Main Event of The Weekend - UFC 214 "Jones v DC 2"
It is finally here. Maybe. Hopefully. For the love of everything good and holy. Look, I just can’t handle another cancellation. This is the one fight that both hardcore and casual MMA fans have had circled for YEARS. Not weeks or months…..YEARS!! Seriously, there is no other fight I’ve anticipated more than this rematch. We’ll get to it, but in addition to the LHW Championship, we also have a phenominal fight card, both the PPV and prelims. 3 title fights, okay well 2 title fights and one legalized potential homicide. Not even to mention the return of “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. In short, I CANNOT ****ING WAIT!! So with all that said, let’s get to it! Also, I’m going to go ahead and start with the Fight Pass prelims and work my day down to the much anticipated rematch.
Drew Dober $9000 (- 345) v. Joshua Burkman $7200 (+285)
Dober ITD : +145
Burkman ITD: +626
Drew Dober is a bit of an enigma, he’s looked impressive at times (R1 sub and KO/TKO of Varner and Gonzalez) however he’s looked pretty poor at times, most recently in an early uninspired submission loss to Aubin-Mercier, and that was while getting out struck as well, which is Dober’s game. Vegas likes this fight though, and they don’t exactly like the Burkman side as you can easily tell. Plain and simple, Josh Burkman has won 1 fight in his last 9. Before a unanimous decision win against KJ Noons, he hadn’t won since 2007. That’s 10 years. Burkman is on his way out and his recent performances indicate just that. His most recent losses have come against Michel Prazares (sub), Zak Ottow, and Paul Felder. Now I do like Prazares moving forward in the division, but I just can’t see any reason to play Burkman here, outside of GPP game theory. He will be virtually un owned. My gut tells me Dober earns a finish, but how can you trust Drew Dober at 9k right? Especially when I can go up a few hundred to Fili or down a bit and spend my money on Bones, Jimi or even Robbie Lawler. I do not want Tyron this Saturday (we’ll get to that later)
This one could be a key piece in GPP lineups however because Dober will be low owned as well. If Dober does come in at 14% and earns an early finish, which he could very well find….he could be the contrarian play you need to ship a big tournament. I’m torn on how to set my exposure to this fight but if I do have any it will be on the Dober side, hoping for an early KD and KO. With an ITD of +145, I think it’s viable too.
PREDICTION: Drew Dober by 2nd rd KO/TKO
CONTRARIAN OPTION: Joshua Burkman by decision
Eric Shelton $7600 (+130) v. Jarrod Brooks $8600 (-150)
Shelton ITD : +455
Brooks ITD: +490
Two things immediately jump out to me about this fight. First, it most likely won’t end in a finish. Second, +130 is pretty damn good for a $7600 fighter (see Eryk Anders). Since this fight isn’t going to finish, there needs to be something to get me excited about the prospect of spending my money here, like take downs. It just so happens that’s pretty much exactly what Brooks does. He is aggressive, relentless, and does not stop looking for the take down, which we love. On the regional circuit at least, his level changes are quite impressive. My only concern with that is that Shelton doesn’t really throw enough to bring level changes into heavy consideration. Also from what I’ve seen, Brooks has a pretty impressive top game (at least against non UFC talent), and can generate some good power from the guard, but he does look to pass. When you compare that to Shelton’s sort of passive, hang back and see approach, even though Shelton does have decent striking and could “catch” him, I think it’s going to be a long and tiring 15 minutes for Eric. Make no mistake, Brooks will put Shelton on the mat, and he’s probably going to do it multiple times. When you consider this fight will more than likely go over looked, I definitely want exposure, and mine’s going to be on the Jarrod Brooks side.
I think Brooks makes a fantastic pivot away from both Robbie Lawler, who I like against Cowboy, but still have some reservations about a high enough DK score, and especially away from The Chosen One, because well like I said, we’ll get to it. Quick DK math tells us that a 5+ take down decision lands us at a floor of 55 without SS. Throw in advances, which I expect Brooks to look for while on top and we’ve already reached about 70, and that’s again without SS. Like I said earlier, I like his work from the guard, so I expect SS to be there as well. In a 3 round fight, I don’t think 50 is too high of a number, and that puts him in the 92-98 range and I’m perfectly fine with that. Throw in the fact that he’s probably not going to garner much ownership, and we’ve got a nice little GPP equation if you ask me. I will definitely be over weight on Brooks this weekend.
