UFC Vegas 36: Brunson vs Till Predictions (Reposted)

This afternoon in Las Vegas, we have a fun slate of fights coming to you live from the UFC Apex. It should be a slate of exciting bouts including many European prospects, including of course the middleweight headliner Darren Till.

The write-up here will provide consideration for building lineups on both FanDuel and DraftKings. It details my betting strategy for each fight and a prediction of what kind of bout we see.

When building your lineups here are a few things to consider. Pricing differs for most fighters making some better value on one site over the other. Scoring is important as well. On FanDuel a first-round finish scores 5x the points as a decision, where on DraftKings it scores 3x as many. Grappling is also scored drastically different as FanDuel awards points for takedown defense and submission attempts. DraftKings neglects those two stats and instead values control time and reversals. This new year, DraftKings has also added a quick win bonus for victories in the first minute as well as scoring for non-significant strikes. Lastly, you will only want to take two fighters from the same fight if you think it goes into the late rounds and expect both to reach value. Optimal GPP builds very rarely stack the same fight but it can be a viable strategy in cash games.

Lastly, if you are in search of even more DFS content be sure to visit DailyPlayAction.com! This site is dedicated to providing expert daily fantasy coaching as well as tools to optimize your NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and PGA lineups. Check them out now if you play any FanDuel or DraftKings DFS.

Current Record

  • Anthony: 188-143-3 (Last Year 223-145-6)
  • Nick: 189-142-3 (Last Year 235-133-6)
  • GB: 182-149-3 (Last Year 216-152-6)

Fight odds are as listed from Bovada and last updated 9:30 AM EST 9-4-2021

Preliminary Card- Starts 2:00pm EST

Marc-Andre Barriault -170 (DK $8400, FD $19) vs Dalcha Lungiambula +140 (DK $7800, FD $11)

  • Anthony: Our card opens with a middleweight bout between Marc-Andre Barriault and Balcha Lungiambula. As is usually the case with these two fighters, the path to victory for each is rather clear. Lungiambula is a very powerful fighter with excellent striking and a background in judo. He clearly struggles maintaining his cardio for fifteen minutes, so Lungiambula usually elects to keep things standing while searching for a finishing shot. He will likely look to land heavy on Barriault early. If this fight does get into the late second round and third, I fully expect Barriault to take over. He has displayed nothing if not exceptional cardio over the course of his career. I just feel like he gets punished by Lungiambula in the early moments of this fight. I think there is still a higher ceiling for Lungiambula than what he has shown us thus far. He made plenty of mistakes during the Markus Perez win and I believe we see a further improved version of him here today. Fading Barriault is tough, but I do not mind taking an underdog shot and backing the power puncher for a change here. Dalcha Lungiambula by Round Two KO
  • Nick: We have what could be a fun matchup here between two aggressive strikers at middleweight. Barriault pushes a serious pace. He has decent power and does a good job putting pressure on his opponents. Barriault is coming off a solid win over Abu Azaitar. It took him a while to get going in that one, but he was able to weaponize his cardio as Azaitar started to fade. Lungiambula is another fighter that comes in with questions about his gas tank. He looked fine at weigh-ins for this fight, but if he can’t end things early there’s a good chance he starts to fall apart in the later rounds. He’s a monster in terms of his physical frame, but his excessive muscle makes it difficult to stay fresh as the fight wears on. Lungiambula has enough power and explosiveness to take Barriault out early. However, if he doesn’t, that’s when Barriault should start to take over. As long as Barriault can weather Lungiambula’s early rush, he should be able to grind him out for a decision here. I’ll have shares of Lungiambula for DFS as he’s live for an early KO. However, Barriault feels like the rightful favorite in this one. Marc-Andre Barriault by Round Three KO
  • GB: Marc-Andre Barriault by Decision

Charles Jourdain -175 (DK $8900, FD $20) vs Julian Erosa +145 (DK $7300, FD $10)

