UFC 267: Blachowicz vs Teixeira Predictions (Reposted)

We have finally arrived at this spectacular event in Abu Dhabi after several consecutive underwhelming cards. Two massive title fights headline a stacked day of UFC competition. Although a numbered UFC event, this card is accessible on ESPN+ rather than costing the usual $70 pay-per-view price.

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 submission attempts. DraftKings neglects those 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: 239-170-5 (Last Year 223-145-6)
  • Nick: 246-163-5 (Last Year 235-133-6)
  • GB: 234-175-5 (Last Year 216-152-6)

Fight odds are as listed from Bovada and last updated 10:30 PM EST 10-29-2021

Preliminary Card- Starts 10:30am EST

Tagir Ulanbekov -400 (DK $9400, FD $20) vs Allan Nascimento +300 (DK $6800, FD $9)

  • Anthony: The card opens with this bout at flyweight between Tagir Ulanbekov and Allan Nascimento. This is the second UFC fight for Ulanbekov and the debut for Nascimento. It was a solid performance against Bruno Silva for Ulanbekov last October. He has a well-rounded skillset but still seems a little green for a fighter at 12-1. He can implement a traditional Dagestani grappling style as evidenced in most wins, but flyweights are much harder to hold down and control compared to fighters in heavier weight divisions. Nascimento likely wins some scrambles and puts together solid strikes on the feet here, I just have trouble seeing his path to victory in this matchup. Both men have faced some really solid opponents on the regional scene but Nascimento has come up short in a number of those bouts. I do not think he can finish Ulanbekov inside of the distance and doubt a decision goes his way here. For this card, keep in mind that we are in Abu Dhabi and the Russians usually will get the nod in a fight that is tough to score. The odds have gotten out of hand but I do like Ulanbekov to win here. Tagir Ulanbekov by Decision
  • Nick: Ulanbekov is a former training partner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and one of the more hyped prospects we have right now at flyweight. As a former combat sambo world champion he’s an excellent grappler, but he also does a good job using his length to find success on the feet. He sometimes struggles to keep his opponents grounded once he does take them down but he is relentless in his pursuit of takedowns and usually does an excellent job of chain-wrestling to control the pace of his fights. Allan Nascimento will be making his UFC debut here. He lost a hard-fought matchup to Raulian Paiva on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2018 but he has since only fought once. He has faced a fairly high level of competition on the regional scene, but there are a lot of question marks surrounding him coming into this fight as we’ve rarely seen him in action. Nascimento has a dangerous BJJ game, but I expect it to be negated by Ulanbekov’s wrestling ability. The line does feel a bit too wide here, but Ulanbekov is the rightful favorite. He seems like a prospect the UFC is hoping to build. Tagir Ulanbekov by Decision
  • GB: Tagir Ulanbekov by Decision

Andre Petroski -230 (DK $8600, FD $17) vs Hu Yaozong +185 (DK $7600, FD $12)

  • Anthony: Next up is a bout at middleweight between Andre Petroski and Hu Yaozong. Petroski was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter this summer and has already earned himself a win inside the UFC octagon. He has definitely had some holes exposed in his game but still boasts solid wrestling and offensive grappling despite a lack of MMA experience. Luckily, he faces Hu Yaozong here who has had even fewer professional fights with a record of just 3-2. Yaozong lost in both of his UFC appearances although they came up weight at 232 and 205 pounds. Now he has slimmed down to middleweight for what is likely his last shot at securing a win in the promotion. Losses to Cyril Asker and Rashad Coulter are very bad. Yaozong has been out of competition for three years now and while he very well may have made improvements, it should still be easy enough for Petroski to get him down and choke him out. The size difference makes me a bit nervous but Petroski certainly feels like the right side in this one. Andre Petroski by Round Two Submission
  • Nick: Andre Petroski was the favorite to win this season of The Ultimate Fighter, but he fell to finalist Bryan Battle where he got caught in a submission in the second round. Petroski is a decorated collegiate level wrestler who mostly leans on his powerful grappling to overwhelm and discourage his opponents. He has shown KO power on the regional scene, but he telegraphs his strikes so in most matchups he’s best suited leaning on the grappling. Petroski is the more powerful striker here and he’s the better wrestler as well. He is going to come out aggressive and I do have concerns about his cardio. Yaozong has fought at heavyweight in the past. He should have a lot of power now at 185 pounds, but his striking is far from technical and he really doesn’t have any singular standout skill. He is coming off back-to-back losses and we really haven’t seen him succeed yet at this level. Petroski is flawed in terms of cardio and durability, but he feels like the rightful favorite in this spot. I won’t be heavily invested in this matchup either way, but I’m taking the favorite here. He should win no matter where this one goes. Andre Petroski by Round Two KO
  • GB: Andre Petroski by Round Two KO

