contestant of TUF 20 who will look to build some more momentum since coming away with a win last March.

Starting off on the feet, I suspect Rawlings should hold a clear technical advantage in regards to striking. An often underrated striker, the Australian has made improvements to her overall game since moving shop to Alliance MMA in San Diego. Despite not kicking as much as Paige, nor most of her opposition, Rawlings does deceptively well at range once establishing her in-and-out rhythms. Working behind an improved jab, Bec often opts to finish her combinations with left hooks and uppercuts. Considering that VanZant has yet to display defensive head movement of note, expect the Australian’s punches to be live and seeking so long as this fight stays standing.

Despite traditionally eating shots on her way in, VanZant turns into a Tazmanian Devil in regards to her work rate on the inside. A decent dirty boxer herself, Paige will quickly change her agenda to takedowns as she does a good job of getting her opposition against the cage. Regardless of her success in grounding Bec, expect Paige to push for these positions as Rawlings has typically struggled here in the past. With VanZant likely looking to ground Bec, she will need to be careful in the way in which she favors going for takedowns. Often over-committing to hip tosses or head & arm throws, Paige tends to expose her back when failing upon executions.

Although VanZant is arguably the better scrambler, Bec shows a knack for taking backs in those situations where she can find her opponents turtled. That said, we have seen the Paige is no easy out in regards to submission attempts and her ability to take a shot. Despite Bec being no slouch with her ground striking acumen from topside, I feel that the scrambling ability of Paige will expose the previous problems of Rawlings’ career against girls who can out-position & scramble her with consistency. Although I am officially picking VanZant, I strongly disagree with the current betting lines as I feel this is closer to a pick em fight. With Rawlings’ power, size and experience being making her a live dog, I would caution any strong plays either way for the current asking prices.

Official Pick: VanZant – Decision

 

Lauzon2

Joe Lauzon (26-11)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 32 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Diego Sanchez (7-9-16)
  • Camp: Lauzon MMA (Boston, MA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Boxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Purple Belt BJJ
+   8 KO victories
+   17 first round finishes
+   17 Submission wins
+   Fast starter
+   Improved boxing
^   Accurate left hook
+/-Favors shell defense
^   Body shot & uppercut available
+   Underrated wrestling
+/-Aggressive transitional grappler
^   Sometimes gives position for submissions
+   Dangerous submission variety
+/-4-5 against southpaws

 

Miller1

Jim Miller (26-8)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 33 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 75.5″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Takanori Gomi (7-9-16)
  • Camp: Miller Bros MMA (New Jersey)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   4 KO victories
+   10 first round finishes
+   14 Submission wins
+/-Aggressive pace & pressure
^   Gas tank bares watching
+   Dangerous short elbows
+   Accurate check right hook
+   Solid leg/inside leg kick
+   Deadly submissions in transition
^   Will sometimes sacrifice position
+/-Willingness to fight from bottom
^   Active & attacking guard
+/-2-4 in last 6 fights

Summary:

Kicking off the main card on FOX is a rematch between two of the most beloved lightweights to compete in the division, as Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller square off one more time. Since their epic battle four years ago at UFC 155, both men have gone on to trade wins & losses in their careers as that bout clearly took something out of each competitor. Between the noted health issues of each fighter and their respective family members in last few years, it is not hard to see why consistency has been hard to come by for either man. That said, I am going to assume that each fighter is near top form as their gameness is unquestionable.

Starting off on the feet, I expect Miller’s Muay Thai arsenal to carry it’s same inherent advantages as before. A southpaw who celebrates his stylistic edges, Miller does a good job at finding the inside angle to deliver his left crosses and short elbows. We saw Jim excel early on in their first meeting as he found his rhythm faster than Joe did, which allowed him to open up a cut and get going. Usually following up his left hands with a cleanup hitting check right hook, Miller’s vicious inside leg kick was the real key to punctuating his punches. Using the inside leg kick as an entry into his combination work, Miller was able to off balance Lauzon from the jump and get the edge in exchanges.

Although he is also known as one of the division’s more aggressive fighters, Joe Lauzon is also one of the most intelligent as I will be looking forward to seeing what adjustments he will make in the rematch. Primarily drawing from a boxing based toolkit, Joe has some dangerous elbows of his own that I am sure he will be looking to use. That said, I suspect we may see more knees and punches to the body of Miller. Not only did Joe have the most success here in regards to striking with Jim, but we have seen Joe steadily develop these tools more since that fight.

