UFC Vegas 44: Font vs Aldo (Reposted)

We are back at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas today for a great slate of action. The card is stacked top to bottom with action packed fights after a week break for the world leader in combat sports. The former featherweight champion Jose Aldo continues to make a push for bantamweight gold in the main event.

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 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: 274-185-5 (Last Year 223-145-6)
  • Nick: 280-179-5 (Last Year 235-133-6)
  • GB: 263-196-5 (Last Year 216-152-6)

Fight odds are as listed from Bovada and last updated 10:30 AM EST 12-4-2021

Preliminary Card- Starts 7:00pm EST

Louis Smolka -155 (DK $8500, FD $17) vs Vince Morales +130 (DK $7700, FD $13)

  • Anthony: The card opens with a bantamweight bout between Louis Smolka and Vince Morales. I do not think either of these fighters are that talented but Smolka has had much more experience at the UFC level. He is well-rounded with decent striking and a rather good offensive grappling attack. However, Smolka has primarily lost fights when being taking down. He defends just 37 percent of takedowns and has more confidence in his guard game than he really should. That may not be a factor in this bout although I’d love to see Morales attempt to bring this fight to the mat. In a stand-up battle it will likely be Morales landing with higher volume while Smolka defends better and places the cleaner strikes. It really feels like a coinflip fight that goes the full fifteen minutes. Smolka seems like a tough side to trust as his fights have been ending in finishes as of late. Morales has gone to decision in five of his last six and I have a feeling he sways the judges here tonight. Vince Morales by Decision
  • Nick: Smolka’s last two losses came against ranked bantamweights in Casey Kenney and Matt Schnell. Morales is coming off an impressive win over a highly regarded prospect in Drako Rodriguez, but he represents a considerable step down in competition for Smolka in this spot. Smolka likes to push the pace and apply pressure when he fights. He is well-rounded, with eight professional wins via KO and seven via submission. He does a good job mixing in body shots into his striking combinations and he has a knack for capitalizing on the mistakes of his opponents. Morales is a decent fighter, but Smolka should outclass him everywhere in this spot. He’s a much better grappler and a bit more dangerous on the feet. Louis Smolka by Round Two Submission
  • GB: Louis Smolka by Decision

Chris Gruetzemacher -125 (DK $8200, FD $15) vs Claudio Puelles +105 (DK $8000, FD $16)

  • Anthony: Next is a lightweight bout between Claudio Puelles and Chris Gruetzemacher. This is a bit of a crossroads fight as the 25-year-old Puelles takes on a veteran fighter ten years his senior. I never thought all that highly of Gruetzemacher but it is tough to deny his boxing skills, pace and effort in the cage. I think he has a decent skillset but not one nearly as well-rounded as the developing Puelles. We have seen some slick grappling from Puelles and already wins over better opponents than this, such as Marcelo Rojo and Felipe Silva. He also continues to add more strikes to his arsenal as his stand-up game develops further through training at Sanford MMA. The odds are close for good reason but I think I have to side with Puelles here. By implementing a smart gameplan I see him avoiding most of the danger zones Gruetzemacher may threaten with. Gritz is also a mere 2-3 in his last five bouts. Claudio Puelles by Decision
  • Nick: Grutzemacher’s greatest strength is his durability and relentless pressure. He pulled out an impressive upset win over Rafa Garcia his last time out. He was nearly knocked out early in that fight, but he managed to weaponize his cardio and ultimately he found a way to recover and wear on Garcia as the fight went on. Puelles has managed to string together three consecutive wins under the UFC banner. He pulled off an impressive upset over a highly regarded prospect in Jordan Leavitt his last time out. He out grappled an extremely talented grappler in that bout and showed considerable improvements in his striking as well. It wasn’t the most inspiring performance, but something has to be said for any fighter that can put together three consecutive wins at this level. Puelles recently changed camps to Sanford MMA, one of the best gyms in the sport. Additionally, he is a dangerous BJJ blackbelt and two of Gruetzemacher’s four professional losses have come via submission. Gruetzemacher certainly has a chance here and he’s going to be dangerous if this fight is carried into the later rounds. However, I expect Puelles to ground this one early. If he can’t find a finish he could be in trouble here, but I’m siding with the favorite. Claudio Puelles by Round One Submission
  • GB: Chris Gruetzemacher by Round Two KO