Lerone Murphy -310 (DK $9300, FD $19) vs Makwan Amirkhani +240 (DK $6900, FD $10)

  • Anthony: Here we have a featherweight matchup between Lerone Murphy and Makwan Amirkhani. Murphy has garnered quite a bit of hype as a prospect, entering this bout with a record of 10-0-1. A deeper dive into his fights leaves a lot to be desired but on the surface Murphy is certainly a talented striker with a bright future ahead. His low volume is my biggest concerning, costing him a round against Douglas de Andrade and two against Zubaira Tukhugov. It makes sense that he is favored here but not by so much. Amirkhani certainly seems to be trending downward after a promising start to his UFC career. I still think there is hope left for Mr. Finland though as most of his losses came facing very tough competition. He is a fast starter and implementing his ground game against Murphy could certainly put him into a winning position very early on. Averaging more than a takedown per round really makes him an appealing underdog play at this price, especially if Murphy remains hesitant to let his hands go while standing. I will be siding with the sizeable dog here as Amirkhani has shown a lot more promise than Murphy on the mat. I expect little to no action while these two are striking at range. Makwan Amrikhani by Decision
  • Nick: Murphy is a well-rounded fighter with impressive speed and an excellent gas tank. He has been impressive in the UFC so far, scoring a draw against Zubaira Tukhugov in his debut as well as a KO victory over Ricardo Ramos and a decision win over Douglas Silva de Andrade his last time out. He’s a gifted striker with enough grappling ability, both offensively and defensively to hang with the majority of the division. Makwan Amirkhani’s greatest strength is his outstanding BJJ, as eleven of his professional victories have come via submission. He is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time in his career and he could be cut from the promotion with another defeat here. Amirkhani’s cardio is always a bit of a question mark, so even if he grounds Murphy early I have trouble expecting he’ll be able to maintain constant pressure. The key to this fight will be Murphy keeping things on the feet. He’s a much better striker than Amirkhani so as long as he stays out of danger early this feels like his fight to lose. Lerone Murphy by Decision
  • GB: Lerone Murphy by Round Two KO

Shamil Gamzatov -115 (DK $8400, FD $16) vs Michal Oleksiejczuk -105 (DK $7800, FD $14)

  • Anthony: Next up is a light heavyweight bout between Shamil Gamzatov and Michal Oleksiejczuk. This will likely be one of the few duds on the card as neither one of these fighters seem all that talented. Gamzatov enters with an unblemished record of 14-0, but none of those wins came against impressive opponents. He lacks the cardio to effectively wrestle a full three rounds and thus a majority of his wins are rather ugly. The striking is underdeveloped too, but only slightly more so than that of his opponent. Oleksiejczuk also lacks any really stellar wins with all of his UFC victories coming against the worst 205ers on the roster. He carries the heavier hands and certainly has a chance to hurt Gamzatov, but this is I fight I just have zero interest investing in. In a close decision I imagine these judges give the nod to Russia Top Team and keep Gamzatov’s perfect record intact. Shamil Gamzatov by Decision
  • Nick: Oleksiejczkuk has shown a propensity to fade late in fights, but there’s no denying he’s the more accomplished fighter that has faced a higher level of competition. He has serious KO power and he does a good job putting consistent pressure on his opponents. Additionally, he has developed a reputation as a fast starter with a lot of quick finishes. Shamil Gamzatov comes into this fight undefeated, but we really haven’t seen him tested much at this level. He hasn’t fought since 2019 and the majority of his wins have come in lower level promotions. Gamzatov is going to have a grappling advantage here, but it’s rare he seems to lean on that part of his game. He has never shot for a takedown in the UFC. This is a low confidence pick but I like the value on the underdog. Michal Oleksiejczuk by Decision
  • GB: Shamil Gamzatov by Round Two KO

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos -240 (DK $8500, FD $17) vs Benoit Saint Denis +190 (DK $7700, FD $12)

