UFC Vegas 37: Smith vs Spann (Reposted)

We have a fun slate of 14 fights coming to you live from the UFC Apex this evening. It should be a slate of exciting bouts including many fights with near even odds and a fun light heavyweight headliner between Anthony Smith and Devin Clark.

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: 194-146-3 (Last Year 223-145-6)
  • Nick: 196-144-3 (Last Year 235-133-6)
  • GB: 187-153-3 (Last Year 216-152-6)

Fight odds are as listed from Bovada and last updated 11:30 AM EST 9-18-2021

Preliminary Card- Starts 4:00pm EST

Emily Whitmire -120 (DK $8500, FD $18) vs Hannah Goldy +100 (DK $7700, FD $13)

  • Anthony: The card opens with a flyweight bout between Emily Whitmire and Hannah Goldy. These are two women who often compete at 115 pounds moving up in weight for this tilt. Neither are all that spectacular, but Whitmire’s place is the UFC is especially questionable at just 4-4. Both have been winless since 2019 and really need to get their hand raised here. I think Goldy lands at a higher volume than Whitmire in this bout. Her cardio is superior and I think the extra ten pound allowance with best be utilized by her in the grappling department. Whitmire will have a bit more difficulty engaging in wrestling here and I expect we some ring rust from her early. It is a very low-level fight that could honestly go either way. If you tune into the card late don’t beat yourself up for missing this one. Hannah Goldy by Decision
  • Nick: We have a low-level matchup here between two strawweights likely fighting to stay on the roster. They both prefer to stand and strike, but neither has found much success at this level. Goldy could be described as a physical specimen. She carries a ton of muscle mass. She is extremely strong with powerful strikes, but she has been criticized at times for overexerting herself and putting herself in detrimental positions. Whitmire has a decent chin, she’s never been KO’d professionally. She does a good job keeping pressure on her opponents, but she sometimes leaves herself open to counter shots. If Goldy chooses to lean on her grappling she has a decent chance to pull of an upset here. However, it is notable here that Goldy has never shot for a takedown in the UFC. She has stronger hips than many of her opponents, but she hasn’t really shown a willingness to lean into this strength. I’ll side with the experience advantage of Whitmire. Emily Whitmire by Decision
  • GB: Hannah Goldy by Decision

Heili Alateng -140 (DK $8400, FD $18) vs Gustavo Lopez +115 (DK $7800, FD $12)

  • Anthony: Next should be a fun bantamweight scrap between Heili Alateng and Gustavo Lopez. It is the fourth UFC contest for both men and they are each in search of a bounce back after rather underwhelming performances. Lopez held his own in a bout with Adrian Yanez until the damage began to add up. Yanez’ counters got sharper as the fight went on and eventually Lopez was finished by a right hand. Less impressive was Alateng who got abused by Casey Kenney for fifteen minutes. It was a heavy bag workout for Kenney who landed 109 of 263 total strikes. With both willing to stand and trade I see a back-and-forth striking affair for the most part here today. The betting line is razor thin and that is for good reason as both have shown they are tough to confidently back. If things were to hit the mat Lopez should hold the advantage and I also see him as slightly more sound defensively on the feet. I lean Lopez ever so slightly here for those reasons but would not be surprised to see a split decision or knockout by either fighter. Gustavo Lopez by Decision
  • Nick: We have a potentially fun matchup here between two bantamweights coming off of losses. Heili Alateng is coming off a tough loss in his UFC debut to Casey Kenney, but he gave a good showing in that spot. He survived until the judges’ scorecards and put some damage on Kenney as a +300 underdog. In Lopez’s UFC debut, as a near +600 underdog against Merab Dvalishvili, we saw him show he has the cardio, scrambling, chin and footwork to potentially hang with some of the top competitors in this division. He ate a lot of clean shots in that fight, but he still looked better against Dvalishvili’s relentless offensive wrestling than anyone expected him to. His most recent loss came against one of the division’s rising stars in Adrian Yanez. Lopez is a tough and gritty fighter and he’s going to come out aggressive here. Lopez will look good early, but I don’t expect him to be able to put Alateng away knowing the high quality of Alateng’s durability. Based on what we’ve seen from Lopez recently, I expect him to start to fade as Alateng takes over. Alateng recently switched to an excellent camp in Fight Ready and all signs seem to indicate this is the best version of him we’ve ever seen before. Heili Alateng by Decision
  • GB: Heili Alateng by Round Two KO

