This article is part of our Drake's Takes series.
Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-1-0) v. Da-Un Jung (14-2-1)
- Nzechukwu is now riding a three-fight winning streak into the weekend after another late knockout finish in his last fight. He has quick hands with a slick jab and a pressure forward approach with power. He has great one-twos and mixes in front kicks to the body to slow his opponent. During this three-fight run, he has shown excellent footwork and head movement. "African Savage" is tremendous in the clinch with knees and nasty elbows, and his grappling has much improved. His takedown defense is excellent, and he bounces up quickly when he is taken down.
- Jung has moved to 3-0-1 in the UFC and gets another tough test Saturday night. He is a solid boxer with a nasty jab followed by a huge hook or overhand. He will look to rip the body early to slow fighters. He applies constant pressure plus high volume and has started adding more leg kicks to his repertoire. The Korean fighter surprised with eight takedowns in his last fight after having zero in his previous three fights. He showed good single and double legs, as well as trips. He was able to chain multiple takedowns together to maintain control and should look to replicate that in the upcoming fight.
DFS Perspective: Nzechukwu has a good shot at the upset here. He sports a 4.5-inch reach advantage and 6.5 inches with his legs. A boxing match is what he is going to want here and if it stays on the feet, he holds the advantage. Jung is typically a boxer, but given the reach disadvantage, he should look to get the fight to the mat. Nzechukwu's takedown defense is going to make that difficult. Without a finish, I do not see a huge scoring coming out of this fight.
My Pick: Nzechukwu
Marc Diakiese (14-4-0) v. Rafael Alves (19-10-0)
- Diakiese lost a unanimous decision last time out, dropping to 2-3 in his last five fights. He is a decent striker with good movement and strong kicks. He will move side to side, controlling the ring and bouncing in and out of the pocket while throwing quick jabs or front kicks. He has a great spinning kick and is great at changing levels. "Bonecrusher" has great takedowns and will immediately look to mount in top control and lay down punishing ground and pound. He is not a huge submission threat but will latch on to a choke if he can take the back. His takedown defense could use some work, and he can be controlled when put on his back.
- Alves lost a tough unanimous decision in his last fight and gets another tough opponent on Saturday. He is dangerous striker with nasty blitz attacks. He will jump forward with high kicks or knees and throw furious combinations of hooks and overhands. He uses a lot of movement in the ring, running around and looking to stop and counter when fighters press forward. "The Turn" does not offer much on the ground, but his clinch work is decent, and he will look for guillotines on takedown attempts from other fighters. When taken down he tends to spend time off his back throwing kicks and looking to reverse and find a submission.
DFS Perspective: Alves could surprise here with a finish, but I think they are trying to get Diakiese another win and move him up the board. He will be the superior striking and offensive grappler, but if Alves shoots and gets the takedown, Diakiese could be in trouble if he is unable to scramble up. Diakiese may have trouble hitting value without a finish. I think Alves smashes value in any win if he were to.
My Pick: Diakiese
Courtney Casey (9-9-0) v. Liana Jojua (8-4-0)
- Casey struggled to another loss last time out moving to 2-5 in her last seven fights and has to be feeling some pressure. She is a decent striker who thrives fighting in the pocket. She throws a couple of nice combinations in a jab-hook and hook-overhand right. She has decent power and will throw a big counter hook when fighters move in quickly. "Cast Iron" is a great grappler and is excellent off her back. She has a great guard and will look to scramble in search of an armbar. If she finds herself in top control, she has nasty ground and pound with elbows and hammerfists.
- Jojua was dominated on the feet and ultimately knocked out in round one of her last fight dropping to 1-2 in her UFC stint. She is an ever-improving striker with great movement and ring control. She features fast hands with a nice jab and solid one-two. She bounces in and out of the pocket changing levels looking for takedown opportunities. The Georgian fighter is masterful on the mat and an armbar specialist. Her takedowns are improving and once she has the fight on the mat, she keeps great control of fighters in scrambles.