  • Anthony: At welterweight Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos will be taking on UFC debutant Benoit Saint Denis. Hailing from Brave Combat Federation is Saint Denis, an undefeated fighter with seven of his eight wins coming by submission. There is a lot to like about this grappling specialist, especially in a bout against a known striker. However, it feels like a tall task for Saint Denis to get the job done here. He began training mixed martial arts just two years ago and is at a severe disadvantage in terms of experience. Zaleski is a six-year veteran of the UFC and has shared the octagon with much more stiff competition. We have seen him overwhelm grapplers before with his Capoeira style, including the likes of Luigi Vendramini and Omari Akhmedov. With a BJJ blackbelt in his back pocket I do not see Zaleski getting caught in any compromising positions here. He should be able to piece up Saint Denis and hand him his first professional loss, likely inside of the distance. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Benoit Saint Denis will be making his UFC debut here. He is a BJJ specialist with an impressive arsenal of submissions at his disposal, but we really haven’t seen him tested against a high level of competition. Zaleski dos Santos is one of the more creative strikers in this division. He does an excellent job throwing and landing wild spinning attacks. He is a powerful striker and does a good job mixing explosive kicks into his combinations. Zaleski is going to have a considerable advantage on the feet here. He should be able to keep this fight standing as the stronger and more physical fighter. If this fight does ever hit the mat he should be able to stay out of danger as a BJJ blackbelt himself. Saint Denis may threaten a submission, but Zaleski dos Santos feels like too much too soon for him here. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos by Round One KO
  • GB: Benoit Saint Denis by Round Three KO

Albert Duraev -360 (DK $9200, FD $20) vs Roman Kopylov +270 (DK $7000, FD $11)

  • Anthony: Scheduled here is a middleweight fight between Albert Duraev and Roman Kopylov. Duraev is fresh of a win on Dana White’s Contender Series and is the first contestant of this season to fight in the UFC. In that bout we saw him takedown and dominate Caio Bittencourt. He had far more impressive wins prior to that one but the method by which he disposed of Bittencourt earned him a contract rather easily. Duraev has exceptional grappling and extremely heavy top pressure that causes opponents to wilt. He is a well-built 185 pounder and I very much like the upside he possesses. The only losses that Duraev has suffered came against talented opponents like Anatoly Tokov and Ramazan Emeev. Kopylov lost his UFC debut two years ago and has not competed since. I think it is rather clear who the UFC hopes to win, with the debuting Duraev fighting out of the red corner. He should get the job done. Albert Duraev by Round Two Submission
  • Nick: Albert Duraev is coming off an impressive Contender Series win over Caio Bittencourt. He leaned on his powerful wrestling ability in that spot and worked Bittencourt for a first round submission win via neck crank. His striking is fairly rudimentary, but he does a good job staying out of danger and using his own strikes to create entries for takedowns. Kopylov was once a highly regarded prospect but he hasn’t fought in three years. He’s a technically sound striker that pushes a fun style, but he seems fairly one dimensional. He may have some success when this fight is standing, but Duraev should have his way with him once this fight hits the mat. I expect an impressive debut from the favorite here. Albert Duraev by Round One Submission
  • GB: Albert Duraev by Round One Submission

Zubaira Tukhugov -165 (DK $8300, FD $16) vs Ricardo Ramos +135 (DK $7900, FD $13)

  • Anthony: Next we have a featherweight bout between Zubaira Tukhugov and Ricardo Ramos. I want to be as transparent with readers as possible, and I am simply fading Tukhugov here after watching his last performance. It was a competitive fight for the first ten minutes, but Tukhugov’s gas tank was quickly emptied and he spent the entire third round running away from Hakeem Dawodu. There is no reason to pick a fighter that has gone to a split decision in four of his previous five bouts. He is skillful with some rather impressive wrestling but just does not have the tools to take over many fights. His opponent Ramos at least has a will to win and a much more aggressive fight style. He poses the larger threat on the feet and has solid offensive wrestling of his own, notching eight takedowns in his most recent victory. His cardio seems better than that of Tukhugov and we likely see him gaining confidence as this fight wears on. Neither one of the guys are all that high level but I think the underdog is going to come through in this spot. Ricardo Ramos by Decision
  • Nick: Tukhugov is capable of winning striking exchanges on the feet, but he needs to be careful not to leave himself open to counters here against a dangerous opponent. Ricardo Ramos can cause damage with a single shot, but he doesn’t often throw extended combinations and he has trouble putting volume on opponents. Ramos usually looks very sharp early in most fights and Tukhogov is a bit of a slow starter. I see Tukhugov having advantages as this fight wears on, but he will need to be rather careful early. It wouldn’t surprise me to see either of these guys shoot for a takedown, but Tukhugov should have the grappling advantage. Additionally, Ramos won’t have the technical striking edge here he does in many of his fights. This is another close matchup that could go either way, but I’m siding with the favorite. I see him doing just enough to win on the scorecards. Zubaira Tukhugov by Decision
  • GB: Zubaira Tukhugov by Decision

