UFC Vegas 39: Dern vs Rodriguez (Reposted)

Perhaps we see a new contender emerge at strawweight this evening! Fights are back at the UFC Apex and we have a nice short slate of bouts to enjoy today. The early start time gives way to the long awaited boxing trilogy between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.

The write-up here will provide consideration for building lineups on both FanDuel and DraftKings. It details our 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: 221-156-4 (Last Year 223-145-6)
  • Nick: 225-152-4 (Last Year 235-133-6)
  • GB: 212-165-4 (Last Year 216-152-6)

Fight odds are as listed from Bovada and last updated 9:30 AM EST 10-9-2021

Preliminary Card- Starts 2:00pm EST

Steve Garcia -350 (DK $9100, FD $21) vs Charlie Ontiveros +265 (DK $7100, FD $9)

  • Anthony: The card opens with a lightweight bout between Steve Garcia and Charlie Ontiveros. This is an incredibly low-level fight and there is no reason to have any expectations for it. There is no reason to bet on Ontiveros here who makes the strenuous cut to 155 pounds. He is just 11-7 as a professional and we have seen him finished in every loss. Garcia is better than Ontiveros striking and certainly has the power to knock him out. Grappling likely won’t be a factor as neither are very good at it. Ontiveros may be able to control Garcia as the larger and stronger man but I doubt his chin holds long enough to do so. Steve Garcia by Round One KO
  • Nick: This is a low-level matchup at lightweight no matter how you slice it. Both of these guys got their chances in the UFC as they agreed to short notice fights, but it’s tough to say confidently that either really has enough skill to stick at this level. Ontiveros has several wins on the regional scene, but they all seemingly came against terrible competition. He was crushed in his debut via slam to Kevin Holland. He looked totally out of place in that spot and ultimately left on a stretcher. Garcia is coming off an ugly decision loss to Luis Pena. He clearly lost in that spot, but he showed decent durability and submission defense and was a bit more competitive than expected as Garcia came in as a +200 underdog. He’s a decent striker with surprising power for his frame. He has shown solid durability on the regional scene and that’s very likely going to be the key in this spot. Ontiveros is going to have a reach advantage here and he does seem to have a decent kicking game. However, he has been KO’d in all seven of his professional losses. The line has gotten a bit out of hand as Garcia isn’t all that impressive, but he’s the rightful favorite here. I expect he finds Ontiveros’ chin before it’s all said and done. Steve Garcia by Round Two KO
  • GB: Steve Garcia by Round Two KO

Lupita Godinez -325 (DK $8600, FD $18) vs Silvana Gomez Juarez +250 (DK $7600, FD $11)

  • Anthony: Next is a women’s strawweight fight between Lupita Godinez and Silvana Gomez Juarez. This fight came together on short notice as Godinez’s original opponent Sam Hughes was forced to withdraw early this week. Godinez is a heavy favorite against this short notice replacement, but it is certainly not any easier a fight. The level of competition has not been great but Gomez Juarez is a solid fighter. She was preparing for a fight this Tuesday on Dana White’s Contender Series so I expect we see her in peak physical shape. Godinez has given me no reason to fade her though and she ultimately is the superior fighter no matter where this takes place. I would not recommend a bet on either side. Lupita Godinez by Decision
  • Nick: Sam Hughes was forced to pull out of her match-up with Lupita Godinez, so Silvana Gomez Juarez is now filling in as the short notice replacement. While it’s true she accepted this fight last minute, Juarez had been in camp training for another fight and should be well-prepared. Godinez is primarily a striker. She does a good job keeping pressure on her opponents and her technical ability is impressive for someone in only their second UFC matchup. Gomez Juarez’s only professional losses have come against women that are now on the UFC roster. As impressive as this could be perceived, she really doesn’t have any quality wins to her name. This should be a close fight and I expect Juarez to have her moments, but this feels like Godinez’s fight to lose. She’s the more technical striker and her grappling ability is likely an advantage here as well. Juarez is tough and decent pretty much everywhere, but this feels like a massive step up in competition. Lupita Godinez by Decision
  • GB: Lupita Godinez by Decision

Damon Jackson -210 (DK $8400, FD $16) vs Charles Rosa +170 (DK $7800, FD $14)