DFS Perspective: If Casey can avoid this going to the mat, she wins this easily with her striking. Jojua should be relentless working to get this to the mat where she can control and find a submission. Casey is more likely to win be a lower scoring decision. Jojua would smash value with an early submission.
My Pick: Jojua
Sean Woodson (8-1-0) v. Collin Anglin (8-2-0)
- Woodson earned a hard-fought split decision win in his last fight and needs another win here to continue proving he belongs. He is a technical striker with great forward pressure and high volume. He has a nice jab, solid one-two, and powerful hook. He will also feint and bait fighters in to unload a nasty counter shot. He does keep his hands low at times making him hittable, however. "The Sniper" offers little to no skill on the mat. He defends takedowns at a decent clip but is not the greatest at getting underhooks to prevent them consistently. He also has trouble getting up and will give his back up to do so.
- Anglin was unable to lock up a win in his debut having been knocked out early round two and will be looking for his first win Saturday night. He is a rangy fighter with great movement and ring control. He has a nice straight jab that he follows up with a heavy leg kick or looping hooks. He puts up good volume but fights with his hands low making him hittable. The Scorpion fighting System fighter is strong in the clinch and throws nasty knees. He will look for body locks and trips against the cage or double legs in the open. He has decent control on the mat and will look to mount on top and lay ground and pound.
DFS Perspective: I think Anglin is a live dog here. Woodson has been unimpressive in the UFC and even in his last win he struggled. He will be looking to turn this into a brawl so a knockout is possible which would score well for DFS. Anglin could take advantage of his wildness, catching his chin or bringing him down to the mat. If Anglin wins in any fashion, he will smash value.
My Pick: Anglin
Cynthia Calvillo (9-3-1) v. Andrea Lee (12-5-0)
- Calvillo took a tough knockout loss dropping her second in a row and now needs a win in a big way. She is a good all-around fighter with quick hands and movement. She is a technical striker with a great jab-cross combo and nice hook. She will mix in low kicks to the calves and some round kicks to the upper body. The Tiger Muay Thai fighter also features great takedowns and control on the mat. She can pass guard and mount up or take the back when her opponent tries to get up and work in a choke. She has good takedown defense and great scrambling when it does happen.
- Lee enjoyed a huge upset win submitting her opponent late in the second round in what was a much-needed win. She is a good striker with solid distance control. She has a nice jab and one-two. She will mix in a heavy hook and jab-hook combinations mixed with well placed low and front kicks. She does struggle with pressure against her but overall has good striking defense. The Karate Mafia fighter dominates in the clinch with nasty knees. She will look to trip or drag fighters down and then look to get right into a top mount and hammer down.
DFS Perspective: I think Calvillo is slightly better everywhere this goes. Lee can put up high volume quickly, but when Calvillo wants this fight to the mat I do not think Lee will be able to stop it. Calvillo should be the one controlling on the mat and could score very well in a decision.
My Pick: Calvillo
Thiago Moises (15-5-0) v. Joel Alvarez (18-2-0)
- Moises lost his three-fight winning streak dropping his last fight having been submitted in round four. He is a much-improved striker with nice one-twos, hooks, and heavy kicks. He carries power and has fast hands. His has decent volume and applies constant forward pressure. The Brazilian does not shoot for takedowns as much as he maybe should, but his Jiu-Jitsu is among the elite. He applies great control with his strength and will pass guard or mount with ease. He is dangerous hunting for submissions off his back and has incredible scrambling.
- Alvarez continued his impressive start in the UFC snagging another submission early in the first round moving his record to 3-1. He is a decent striker, but really thrives fighting on the mat. He will bound in and out of the pocket throwing a straight or a quick one-two. He will also mix in kicks to change levels. "El Fenomeno" is a submission wizard. Once the fight hits the floor it is game on for him. He does not shoot for takedowns often, rather he lets fighters take him down and then he scrambles aggressively for submissions. He is amazing off of his back and is never in any danger on the mat having never been submitted.
DFS Perspective: This will be a great fight. Both guys are excellent on the mat, and I truly believe this could go either way. For me, the value lies with dog. Moises easily has the better striking and if keeps it on the feet he wins easily. If it gets to the mat, I think Alvarez finds the submission and crushes value.