Although Miller has been susceptible to body shots in the past, most of his trouble standing stems from his control of the center lane. Whether it is the jabs of Nate Diaz or the check knees from Cowboy Cerrone, Jim’s striking arsenal has shown to struggle when forced to fight at his opponents preferred range. So regardless of Lauzon’s approach, he will likely need to establish his range down to center lane to build on any success he finds. As far as defenses go, Lauzon is traditionally the more hittable man as he has a tendency to plot and revert to a shell defense.

With these habits opening up Lauzon to body shots of his own, I the suspect striking traffic will once again become a two-way street. With the striking portion of this fight likely going to the man who establishes himself first, it will be interesting to which fighter can exploit the ground stanzas in their favor. With both men renown for their submission grappling abilities, we saw an exciting array of back-and-forth scrambles in their last outing. As has been accustom to their careers, each fighter employs an aggressive style of transitional grappling that can quickly turn south should a finish not materialize.

However, both Jim and Joe have seemingly noted this side effect to their style as they have each made adjustments in the subsequent years. Demonstrating a more measured approach from their top control to overall output, Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon have each shown veteran savvy in regards to being realistic about their limitations. With each fighter difficult to submit when sober, I suspect the exchanges will be close as it may come down to whoever ends up on top. With Lauzon showing more of a trend for control as Miller shows a propensity to fight from his back, I give a slight edge to Joe to find his way topside.

Considering where these two fan-favorites are at this stage of their career, it is hard to ask for anything else as these fighters have given more than we can imagine. With both Joe and Jim still dealing with injuries that have plagued them from their first fight, all I can hope is that these two come away safely here. With an official pick being all but a formality for me in regards to this fight, I will be siding with Lauzon this time as I feel his trends are a bit more reliable. That said, there is no certainty in this matchup as I feel it is just as close as their first encounter, albeit for different reasons.

Official Pick: Lauzon – Decision

Preliminary Card Predictions:

  • Alvey def. Casey
  • Bochniak def. Barzola
  • Di Chirico def. McLellan
  • Campbell def. Silva
  • Laprise def. Gouti
  • Hunter def. Janes
  • Kennedy def. Ricci

Recommended Plays:

Draft Kings recommended rosters:

 

Team #1: $49,000.00

-Alessio Di Chirico ($11,000.00)
-Sam Alvey ($10,200.00)
-Carlos Condit ($10,000.00)
-Charles Oliveira ($9,000.00)
-Shane Campbell ($8,800.00)

Team Summary:

For my first DraftKings recommended roster, I went with Alessio Di Chirico, Sam Alvey, and Carlos Condit as my high tier picks. Alessio Di Chirico is one of Italy’s more promising prospects, as he shows the early signs of a transition game that is reminiscent to a young St. Pierre. With his wrestling being the most impressive part of his game, the Italian demonstrates a learning curve that looks promising. With Garreth McClellan being a jack of all trades and master of none type fighter, this seems like a matchup that is meant to showcase Alessio as he bounces back from a competitive loss in his debut. Even if the Italian doesn’t find a finish, his accuracy and takedown acumen will likely rack up points in a clear decision.

For my second high tier pick, I went with Sam Alvey as he carries the 3rd highest average in regards to point scorers on the card. Although Kevin Casey has a knack for finding himself in strange affairs, I feel his downtrend has been a clear one as Sam presents a stylistic challenge regardless. A heavy-handed knockout artist who can defend the takedown, I feel Alvey finds a finish given how hittable Casey has shown to be on the feet. For the final high-tier option, I went with Carlos Condit as he is a main-event participant and also the highest average point earner on the card. For the reasons listed in my breakdown above, I feel Carlos can come through with a win as he usually does so in style.

For my low-tier options, I elected to go with Charles Oliveira & Shane Campbell. Although I officially picked Pettis, I stated in my breakdown above that Charles Oliveira is always a live dog. Given Pettis’ downtrend and traditional struggles with grappling pressure, an upset produced by Oliveira will likely score you big should you make a spot for the Brazilian. Lastly, I opted to go with Shane Campbell as I feel he is a supporting cast staple at the price of $8,800.00. Although his opponent Felipe Silva is a real undefeated threat who can strike with Shane, this battle of former Muay Thai competitors will likely produce a finish. Given that Shane has shown a more well-rounded game against higher opposition, I give the Canadian a slight edge to be the one left standing.