Impa Kasanganay -120 (DK $8900, FD $16) vs Carlston Harris +100 (DK $7300, FD $14)

  • Anthony: Here we have a competitive welterweight bout scheduled between Carlston Harris and Impa Kasanganay. Harris opened the year with an impressive win in UAE Warriors against a then 17-1 Saygid Izagakhmaev. He followed that with a first round finish of Christian Aguilera in his UFC debut. It took him less than three minutes in that one to get the victory via anaconda choke. I was impressed with how composed he was there, especially after eating some big shots early. While Harris has crisp boxing, his grappling is far superior to that of Kasanganay. At welterweight there is a lot to like about Impa but lack of power is a concern. He has not won a fight by knockout and if his only path to victory here is by decision, backers are going to have a stressful fifteen minutes. I see Harris eventually catching Kasanganay in a sub after securing top position on the mat. He is the bigger fighter and I see him having the slight edge wherever this fight goes. He is not a lock, but I really like the value on Harris at just $7300 on DraftKings. Carlston Harris by Round Two Submission
  • Nick: Kasanganay is most known for his brutal KO loss to Joaquin Buckley. He fell to a spinning wheel kick in that one and now he’ll forever be in UFC promotion videos on the wrong end of that finish. Prior to that knockout, Kasanganay had shown solid striking defense, a willingness to engage and a high Fight IQ. He usually only shoots for takedowns when he needs them and he does a good job conserving his gas tank in spite of his explosive style. Kasanganay recently switched camps to an excellent gym in Sanford MMA. He’s coming off an impressive win over Sasha Palatnikov and in spite of his ugly loss to Buckley, he still seems like a prospect on the rise. Harris is 33-years old, coming off a Win in his UFC debut over Christian Aguilera. He was signed to the UFC off a huge upset victory over Saygid Izagakhmaev at UAE Warriors 15. He seems to be fairly well rounded with a solid chin, impressive cardio and a powerful enough wrestling base to work opponents to the mat where he does his best work as a BJJ blackbelt. Impa will have an advantage striking here and his takedown defense is decent. However, it’s tough to expect him to keep Harris off him for fifteen minutes. This should look close early, but once Harris gets this to the mat I expect he finds a finish. Carlton Harris by Round One Submission
  • GB: Impa Kasanganay by Round Three KO

Erin Blanchfield -400 (DK $9400, FD $22) vs Sarah Alpar +300 (DK $6800, FD $10)

  • Anthony: Next is a women’s flyweight bout between Erin Blanchfield and Sarah Alpar. This is the UFC debut for Blanchfield who has put together an impressive resume here early on in her career. It is rare we see prospects as young as Blanchfield so far developed and I think she has a bright future ahead in the promotion here. Alpar is a solid competitor with a good wrestling base, but she is without much threat on the feet. Her opponents can usually overpower her which perhaps dictated her move back down to 125 pounds for this matchup. I still believe that Blanchfield is the stronger fighter and I see her getting the job done here. While she is clearly the pick, I do not plan on backing her at these odds just given the unknowns of a competitor making their debut. Erin Blanchfield by Decision
  • Nick: Erin Blanchfield will be making her UFC debut here, but she’s already found success against a high level of competition. She has notable wins over UFC vets like Kay Hansen and Victoria Leonardo. Her one loss came to another UFC vet in Tracey Cortes, a fight in which many felt she should have been awarded the decision win. Sarah Alpar is a tough and gritty fighter, but she has no real stand out skill. She has found most of her success via grappling against inferior opponents, but she hasn’t really been able to execute that game plan against UFC level competition. Alpar is going to want to take this fight to the mat. She has a good single-leg takedown and does a good job maintaining top control, if and when she can get the fight to the ground. That being said, Blanchfield is the much stronger of the two. I don’t expect Alpar to find success taking her down and if she does Blanchfield should be strong enough to pop back to her feet. Blanchfield’s striking continues to improve and I expect her to outclass Alpar no matter where this fight goes. Alpar should be tough enough to last until the scorecards, but I expect she is outclassed everywhere here. Erin Blanchfield by Decision
  • GB: Sarah Alpar by Decision