My Pick: Alvarez
Miguel Baeza (10-1-0) v. Khaos Williams (12-2-0)
- Baeza suffered his first UFC loss after dropping a unanimous decision, moving his record to 3-1. He is a rangy striker with a high fight IQ, high volume and big power. He has powerful low and round kicks to all parts of the body. He has incredible hand speed and throws quick one-twos followed by big hooks and overhands. He is strong in the pocket but keeps his hands low, making him hittable. He tends to struggle with pressure. "Caramel Thunder" is dangerous in the clinch with big knees and elbows. He will mix in takedowns and apply his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu while looking for control or a submission. His own takedown defense is solid, and he has elite scrambling on the mat.
- Williams worked himself back into the win column earning a big unanimous decision victory in his last fight. He is a lower-volume striker with constant forward pressure and excellent ring control. He has incredible one-shot power and hunts for that knockout from the bell. He has a great jab-hook and nasty overhand. He keeps his hands high and has excellent striking defense. "The Oxfighter" has not shown much ground game and tends to keep the fight upright where he has the advantage. When he has been taken down, he has been able to get right back to his feet and does well to not give up his back.
DFS Perspective: This should be a great fight. Khaos has incredible power and can end it at any time. He will be hunting for the knockout for the entire fight. Baeza will be looking to keep the fight at range and avoiding a brawl. Khaos is a live dog, and an early knockout would break the slate. Baeza could win by finish, but a lower scoring decision would be more likely.
My Pick: Baeza
Song Yadong (17-5-1, 1NC) v. Julio Arce (17-4-0)
- Yadong won a thrilling, back-and-forth affair, working himself back into the win column in his last fight. He is a phenomenal and dangerous young striker. He will walk his opponents down with forward pressure and throw multiple jabs and kicks. He will get his opponent backed up against the cage, moving in and out or range, throwing powerful hooks and combinations. His counters after slipping shots are elite, and he does an amazing job of controlling the ring. "Kung Fu Monkey" seldom shoots for takedowns and prefers to keep the fight on the feet. He has decent wrestling and can work his way to his feet quickly if taken down himself. He also is strong in the clinch if he chooses to take it there.
- Arce boxed his way to a second-round knockout, earning a big win in his last fight. He is a boxer with excellent movement and great ring control. He strikes with good volume, quick one-twos and has powerful high kicks. His striking defense is great, and he has a powerful counter hook and overhand. The former Ring of Combat bantamweight and featherweight champion does have a takedown in his three of his four most recent matches and has shown a willingness to control and hunt for submissions on the mat. He has displayed excellent takedown defense and elite scrambling on the mat.
DFS Perspective: This should be a great match. There are 19 finishes between the two fighters and there is a strong possibility of another here. I expect it to primarily play out on the feet with both guys trading blows, and potentially shooting if hurt. This is close to a 50-50 fight, and both would score well with a finish.
My Pick: Yadong
Felicia Spencer (8-3-0) v. Leah Letson (5-2-0)
- Spencer enters the night on a two-fight slide after losing a tough split decision in her last fight and moving to 2-3 in her UFC stint. She is a bit of a wild striker, throwing lunging jabs and spinning elbows. She has a nice jab-hook combination and throws many heavy kicks to all parts of the body. She tends to take a lot of punishment with poor head movement and footwork. "Feenom" is an excellent grappler and should look to control early. She has improving takedowns but still does not get the best entries. She is strong in the clinch and uses her strength to trip or drag fighters down. She will primarily look for top control where she can lay down devastating ground and pound.
- Letson returns to the ring after three years and is making her debut in the UFC promotion. It is hard to say what kind of fighting shape she is in or what she has trained on since, but I expect she will look for an early brawl. She applies constant forward pressure throwing multiple front kicks, jabs and hooks. The Wisconsin native is great in the clinch and will pile on volume until she can lock onto the body and drop her opponent down. She will then look to mount on top and lay nasty ground and pound. She is relentless and looks to finish early.