Amanda Ribas -165 (DK $8200, FD $15) vs Virna Jandiroba +135 (DK $8000, FD $15)

  • Anthony: The featured prelim is a women’s strawweight bout between Amanda Ribas and Virna Jandiroba. These are two very talented BJJ blackbelts and it will be interesting to see how they match up here. When things hit the mat it is very difficult to predict what will happen as both have proven capable of finishing fights from both top and bottom position. On the feet, Ribas is certainly the more technically developed striker but Jandiroba carries more power in her punches. Their resumes are similar with both lacking any really impressive wins. The decision over Mackenzie Dern is the best mark on Ribas’ record, but it is not aging all that well. With Ribas also being knocked out in her most recent fight I am not rushing to back her once again here. I think this fight is a dead even coin flip and for that reason I have so pick the plus money side. Virna Jandiroba by Decision
  • Nick: Virna Jandiroba is willing to eat punches in order to throw them. She does a good job keeping pressure on her opponents and her cardio has mostly held up at the UFC level. Her striking isn’t very refined, but she throws frequently enough to keep most of her opponents on the defensive. She’s most comfortable on the mat as a decorated BJJ black belt, but her entries for takedowns and her wrestling leave a lot to be desired. Ribas has instead been the main focus of the UFC’s promo for this fight. She is a fan favorite as an aggressive fighter with outstanding offensive grappling ability. She is a black belt in BJJ and four of her professional victories have come by way of submission. The line feels a bit too wide as Jandiroba is good pretty much everywhere. However, I see Ribas having more success in the striking exchanges. This is one of the tougher fights on the card to call and I could absolutely see it going either way. However, I’m siding with the favorite. Amanda Ribas by Decision
  • GB: Amanda Ribas by Decision

Main Card- Starts 2:00pm EST

Magomed Ankalaev -300 (DK $9100, FD $20) vs Volkan Oezdemir +235 (DK $7100, FD $11)

  • Anthony: The main card opens with a light heavyweight showdown between Volkan Oezdemir and Magomed Ankalaev. I think as highly of Ankalaev as any contender currently at 205 pounds. His last win was a decision victory over Nikita Krylov but the three fights prior were extremely impressive knockouts. It was nice to see him wrestling effectively in his most recent bout but striking is quite clearly his best attribute. Opponents are hesitant to engage with him as his hands are lightning quick and carry incredible power. Oezdemir has always been an effective volume striker in this division, but I do not think he has much to offer in this bout offensively. Jiri Prochazka badly cracked his chin last July, starching Oezdemir for the first time in his career. Ankalaev should find a home for his left hand in this bout but is just as live to notch his first professional win by submission. Oezdemir has shown a deficiency on the ground throughout his career. Ankalaev’s only loss is a fight he dominated and seemed to throw in the final seconds as he tapped to Paul Craig. I expect him to roll through Oezdemir here as he continues to climb the ranks at light heavyweight. Magomed Ankalaev by Round One KO
  • Nick: Magomed Ankalaev has ridiculously powerful head kicks, extremely diverse striking and intelligent footwork. He’s well versed in terms of grappling but his powerful and precise striking is what has many touting him as a future top contender at light heavyweight. He throws meaningful strikes and does a good job staying out of range against a variety of opponents. Ankalaev is coming off six consecutive wins under the UFC banner and he’ll look to build on that momentum here against a dangerous opponent in Volkan Oezdemir. Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa both tried to rush Oezdemir early in their fights against him and ended up paying for it, both getting KO’d. He has faced an extremely high level of competition, but his career does seem to be on a bit of a downturn. Oezdemir has the type of power that always gives him a chance but Ankalaev should be able to get it done in this spot. He’s the more well-rounded fighter and seems to improve every time we see him in the cage. If he stays out of danger early, this feels like his fight to lose. Magomed Ankalaev by Round Two KO
  • GB: Magomed Ankalaev by Round Two KO