Team #2: $50,000.00

-Alessio Di Chirico ($11,300.00)
-Anthony Pettis ($10,400.00)
-Sam Alvey ($10,200.00)
-Demian Maia ($9,600.00)
-Shane Campbell ($8,800.00)

Team Summary:

For my second recommended DraftKings roster, I went with Alessio Di Chirico, Sam Alvey, and Anthony Pettis. For the reasons listed in the team summary above, I feel that Alessio Di Chirico and Sam Alvey are well worth the cost as they each are in matchups that are stylistically favorable. For the final high-tier pick, I went with Anthony Pettis as his 83% finish rate could earn you major points given Oliveira’s do-or-die sensibilities. Although that fight is on my “fights to avoid” section, it is there due to the volatility for a finish on either side as I’m siding with Anthony officially.

For my low-tier picks, I elected to go with Demian Maia and Shane Campbell. For the reasons listed in the summary above, I went with Shane Campbell as I feel he is the most potent points earner on the bottom of the list. Although I officially picked Condit, I have no disillusions that Demian Maia can win this fight as I stated this in the breakdown above. As a main event competitor, even a vintage Maia performance should earn you a decent finishing spot at the end of the night if the Brazilian emerges victorious.

Props worth looking at(5Dimes.eu):

-Sam Alvey ITD: -105 (1.0 Unit)
-VanZant/Rawlings over 2 1/2: -270 (1.5 Units)

Playable favorites for your parlays:

-Alessio Di Chirico
-Chad Laprise
-Sam Alvey

Fights to avoid:

-Jeremy Kennedy vs Alessandro Ricci
-Anthony Pettis vs Charles Oliveira
-Shane Campbell vs Felipe Silva

For the complete analysis of future & past UFC events visit MixedMartialAnalyst.com and for future breakdowns & your latest in worldwide MMA news, stay tuned & follow @MMALatestnws MMALatestNews.com

 

Onnit Primal Bells

breakdown

GLORY: Redemption – Breakdown and Predictions

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Glory returns to pay-per-view today with a stacked card, featuring some of their greatest fighters. Among them are reigning champions Rico Verhoeven and Alex Pereira, as well as the return of former title holder Nieky Holzken.

In the main event, Rico puts his heavyweight title on the line against the very dangerous Jamal Ben Saddik, who defeated him 6 years ago. Rico comes into the fight riding an impressive 14-fight Glory winning streak.

The co-main event features a rematch of the 2016 Fight of the Year between light heavyweight veterans Michael ‘The Dreamcrusher’ Duut and Danyo ‘Dibuba’ Ilunga. The card is a must-see for kickboxing fans, as well as those who just love a good scrap. And with that out of the way, here’s a breakdown of some of the more interesting fight’s on Saturday’s super-card. Enjoy.

Nieky ‘The Natural’ Holzken – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Nieky Holzken vs Alim Nabiyev

Nabiyev came into Glory with a decent amount of steam behind him, but following his bout against short-notice opponent Jimmy Veinot, I honestly don’t see it. Nieky’s reign as champion was one of the best, and despite two close losses to the equally talented Cédric Doumbé, he’s still one of the best welterweights in the world today. With wins over Raymond Daniels, Joseph Valtellini, and current champion Murthel Groenhart, it’s hard to imagine Nieky having much of a problem with Nabiyev.

Expect plenty of pressure from Holzken early on. Coming off two straight losses Nieky will want to make a statement, and prove that he’s still the man to beat at 170. The liver shot will do it. Holzken will just be too much for Alim. Nabiyev has  potential and could be a contender in the future, but right now Holzken is on a whole ‘nother level. Nieky is back, and he wants that title.

Prediction: Nieky Holzken by 1st Round TKO

 

Alex 'Po Atan' Pereira

Alex ‘Po Atan’ Pereira – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Alex Pereira vs Yousri Belgaroui

Pereira’s win back at Glory 46 came as a shock to me. Simon Marcus has proven himself to be one of the best fighters in the division, and while Pereira is a solid kickboxer in his own right, I fully expected Marcus to win that one pretty easy. I was wrong. Pereira was the better man, and is now the Glory middleweight champion. But don’t expect it to last. Yousri completely shut Pereira down in there last meeting at Glory 40. And based on his last performance, a first round TKO over former champ Jason Wilnis, he’s only getting better.