Alonzo Menifield -155 (DK $8700, FD $17) vs William Knight +130 (DK $7500, FD $13)

  • Anthony: Here we have an exciting light heavyweight bout between William Knight and Alonzo Menifield. These are two fun fighters coming off of wins this past August. Menifield is a product of Fortis MMA with explosive power. He has heavy hands and excellent kicks, but also has shown a bit of wrestling as of late. Knight is the shorter man but does not lack power comparatively. I expect Knight to get the better of any grappling exchanges given his stronger base and better technical ability. That gives him a slight edge overall, but this fight is likely getting decided in the stand up. The man that lands clean first likely gets the win and for that reason I prefer the underdog side. Both are explosive athletes but I like what I have seen out Knight in terms of his counter striking. They are live on both DFS sites and a bet on the under is not a bad idea either. I see Knight landing a left hook here that ends the night early for Menifield. William Knight by Round Two KO
  • Nick: William Knight is built like a linebacker. He’s short for the division, but he carries a ton of muscle. He has an extremely powerful base with decent grappling ability and KO power on the feet. Many of Knight’s knockout victories have come after he was losing or behind on the scorecards. He is more than willing to put himself in difficult positions in order to throw and land that knockout punch. He does a decent job stringing together powerful combinations and he’s shown continuous improvement on the feet. Alonzo Menifield is one of the more exciting newcomers we have at light heavyweight. He’s got a massive frame and ten of his eleven professional wins have come via finish within two rounds. His first decision win came his last time out against a grizzled vet in Ed Herman. While many felt Menifield should have won via finish in that spot, it was reassuring to see Menifield’s cardio hold up for the entirety of fifteen minutes. When this fight is standing, Knight will certainly be live for an upset knockout. However, I think it’s more likely Meinifield finds Knight’s chin for a KO of his own. If he can’t, he should be able to lean on his superior grappling. I could see having shares of Knight for DFS purposes as he’d score well in a win. Regardless, Menifield is my pick in this one. Alonzo Menifield by Round Two KO
  • GB: Alonzo Menifield by Round Two KO

Cheyanne Vlismas -190 (DK $9000, FD $20) vs Mallory Martin +145 (DK $7200, FD $10)

  • Anthony: Next up is a fight at strawweight between Mallory Martin and Cheyanne Vlismas. I feel that these odds are an overreaction to Vlismas’ last performance, a win over Gloria de Paula. That was a fight she won by head kick in just one minute, earning her a $50,000 bonus. She was known as Cheyanne Buys then but has since gone through a divorce with her husband JP, who is 0-2 in the UFC. Also on her plate since was a bout with coronavirus that took a clear toll on her. Martin is the fighter likely in the far superior headspace entering this camp. She has been training hard with the division champion Rose Namajunas who was victorious a month ago. Technically, she has the grappling skills necessary to compete with a fighter like Vlismas on the mat. Martin has displayed solid ground and pound that I see her implementing as this fight wears on. Her cardio should play a huge factor having been training at elevation while Vlismas dealt with a positive covid test. It is hard to back a fighter that was quoted saying, “I have just a terrible cough and I can’t breathe” a mere three weeks ago. The value is quite clearly on the side of the underdog. Mallory Martin by Decision
  • Nick: Vlismas is a highly regarded prospect. She has impressive footwork on the feet, decent head movement and an effective high-volume striking style. She was bullied in grappling exchanges in her debut against Montserrat Ruiz, but she bounced back in a big way with a highlight-reel first round head kick knockout of Gloria de Paula. Martin averages more than three takedowns per fifteen minutes. Buys is going to have a power advantage here and clear technical advantages on the feet. but she needs to keep this fight standing. Vlismas has recently recovered from covid and in interviews it sounds like she struggled with symptoms. Martin has excellent cardio, training out of Team Elevation in Colorado. If Vlismas is at all compromised by her recent illness then Martin should be able to take over as this fight wears on. This is a fairly low-level matchup and one that could go either way. However, Martin seems to be in better form and I expect her to carry the grappling advantages here. As long as she can weather the early pressure and power from Vlismas, I see her pulling off the upset on the scorecards. Mallory Martin by Decision
  • GB: Cheyanne Vlismas by Decision