Montel Jackson -650 (DK $9500, FD $22) vs JP Buys +425 (DK $6700, FD $8)

  • Anthony: Montel Jackson will be fighting JP Buys at bantamweight next. It is not uncommon for Jackson to have a significant size advantage but this one is a bit silly. Buys is a former flyweight who really has no business taking a fight like this. Jackson is a very fast, powerful striker that can really hurt opponents from the southpaw stance. He has run into some issues with good positional grapplers but the physical advantage alone should allow him to stay upright here. I think Buys is talented and has the ability to win fights in the UFC, just not this one. It should just be a matter of long he can survive in this bout as I see him outclassed badly on the feet. Jackson is an excellent play on both sites whenever you can afford him. Montel Jackson by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Montel Jackson is good pretty much everywhere. He’s primarily a striker with surprising power for a bantamweight. Buys had some hype coming into the UFC, but he fell short in his debut against Bruno Silva. He’s known primarily as a wrestler, but his takedown entries seem fairly inconsistent. Buys’ best chance here would be to try to keep Jackson down and hold him there. If he can make this a boring fight, I could see him pulling off the upset. That being said, Jackson’s grappling disadvantage here is not nearly as great as Buys’ disadvantage striking. This fight will likely take place on the feet for longer than Buys can handle. The price has gotten a bit ridiculous, but Jackson is the play here. Buys is small for the weight class and Jackson is going to have a seven-inch reach advantage. Montel Jackson by Round Two KO
  • GB: Montel Jackson by Round Three KO

Zhu Rong -275 (DK $7600, FD $21) vs Brandon Jenkins +220 (DK $6700, FD $9)

  • Anthony: Here we have a short notice matchup at lightweight between Zhu Rong and Brandon Jenkins. It is Jenkins stepping in for this fight as Rong’s original opponent Dakota Bush was forced to withdraw. Surprisingly, Rong was the heavy fighter on the scales yesterday coming in at 158 pounds. After what was likely a grappling focused camp, he now draws a dynamic newcomer in Brandon Jenkins. Nicknamed “The Human Highlight Reel”, Jenkins is an exciting prospect with excellent offensive striking. He boasts knockout wins by knee, spinning back elbow, and most recently a flying switch knee against Jacob Kilburn. That fight was just three weeks ago and now Jenkins gets the call to make his debut. Once again Zhu Rong is a big favorite and once again I will be fading him. He was rather underwhelming in his debut loss to Kazula Vargas and I am not sure how he will respond to Jenkins’ pressure in the cage. I would feel much more confident in this pick had we a full camp, but Jenkins is clearly fight ready and always down for a scrap. I see him blitzing Rong early. You will want expsoure to both fighters on DraftKings due to Rong being priced for his previous opponent. Brandon Jenkins by Round One KO
  • Nick: Jenkins fought less than a month ago for PFL where he landed a spectacular switch flying knee KO over a former UFC fighter in Jacob Kilburn. He’s a powerful and diverse striker on the feet. He does a good job keeping pressure on his opponents by pushing a serious pace. Rong Zhu is a highly technical striker with an aggressive style and outstanding countering ability. He is an extremely highly regarded prospect at only 21-years old, as he already has 20 professional fights. He’s coming off a hard fought loss to Rodrigo Vargas, but it was especially disappointing as he was a -235 favorite in that spot. The truth of the matter is he’s still very early in his development. He has a promising future, but he hasn’t really shown an ability to consistently perform at a high level. Luckily for him, he should have an advantage here with Jenkins taking this fight on such short notice. Zhu Rong should have a speed and athleticism advantage here, and I expect that might be enough to score Win in this spot. He’s one of the better DFS plays on DraftKings as he was initially priced as an underdog for his match-up with Dakota Bush. It wouldn’t shock me if Jenkins pulled off the upset here and the current line is definitely too wide. However, on short notice Rong should be a bit too much for him to handle. Zhu Rong by Decision
  • GB: Zhu Rong by Decision