  • Anthony: This will be a 150-pound catchweight bout between Julian Erosa and Charles Jourdain. I am expecting Erosa to look sharp here. He made it back into the UFC by defeating Sean Woodson on just a few days’ notice last summer. In that bout Woodson was a -500 favorite but got beaten by a much more game Erosa. That bout was at 150 pounds like this one and Erosa seemed to have endless cardio, outworking Woodson most significantly in the third round. I like his chances wrestling Jourdain here to secure the later rounds and a judge’s decision. The size advantage is there for Erosa and I think he can bully Jourdain more than usual with this additional weight. Jourdain has excellent striking and very powerful hands, making him a threat to finish Erosa at any moment. However, Erosa is a reckless striker who still has a chance if this does become a brawl. In a technical striking match Erosa would be bested, but I think he makes this fight ugly and secures the win as an underdog. Julian Erosa by Decision
  • Nick: This is a fun fight taking place at a catchweight of 150 pounds. Erosa is taking this fight on short notice. He’s known for his kill-or-be-killed fighting style. He has no singular stand out skill but his willingness to engage in violent exchanges on the feet makes him a dangerous opponent for almost anyone. Jourdain has flashed knockout power, which was fully on display in his UFC debut against Doo Ho Choi. He throws a wide range of flashy strikes, pushing an excellent pace and controlling the cage against lower-level opponents. He is coming off an impressive KO win over Marcelo Rojo, but his Fight IQ is always a major concern as we’ve seen him make poor decisions in the past. Erosa is well rounded, with eleven wins by submission as well as eleven by knockout. It is interesting that leading up to this fight he’s expressed he wants to lean on his grappling. It seems he knows he’d be significantly outclassed on the feet against Jourdain, so it’s wise to try to negate that disadvantage. This is a tough fight to call, so it’s a good spot to have exposure to each if you’re playing multiple DFS lineups. If Erosa can lean on a grappling heavy attack he will have a chance here. Still, I expect this to be a firefight and I see Jourdain as the more durable fighter. Charles Jourdain by Round Two KO
  • GB: Charles Jourdain by Round Three KO

Jack Shore -650 (DK $9100, FD $23) vs Liudvik Sholinian +425 (DK $7100, FD $8)

  • Anthony: This bantamweight fight has the widest odds of the day as Liudvik Sholinian faces the undefeated Jack Shore. The Welsh prospect has won three fights in the UFC thus far after getting the call up from Cage Warriors. He has shown off an excellent ground game, largely using his size and strength to control opponents. We have seen Shore finish a lot of fights but Sholinian is a very scrappy guy. I see this being a matchup with a lot of scrambles and fun exchanges on the feet. Shore swelling to a price like this means I will be staying away from him. On The Ultimate Fighter we saw that Sholinian really is a difficult guy opponent to get out of there. I would not be surprised to see Liudvik zombie his way to a decision, but I would be surprised to see him get his hand raised. Jack Shore by Decision
  • Nick: Shore seems to be one of the prospects the UFC is looking to build here. They have been highlighting him in their promotion for this card as he’s currently one of the brighter Welsh prospects in the world. He is a powerful grappler with an excellent gas tank. Shore is content to stand and trade, but his chain wrestling is what has led him to most of his wins professionally. Sholinian most recently fought as a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter. He put on an outstanding performance against season winner Ricky Turcios in the semifinal. He’s well-rounded and dangerous pretty much everywhere, but his cardio and pressure grappling are what stand out when you watch him on film. Sholinian definitely has solid ability for a debutant but I feel he’s likely outmatched here. Shore should be a bit better everywhere. Given the fact we usually see him chain wrestle, Shore should score exceptionally well for DFS. The line is too wide as Sholinian is a true UFC level opponent. However, Shore should win convincingly. Jack Shore by Round Three Submission
  • GB: Jack Shore by Round Two Submission

Molly McCann -120 (DK $8000, FD $15) vs Ji Yeon Kim +100 (DK $8200, FD $16)