Pereira’s path to victory is pretty simple, strike hard and strike early. The deep waters are not a place where Alex thrives. His cardio has been questionable in the past and his vaunted knockout power diminishes as the fight goes on. If Pereira can’t put Yousri on the back foot early it’s hard to see him taking this one.

The last fight was a fairly decisive win for Belgaroui. Alex was unable to score on Yousri and was picked apart after gassing out late into the fight. Pereira is a talented striker with some serious power, but Belgaroui’s well-rounded game and superior cardio should be enough to win him the championship.

Prediction: Yousri Belgaroui by Unanimous Decision

 

Michael Dreamcrusher Duut

Michael ‘Dreamcrusher’ Duut – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Michael Duut vs Danyo Ilunga

Last year these two stole the show, putting on one of the greatest fights of the year, maybe of all-time. But can they do it again? It’s hard to say. Consistency is not a strong suit for either of these men. Following his thriller with Ilunga, Duut went on to lose his next Glory contest by disqualification due to excessive clinching, then later won a contender tournament in less than a minute (48 seconds to be exact).

Duut’s incredible power and brawler style make him a dangerous fight for just about anyone in the light heavyweight division, but his lack of defence make him an easy target. Unfortunately, Ilunga hasn’t hit a bullsye in quite some time.

Danyo comes into this fight on a whopping 7 fight losing streak, and hasn’t won a fight in Glory since 2014. On the bright side, all 7 losses have come by decision so his chin has held up. Plus Duut isn’t the most durable guy in the world, so it’s possible that Ilunga could knock him out. But I don’t see that happening. Duut is just too powerful and Ilunga isn’t the same fighter he used to be. Hopefully the fight is as great as the last one was, but don’t expect it to go to a 4th round this time. Ilunga’s on a slippery slope, and Duut’s about to cause an avalanche.

Prediciton: Michael Duut by 3rd Round KO

 

Rico The King of Kickboxing Verhoeven

Rico ‘The King of Kickboxing’ Verhoeven – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Rico Verhoeven vs Jamal Ben Saddik

Despite being the main event this was one of the easier fights to pick. Rico has looked unstoppable lately, and as much as people hate to give him credit for anything, he really is the best heavyweight in the world right now. That doesn’t mean a whole lot considering how weak the division is at the moment, but Rico is champion for a reason.

The rest of the heavyweights just aren’t on his level. ‘Big Ben’ included. Jamal’s last fight against Guto Inocente was a total snoozefest, and if not for his rivalry with Rico he probably wouldn’t even be in the title picture. Badr Hari better get his act together cause Rico’s running out of opponents.

The only advantage I see Jamal having is his power. Rico is faster, more precise, and his striking is more diverse. Again, this is a heavyweight contest so anything can happen, but Jamal hasn’t KO’d a world-class opponent since he fought ‘Braddock’ 2 years ago. Since then, Rico has knocked-out Benjamin Adegbuyi, ‘Braddock’, Bigfoot Silva, and broke Badr’s arm earning him a TKO victory. Rico’s the better fighter, simple as that. And no amount of chest hair is going to change that.

Prediction: Rico Verhoeven by 5th Round KO

All images used in this article are accredited to GLORY Kickboxing

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UFC 218: Holloway vs Aldo 2 Main Card Predictions and Analysis

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The passing of the torch. A usual occurrence in combat sports. There comes a time when the old guard has to step down and let the new generation take its place. UFC 218 is all about the passing of the torch. Holloway-Aldo 2, Overeem-Ngannou, Alvarez-Gaethje, the card is chock full of young hungry fighters looking to make a statement against their aging counterparts. But don’t expect the old lions to give up without a fight. Aldo is still a world-class striker and Eddie’s still got some tread on the tires. And at the age of 37, Overeem is still one of the most dangerous heavyweights in the world today.

Max Holloway is a perfect representative of the new generation. He’s scrappy, well-rounded, and will fight whoever you put in front of him. He’s got the fire. So do Ngannou, Gaethje, and the rest of the young guys. Aldo hasn’t had that fire in a long time. Sure he’s still a great fighter,‌ but in his last few fights, he’s lacked that burning passion he used to have. Aldo has all the tools to beat Holloway, but does he have the drive? Does the fire still burn, or was it put out long ago? That’s what we’re going to find out come Saturday.