Jake Matthews -175 (DK $9100, FD $20) vs Jeremiah Wells +145 (DK $7100, FD $11)

  • Anthony: This is an interesting welterweight bout between Jake Matthews and Jeremiah Wells. It appears that Matthews is exactly who I thought he was, somebody that can beat most UFC opponents but struggles against those in that top fifteen range. His most recent loss came to Sean Brady but that is no surprise as the Philadelphia prospect is now sitting inside the division’s top ten. Matthews is very well rounded and mixes grappling into his fights very smooth. I just find it difficult to trust him in this spot after seeing him finished multiple times. Wells is not nearly as experienced a fighter, but he really does have impressive power. I think the explosive moves from Wells may pose issues and potentially clip Matthews in this spot, but ultimately I see him getting his hand raised. This is a bit of a revenge game for Matthews as he fights Brady’s teammate from Renzo Gracie Philly. Jake Matthews by Decision
  • Nick: Matthews has more experience at this level than almost any other 26-year-old in the world. He has a high Fight IQ, a great team behind him and already proved he can hang with the ranked fighters in this division. Matthews carries a lot of muscle for a welterweight, so it seems more often than not he comes out strong and then starts to fade in the later rounds. This will be amplified if this is a grappling heavy affair but it seems more likely this fight will take place on the feet. Wells is another fighter that likes to come out aggressive and try to end things quickly. We saw this fully on display in his impressive UFC debut, a KO upset victory as a +190 underdog against Warlley Alves. He’s an extremely powerful striker, but we really haven’t seen him tested consistently at this level. Wells has DFS appeal as he’s live for an early KO. However, we’ve seen Matthews find success against a much better level of competition comparatively. Jake Matthews by Decision.
  • GB: Jake Matthews by Decision

Bryan Barberena -140 (DK $8400, FD $17) vs Darian Weeks +115 (DK $7800, FD $14)

  • Anthony: Next we have a fight at welterweight between Bryan Barberena and Darian Weeks. This is the UFC debut for Weeks who accepted this fight on Tuesday after Barberena’s original opponent tested positive for coronavirus. While Weeks has a significant amount of amateur experience, he is only 5-0 as a professional. The level of competition has not been very good for Weeks and now he faces a grizzled veteran that has been in pro fights for more than a decade. Barberena is only 2-5 in his last seven bouts but those losses came to guys like Vicente Luque, Leon Edwards and Colby Covington. He is certainly on the back nine of his career and tough to trust in general, but at close to pickem odds I feel like Barberena is the clear side. Barberena had been preparing for a much tougher test in Matt Brown and now gets to face a fighter with a similar style of orthodox striking. I do not think Weeks makes it a full fifteen minutes in the cage with a fighter of Barberena’s caliber. Bryan Barberena by Round Three KO
  • Nick: Weeks comes into this fight undefeated, but he’s only 5-0. He’ll be making his UFC debut in this spot. Barberena has fought some of the toughest welterweights in the UFC. He’s primarily a brawler. While he is on the back half of his career he’s still very dangerous, especially striking at range. While I think he’s the more skilled fighter overall, there are questions surrounding exactly what Barberena has left at this point in his career. Barberena is coming off an ugly decision loss to a fairly mediocre opponent in Jason Witt. Based on that performance, it seems there’s a chance that he’s entirely washed up. He’s no longer going to compete against top competition and even in his win over Anthony Ivey he didn’t look nearly as effective as he did a couple years ago. As terrifying as it is backing him in this spot, Barberena feels like the right side. The gap in level of competition is more dramatic than the recent decline in Barberena’s ability and durability. Bryan Barberena by Decision
  • GB: Bryan Barberena by Round Two KO

Manel Kape -290 (DK $9400, FD $22) vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov +230 (DK $6800, FD $8)