PREDICTION: Jarrod Brooks by decision
CONTRARIAN OPTION: Eric Shelton by 3rd RD KO/TKO
Alexandra Albu $8300 (-160) v. Kailin Curran $7900 (+140)
Albu ITD : +198
Curran ITD: +428
The final fight on Fight Pass features Alexandra Albu, who is unbeaten but hasn’t fought since 2015, against a fighter who IMO doesn’t belong in the UFC. I just have not been impressed with Kailin Curran. She has not only lost 4 out of 5 of her UFC fights, she’s been finished in 3. Her most recent loss came against Jamie Moyle where she was significantly out struck in a decision loss. Before that she was subbed by Felice, Alex Chambers late while Currin was more than likely ahead in the fight, and knocked out by Paige. The only thing stopping me from somewhat significant exposure to Albu is the fact that we don’t know for sure what we’re getting. It always makes me nervous rostering a fighter who has spent a good chunk of time away, unless that fighters name is Jon Jones of course. Albu is 6-0 professionally, 1-0 in the UFC, she’s Russian and she has a striking background. Her one UFC win came by way of a guillotine against Isabela Badurek after landing 42 SS through the majority of 2 rounds. All 6 of her professional wins though, have been finishes (2 subs, 4 KO’s). I think she is going to control this fight, and if Curran gets out of line, she could definitely get subbed again.
8300 is cheap, especially for a potential finish against a fighter who once again I have not been impressed with. She tries to throw volume yes, but if things start going wrong she doesn’t know how to adjust and change her game. Vegas at least somewhat sees a potential finish here, and if I were a betting man, which I mean obviously….I think a submission is very much in play in terms out potential outcomes. The submission line is +335 whereas the KO/TKO is around +546. Both of Currans are right at +700. When you factor in the price and opponent, I expect Albu to be somewhat popular, at least with the sharps. Maybe somewhere in the neighborhood of 18%. Hiatus or not, she is too cheap and Curran is not UFC caliber. I will not be playing Kailin Curran in this fight. If she burns me, so be it.
PREDICTION: Alexandra Albu by 2nd Rd Submission (RNC)
CONTRARIAN OPTION: None
Andre Fili $9200 (-380) v. Calvin Kattar $7000 (+315)
Fili ITD : +100
Kattar ITD: +475
So into the official prelims we go, and it starts with a replacement fighter for Andre Fili. Fili is not only one of the biggest favorites on this card at -380, he also has an ITD of +100. $9200 is expensive but Fili is a great cash play and he’s still in play for GPP’s as well. Originally scheduled to be against Doo Ho Choi but re booked now against Kattar. This is a great spot for Fili to get his career back on track after a few tough fights against Yair Rodriguez and current 145 champ Max Holloway back in 2014. His most recent fight was a pretty impressive showing against Hacran Dias where he out struck Dias on route to a unanimous decision win, and even earned 3 advances in the process despite being taken down 3 times. Like many have said, Fili also has a propensity to potentially get involved in wild exchanges, and I think that’s Kattar’s only path to victory here, but I’m not sure if he even has the power to earn the stoppage through that. I don’t really expect to see many take downs however, in fact I feel like this fight mostly will play out on the feet. In short, I think Kattar gets knocked out in his UFC debut, and my gut is saying it happens somewhat quickly.
This is Fili’s fight to lose, he knows it, Kattar knows it, and Vegas knows it. It’s very difficult to argue with a +100 ITD and if you just can’t make it to Cyborg, you could do a lot worse than paying $9200 for Andre Fili.
PREDICTION: Andre Fili by 1st Rd KO/TKO
HIGHLY CONTRARIAN OPTION: Kattar by 2nd Rd KO/TKO
Renato Moicano $8200 (-150) v. Brian Ortega $8000 (+130)
Moicano ITD : +472
Ortega ITD: +398
I’ve actually been pretty impressed with “T City” at times. He has very impressive BJJ and is dangerous on the ground, however the fight has to get there first and I’m not sure if there’s really a reason for Moicano to try and take the fight there. Ortega is a Gracie BJJ black and will have their full backing on Saturday night per the usual. To summarize Brian Ortega, he’s basically has extremely dangerous BJJ, but he’s not a very good wrestler. That’s simplistic yes, but it’s also true….and it’s also a problem. His striking has improved a bit but it’s not on the level of Moicano’s and like I said earlier I don’t think there’s a reason for Moicano to take this fight to the ground, it’s just not a smart thing to do even though he is skilled there as well. So that leaves the fight to play out on the feet and if that’s the case here, it’s a pass for me. I just don’t see a reason outside of GPP game theory to target this fight when heavy handed Jason Knight lurks right on the horizon and when Albu is only 100 more than Moicano against a fighter who as I’ve said multiple times, does not belong in the UFC. Sorry Kailin, just calling it like I see it.