  • Anthony: Two grapplers will do battle here as featherweight Damon Jackson and Charles Rosa fight next. These are two UFC veterans who have shown varying degrees of success in the octagon. A lot of their defeats chalk up to high level opponent and I think this is a fair piece of matchmaking today. Rosa is a more new age martial artist who mixes the striking and grappling well. He is excellent in scrambles but is more concerned with control in top position than damage or submissions. Conversely, Jackson is a potent finisher with fifteen of his eighteen career victories coming inside of the distance. This is likely a back and forth, scrambling heavy performance and I favor Jackson to come out on the right side of most exchanges. In my eyes he is the more polished grappler and the odds indicate he likely gets the job done. I think he is an excellent DFS play given the upside at his price tag. Damon Jackson by Round Three Submission
  • Nick: We have a potentially fun fight here between two well-rounded but lower-level featherweights. Damon Jackson finds most of his success on the ground, with seven of his last eight wins coming via submission. He’s coming off an ugly KO loss to Ilia Topuiria where he was decimated on the feet, but it’s tough to get too down on him for that loss as Topuria is widely regarded a future title contender. Charles Rosa is a BJJ blackbelt, but he struggles to regain position from off his back. He finds most of his success striking at range, but he relies more on volume than power. On the feet, Rosa should have a slight advantage here. However, he also has a shaky 37 percent takedown defense. Most of his recent losses have come against grapplers and I expect that could spell trouble for him here against a cerebral grappler like Jackson. This is a low-level matchup so I don’t want to overinvest, but Jackson feels like the rightful favorite. Damon Jackson by Decision
  • GB: Charles Rosa by Decision

Alexander Romanov -750 (DK $9200, FD $23) vs Jared Vanderaa +475 (DK $7000, FD $8)

  • Anthony: Here we have a heavyweight tilt between Alexander Romanov and Jared Vanderaa. The undefeated Romanov is a serious contender, but as anticipated we saw him have his most difficult fight yet in his last bout against Juan Espino. Romanov was finally met with a foe who could test his grappling acumen and that is exactly what we saw. If it were not for a low blow that gave Romanov a way out, Espino was on his way to a late finish or dominant third round. Vanderaa has exceptional cardio and will be a live dog here too if he can survive Romanov’s early attack, but that is a big if. I do not think he has the takedown defense or grappling to make it out of two rounds with Romanov but if he does the tide will certainly turn. The superior striker is Vanderaa but largely due to volume and not power. The Moldovan should cruise in this fight and hopefully gets the job done early on the mat. He pairs extremely heavy ground and pound with unorthodox chokes from top position. Alexander Romanov by Round One Submission
  • Nick: The line does feel a bit wide here, but in many ways it’s justified. While it’s true Vanderaa is coming off a solid win over Justin Tafa as a +150 underdog, stylistically this feels like a really tough spot. Vanderaa throws looping shots and he leaves himself open to counters. He does a good job pushing a pace and he throws fairly high volume, but defensively he leaves a lot to be desired. He may have a slight striking advantage in terms of technical ability here, but I’m not sure he’ll be able to lean on it for long. Romanov has been dominant so far in the UFC. He has won all three of his matchups, twice by first round submission. Romanov started to fade his last time out against Juan Espino but was ultimately gifted the decision win. He has a powerful base as a former Sumo wrestler. His striking is far from crisp, but he’s just dangerous enough to use it to create openings for takedowns. Vanderaa does have decent wrestling ability for a heavyweight, but I don’t really see him as being on Romanov’s level. The line has gotten out of hand, but Romanov is the clear play. Alexander Romanov by Round One KO
  • GB: Alexander Romanov by Round Two Submission

Main Card- Starts 4:00pm EST

Chris Gutierrez -240 (DK $8900, FD $21) vs Felipe Colares +190 (DK $7300, FD $10)

  • Anthony: This should be a competitive fight at bantamweight here between Chris Gutierrez and Felipe Colares. I feel like the popular opinion this week is that Gutierrez steamrolls, but this should be much closer than this betting line indicates. Gutierrez is thus far undefeated in the UFC but has not had the most spectacular performances. There were rather suspect moments in both of his last fights, a win over Andre Ewell and a draw versus Cody Durden. He is a talented kickboxer who absolutely torches the lead leg of his opponents, but there are some glaring holes in Gutierrez’ overall game. He is at a significant grappling advantage and Colares has taken every UFC fight of his to the mat at least one. Betting on Colares is betting on the stronger chin and the better wrestler here. He also represents a great gym in Team Nogueira. I think Gutierrez gets a bit too reliant on the kicks and may have a few caught for easy takedowns here. He is the underdog for a reason, but I will make a small bet on Colares in this spot. Felipe Colares by Decision
  • Nick: We have a very fun bout scheduled here between two tough and aggressive bantamweights. Colares is coming off a chaotic decision win over Luke Sanders. He weathered an early storm from Sanders in that one, showing a sturdy chin and excellent durability until he was able to take over in the later rounds. Gutierrez is coming off an impressive win over Andre Ewell. In that fight he was able to show off an outstanding leg kick game to keep the lengthy Ewell at range. Gutierrez’s greatest strength is certainly his ability to throw devastating leg kicks. More than 50 percent of the strikes he’s thrown in the UFC are leg kicks and he’s shown he can utilize this strength against a wide range of opponents. Colares’ greatest strength is certainly his durability. He’s likely going to have a grappling advantage here as well, which is really his only true path to victory as Gutierrez is far more technically advanced as a striker. If Colares executes a grappling heavy attack, he’s certainly live to pull off this upset. However, he seems much more content to strike at this point in his career. I feel like the line should be tighter than it is here, but Gutierrez is the pick. I expect he relies on a kick heavy gameplan to pick Colares apart at range. Chris Gutierrez by Decision
  • GB: Chris Gutierrez by Decision

