Back by popular demand after a two week layoff, I got you covered for all things #UFC241. After a couple weeks of less than stellar fight cards, UFC 241 is sure to deliver with a ton of fights that I’m excited to talk about and watch on Saturday. Let’s get into it!
$8K Sabina Mazo vs $8.2K Shana Dobson
Kicking off the early preliminary action, we have a matchup in the Women’s Flyweight division between Sabina “Columbian Queen” Mazo and Shana “Danger” Dobson. Mazo is coming into this fight as a slight dog (+115) but I believe she is the better fighter despite her 0-1 UFC record. She trains at a better camp and has good head kicks (two knockouts via head kick) and will look to use her length as an advantage. Dobson, on the other hand, is coming off a loss to Meuller after earning a knockout win in her UFC debut. Although she has a knockout win on her record, I’m not too impressed with her skills. She is a decent boxer but tends to sit heavy on her front foot which could cause problems if Mazo starts to beat it up with leg kicks. Also, I thought her KO victory in the TUF finale was fluky against Ariel Beck. I expect Mazo to win a close decision but won’t be targeting heavily on DraftKings because of the other options in this loaded midrange. Official pick is Mazo by decision.
$8.9K Kyung Ho Kang vs $7.3K Brandon Davis
Kang is coming into this fight as a (-175) favorite fresh off his first round submission win over Teruto Ishihara back in February. Kang is a blue belt in BJJ and has some slick chokes in his arsenal. With that being said, Brandon Davis is certainly a live dog in this fight and I actually think this line should be much closer to a pick em fight. Davis is a purple belt in BJJ and brown belt in Muay Thai and wants to stand and bang. Even at time when he was getting pieced up in his last fight against Randy Costa, he was still waving his opponent on for a fire fight. Kang has been a bit chinny at times in the past and I wouldn’t be surprised if Davis hurt him. I also think Davis has the grappling skills to neutralize Kang on the mat as well. This fight is (+100) not to go to decision and I expect the winner to score well here. I have to favor Davis for the price and because I think this fight scores well. Davis by knockout is my official pick.
$9.2K Hannah Cifers vs $7K Jodie Esquibel
I don’t have much on this one folks. I expect Hannah Cifers to win but DraftKings dropped the ball on pricing and she is way too expensive. Esquibel is winless in the UFC and I fully expect Cifers to outbox her and win this fight. The fight is (-400) currently to go to a decision and that just won’t do it for a fighter priced above 9K in Cifers which makes this fight a complete and total fade for me. Cifers by decision and I feel confident mixing that into your parlays that way you can still get some action on it while you avoid it on DraftKings.
$8.4K Manny Bermudez vs $7.8K Casey Kenney
Manny Bermudez and Casey Kenney kick off the prelims in what should be an exciting grappling affair. Yes, I consider high level grapplers to be exciting and don’t care if you agree! Manny Bermudez is one of the best grapplers in this division, if not the very best. He is a purple belt in BJJ and has made quick work of his opponents in all of his UFC bouts with three submission victories and two of those coming in the first round. They don’t call him the Bermudez triangle for no reason. Kenney, on the other hand, is a Dana White Contender Series product and won his debut against Ray Borg in a fight that I thought he lost although it was close. He is a black belt in Judo and a strong wrestler but I think if the fight takes place on the mat then he will have his hands full with Bermudez grappling skills. Kenney has yet to be finished in his professional career but he’s about to get lost in the Bermudez triangle. Bermudez by submission is my official pick and I love his affordable price on DraftKings.
$7.2K Christos Giagos vs $9K Drakkar Klose
This is another fight that I have very little interest in for DraftKings. Giagos last six fights have gone to decision aside from when he got subbed by Charles Oliveira and this fight is (-265) to go to decision. Klose is a two to one favorite here and I think the most likely outcome is he gets the job done but he never scores enough on DraftKings and they priced him way too high. This is a complete fade for me but if you are throwing in a bunch of lineups then get a few of Giagos for the takedown upside but Klose has good takedown defense and I doubt Giagos wins so I’ll be avoiding both fighters. Klose by decision is my official pick.
$7.5K Raphael Assuncao vs $8.7K Cory Sandhagen
Here it is ladies and gentlemen, Cory Sandhagen is back in our lives once again. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that Sandhagen is my favorite fighter in the UFC. He has a very exciting fighting style and puts on an unbelievable pace on any opponent that steps into the octagon with him. He is coming off a decision win against John Lineker where he scored 100 DraftKings points which is the lowest in his UFC career. He lands at an absurd rate of 8.89 significant strikes per minute and avoids taking much damage as well. This will be his toughest task to date in Raphael Assuncao who boasts wins over the likes of Marlon Moraes, Aljamain Sterling and TJ Dillashaw to name a few. With that being said, Assuncao is now 37 years old and has clearly lost a step in the speed department although he still has the power in his hands. He will be working with a massive disadvantage as Sandhagen is six inches taller and has a four inch reach advantage. Sandhagen is an expert in diving in and out of the pocket with speed and I think he displays that in this fight and beats up Assuncao on the feet. I actually like Sandhagen to finish here despite what the odds say and I love the value of his ITD line at (+325) currently. Official pick is Sandhagen by TKO and he is one of the top overall plays on DraftKings.