If you want to grab a few shares of either of these guys in GPP’s I’m not going to fault you, because it’s always good to have a unique lineup and as we all know, you never know what can happen, I just think there’s better ways to spend your money. Gun to my head though, I’d say Moicano just chews him up on the feet en route to like a 73 point performance through SS.
PREDICTION: Renato Moicano by decision
CONTRARIAN OPTION: Ortega by Rd 3 KO/TKO
Renan Barao $7800 (+105) v. Aljamain Sterling $8400 (-125)
Barao ITD : +535
Sterling ITD: +340
Well to put it plainly, this is just not the same Renan Barao we remember from years ago. He does however have an almost 100% take down defense, so don’t expect Sterling to be able to get this fight to the ground. I think I’m almost alone in this camp, but I just don’t really like Sterling. Not from a DFS perspective at least, actually not really from an MMA one either. I just haven’t seen what everyone else does in this kid I guess. If the fight is anywhere close, he doesn’t throw at a high volume, he disappears at times in fights and he isn’t good enough on the ground to do anything worthwhile. Barao might have chin concerns, but I don’t think Sterling has the power to put him away, outside of a perfectly timed strike. The only reason I would play Barao is that he’s sub 8k, and at least has somewhat of a chance at coming away with a decision victory, albeit a low scoring one.
It’s another pass for me, and I’m not even really looking forward to watching this one. Maybe I’m wrong but I just see a snooze fest that plays out on the feet between a fighter who’s seen better days and a tentative fighter.
PREDICTION: I just don’t care, kidding. Aljamain Sterling by decision
CONTRARIAN OPTION: Barao by Rd 2 KO/TKO
Jason Knight $8100 (-120) v. Ricardo Lamas $8100 (+100)
Knight ITD : +267
Lamas ITD: +377
Oh Jason Knight. What an interesting kid. Say what you will about the guy, this kid can fight. Knight has power in his hands and he’s precise with his punches. He’s also very strong for his size and if he can latch on, the take down follows shortly after. The problem there is the “if”. He does shoot for take downs quite often, albeit often times unsuccessfully. Most of his take downs seem to come from close quarters or the clinch where he can just kind of latch on to his opponent. He does have a pretty solid top game, and submissions to go with it but is that going to be effective against a BJJ black belt like Ricardo Lamas? Lamas will easily be the toughest test of Knights career so far, and to be honest I’m going back and forth on how I see this fight playing out. Part of me really thinks that Knight is going to ‘sleep’ him with a right hand, much like he did Chas Skelly. Surely he won’t be able to find success on the ground against someone like Lamas right? So the other part of me thinks that Lamas is going to look for the take down himself and then use his BJJ to just smother and harass Knight on top basically. As skilled as he is on top, I’m worried that if Knight does get taken down that he won’t be able to get back up very efficiently, and that’s a problem.
At first I really liked Knight, I’m changing my take though and rather quickly. As impressive as Knight has been so far, this might be the end of his run, at least for now. It’s just difficult to see where Knight should be favored in this fight against a guy like Ricardo Lamas. Can he catch him with that right hand? Sure. But that’s about it, I don’t think a submission is in play here against a BJJ black belt the likes of Lamas. Also, Knight is going to be somewhat popular, especially with the casual fans. He’s had his name circulating recently and he’s on an impressive run. I don’t think Lamas would score very high in a win but you just never know. Knight will be almost 2-1 owned, which makes Lamas definitely in play for GPP game theory.
PREDICTION: Ricardo Lamas by decision
CONTRARIAN OPTION: Knight by Rd 2 KO/TKO
Volkan Oedzdemir $7400 (-120) v. Jimi Manuwa $8800 (-180)
Oedzdemir ITD : +225
Manuwa ITD: -117
Before we start is there anyone who would like to explain to me how the **** Volkan Oedzdemir is in the Top 5?! Go on, I’ll wait. Seriously this guy arguably and IMO lost to an over rated OSP, and then goes out and thumps Cirkunov behind the ear literally before the fight even started. I’m still perplexed. On the opposite side, Jimi Manuwa eats people. Obviously I’m not speaking literally but Manuwa is an absolute monster at 205. Jimi only has 2 losses on his resume and they are Rumble, and Gustafsson. In addition, he likes to knock people out. His only win that has gone to a decision was against Jan Blachowicz in a pretty dull fight to be honest. Manuwa was in line for a potential title shot not very long ago before losing to the killer that was Anthony Johnson, and since he’s come back on a tear. 2 straight performance of the night bonuses and 2 straight early KO/TKO’s against OSP and most recently Corey Anderson. Oedzdemir is somewhat of a volume striker, but do we really think he has the power to put away Jimi effing Manuwa?? I don’t. Not only that but this is his 3rd fight in the UFC. His third fight!! OSP isn’t what he was advertised as being and Cirkunov who knows what that was about! Take the clearence price if you want it, but it’s pretty clear who my money will be on here.