Sabina Mazo -190 (DK $8300, FD $15) vs Mariya Agapova +155 (DK $7900, FD $14)

  • Anthony: Here we have a women’s flyweight bout between Sabina Mazo and Mariya Agapova. This is excellent matchmaking as both fighters are exciting 24-year-old prospects with identical 9-2 records and similar frames. Mazo most recently took a loss up at 135 pounds in a fight where Alexis Davis out grappled her. She seemed rather inept in bottom position and I believe a strong flyweight like Agapova could put her into similar positions. Agapova suffered the first loss of her career as a -1400 favorite last August. It was a strange fight as Agapova fought well early, she just seemed to either gas out or intentionally dive as she rolled into bottom position. Regardless this feels like a spot she can bounce back against a rather one-dimensional striker. Mazo is talented but still rather raw in her development. I think Agapova will be the more improved of the two given her time spent training with Colby Covington and others at MMA Masters for this camp. She ultimately has the higher upside of these two in my opinion. Mariya Agapova by Decision
  • Nick: Here we have a fight between two flyweights that have seen their respective stocks plummet. Maria Agapova was a highly regarded prospect before she fell as a -1400 favorite against a fighter in Shana Dobson who has since been cut from the promotion. She came out firing in that spot, but her cardio seemed non-existent. She gassed extremely quickly in that fight, Dobson took advantage and put her out via TKO. Mazo is coming off an ugly loss to Alexis Davis as a large favorite, but Davis has since shown she’s still a fighter who should be respected. Mazo has decent footwork and she does a good job striking at range. She’s going to have a considerable technical advantage here over Agapova, but she’s going to need to be careful early as Agapova is most likely going to push the pace and try to swarm her early. While it wouldn’t shock me to see Agapova win this via early KO, it seems far more likely Mazo takes her damage and then weaponizes cardio as this fight wears on. I don’t expect to be heavily invested in either side, but Mazo’s high-volume striking style does have the potential to score well for DFS. Sabina Mazo by Decision
  • GB: Mariya Agapova by Decision

Matheus Nicolau -200 (DK $8500, FD $17) vs Tim Elliott +160 (DK $7700, FD $13)

  • Anthony: Next on the card is a flyweight fight between Matheus Nicolau and Tim Elliott. This makes three underdog plays in a row for me. This is more so a bet on head coach James Krause than it is one on Elliott. The team at Glory MMA and Fitness has been putting on excellent fights largely due to the work of Elliott’s head cornerman Krause. In the quiet UFC Apex Elliott should be able to take direction, fight his gameplan and win a third consecutive fight. He weaponizes his excellent cardio by striking with heavy pressure or wrestling his opponents, as he did successfully in his last win. Nicolau has done nothing to warrant odds this wide. He outworked Manel Kape in his UFC debut but all media scores disagreed with his split decision victory. This is an equally competitive fight and I do not see Elliott being the one who tires here. Tim Elliott by Decision
  • Nick: This is easily one of the better fights on this entire card. Nicolau is on the rise as a prospect at 125. Elliott continues to show improvements in spite of his age, and he remains a tough out for almost anyone in this division. Nicolau is coming off a hard fought and razor thin split decision win over Manel Kape. He wasn’t overly impressive in that victory, but he did just enough to score a win over a highly regarded fighter in Kape. Nicolau is an underrated striker. He does a good job moving in and out of the range of his opponents. He’s a decent grappler as well, especially defensively. However, he’s most content just standing and trading strikes. Elliott’s style is rough around the edges, but he’s effective pretty much everywhere. He is coming off back-to-back decision wins over Jordan Espinosa and Ryan Benoit. Tim Elliott is known for his hyper aggressive and unconventional style. While this over-aggressiveness has seemingly plagued him for the majority of his career, he has recently shown improvements. His move back to Glory MMA to train under James Krause has left him much more composed in the octagon. Krause is one of the more vocal head coaches in the UFC and the boost he gives a reckless fighter like Elliott is dramatic. It wouldn’t at all surprise me if Nicolau manages to pick Elliott apart at range here. However, Elliott is likely to be the aggressor and I feel Krause can be an X-factor as this fight will take place in front of just the small Apex crowd. Certainly it is one of the tougher fights on the card to pick, but I’m siding with the underdog. Tim Elliott by Decision
  • GB: Tim Elliott by Round Two KO