Raquel Pennington -125 (DK $8700, FD $16) vs Pannie Kianzad +105 (DK $7500, FD $13)

  • Anthony: Here we have a bantamweight contest between Raquel Pennington and Pannie Kianzad. These are two very solid contenders in this division and I think there is a case to be made for both sides. Pennington is the far more experienced fighter and has been a staple of the promotion since appearing on The Ultimate Fighter 18. Her losses have only come to the very best competitors such as Amanda Nunes, Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie. Similarly, Kianzad was a rock-solid prospect coming off The Ultimate Fighter 28. She has excellent striking and is currently on a four-fight win streak. While I see her winning a majority of the exchanges on the feet, I still find myself siding with Pennington here given her pension to grind out tough wins. She is overpriced on both sites and I would prefer Kianzad as a DFS play. However, on a card this large it is probably smarter to avoid playing either. This fight likely sees the judges’ scorecards. Raquel Pennington by Decision
  • Nick: Pannie Kianzad enters this fight coming off four consecutive wins. She’s a more technically advanced striker than Pennington, and while she doesn’t have much offensive grappling ability she’s shown competence on the mat against a decent range of opponents. Her ground game seems to improve every time we see her fight and her long frame makes it easier for her to defend takedowns. That being said, Pennington is still likely going to be a tough match-up for her here. Pennington does a good job keeping consistent pressure on her opponent. She does a good job striking in close and grinding her opponents up against the cage, nullifying their offensive abilities. I think Pennington finds a way to make this one ugly and find a way to win on the scorecards. Raquel Pennington by Decision
  • GB: Pannie Kianzad by Decision

Tafon Nchukwi -130 (DK $8800, FD $17) vs Mike Rodriguez +110 (DK $7400, FD $15)

  • Anthony: The featured prelim is a light heavyweight bout between Tafon Nchukwi and Mike Rodriguez. Slow Mike Rodriguez has not looked good as of late, entering this bout on a 1-3-1 skid. Wrestling is a weakness of his and his stand-up does not compensate for that flaw nearly enough. He is a big and powerful southpaw that can give some opponents fits, but I see Nchukwi making fairly easy work of him. The Cameroonian is a younger and more threatening striker. Nchukwi should be able to win this fight by staying measured and teeing off on Rodriguez when the opportunity presents itself. Poor cardio was the reason for his most recent defeat but Nchukwi should look much fresher here back at 205 pounds. He seemed healthy on the scales and I expect his gas tank will last longer here in a fight where takedowns are more scarce. Rodriguez is just 11-6 and has been finished three times since 2019. I expect this to be his last fight in the UFC. Tafon Nchukwi by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Mike Rodriguez is coming off back to back losses and there’s a decent chance he could lose his spot on the roster if he doesn’t pull off a Win here. He’s decent everywhere, but there’s really nothing about his abilities that stand out at this level. Nchukwi is only 5-1 professionally with four of his Wins coming by knockout. In spite of his narrow MMA record, he’s already a very developed striker as a former Muay Thai champion. He’s coming off an ugly loss to Da Un Jung in which he was out grappled for almost the entirety of three rounds. His cardio was a glaring weakness in that spot. Following that loss, Nchuwki is moving up to 205 instead of cutting down to 185. This should likely help his cardio moving forward. Rodriguez is going to have a cardio and length advantage here. However, Nchuwki should be able to either catch him early for a KO or lean on his Judo to ground him and dominate him on the ground. Since this is such a low-level matchup I don’t want to invest too heavily either way here, but Nchuwki does feel like the rightful favorite. Tafon Nchuwki by Round One KO
  • GB: Tafon Nchukwi by Round Two KO

Main Card- Starts 7:00pm EST

Joaquin Buckley -190 (DK $9300, FD $20) vs Antonio Arroyo +155 (DK $6900, FD $11)