  • Anthony: This will be a fight contested at flyweight between Ji Yeon Kim and Molly McCann. Neither one of these fighters are the most skilled, but both at least possess the tools necessary to win bouts in the UFC. McCann is 0-2 since her last victory in 2019, but seems to be the superior mixed martial artist. She throws more meaningful strikes and applies better overall pressure than her counterpart here today. Closing the distance and striking in the pocket will be the key to success against Ji Yeon Kim. While Kim has the better physical build of these two, she lacks urgency in the octagon. Kim is also likely going to be the inferior wrestler if things do ever hit the mat here. The odds are razor thin for a reason and I do not suggest putting any money on this fight. I see McCann getting her hand raised during this showcase of European prospects, but her fight is certainly the most difficult to call. Molly McCann by Decision
  • Nick: This is a low-level flyweight matchup between two women coming off of difficult losses. McCann fell as a slight favorite against Lara Procopio, and Kim was mostly dominated as a heavy underdog against Alexa Grasso. Kim is going to have a massive 10-inch reach advantage here. That being said, it’s rare we see her effectively pick opponents apart at range. She’s a decent striker, but she fights mostly in close, which takes away that potential advantage. Ji Yeon Kim is well-rounded with an extensive background in multiple disciplines. She’s solid pretty much everywhere, but she hasn’t really shown any standout skill against upper-level competition. McCann, like Kim, is very well rounded. She does a good job working behind her jab. She has trouble against superior grapplers, but her wrestling ability is likely an advantage in this spot. McCann averages more than two takedowns per fight. This could go either way, but I’m siding with the value and the grappling advantage of the underdog. Molly McCann by Decision
  • GB: Molly McCann by Decision

Main Card- Starts 4:00pm EST

Paddy Pimblett -165 (DK $8300, FD $18) vs Luigi Vendramini +135 (DK $7900, FD $12)

  • Anthony: Our main card opens with the highly anticipated debut of Paddy Pimblett against lightweight Luigi Vendramini. The Scouser is just 26 years old but already has an impressive 16-3 record. He cut his teeth in Cage Warriors and challenged for both the 145 and 155 belt while there. Pimblett is a BJJ black belt who has eight career wins by way of submission. He is coming off back-to-back victories while Vendramini lost his most recent bout against Fares Ziam. It was not a great fight and we once again saw Vendramini struggle to bring his opponent to the mat. His striking is not a major threat and on takedowns thus far he is just 1 of 12 in the UFC. I really struggle finding a path to victory for him here as Pimblett is the far superior grappler. Vendramini may be able to defend some submissions, but I do not see him putting Pimblett in any compromising positions. This should be a win for Pimblett by either submission or decision, and I love the value on him here as a short favorite. Paddy Pimblett by Round Two Submission
  • Nick: Paddy Pimblett will be making his UFC debut here, and he’s one of the more hyped prospects we’ve seen join the roster in quite some time. He is entering the promotion as Cage Warriors’ lightweight champion. He turned down offers from the UFC twice earlier in his development, but he finally feels ready to test himself on the biggest stage. Pimblett is primarily a grappler, and his greatest advantage is certainly his highly aggressive and dangerous style. He hunts for submissions from almost any position. We’ve even seen him score a win via flying triangle earlier in his career. His BJJ is certainly his greatest strength, but we’ve seen consistent improvement in his striking from fight to fight. Luigi Vendramini is a talented fighter in his own right. He’s an effective grappler with underrated power in his strikes and he’s still very young so it’s safe to expect he continues to make improvements. I’m liking the fact that Vendramini recently switched camps to Factory X. He has solid scrambling and defensive grappling as we saw in his fight against Zaleski dos Santos. Vendramini is a blackbelt in BJJ, which is very important here as Pimblett is an extremely aggressive offensive grappler. I expect Pimblett to come out extremely aggressive here. His wild and aggressive style will likely be a bit too much for Vendramini to handle, especially if things hit the mat. Paddy Pimblett by Round One Submission
  • GB: Luigi Vendramini by Round Two KO

Modestas Bukauskas -155 (DK $8500, FD $17) vs Khalil Rountree +130 (DK $7700, FD $13)