Randy Brown -285 (DK $8800, FD $19) vs Jared Gooden +225 (DK $7400, FD $12)

  • Anthony: The co-main event should be a fun one at welterweight as Randy Brown takes on Jared Gooden. Brown is coming off an extremely impressive win against Alex Oliveira where he won by submission in round one. His only career losses have come at the UFC level against extremely tough competition. He has heavy hands for this division and is just as disciplined grappling as he is in the stand up. While I could see Brown winning this fight in a variety of ways, the path of least resistance is likely grappling with Gooden. We have seen Gooden put on excellent performances striking, including a knockout of Niklas Stolze his last time out. Brown should be able to land shots and defend well enough standing before finding his takedown. I am rather confident in this pick but won’t be betting too heavy simply due to the odds and volatility of Gooden. He came in three pounds heavy on the scales yesterday. Brown should be able to out volume Gooden, push the pace and win convincingly here. Randy Brown by Round Three KO
  • Nick: Randy Brown is extremely well-rounded with KO power and underrated BJJ ability. Gooden is fairly technical on the feet, but we haven’t really seen him tested extensively. He has decent head movement and footwork but he doesn’t seem as powerful as he’s been widely touted to be. While he has shown knockout power, it has mostly been on display against a very low level of competition. If this fight stays standing Gooden could be live for a Knockout upset. However, Brown seems to be on another level. He takes far less damage and he fights much looser and free-flowing. I expect him to dance around Gooden here as he picks him apart at range. Additionally, he’s the better grappler if he needs to change things up at any point. Randy Brown by Decision
  • GB: Randy Brown by Decision

Mackenzie Dern -200 (DK $8200, FD $20) vs Marina Rodriguez +160 (DK $8000, FD $18)

  • Anthony: The main event is a five round women’s strawweight bout between Mackenzie Dern and Marina Rodriguez. These are two rising stars in the division looking to work their way into title contention. It is also a classic grappler vs. striker matchup. Dern is one of the best grapplers in the promotion. She is a no-gi jiu jitsu world champion and seemingly can outclass any women she faces on the mat. She is a bit undersized but certainly has a lot of strength. Rodriguez is a talented striker who has landed just shy of five strikes per minute in her UFC career. Her boxing and muay thai are at an elite level and she had shown rare knockout power for this weight class. She has fast hands, power and the cardio to stay active for a full five rounds. There is certainly a lot to like on both sides here but I think my pick is the grappler. Over twenty-five minutes this fight will certainly hit the mat at some point and I doubt l this purple belt survives long underneath Dern. Both are viable DFS options but Rodriguez has yet to score higher than 100 points on DraftKings. These odds have widened all week and a -200 line is about the highest I’d actually be comfortable backing Dern. Mackenzie Dern by Round Three Submission
  • Nick: This is a high-level women’s match-up between two of the division’s more interesting contenders. Rodriguez is a powerful muay thai striker. She’s found success against a high level of competition, striking effectively both at range and in the clinch. Dern is one of the more decorated BJJ blackbelts in MMA. She has a nearly flawless ground game as a former top ranked IBJJF competitor. She is an ADCC and no-gi jiu jitsu world champion, and a brutal matchup for any opponent when the fight hits the mat. When this fight is standing, Rodriguez is going to have a considerable advantage. She is excellent in the clinch, and she lands more than five significant strikes per minute. Dern has shown dramatic improvements in her striking over her last few fights. She’s no longer the one-dimensional fighter she was when entering the UFC, but she’s definitely going to try to take this fight to the mat. I could see this fight going either way and there’s really no outcome in this spot that would surprise me. I think Dern gets it done here. She is the far better grappler and I can’t imagine she’ll let this fight stay on the feet for a full five rounds. Rodriguez will look good when this fight is standing but she has a mediocre 62 percent takedown defense. This should be a fun one for however long it lasts, but I’m siding with the favorite. Mackenzie Dern by Round Two Submission
  • GB: Mackenzie Dern by Round Two Submission

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