  • Anthony: Here we have a matchup between Manel Kape and Zhalgas Zhumagulov at flyweight. This is an easy fight to pick given the recent resumes of both fighters. Zhumagulov saved his job with a win by quick guillotine his last time out. He beat Jerome Rivera who went 0-4 in the promotion and has since been cut. While Zhumagulov is well rounded he lacks any standout skills and I do not think he has a very high ceiling moving forward. Kape is a hyped prospect who won by a clean flying knee in his most recent fight. He strikes with rather low volume but big power for a 125 pounder. I don’t hold him in very high regard either, but certainly think he gets the job done here. I think he is tough to bet at the current odds and don’t love him in DFS builds given his boom-or-bust nature. Still, Kape should be able to get the job done as the superior striker in this bout. Manel Kape by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Zhalgas Zhumagulov has an outstanding gas tank. He brings a relentless pace to the octagon, but he sometimes coasts through fights or waits for opponents to come to him. He’s coming off a solid first round submission win over Jerome Rivera but he’s facing a considerable step up in competition here against a tough out in Manel Kape. Kape has excellent power for a flyweight. He is a highly technical striker with advanced footwork he uses well to set up his power shots. I feel that Kape can be overaggressive at times and his grappling seems average at best, but his KO power alone makes him a threat to anyone in the division. Kape started slow his last time out against Ode Osbourne, but he weathered Osbourne’s pressure early and ultimately timed an impressive flying knee that scored him the win via knockout in the second round. Zhumagulov could pull off the upset here if he can slow the pace and make things ugly, but Kape should outclass him no matter where this one goes. The price certainly feels a bit inflated, but Kape is the pick. Manel Kape by Decision
  • GB: Manel Kape by Round Three KO

Dusko Todorovic -170 (DK $8600, FD $18) vs Maki Pitolo +140 (DK $7600, FD $12)

  • Anthony: The preliminary card closes with a middleweight matchup of Maki Pitolo and Dusko Todorovic. I have faded Maki Pitolo in three consecutive fights and will do so again here, as I expect him to get his walking papers. Pitolo has a decent skillset but is simply not a big threat here at middleweight. After seeing him successfully make welterweight once I really think 185 pounds is the wrong weight class for him. He is going to be undersized against a younger and more technically sound Todorovic here. The only real concern is Pitolo landing a clean strike on Todorovic who has had questionable striking defense. His chin is held high and clean strikes down the middle can really hut him, but Pitolo is far more accustomed to throwing looping hooks. Both also have some grappling they can decide to rely upon but I think Todorovic wins most exchanges as the stronger man. Pitolo will likely be a bit reckless here chasing the early finish. I believe Todorovic survives the early onslaught and wins this fight rather convincingly today. Dusko Todorovic by Round One KO
  • Nick: We have a fun scrap here between two middleweights that like to stand and trade. Pitolo is a fairly advanced striker, but his knockout power is definitely his only standout skill. He’s decent pretty much everywhere but he often chases that KO as it’s his one clear path to victory against most opponents. Todorovic is an extremely powerful striker with crisp boxing and a solid ground game. He is well rounded with a solid grappling base, but he seems most comfortable on his feet. He throws extremely powerful combos and uses the fence well to put his opponents in difficult positions. That being said, he also fights with his hands down at times and he leaves himself open to counter shots. Each of these fighters have KO power and they each come in with questionable defense. This is an ideal fight to target for DFS as both have true finishing ability. However, I slightly prefer the favorite. Pitolo is live for an upset KO but that feels like his only path to victory here. Todorovic could win on the feet or lean on a likely grappling advantage. Dusko Todorovic by Decision
  • GB: Maki Pitolo by Decision

Main Card- Starts 10:00pm EST

Alex Morono -250 (DK $9500, FD $22) vs Mickey Gall +200 (DK $6700, FD $9)