  • Anthony: Next up is a light heavyweight bout between Khalil Rountree and Modestas Bukauskas. This is a fight that likely stays standing unless one of these athletes can find a knockdown. Both are striking specialists that need a win here to avoid three consecutive defeats. I really believe Bukauskas did enough to win two rounds against Michal Oleksiejczuk, but the judges saw things differently in his last time out. He faded in the third but had largely dominated from range in the two rounds prior. I see him switching stances often and beating up Rountree from the outside here. He has a significant size advantage and seems to be the more physically imposing of these two. Rountree has dangerous counters, but I don’t see him landing too often against a larger opponent like this. The lack of volume and urgency from Rountree makes him easy to fade at these odds. Putting money on Rountree just makes fights frustrating to watch unless he can land that seminal blow. Bukauskas should stay out of danger and find a way to secure the victory here. Modestas Bukauskas by Decision
  • Nick: Bukauskas is a powerful striker with a massive frame for a light heavyweight. He is 6’3 with a 78-inch reach. He fights even longer than that as he keeps a wide stance both striking and defending against takedowns. His greatest strength is his powerful striking, but he seems to keep his hands down which leaves him vulnerable against other powerful punchers. Rountree has had chin issues of his own, but he’s a far more technical striker than Bukauskas. That being said, he looked terrible his last time out against Marcin Prachnio. He seemed reluctant to engage so it’s tough to know what we can expect to see from him here. Bukauskas is likely to be the aggressor here, but he’ll need to be careful not to overexert himself and leave himself open to counters from Rountree. Both of these fighters have knockout power, so it would be wise to get shares of each if you’re playing multiple DFS lineups. My confidence is low for this one, but I’m siding with the greater technical ability of Rountree. I expect Bukauskas to bring the fight to him here, which should be enough for him to find a counter. Khalil Rountree by Round One KO
  • GB: Modestas Bukauskas by Round Two KO

Alex Morono -125 (DK $8700, FD $17) vs David Zawada +105 (DK $7500, FD $14)

  • Anthony: The featured bout is contested at welterweight between David Zawada and Alex Morono. Zawada has several physical advantages in this fight but he has not looked good thus far in the UFC. He had a few promising moments but seems to lack the skills necessary to dominate fights at this level. For Zawada, the 57 percent takedown defense simply won’t do. Ramazan Emeev was able to land four takedowns on Zawada in his most recent bout. We have seen Zawada willing to play in his guard and chase submissions often, but against a veteran like Morono I do not see him catching an arm or the neck. Morono seems to rely on the grappling more when there is a perceived advantage and I certainly give him the edge in this matchup. While he has the ability to stand and trade with Zawada, I think he instead wrestles his way to a dominant victory. His pressure and in-your-face style has given many opponents fits. Through 13 UFC fights Morono has only been the betting favorite four times, despite eight victories. These odds are very close and I feel like he is once again being overlooked by public and sharp bettors. I love the value and will be backing him rather confidently. Alex Morono by Decision
  • Nick: Alex Morono is coming off a career highlight win, a first round KO over Cowboy Cerrone. He took that fight on short notice but he came out explosive – overwhelming Cerrone and putting an end to him just 20 seconds into the fight. Morono is a well rounded fighter, but his greatest strength is likely his sheer grit and toughness. He always moves forward even when he’s taking damage. He has solid cardio, underrated power, and he’s well-versed on the mat as a BJJ black belt. David Zawada’s last two wins have come via choke, he has an extremely active guard and does an excellent job hunting for submissions from off his back. He has an aggressive style on the feet, but we have seen him overexert himself at times and leave his chin open for countershots. He’s coming off a tough loss to Ramazan Emeev, but he was impressive in that spot. As a +245 underdog he even won that fight on one of the judge’s scorecards. This is a close match-up that could definitely go either way, but Morono should be the aggressor here. I expect him to come out strong causing more damage early, and his cardio to hold up as we’ve seen many times before. If Zawada gets him down, Morono has enough defensive grappling ability to get this fight back standing. This could be a Fight of the Night candidate, but Morono should outwill and outlast Zawada here. I’ll have shares of both fighters for DFS, but Morono is the straight up play. Alex Morono by Decision
  • GB: Alex Morono by Round Three KO

Tom Aspinall -240 (DK $9000, FD $22) vs Sergey Spivak +190 (DK $7200, FD $9)