  • Anthony: The main card opens with this middleweight scrap between Antonio Arroyo and Joaquin Buckley. This matchup is a bit similar to the previous Rodriguez versus Nchukwi. The UFC seems to be feeding the prospect Buckley a fighter that might be on his way out the door. Antonio Arroyo has lost both his matchups in the promotion and also cancelled a fight due to weight cutting issues. While the fights with Muniz and Winn saw Arroyo controlled on the mat, wrestling is not his only weakness. He throws rather low volume and does not intimidate opponents with his striking. Buckley has a significant power advantage and while I think he lacks top 15 talent, he should be sharp enough to secure a victory here. He holds the reach advantage despite being the shorter man and should do exceptionally well striking with Arroyo against the cage. There is a small threat that Arroyo takes things to the mat here, but he has historically had trouble ever keeping top position for long. Buckley should bounce back in a big way. Joaquin Buckley by Round One KO
  • Nick: In spite of his recent loss, it seems the UFC is still behind the marketing and promotion of Joaquin Buckley. He’s far from a developed talent but his knockout ability makes him an easy sell. His spinning wheel-kick KO of Impa Kasanganay was the knockout of the year in 2020. He’s still developing as a prospect, but at just 27-years old he should continue to improve. Buckley has tremendous power and he can truly end a fight in any moment. He seems overly hesitant at times, and predictable as a striker. Still, he packs enough punch to end a fight in an instant. Arroyo is coming off back-to-back losses. His last time out against Deron Winn he fell as a near -200 favorite. He was completely gassed by the end of that fight, although he did take it on short notice. Regardless, he really hasn’t shown he has what it takes to consistently compete at this level. He does have decent striking ability and dangerous BJJ, but he struggles to take the fight to the mat. He throws powerful kicks at range, but he tends to leave his chin up and open which should prove troublesome in this particular matchup. Buckley will need to take his time here, but Arroyo should start to fade as this fight wears on. I could see Buckley either catching him for a KO early or outlasting him and finishing this in the later rounds. Either way, as long as he doesn’t spend too much time on the mat this feels like Buckley’s fight to win or lose. Joaquin Buckley by Round Two KO
  • GB: Joaquin Buckley by Round One KO

Tony Gravely -220 (DK $9200, FD $19) vs Nate Maness +175 (DK $7000, FD $11)

  • Anthony: This should be a fun fight at bantamweight between Tony Gravely and Nate Maness. There are a few wrestlers in these low weights that can dominate opponents and Tony Gravely is one of them. He is averaging north of 6 takedowns per fifteen minutes. His wrestling is some of this division’s best and he implements it very well with other aspects of MMA. Maness is much more a stand-up threat making this a clash of styles, and I have to favor the wrestler here. While I do like what I have seen from Maness in general I think Gravely is further developed with a much more sophisticated base. Gravely also has a very solid resume with his only losses coming to current Bellator or UFC fighters. His wins include UFC names like Kris Moutinho and Drako Rodriguez, both of which he finished in the championship rounds of title bouts. I expect a high paced attack from him here and domination for three rounds on the mat. Tony Gravely by Decision
  • Nick: We have a really fun matchup here between two developing up-and-comers at bantamweight. Gravely is a high-pressure grappler with a really strong wrestling base and heavy hips. He does a good job finding takedowns against a wide range of opponents, but he mostly grapples to control position rather than hunt for submissions. As far as DFS is concerned, Gravely’s takedown heavy approach is ideal for both DraftKings and FanDuel scoring. Maness has a strong right hook, but he telegraphs it to his opponents making it easy to duck and defend. He’s coming off an impressive comeback win over Luke Sanders, a fight in which he was able to weaponize his cardio against and take over late. Maness has a decent takedown defense, but the real key here will be how easily he can get back to his feet once he is taken down. This is another tough one to call but I expect Gravely can lean on his wrestling and pull off the win in this one. Tony Gravely by Decision
  • GB: Tony Gravely by Round Two KO

Arman Tsarukyan -900 (DK $9600, FD $23) vs Christos Giagos +550 (DK $6600, FD $8)