  • Anthony: Our main card opens with this welterweight bout between Alex Morono and Mickey Gall. This is a brutal fight to call just given the volatility of both these fighters. Gall has alternated wins and losses since the end of 2016. He has always been known as a credentialed grappler with five of his six wins coming by rear naked choke. We saw some pretty good hands from Gall in his last fight against Jordan Williams but the problem with that matchup, and most Gall fights, is that he is beating bad competition. Morono is yet another step up in opponent for Gall who seems to get beat by anyone inside the division’s top forty. As long as this fight stays standing I expect Morono to have a significant advantage but that is difficult to say with much confidence. He certainly is not the most technical of strikers, but I do like the volume and power Morono has put on display as of late. On a card of this size there is no reason to put money on a matchup like this but I think the winner is quite clearly going to be The Great White Morono. Alex Morono by Decision
  • Nick: Mickey Gall is mostly a one-trick pony. His striking is below average, but he has decent enough grappling to squeeze out the occasional submission victory. He’s coming off a submission win over Jordan Williams, but Williams is low level and likely on his way out of the promotion. Gall has never really shown an ability to consistently perform at a top level and while he has certainly improved, I still expect he’ll be significantly outmatched in this spot. Alex Morono is coming off back-to-back wins. He took a solid decision victory over David Zawada, and career highlight first round KO over Cowboy Cerrone. He took the Cerrone fight on short notice but he came out explosive, overwhelming Cerrone just 20 seconds into the fight. Morono is a well-rounded fighter, but his greatest strength is likely his sheer grit and toughness. He always moves forward even when he’s taking damage. He has solid cardio, underrated power and he’s well-versed on the mat as a BJJ black belt. I expect Morono to come out strong causing more damage early, and his cardio to hold up as we’ve seen many times before. As much as Gall has improved, I still feel he’s considerably outmatched here. Alex Morono by Round Two KO
  • GB: Alex Morono by Round One KO

Brendan Allen -350 (DK $9600, FD $23) vs Chris Curtis +265 (DK $6600, FD $8)

  • Anthony: Next up is a fun fight at middleweight between Chris Curtis and Brendan Allen. Curtis came through in a big way making his UFC debut last month. After eating significant damage from Phil Hawes in the first four minutes of that bout, it only took a few strikes from Curtis to wobble his opponent and put Hawes away. He enters today on a six-fight winning streak with his most recent losses all coming to some of the best fighters in the PFL. Allen has had numerous bookings fall through for this date but ultimately got Curtis to sign the contract and show up. The only loss Allen suffered in his previous ten fights came to Curtis’ teammate Sean Strickland. As of late, Allen has really rounded into form and I think he is the rightful favorite in this matchup. Sure Curtis has power but Allen is an elite grappler in this division and I see Curtis having serious problems when this fight hits the mat. It is tough to pay juice like this after Curtis just cashed as a +250, so I will primarily be getting my exposure to Allen in my builds on DraftKings and FanDuel. Brendan Allen by Round Two Submission
  • Nick: Allen is a former LFA Middleweight Champion and now a top prospect at 185 pounds. Eight of Allen’s fifteen professional wins have come via submission. He has an extensive arsenal of options at his disposal when the fight hits the mat, and he also does an excellent job getting back to his feet if he is the one grounded by an opponent. His striking seems to improve every time he’s in the cage, and his chin has been a strength for him in many of his victories. On the feet he continues to show improvements, which isn’t surprising as he recently shifted to an excellent camp in Sanford MMA. Curtis is coming off an extremely impressive UFC debut, a KO win over Phil Hawes. He was getting lit up early in that matchup but managed to find an opening for a powerful counter shot late in the first round and put Hawes away as a +240 underdog. Curtis is very durable and he’s going to be live for an upset if he can extend this fight and take over late. However, I expect Allen to ground him for a finish in the earlier rounds. We’ve already seen Curtis prove he’s live as a heavy underdog, but Allen is the clear pick. Brendan Allen by Round One Submission
  • GB: Brendan Allen by Round Two Submission

Leonardo Santos -200 (DK $8800, FD $20) vs Clay Guida +160 (DK $7400, FD $11)