$9.5K Devonte Smith vs $6.7K Khama Worthy
This was originally supposed to be Clay Collard but he pulled out of the fight due to unspecified health reasons. I can’t blame him though as I wouldn’t want to step in the octagon against Devonte Smith either. Smith is 2-0 in the UFC with both wins coming by first round knockout. Although the opponent has changed, I think the outcome remains the same. Smith by knockout is my official pick although he is the most expensive fighter on DraftKings. If you have the money then he is a great play but he won’t be a core play for me due to the loaded midrange options this card.
$7.4K Derek Brunson vs $8.8K Ian Heinisch
Derek Brunson and Ian Heinisch kick off the main card action in the Middleweight division. Brunson is currently only a (+130) underdog and is only 7.4K so we do have some line value on him when it comes to DraftKings. Additionally, it seems as though everyone is on Heinisch here despite the line moving in favor of Brunson which suggest that he is being backed by some sharp money for what that’s worth. Stylistically, I think this fight could end up being a lot of pummeling for position and grappling as both fighters look for takedowns. Heinisch has some grappling chops though and I would favor him on the mat if the fight takes place there. He also has the better gas tank and I think that could go a long way here against Brunson who has shown to be questionable in that area prior to his last fight where he looked good. I think the most likely outcome is Heinisch wins by decision but he is too expensive considering the cheaper fighters in this range that I think should outscore him. This fight is (-130) not to go to decision which surprised me a little but it is possible Brunson hurts him early. As the cheaper fighter, he should be a semi popular underdog pick on DraftKings and I’ll have some exposure to him although my official pick Heinisch by decision.
$6.9K Gabriel Benitez vs $9.3K Sodiq Yusuff
This one has the makings of some fireworks as Sodiq Yusuff loves to go out there and bang. He is another high pace fighter and good boxer with strong hands and quickness. He is coming off a decision win against Sheymon Moraes where he had him hurt multiple times. I expect him to be a popular pick as he is a fighter that people are excited about but his (+130) ITD line isn’t the best for that expensive price tag. Benitez is no slouch either and his only losses in the UFC came against Andre Fili and Enrique Barzola. I still have to favor Yusuff in this fight as the more powerful and quicker striker although I do feel that Benitez has more of a chance than the public will give him credit for. For that reason I will have exposure to both fighters but my official pick is Yusuff by knockout.
$8.6K Yoel Romero vs $7.6K Paulo Costa
Don’t blink during this one. Yoel Romero is set to give the undefeated Paulo Costa his toughest test in the octagon. Romero comes into this fight with something to prove after losing a close decision to Robert Whittaker in a fight that I thought he won. He is currently a (-150) favorite in this one but money has been coming in on Costa all week. Costa has knockout wins in all four of his UFC bouts and has never had his cardio truly tested as all of these fights ended prior to the third round. I think the best strategy for Romero is to use his wrestling advantage and look for takedowns early. Make Costa work and drag him into deeper waters to tire him out and take away his powerful striking. Overall this fight is (-375) not to go to decision which makes me have interest in both fighters. Both are aggressive enough and could realistically end the fight with one punch so I think the winner does have a strong chance at ending up on the optimal lineup. I do favor Romero though for the experience and the wrestling advantage so he is my official pick in this one. Romero by TKO.
$8.3K Anthony Pettis vs $7.9K Nate Diaz
I am very excited for this co-main event from a fan’s perspective as we have two very exciting fighters in what should be another close match. That being said, I hate trying to predict matchups where one fighter has had such a long layoff because it is impossible to know if they’re going to look the same. Nate Diaz last fought in August of 2016 against Conor McGregor where he lost a five round decision. Anthony Pettis is coming off the exciting knockout of Stephen Wonderboy Thompson back in March. I do have interest in this fight due to the high pace nature of both fighters and they are both priced very affordably on DraftKings. I lean towards Pettis here but it is strictly on the fact that he has been the more active fighter as I usually fade fighters coming off long layoffs. Nate Diaz could be a different case though as we all know what type of skills he has which is why I’ll be hedging this fight mostly with a small lean towards Pettis. For what it’s worth, Anthony Pettis’ coach was on the Ariel Helwani show this week and said that this has been the best training camp of Pettis entire career. Just in case you’re into those type of narratives. Pettis by knockout is my official pick.
$8.5K Daniel Cormier vs $7.7K Stipe Miocic
This brings us to the main event where we are blessed to see another Daniel Cormier fight. Cormier is one of the greatest fighters to ever do the thing and his only loss has ever come against Jon Jones. I know there is a lot of talk about whether or not this is his last fight and how he is older now but I’m confident that Cormier would not go out there and fight if he didn’t believe he still had the ability to compete at the highest level in this sport. He knocked out Miocic the last time they fought for the belt and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the way this ended as well. Miocic is strong and powerful but Cormier’s wrestling is better and his striking is probably better as well. His ITD line is (+120) and this fight as a whole is (-365) to end before the final bell. I think it is smart to target both sides because of the cheap price tags but I will definitely favor Cormier in my exposure. Cormier by knockout is my official pick.
My DraftKings core:
My favorite bets:
Sandhagen ITD (+325)
Bermudez ITD (+120)
Davis ITD (+450)
Mazo by decision (+170)
As always, I will post any Vegas line updates or changes in anything on Twitter @JonKelly22 so feel free to follow me there. Also, if you enjoy reading this, do me a favor and click the thumbs up on this post! Best of luck to everyone playing and enjoy UFC 241!