8800 isn’t cheap, but if people gravitate to Jones like I think they’re going to, he might just go under owned. Low volume or not, Jimi likes to do 2 things, knock people down, and knock people out…..both of which we get serious points for. There’s a reason Manuwa is ranked 3rd in the division. How Oedzdemir is already 5th, I’ll never know.
PREDICTION: Jimi Manuwa by Rd 1 KO
CONTRARIAN OPTION: Jimi Manuwa by Rd 2 KO/TKO
Donald Cerrone $7700 (+140) v. Robbie Lawler $8500 (-160)
Cerrone ITD : +297
Lawler ITD: +162
Finally I get to see Robbie Lawler fight again. This guy is one of my favorite fighters and since his “comeback” years ago has consistently brought it, and done so in true Robbie Lawler fashion. I was devastated to see him get knocked out cold by Tyron but it’s good to see him fighting again. Cerrone is no easy task however and since he made the move up to 170 has looked like a destroyer. The combination he put together to finish the previously un finishable Rick Story was nothing short of brilliant. Cowboy fought four times last year alone!! FOUR!! The run came to an end though at the hands of Jorge Masvidal and forced Cerrone to lick his wounds and probably rethink the frequency of his fights. So what’s next then? Robbie Lawler. Make no mistake about it folks, Robbie Lawler is a murderer. His power is devastating, and his timing is precise. He doesn’t punch himself out and he’s proven many times he can go 5 rounds. Did I mention he’s a proven finisher? To say Lawler is imposing is an understatement and he has immense power in his hands and even feet as well. When he hits or kicks you, you know it, and it hurts. Donald Cerrone has never fought anyone like Lawler before, he just hasn’t. The only comparison would be Rafael Dos Anjos, and as you can see for yourself….those didn’t go well. At all. And Lawler IMO is more powerful and more dangerous than RDA. Cerrone struggles when you put him up against the top tier and Robbie Lawler is THE top tier. Can you look me in the eye and say Tyron Woodley would be a lock to defeat Robbie in a rematch for the 170 strap? Because I can’t. And you know Robbie is hungry.
I actually was somewhat against this fight at first but the more I think about it and analyze it, Robbie Lawler is my guy. Who am I kidding Robbie Lawler has always been my guy. This matchup is just too good, and at only 8500 as well. What is Cerrone going to show Robbie that he hasn’t seen or dealt with before? Also, if Cowboy takes one of those Lawler right paws on the chin, is it really going to hold up? I know my answer to that question.
PREDICTION: Robbie Lawler by murder, I mean Rd 1 KO/TKO
CONTRARIAN OPTION: Robbie Lawler by Rd 3 KO/TKO
W FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: Cris Cyborg $1,000,000. Sorry. $9600 (-1375) v. Tonya Evinger $6600 (+900)
Cyborg ITD : -10,000. Sorry. -660
Evinger ITD: +1131
Seriously, what are we doing? This is a title fight. Poor Tonya. She apparently wants it though. They created a division for Cyborg. And the initial “champion” was like “Nah I’m good”. I’m good on that hospital trip, I don’t need to have my face caved in. That should tell you all you need to know right? Poor Tonya. Everyone I’ve talked to feels the same way I do, that Cyborg seems to have a floor of about 115. And she very well might. She beat Lina Lansberg in Rd 2 and still scored 134. She damn near killed Leslie Smith on her way to 116. Poor Tonya. From a Draftkings perspective are we actually hoping it gets out of RD1 then? 82 SS, 2 TD and 4 ADV against Lansberg. And don’t give me this “Tonya can take her down” nonsense. Really? Do you even know what happens if Tonya takes her down? She gets her face smashed in until Cyborg reverses the position, and those are both things that award points on DK. Poor Tonya.
Is $9600 a lot? Sure. Is Cyborg guarenteed 100+? I mean absolutely. That said, 100 or even 110 may not end up being enough at both her price and depending on what the low priced dogs do. She averages 125. That’s good enough for me. I might not be “all in” but I’m pushing a large amount of my chips into the middle here, and it sure feels like I’m holding AA.