  • Anthony: Here we have a lightweight bout between Clay Guida and Leonardo Santos. These are two UFC veterans coming off a loss in their most recent performance. Guida has been a staple of the roster since his debut in 2006. His excellent cardio and wrestling has been the driving force of his success for a very long time. He is known for making fights ugly and sometimes being a bit too willing to engage in a brawl. I see him continuing to display suffocating pressure in this matchup, but do not think that recipe will work particularly well. Santos is the much longer and taller fighter, making it difficult got Guida to close the distance. With a propensity to leave his neck exposed on takedown attempts I find it very hard to trust him here. Santos has suspect cardio and I think Guida can win this fight late, I just doubt it lasts very long. Santos should be able to land the cleaner strikes from range and I expect the guillotine choke to be a very live out for him here. Leonardo Santos by Round One Submission
  • Nick: Santos is aging and he doesn’t fight often. However, as a result he has not taken the damage that a lot of other 40-year-olds have. He has outstanding offensive grappling ability and can find submissions from almost any position as a 7-time World BJJ Champion. He mixes in calf kicks well, has shown a decent chin and usually comes out strong regardless of who he’s matched up with. Guida is a legend of the game but he’s far past his prime. He is known for his fast-paced aggressive and high-pressure style, but he’s certainly lost a lot of the explosiveness he had back when he was a legitimate contender. The biggest hole in his game has always been his submission defense. Ten of his twenty professional losses have come via submission. This is an interesting matchup and one I could see go either way, but I’m siding with the clear stylistic advantages of Santos here. Guida will be live for the upset if he can keep this standing and ugly, but over the course of fifteen minutes I expect Santos to find the opening he needs for a finish. Leonardo Santos by Round Two Submission
  • GB: Clay Guida by Decision

Jimmy Crute -175 (DK $9200, FD $21) vs Jamahal Hill +145 (DK $7000, FD $12)

  • Anthony: The featured bout is an awesome scrap at light heavyweight between Jimmy Crute and Jamahal Hill. Both fighters are coming off rather strange losses resulting in first round finish due to injury. Jimmy Crute had his leg go dead on him in a high-profile scrap with Anthony Smith. He was getting pieced up early in that fight but it certainly wasn’t a definitive loss as the doctor stopped things between rounds. Jamahal Hill fought Paul Craig and suffered his first career loss as his elbow was dislocated. It was good to see Hill avoid serious injury after having his arm twisted like a pretzel. A humbler Hill is certainly going to be more dangerous, but I think Crute is the further developed fighter of these two. He certainly has the grappling advantage in this fight and as long as he does not stay at range with Hill I feel confident backing him here. Hill has a five-inch reach advantage and some very good power, but I think Crute will fight well enough on the feet to stay safe. Jimmy Crute by Round Two Submission
  • Nick: This is an outstanding matchup between two of the more promising up-and-comers at 205 pounds. They are both coming off ugly losses, but whoever wins this fight is likely to be in line for a co-main or main event against a top contender in the near future. Crute is a powerful striker, but many of his wins have come thanks to his outstanding submission ability. Crute has a better than 80 percent takedown accuracy. He is often so aggressive, that he gasses out if unable to put his opponents away early. However, that hasn’t been much of an issue for him as four of his last five wins have come via first round finish. Hill has outstanding speed for this division and throws meaningful strikes with impressive accuracy. He uses his length well and he does a good job peppering his opponents to keep them at a distance and on the defensive. Hill throws serious volume as a striker, especially for a light heavyweight. He averages nearly eight strikes landed per minute. However, Hill’s takedown defense is mediocre at best. We saw in his last fight, a loss against Paul Craig, that he doesn’t offer much once the fight hits the mat. His only real path here will be to keep this standing and finish Crute early, but I’m not confident in his ability to do so here. Crute should be able to ground this fight when he needs to, where he should have an opening for a submission. Jimmy Crute by Round One Submission
  • GB: Jimmy Crute by Decision

Rafael Fiziev -120 (DK $9300, FD $16) vs Brad Riddell +100 (DK $7900, FD $15)