  • Anthony: Next is a lightweight bout between Christos Giagos and Arman Tsarukyan. The fight we usually expect from Giagos is a high-pressure wrestling match so this matchup is very much to his detriment. Tsarukyan is an extremely high-level grappler that is going to pose Giagos major problems here. Smothering opponents has been an effective style for Tsarukyan against just about everyone. The second loss on his record came against Islam Makhachev in Tsarukyan’s UFC debut, but aside from that he has really looked flawless. Neither one of these fighters pack the biggest punch on the feet and thus I expect Tsarukyan to roll with little to no resistance here. He is the largest favorite on this card for a reason and unfortunately for Giagos this is a nightmare matchup. Arman Tsarukyan by Decision
  • Nick: Arman Tsarukyan is one of the more underrated fighters in the UFC. He’s an effective wrestler as well as a creative striker with an extremely high Fight IQ and durability. Tsarukyan has one of the better single-leg entries in the division. His scrambling is outstanding, as it was on fully on display in his UFC debut against Islam Makhachev. Giagos is an effective grappler, but Tsarukyan presents a much higher level of opponent than he’s used to. He may have a slight striking advantage here, but he doesn’t carry much power so it’s going to be tough for him to keep Tsarukyan off of him for long. Giagos is no slouch, but Tsarukyan is the biggest favorite on this card for a reason. I expect he scores extremely well for DFS behind a takedown heavy gameplan. I like him anywhere you can afford him. Arman Tsarukyan by Round Three Submission
  • GB: Arman Tsarukyan by Decision

Ariane Lipski -125 (DK $9200, FD $15) vs Mandy Bohm +105 (DK $8000, FD $15)

  • Anthony: Here we have a women’s flyweight bout between Ariane Lipski and debuting fighter Mandy Bohm. According to regional rankings, Bohm is the pound-for-pound best in Germany and a top five women in Western Europe. She has very good striking and enters this bout undefeated at a perfect 7-0. She has developed considerably well as a fighter despite not being the most active in the world. Lipski will be a significant step up in competition for Bohm here. I think the biggest challenge in this for Bohm will be if she is successfully grounded as Lipski has a rather solid background in jiu jitsu. What Bohm lacks on the mat, Lipski lacks on the feet though. I expect to see Lipski at least make an attempt to takedown Bohm here but we are essentially betting on whether she will be able to do so. I lean slightly the way of Bohm who likely cruises in this fight if able to keep things standing. Mandy Bohm by Decision
  • Nick: Lipski has solid BJJ, but she doesn’t really have the takedown entries to get the fight to the ground. She’s somewhat effective on the feet, but she absorbs nearly twice as many strikes as she lands per minute. Lipski is a decent Muy Thai style striker, but defensively she leaves a lot to be desired. Her volume isn’t high enough to keep her opponents off of her consistently and if she can’t close distance she has trouble hurting her opponents. This will be Mandy Bohm’s first fight since October of 2020. She’s fairly well-rounded as a former TKO Flyweight champion, but Lipski certainly represents a step up in competition here. Bohm has a three-inch reach advantage here, so she should be able to use her length to keep Lipski on her back foot. If Lipski can’t close the distance, she’s likely going to struggle to keep up with Bohm on the feet. That being said, Lipski seems to be the far more gifted athlete. As flawed as she is, she is strong and aggressive and fighting out of a quality camp via American Top Team. Bohm will be a tough out, but Lipski feels like the rightful favorite. Ariane Lipski by Decision
  • GB: Ariane Lipski by Decision

Ion Cutelaba -155 (DK $9000, FD $19) vs Devin Clark +130 (DK $7200, FD $12)