PREDICTION: Cris Cyborg by murder, I mean Rd 1 KO/TKO
CONTRARIAN OPTION: Cris Cyborg by Rd 2 KO/TKO
WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: Demian Maia $7500 (+175) v. Tyron Woodley $8700 (-210)
Maia ITD : +249
Woodley ITD: -113
First of let me preface this by saying you may or may not want to read this one. My flag is planted, and it has been for awhile. I just want to go on record saying in my time watching modern MMA, I have never seen anyone even comparable to the BJJ of Demian Maia. This man is like a boa constrictor in a human beings body, it is beyond incredible. “Demian just another fantastic performance what do you have to say about your showing tonight, I mean you just stopped one of the most dangerous men in the division, another dominant performance on the ground, Demian what is your secret? Jiu jitsu.” The only problem with that is that Tyron Woodley obviously has one punch KO power, a wrestling background albeit often unused, full of credentials, and oh yea a 91% take down defense avg, what’s that? 95% since moving to 170.
Something has to give. All the experts are saying this is a terrible stylistic match up for Maia, how he’s never going to be able to get Woodley to the ground. That Woodley possesses too much power and Maia isn’t a striker. Yes, Woodley has fight stopping power. Yes, Woodley has a strong wrestling background. How will Demian Maia get this fight to the mat? I honestly don’t know. Maybe Woodley slips, maybe he chains the take downs together like he always does, maybe Maia smothers him and then just drags him to the floor. All that matters is that Maia gets the fight to the ground, and once he does….once he does….it’s a wrap. Maybe that’s too simple but he is just too good. We’re talking Royce Gracie in the infant stages of UFC good. You cannot stop Demian Maia once he has you on the ground. And for that reason, and a clearance blue light special price tag of just $7500, I’m on Maia. i just feel like it’s his time. So does he. In closing. Jiu jitsu.
PREDICTION: Demian Maia by Rd 1 submission (RNC)
CONTRARIAN OPTION: Tyron Woodley by Rd 2 KO/TKO
LIGHTHEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: Jon Jones $8900 (-260) v. Daniel Cormier $7300 (+240)
Jones ITD : +250
Cormier ITD: -454
Oh sweet Jesus it is finally time. As I posted on facebook earlier this week, “If this fight cancels again, we riot“Jon “Bones” Jones and Daniel Cormier. Lock the cage, throw out the ref and let’s go until someone can’t stand. No? Well how about a 5 round title fight then. Say what you will about Jon outside the cage, but inside he’s arguably the most talented MMA fighter of all time. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve watched the first fight in the saga, but everytime I watch Jon just impresses me more and more. I just cannot see any angle or any department that Daniel is better in. Jones has a 12 inch reach advantage. On the feet Jones is much much better IMO, the only place that it’s even arguable is in that phone booth up close where he can grab Jon’s head and throw short range uppercuts. He proved last time that he can’t take him down, and he exuded way too much injury trying to do so. Meanwhile Jon is loose, he’s light on his feet, he’s throwing strikes, he’s chaining combinations together, and he’s the one that took DC down! From a fight perspective, I love Jon Jones in this fight. From a Draftkings perspective, I’ve got some reservations.
First, Jon’s ITD is only +250. I mean really how is Jon going to finish DC anyway? I mean we know that he can, but is it likely? And if he’s not going to finish, then where do the points come from? Sig Strikes? Take downs? Knockdowns? Advances? If he does get DC down and I think he will, he likes to work from his guard and he delivers so much power from it why wouldn’t he? i’m just not 100% sold that Jones gets to 100 in this fight. When you factor in an absurd ownership percentage, I’m just not sure if Jones is a must play in GPP Hell, I’m not even sure if this fight in general is a must play in GPP. I just have a feeling that the “nuts” is not going to have Jones in it. I will have exposure in GPP, but I’m not going all in.
As far as Cormier goes, 7300 is so cheap. I mean so cheap. And the fight is predicted to go all 5 rounds. Even if it does though, how does DC score? He can’t take Jon down, he can’t strike at distance, and you can only do so much in the clinch and in that phone booth. I’m worried that the likely range of outcome that Daniel will have is somewhere in the 25’s and that is just not enough, not even at 7300. But we’ve waited nearly 3 years for this fight, and it’s all DC has thought about since he lost, who knows how this thing goes down.
PREDICTION: Jon Jones by decision
CONTRARIAN OPTION: Jon Jones by Rd 4 KO/TKO
So that’s it for the Main Event of the Weekend UFC 214 edition, hopefully I’ll be writing some more and breaking down more cards in the future. You can follow me on Twitter @afc_angelo and find me on Draftkings – FULHAMERICA_FC and hopefully you can see me atop the leader boards this weekend, especially in the 4-way Q tiebreaker! Fingers crossed but we’ll see.
Cmon Demian. One time mate, just get him down one time. Cannot. Wait. Until. Saturday. #AndNew