 

Tecia Torres vs Michelle Waterson

This is such a weird fight. Torres’ climb to the top has been impressively mediocre. She has wins over quality opponents like Angela Hill, Felice Herrig, and Paige VanZant. However, with just a single finish to her credit, Tecia hasn’t given the fans a reason to pay attention to her. Waterson is the complete opposite. She has only gone to decision twice and is one of the more popular fighters in the division. However, injuries and losses have prevented Waterson from gaining any real momentum.

As far as the fight goes I really don’t know what to expect. Waterson is fairly inconsistent and Torres is so consistent it hurts. My assumption would be that Waterson has the better ground game, so if anyone’s going to take it to the mat it will be her. Torres has the better overall stand-up game but doesn’t possess the same finishing ability of the Karate Hottie. My guess is that this one stays on the feet with Torres pushing the pace early, then getting caught by a powerful strike from Waterson that puts her down for good.

Prediction: Michelle Waterson by 2nd Round TKO

 

Eddie Alvarez vs Justin Gaethje

How the hell did Cejudo-Pettis get billed higher than this? Alvarez vs Gaethje has the potential to be the Forrest-Bonnar of the modern era. Both men are aggressive brawlers on the feet and strong wrestlers on the mat. I’d give the submission edge to Eddie, but that’s about it. Gaethje’s striking game is more diverse than Eddie’s is, and his youth is definitely something to consider. With 34 fights to his credit, Alvarez is certainly no spring chicken. He’s not nearly as durable as he used to be, and against a dangerous scrapper like Gaethje, that’s not a great quality.

I really wanted to go with Alvarez on this one, but facts are facts. Gaethje is younger, tougher, and most importantly, better for business. Eddie already lost to the biggest draw in the game. Money-wise he doesn’t have much to offer. Gaethje, however, is a promoters wet dream. He’s durable, dangerous, and damn fun to watch. Basically, everything Eddie used to be. Why does any of this matter? Because the judges work for the UFC. If the UFC brass wants Gaethje to win, then he will. Simple as that. Is it right? No, but business is business. And Justin Gaethje is good for business.

Prediction: Justin Gaethje by Split Decision

 

Henry Cejudo vs Sergio Pettis

This feels like too big a step up for Sergio, which is weird considering he’s ranked #4 and Cejudo is ranked #2. After Cejudo’s fight with Mighty Mouse, I wrote him off as nothing more than a sacrifice to the flyweight king. But his close fight with perennial #1 contender Joseph Benavidez and his vicious knockout over veteran submission artist Wilson Reis have shown me that Cejudo is more than just a big-headed wrestler. Henry is one of the best. If anyone in the division is taking the belt off Mighty Mouse it’s him.

Sergio is a talented kid, no doubt. Give him a few more years to develop and he could be champion one day. Unfortunately for him, the UFC doesn’t have time for that. They need flyweight contenders. If that means a few prospects have to bite the dust then so be it. I just hope Sergio doesn’t get completely outclassed and is able to make a good showing, but against a guy like Cejudo, I’m not holding my breath.

Prediction: Henry Cejudo by Unanimous Decision

 

Alistair Overeem vs Francis Ngannou

Call me crazy, but I’m still not completely sold on Cheick Kongo with dreadlocks. His only quality win is a knockout over what’s left of Andrei Arlovski. Overeem, on the other hand, has fought nothing but quality contenders in his climb back to the top, with his only loss coming against reigning champion Stipe Miocic (although some would argue they saw the tap). On paper, this is Overeem’s fight to win. Unfortunately, paper is what Overeem’s chin is made of.

Ngannou may not be as technically sound as Overeem is, but he hits just as hard, maybe harder. One good shot from the Predator and Overeem could drop like a sack of horse meat. Combine that with Overeem’s uber-cockiness and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Picking Overeem is always a gamble, but I’m willing to roll the dice on this one. It’s not gonna be pretty but Overeem’s in-and-out kickboxing and “run like hell” defensive style should be just enough to win this.

Prediction: Alistair Overeem by Unanimous Decision

 

 Max Holloway vs Jose Aldo 2

Holloway TKO’d Aldo about 6 months ago. Max is in the best form of his career. Aldo is taking the fight on short notice. I really can’t think of a good reason to pick Aldo on this one. Sure his striking is still some of the best in the division, but at this point, he’s writing checks his body can’t cash anymore. His chin has degraded significantly and his patented leg kicks are nowhere to be found. It pains me to say this because Aldo is an incredible fighter, but it’s starting to feel as though the sport is passing him by. Aldo is the past, Max is the future.