  • Anthony: The co-main event takes place at heavyweight as Tom Aspinall fights Sergey Spivak. The surging Aspinall has been victorious in all three of his UFC fights, boasting two knockouts and now a submission win over Andrei Arlovski. He has extremely good footwork and speed for this division. This card features several European prospects but just as many people are tuning in to see Aspinall as they are Darren Till in the main event. The volume really gives opponents issues as Aspinall is landing north of 7 significant strikes per minute. Spivak must wrestle to win this bout as he cannot match Aspinall traditionally striking. Aspinall has a BJJ black belt of his own but Spivak is not an opponent he needs to mess around with on the mat. It should be a competitive fight but I see Spivak getting caught unless his takedown entries are flawless here. Aspinall has exceptional timing and I don’t see myself fading him until facing the very best opponents at heavyweight. Tom Aspinall by Round One KO
  • Nick: Aspinall doesn’t really have a ton of experience, but he’s coming off seven consecutive Wins via finish. He’s a surprisingly well-rounded heavyweight considering he only has twelve total fights on his record. A former training partner of Tyson Fury, Aspinall has excellent footwork for a heavyweight. Aspinall is a highly technical boxer with advanced ability both offensively and defensively. He has impressive speed for the division, and he comes into this fight with a lot of momentum off a Submission win over a former champion in Andrei Arlovski. Spivak has a solid ground game, with most of his wins coming via submission. He is also decent at striking in the clinch, but seems hesitant at times which can keep inferior opponents in fights he should be dominating. He’s coming off a career best win over Aleksei Oleinik, but he wasn’t all that impressive in a match-up against a fighter many consider to be in the twilight of his career. Aspinall is known as a striker but he has a black belt in BJJ. He’s competent enough on the mat that he should be able to work his way back to his feet if Spivak is able to ground him here. The one real knock on Aspinall is that we’ve never seen him dragged deep into the later rounds of a fight. If he can’t finish Spivak early, he could find himself in trouble as the fight wears on. That being said, I expect Aspinall’s speed to overwhelm Spivak in this spot. Most of Spivak’s recent opponents have been slow and plodding and Aspinall is anything but that. Tom Aspinall by Round One KO
  • GB: Tom Aspinall by Round One KO

Darren Till -175 (DK $8800, FD $21) vs Derek Brunson +145 (DK $7400, FD $15)

  • Anthony: The main event features two middleweight contenders as Darren Till and Derek Brunson continue their quest for UFC gold. The winner of this bout likely fights in a title eliminator next. Brunson was already knocked out by the current champion Israel Adesanya, but since then he has won four consecutive bouts. His wrestling has been a huge factor, landing 16 of 39 takedowns during this stretch. The move to Sanford MMA has helped Brunson develop better striking and more fluid transitions between the stand up and grappling. Till however remains the far superior striker. If his 82 percent takedown defense can keep Brunson standing, this fight is Till’s to lose. The wet blanket approach from Brunson often works but produces extremely boring fights. Till should stay busy with his left hand and I eventually see a chinny Brunson falling apart here. It is difficult to be confident in this selection due to the recent resume of both men, but in my opinion Till is the superior fighter. He seriously needs this victory to remain a marketable name for the promotion. Darren Till by Round Three KO
  • Nick: While this fight is a tough one to call, the paths to victory for each fighter are relatively clear. If Brunson can lean on his wrestling to control position and avoid spending too much time on the feet with Till, he wins this one. On the other hand, if Till can stuff Brunson’s takedowns and get back up quickly – he should pick Brunson apart on the feet. Darren Till is a talented striker who primarily works out of a wide southpaw stance. He does a good job circling away from the power of his opponents on the feet, and while he’s certainly not a grappler – he has solid takedown defense. He’s going to have a significant advantage here when it comes to technical ability on the feet. Derek Brunson is a talented grappler with a powerful wrestling base. He’s found a lot of success since switching camps to Sanford MMA, and he’s coming off four consecutive wins. Brunson averages more than three takedowns per fifteen minutes and if Till isn’t careful here that could be the deciding factor in this matchup. I do expect Brunson to find takedowns early here. He should be able to ground Till and keep him down with some success. However, as the fight wears on I expect those takedowns to become more difficult. Till has excellent cardio and he’s shown that he can carry his signature power into later rounds. My confidence is low in this spot and it’s a fight I could absolutely see going either way. However, Till should be able to keep this on the feet long enough to get back into the win column. This is a fight you’ll want shares of both sides for DFS, but I expect Till recovers after falling behind early and then scores a power shot late. Darren Till by Round Four KO
  • GB: Darren Till by Round Two KO

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