Khamzat Chimaev -650 (DK $9500, FD $23) vs Li Jingling +425 (DK $6700, FD $8)

  • Anthony: Next is a fight at welterweight between Li Jingliang and the returning Khamzat Chimaev. Things were a bit sketchy for Chimaev during weigh-ins but with some extra time he was able to make the 171-pound limit. He already has two UFC wins at middleweight and is just massive for this division. Chimaev will certainly look to implement his suffocating wrestling against a dangerous striker here. The gameplan for him does not vary much, using pressure to back up his opponents and eventually slamming them to the mat. He is able to unleash devastating ground and pound from top position very early in his fights. As intimidating as that style may be, his single punch KO of Gerald Meerschaert last September highlights just how scary Khamzat is. That fight was over just 17 seconds after it had begun. Jingliang is a tough opponent with a lot of experience and very dangerous hands, but his 59 percent takedown defense just won’t suffice here. Chimaev is much stronger and should roll in this fight after a timely layoff for recovery. He has eclipsed 120 points on DraftKings in all three of his UFC bouts thus far. Khamzat Chimaev by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Khamzat Chimaev is one of the more hyped prospects in the promotion right now. He won his first two UFC fights on Fight Island in the span of ten days at two different weight classes. In both of those fights he completely dominated from start to finish. He’s known to lift his opponent off the mat, carry them to his corner and slam them to the ground. Once grounded he starts throwing huge strikes and boasts an advanced arsenal of submissions. In his last fight, he knocked out a veteran in Gerald Meerschaert with a straight right in just 17 seconds. Li Jinagliang is coming off an impressive KO win of his own over Santiago Ponzinibbio. He is an extremely powerful striker, but his takedown defense sits at an ugly 59 percent. I think Chimaev can execute the same ‘scoop-carry-slam’ gameplan he always does. He will have to be more careful and cautious than usual as Jingliang does have KO power, but I expect Chimaev to remain undefeated here. Khamzat Chimaev by Round One Submission
  • GB: Khamzat Chimaev by Decision

Alexander Volkov -300 (DK $8900, FD $19) vs Marcin Tybura +235 (DK $7300, FD $11)

  • Anthony: This should be a competitive heavyweight scrap between Alexander Volkov and Marcin Tybura. After racking up four straight wins in 2020, Tybura extended his streak this past June with a first round finish of Walt Harris. There have been clear advancements in his game as of late and he very much deserves his current ranking in this division. Tybura is a powerful on the feet with good kicks too, but wresting has been the primary method by which he is winning fights. Cage control and successful takedowns will be the key for him against a fighter like Volkov. He was already a massive heavyweight, but Volkov has become even more intimidating since bulking up last summer. Curtis Blaydes has really been the only fighter able to effectively wrestle him thus far. Tybura may be able to press him against the octagon, but I do not think he gets Volkov to the ground very often if at all. The larger cage plays to Volkov’s strength as he can keep this a fight at distance and pick apart Tybura from range. Not only does he boast a three-inch reach advantage but also the far more technical striking of these two. I do believe Volkov to be the rightful favorite but I have no interest betting him with these odds so wide. Alexander Volkov by Decision
  • Nick: In many ways, this is a classic striker versus grappler matchup. Tybura is decent on the feet, but most of his success has come via his wrestling. He is a BJJ black belt and undoubtedly the better grappler in this fight, so his path to victory is rather clear. He needs to use his strength advantage to drag Volkov to the mat and control position for however long he can. Volkov doesn’t have a great takedown defense, but he does do a decent job getting back up on his feet. This fight will likely be decided by how much damage Tybura can cause when he has Volkov grounded, as well as how much damage he can sustain when this fight is on the feet. Volkov is favored here because when this fight is standing he is going to look like the much better fighter. He has a considerable striking advantage so I expect Tybura to do anything in his power to make this a boring, grappling heavy affair. Volkov comes into this fight nearly twenty pounds heavier than he has fought for most of his UFC career. While this normally might be cause for some concern, his body fat percentage seems as low as it ever has been. This tells me that this new weight is good weight, and it’s more than likely going to make Volkov tougher to take down. Volkov’s striking advantage should be enough to secure the win here. Tybura is a live underdog, but I expect him to have trouble closing the distance here as this bout wears on. Alexander Vokov by Decision
  • GB: Marcin Tybura by Round Two KO