Despite just winning the title this summer, Holloway has effectively cleaned out the division. Swanson, Lamas, Stephens, Pettis, all fell to the young Hawaiian. Hell, since his loss to McGregor nobody’s even come close to beating Holloway. This doesn’t mean Max is invincible though. Frankie is still a huge threat to Max’s title, and those who sleep on Aldo are often put to sleep themselves. The road ahead of him is not an easy one, but something tells me Max is going to do just fine. It is what it is.

Prediction: Max Holloway by 2nd Round TKO

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GSP vs Robert Whittaker is Easily the Best Fight to Make at Middleweight

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GSP became the new middleweight champion of the UFC this past weekend, and many questions have been asked his way. Is he officially the greatest of all time? Who does he fight next? Does he stay at middleweight?

The G.O.A.T. conversation will never be settled completely. There will always be separation in opinions between Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, GSP, Demetrious Johnson, Fedor Emelianenko, and some even say Conor McGregor is the greatest, simply due to the fact that he is the first ever UFC champion to hold two belts simultaneously. Regardless of how that conversation is driven, the biggest question that should be the only concern at this point is the immediate plans for the new middleweight champion.

Where does GSP go next, and who does he fight?

Well, the fact of the matter is, it would not make sense for GSP to go down to the welterweight division again. 170-pounds is alive and kicking at the moment, with new stars emerging such as Darren Till and Mike Perry, to return of veterans like Carlos Condit, and also new additions to the division like Rafael dos Anjos. St-Pierre would have to stay extremely active in order to keep the division flowing.

At the age of 36 and having just returned to MMA last weekend, St-Pierre is unlikely to stay as active as he used to be when he was the king of the welterweight division. Plus, would it really make much sense for him to get on his old diet again in order to make the welterweight weight limit? He looked massive last night, all bulked up, and even seemed like the bigger fighter against Bisping, who used to fight at 205-pounds.

On the other hand, if he decides to stay at middleweight, which is what UFC president Dana White stated would happen yesterday, then there is one clear path for him to take and based on his statements on his contract, will be forced to take: Robert Whittaker.

Whittaker won the interim middleweight belt earlier this year against Yoel Romero at UFC 213, which was a razor close fight that went to Whittaker at the end of 5 rounds. Since then, Whittaker has been sidelined due to the injury he suffered during the fight, damaging his ligament in the left knee.

4 months later, he has seemed to have healed up perfectly, as he was in the arena for the madness last night and even answered a few questions from the media, stating that he is healthy now. The fight against Whittaker would be the best that the UFC could put on at this point in 185-pounds division on a few different levels.

GSP and Whittaker have a lot in common. Starting with the most obvious, they both used to fight at welterweight. Which means that neither fighter will have a massive size advantage. This brings the match up nearly even as far as physicality is concerned.

Then comes the match up itself. St-Pierre and Whittaker both represent the very definition of being ‘well-rounded’. Whittaker, although not an offensive wrestler, proved that his defensive wrestling was second to none in his fight against Romero, a former Olympic wrestler. And while GSP is not necessarily the best wrestler in pure wrestling, his ability to wrestle in MMA is phenomenal due to his timing and fight IQ, which makes this fight even more intriguing to find out whether Whittaker can defend GSP’s takedown attempts.

This fight also represents the UFC an opportunity to see a birth of a superstar. Whittaker, while not a huge talker, is a very marketable fighter especially over in Australia and New Zealand. If he is able to defeat GSP, who’s arguably the biggest draw in the history of the company, it would boost Whittaker’s popularity up an extraordinary amount. And being only 26 years old, Whittaker has the tools and potential to be a dominant champion, much like St-Pierre in his “prime”.

Booking this fight would also clear up the confusing state of the middleweight division. With Bisping’s reign as the champion coming to an end, some hope was born for other contenders in the division. Fighters like Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, Yoel Romero, Jacare Souza were having an extremely hard time getting a hold of Michael Bisping during his reign, and with a new champion now and possible unification of the belts soon, the contenders will have a goal to work for again.

The fight is one of the best fights that UFC could put on for the fans right now and one that can happen as early as February of 2018, which is when the UFC returns to Australia with a PPV. If it can come to fruition, then it will easily be one of the best fights of the year and one that all the fans can count the days down to.

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