  • Anthony: Our co-main event is a fight at lightweight between Rafael Fiziev and Brad Riddell. This matchup has Fight of the Night written all over it. Both fighters have ten professional wins to their credit and just a single loss. Riddell has won me some nice money since entering the UFC. His most recent win was perhaps the most impressive as he beat Drew Dober, utilizing both striking and his grappling. That fight was super close but so was the most recent win for his counterpart Fiziev. It will be interesting to see these two clash as the kickboxing and muay thai of Riddell is challenged by the phenomenal kickboxing of Fiziev. Tiger Muay Thai has been the primary gym for Fiziev and as a result of his time there we see exceptional striking both offensively and defensively. Riddell has spent quite a bit of time with the same group but certainly has his own style of fighting that is a lot less pretty. I believe Fiziev has already fought the tougher competition of these two and while it is a close fight, I have to lean toward him getting the victory. These odds are closer than I expected and I just think the technical prowess of Fiziev ends up being what shines through. He should really slow down Riddell with his powerful leg kicks and I see more combinations landing clean for him as this fight wears on. You do not want to miss tuning in for this one. Rafael Fiziev by Decision
  • Nick: This is a Fight of the Night candidate and one of the most exciting bouts we have on this card. Both of these guys like to stand and strike. Rafael Fiziev and Brad Riddell are both former striking coaches at Tiger Muay Thai. Riddell will throw more volume and push more of a pace, but Fiziev should have a clear advantage in terms of power. Fiziev has ridiculous head movement and throws extremely powerful punches and kicks. Riddell is a highly technical kickboxer with a seemingly endless gas tank and excellent durability. I’m extremely excited for this fight and it could certainly go either way. However, I expect Fiziev to have a bit of an advantage here. He has only struggled against unconventional strikers and Riddell is extremely technically sound. I’ll have shares of both fighters for DFS, but I’m siding with the favorite by a small margin. Rafael Fiziev by Decision
  • GB: Rafael Fiziev by Decision

Rob Font -150 (DK $8400, FD $20) vs Jose Aldo +125 (DK $7800, FD $16)

  • Anthony: The main event is a matchup between highly ranked bantamweights as Rob Font takes on Jose Aldo. This is such an interesting fight as these two sit in a position to earn a bantamweight title shot in the very near future. Jose Aldo is a legend of the sport and after a long reign as featherweight champion, he now looks to be in incredible shape down here at 135 pounds. The fire of competition is still there for Aldo and he says he plans to get his hands on this belt too very soon. He has excellent striking with a great low leg kick and fast hands. It will be difficult for him to purely box with somebody as talented as Font, but I think the other aspects of Aldo’s game shine through in this contest. The work he puts into the body and legs of his opponent will likely pay dividends in the latter rounds of this bout. He also has a distinct advantage grappling that I think he could implement rather well against a long, strike oriented fighter such as Font. We have seen Font score some big-time knockouts for sure but this feels like the biggest test for him to date. It is a tendency for fighters to freeze up when standing across from legends for the first time, and that was the case for Font’s teammate Calvin Kattar when he fought Max Holloway. I believe Font still has a chance to make some noise in the future but I won’t be fading Aldo as an underdog here today. Jose Aldo by Decision
  • Nick: We have an excellent bantamweight match-up here between two of the division’s top contenders. Both of these guys are primarily strikers, and they’re both extremely gifted in their abilities. Font is a very skilled boxer with a solid overall game. He’s had a lot of success in the UFC outclassing opponents on the feet and he’s coming off an impressive win over a former champion in Cody Garbrandt. Jose Aldo is now fighting at bantamweight, but he’s one of the greatest featherweights of all time. He’s certainly on a decline, but that narrative is a bit overblown as two of Aldo’s last three losses have come against current UFC title holders. Font has been impressive, but Aldo represents a dramatic step up in competition for him here. Aldo is coming off a convincing victory over Pedro Munhoz in which he returned to a leg-kick heavy game which should be the difference here. I expect Aldo to utilize leg kicks frequently against a conventional boxer in Font who likes to throw a lot off his lead leg. He’s the more powerful puncher in this match-up and he should be able to counter effectively as he eats away at Font’s. Additionally, Aldo should have the grappling advantage here if he chooses to lean on that part of his game. Aldo does an excellent job working in body shots to pressure and tire his opponents which should help him to keep pace with Font here as this fight wears on. It will be vital for Aldo to pace himself in this spot as his cardio does seem to generally be on the decline. Font will be live for the upset if he can limit the damage from Aldo in the earlier rounds, but I expect experience to shine through here. Jose Aldo by Decision
  • GB: Jose Aldo by Round Four KO

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