  • Anthony: This is an interesting co-main at light heavyweight between Ion Cutelaba and Devin Clark. Both men are borderline top 15 talent but clearly a step down from this division’s best. Cutelaba is an explosive fighter that likes to hunt for finishes on the feet with his heavy hands. He is powerful and has the ability to grapple his opponents as needed, seen most recently displayed against Dustin Jacoby. While Cutelaba dominated that first round with eight takedowns, he was unable to get the finish and gassed out shortly thereafter. I really worry about his cardio against a wrestler like Clark who may take him to the mat multiple times. Cutelaba has the advantage standing and I do think Clark gets caught, but this is one of my least confident picks. Both have rather solid resumes but I like what I have seen out of Cutelaba just a bit more. The aggression can be a double-edged sword for Ion here but Clark does not respond all that well to adversity. Ion Cutelaba by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Cutelaba is going to come out firing here, he always does. He’s hyper aggressive with serious power and explosiveness on the feet. He’s an underrated grappler as a lifelong Greco Roman Wrestler, but he doesn’t seem to lean on his grappling much in the majority of his fights. The likely reason for this is that his cardio is mediocre at best. He almost always seems to fade as his fights wear on and if he can’t find a KO win early it’s likely he finds himself in serious trouble. Clark has some power in his strikes, but his hands move slowly so his chance at a KO is generally slim against high-level competition. He does a good job slowing fights down and grinding his opponents up against the cage, but his grappling in the center of the cage leaves a lot to be desired. The longer this fight wears on, the more likely I think it is that Clark pulls off the upset. That being said, I’m not confident in Clark’s ability to slow this fight down. This is a tough one to call and I could definitely see it going either way, but I’m siding with Cutelaba. Clark has been finished in each of his last three losses, two of which came in the first round. Ion Cutelaba by Round One KO
  • GB: Devin Clark by Decision

Anthony Smith -165 (DK $9100, FD $21) vs Ryan Spann +135 (DK $7100, FD $16)

  • Anthony: This card concludes with the light heavyweight main event between Anthony Smith and Ryan Spann. Smith is coming off two wins that were a lot of fun to watch, finishing both Devin Clark and Jimmy Crute in the very first round. My read on Smith has been excellent, cashing on him in those two while also fading him the two losses prior. He is an extremely talented and experienced fighter, but clearly a cut below the division’s very best. Ryan Spann is an opponent that I think Smith handles rather easily. He is not a daunting name at 205 and has more losses than impressive wins. While Spann may have the power advantage on the feet, Smith is the far more sophisticated striker. Smith is also a very legitimate BJJ black belt which should negate Span’s wrestling here. It is not uncommon for Spann to shoot on opponents when things get ugly on the feet and I just doubt anything good happens once he does. A few losses seemed to take a lot of pressure of Lionheart and I now legitimately look forward to seeing him perform again. Smith will rely on his jab early here, but I think things end rather quickly whenever this fight gets to the ground. Anthony Smith by Round Three Submission
  • Nick: Smith has shown outstanding cardio, and even in his recent losses he has shown excellent durability. Even when he’s getting crushed, he is difficult or impossible to put away. He is coming off back-to-back Wins over Devin Clark and Jimmy Crute. He’s a well-rounded fighter who is good pretty much everywhere. He has excellent BJJ, technically sound striking ability and he does a good job weaponizing his cardio and taking over fights in the later rounds. He’s been utilizing his jab much more effectively of late. He’s shown improvements in his footwork as well, but more often than not he finds most of his success when he’s able to mix in his grappling. Spann is coming off a solid Knockout Win over Misha Cirkunov. He carries a lot of power, but he’s been extremely inconsistent so far since he debuted with the UFC. Spann’s cardio has proven to be an issue in many of his recent fights. He’s live for a Knockout early here, but Smith’s durability is likely going to make that difficult. Smith is very familiar with fighting five rounds. Since Spann sometimes struggles to maintain his energy through three, Smith has a very clear path to victory here. As long as he protects himself from Spann’s power early, he should be able to take advantage as this fight wears on. Smith can’t match Spann’s power, but he’s at a higher level in terms of technical ability on the feet. He’s much more dangerous if this fight hits the mat, so I expect he scores the Win here. Spann is worth getting some exposure to for DFS, because if he can catch Smith early he’d score extremely well. However, this feels like Smith’s fight to lose. No matter where this fight goes I see him having a distinct advantage. Anthony Smith by Round Three Submission
  • GB: Anthony Smith by Round Three Submission

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