Islam Makhachev -650 (DK $9600, FD $23) vs Dan Hooker +425 (DK $6600, FD $8)

  • Anthony: The card’s featured bout will be contested at lightweight between Islam Makhachev and Dan Hooker. These are two of my favorite fighters in the division and I think both have what it takes to be UFC champion. It is a clear clash of styles as Makhachev is a classic Dagestani grappler, while Hooker does his best work striking. Against an opponent like Hooker there is no doubt in my mind Makhachev rushes to get this fight to the mat. Father’s plan will be tested against the 80 percent takedown defense of Hooker here. In the larger octagon it should be easier for Hooker to stay at range and avoid the shots of Makhachev, but it also makes getting back to his feet much more difficult. Hooker has more than a puncher’s chance here as his well-timed knees could really stun an opponent constantly shooting on him. Hooker also has an excellent wrestling coach in his corner, Frank Hickman from Tiger Muay Thai. With seven career submissions to his name Hooker is not going to get smothered like this betting line implies. While Makhachev is likely the one getting his hand raised, he does not warrant a bet unless you expect him to win this matchup nine times out of ten. He has been lined at -400 against worse opponents than The Hangman so the steam really has gotten out of hand. I am betting Hooker based on the value alone. Makhachev probably wins this fight and eventually becomes champion, but I’m not going to bitch out and pick him when my money is on the other side. Dan Hooker by Round Three Submission
  • Nick: Islam Makhachev is one of the more promising up-and-comers in the UFC. He is a decorated grappler as a master of sport in combat sambo. He pushes a serious pace and has the wrestling ability to take almost anyone in this division down repeatedly. Makhachev has underrated striking, knockout power and clear draw for the promotion. He doesn’t throw much volume on the feet but he can be highly effective when he does throw. He averages more than three takedowns per fifteen minutes. His greatest strength is most certainly his grappling ability and he’ll look to lean on that part of his game here against a striker like Hooker. Dan Hooker is an extremely talented kickboxer. He has powerful leg kicks that he combines with high volume and speed. He is great with angles and does a great job finding openings against a wide range of opponents. Hooker has a near even striking differential. This means that as technically impressive as he can be offensively, defense is rarely a priority for him. While I don’t expect Makhachev to take advantage of these defensive lapses with strikes, I do see Hooker’s aggressive striking style creating openings for the takedown. Hooker has a puncher’s chance here, but that’s about it. Makhachev is regarded as a future champion for a reason. Islam Makhachev by Decision
  • GB: Dan Hooker by Round Three KO

Petr Yan -210 (DK $8800, FD $21) vs Cory Sandhagen +170 (DK $7400, FD $18)

  • Anthony: Our co-main event has the interim bantamweight championship on the line as Petr Yan fights Cory Sandhagen. The current champion Aljamain Sterling is unable to compete due to injury so the UFC has instead created this belt to avoid a logjam at the top of the rankings. Yan has a chance to get back a piece of championship gold after losing his belt due to an illegal knee strike in March. He has looked like a near unstoppable force at 135 pounds since his promotional debut in 2018. His best attributes are his crisp boxing, smart forward pressure and high volume. Both these fighters land six significant strikes per minute but Yan has the better striking defense of the two. Sandhagen is the far more unorthodox striker, offering more from range than Yan and cutting angles to get in and out of the pocket much better. This fight is incredibly intriguing as it should be largely contested on the feet and features two guys with very different styles. The odds seem wider than they should be but Yan quite clearly deserves to be favored. He has developed incredibly well at Tiger Muay Thai and has the tools to really put a beating on his opponent here. Sandhagen certainly has the power to change this bout with a single strike, but I have to side the more well-rounded martial artist which is Petr Yan. Sandhagen is a bit too reckless and Yan is a fighter that will make him pay for every mistake. Yan’s $8800 price tag on DraftKings makes him one of the slate’s best point per dollar plays. Petr Yan by Decision
  • Nick: We have an excellent five round match-up here for the Interim Title at bantamweight. Cory Sandhagen is coming off a hard-fought split decision loss to TJ Dillashaw. Petr Yan’s last fight ended in a disqualification against the injured title holder Aljamain Sterling. Dillashaw is injured as well, but many feel these are the two top fighters in the world at bantamweight. Yan is a sniper. He eats some shots to set up big ones, but his combinations are what make him so dangerous. Yan does an excellent job reading pressure as learns the timing of his opponents. He does a good job creating scrambles and as we saw in his rematch with Magomed Magomedov, he’s an underrated grappler in his own right with powerful hips. Yan’s cardio has never been an issue, he gets stronger as the fight goes on and there’s a good chance he looks better in the late rounds than he does early. Sandhagen’s greatest strength is certainly his highly advanced technical striking ability. He averages a ridiculous 6.32 significant strikes landed per minute while carrying a highly impressive +2.26 strike differential. Sandhagen has outstanding cardio which comes as no surprise as he trains in the thin Colorado air at Elevation Fight Team. He generally does a good job keeping distance and using his length to pepper his opponents while staying out of danger. This should be an even matchup when this fight is standing, but I expect Yan’s grappling advantage to be the difference here. Sandhagen carries a mediocre 65 percent takedown defense in the UFC and Yan averages more than three successful takedowns per twenty-five minutes. This should be an outstanding fight and I’m siding with the more well-rounded game of the favorite. Sandhagen is live for a upset by knockout but I expect Yan to ground things if and when he needs to. And new. Petr Yan by Decision
  • GB: Petr Yan by Round Four KO

Jan Blachowicz -290 (DK $9000, FD $22) vs Glover Teixeira +230 (DK $7200, FD $16)

  • Anthony: The card concludes with a light heavyweight title fight between Jan Blachowicz and the challenger Glover Teixeira. Fight week has largely been surrounded with praise for these two older fighters reaching the pinnacle of their career later than most. Blachowicz has looked great in his two title victories thus far and is a significant favorite to defend here. He does well diversifying his attacks on offense. Blachowicz also boasts a strong kicking game and of course threatens everyone with his legendary Polish power. He is not that fast but does have a speed advantage in this division and certainly in this matchup. The clearest path to victory for Jan is setting up a knockout blow, but Teixeira has shown an uncanny ability to eat punches and continue moving forward. In his previous two bouts he was hurt badly but able to create scrambles and rally late. His crisp boxing ultimately helped dispose of Anthony Smith while his offensive grappling was key against Thiago Santos. I would argue that Teixeira is the superior striker of these two but lacks the weapons from range that Blachowicz possesses. Grappling will be the path of least resistance for him but I think it will be a challenge keeping the champion on the mat. After cashing as a large underdog for me in his last two wins, Teixeira will once again be my pick here. If he gets the job done it is likely another gritty, comeback performance but he has all the tools necessary to pull off this upset. Both men will have their moments in this fight but ultimately, I see the 42-year-old getting his hand raised. And new. Glover Teixeira by Round Four Submission
  • Nick: These are two of the more experienced light heavyweights in the world and both of these guys come into this fight with extremely impressive resumes. The current light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz is coming off an impressive win in which he handed Israel Adesanya the first loss of his professional MMA career. He did an excellent job working his jab in that spot and leaned on opportunistic grappling to convincingly retain his title on the scorecards. Blachowicz is a well-rounded fighter with serious knockout power. He has a solid grappling base, but on the ground he relies on brute strength more than advanced technical ability. Blachowicz’ chin has held up well of late and it seems he is as good as he’s ever been. He has a powerful high kick which he used to brutalize Dominick Reyes when capturing the title and he can end a fight with any of his limbs. Blachowicz can sometimes be a slow starter but that shouldn’t be a problem for him here against another grizzled veteran in Teixeira. Glover is extremely effective on the ground. He does a good job mixing in level changes to work his opponents to the mat. Once he gets them there, his ground-and-pound ability is as good as anyone in the world. At 42 years old there is always a chance Teixeira’s age has caught up to him. He has looked excellent lately, but there is really no telling when his physical strengths start to flip into weaknesses. Teixeira is very good everywhere, but he has no singular stand out skill and he mostly relies on a sound technical base as he waits to take advantage of his opponent’s mistakes. He is certainly going to be competitive here, but I don’t see Blachowicz making a mistake or giving him any openings. Additionally, Blachowicz seems to be more durable. While there’s no denying Teixeira’s impressive winning streak, we’ve seen him rocked and almost finished in many of those wins. And Still. Jan Blachowicz by Round Three KO
  • GB: Jan Blachowicz by Round Three KO

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