DFS Perspective: Letson has not fought in three years, and I am not sure what kind of shape she will be in. I would almost consider this a free square and to lock Spencer into lineups. She will look to get the fight to the mat and once she does, she can lock onto a submission and end it there. If she chooses to keep the fight on the feet she risks losing by knockout or volume.
My Pick: Spencer
Ben Rothwell (39-13-0) v. Marcos Rogerio De Lima (18-8-1)
- Rothwell made easy work of his last opponent, earning an early second-round submission in his last fight. He is a well-rounded fighter with great movement for a heavyweight. He has nice straight punches and heavy hooks. He will close the distance quickly and mix in high volume with hook-overhands and kicks. In 52 fights, he has only been finished 4 times by knockout and is as tough as they come. The longtime veteran is not much of an offensive grappler and seldom goes for any type of takedown. He has great takedown defense and is tough to control if he is brought down.
- De Lima dominated in his last fight, controlling his opponent for over 14 minutes of the 15-minute bout en route to an easy unanimous decision. He is a Muay Thai striker with big power. He will throw various kicks right out the gate looking to slow his opponent early. He will blitz into the pocket throwing forceful jab-hooks and one-twos. He holds a high guard and has a great counter when fighters move in. The American Top Team fighter is a good offensive grappler, but terrible defensive grappler. He has decent takedowns, and he can keep control, looking for ground and pound or a submission, when he gets it. He struggles to get back up and with being submitted when it is the other way around.
DFS Perspective: Rothwell will put out a higher output of volume, and once de Lima becomes tired, he could knock him out or submit him. De Lima will need to land several power shots to put Rothwell's light out. His best chance is to take Rothwell down early and keep him controlled on the mat. Rothwell would score well with an early finish, but a decision may leave some to be desired. De Lima would smash value with a finish and could potentially crush it with a decision with takedowns and control time.
My Pick: Rothwell
Max Holloway (22-6-0) v. Yair Rodriguez (13-2-0, 1NC)
- Holloway got back to his winning ways in absolutely dominating fashion, landing 445 significant strikes in his last fight. He is one of, if not the, best strikers in UFC history. He has fast hands, excellent movement and amazing distance control. He has a nasty jab and beautiful one-two. He will mix a lot of one-twos with jab-hooks and back again. He applies constant pressure, always throwing or countering, and mixes in deadly kicks. Max "Blessed" Holloway offers little offensive grappling, preferring to keep the fight on the feet. He has terrific takedown defense and elite scrambling. If he finds himself on top after a scramble, he can punish fighters quickly.
- Rodriguez is making his return to the ring after just over two years against arguably one of the best UFC fighters of all time. He is a good striker with a high guard and great ring control. He will lead with a nice jab and follow it with a hook or overhand. He will also mix in front, low, and spinning kicks. He puts out a decent volume and is great at avoiding big hits. "El Pantera" is strong in the clinch and looks to bring it there often. He will mix in heavy knees and attempt to lock the body for a takedown. He is not much of a submission threat anymore but can lay down ground and pound from top control. He has decent takedown defense but can be controlled on his back at times.
DFS Perspective: I do not think Rodriguez stands a chance here. Holloway is going to be constantly pressuring throwing more volume than Rodriguez can handle. Lock Holloway into all your lineups and call it a day.
My Pick: Holloway
Significant Strikes = 0.6pts
Takedown = 6pts
Takedown Defense = 3pts
Knockdown = 12pts
Submission Attempt = 5pts
Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win = 100pts
2nd Round Win = 75pts
3rd Round Win = 50pts
4th Round Win = 35 pts
5th Round Win = 25pts
Decision Win = 20pts
- Significant Strikes are "Distance Strike" or "Clinch/Ground Strikes" that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
- A knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider a substantial amount of time.
Strikes: +0.2 PTS
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
Control Time: +0.03 PTS/SECOND
Takedown (TD): +5 PTS
Reversal/Sweep (REV): +5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +10 PTS
Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win (1rW+): +90 PTS
2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rW+): +45 PTS
4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 PTS
5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 PTS
Decision Win (WBD+): +30 PTS
Quick Win Bonus: +25 PTS
(fight is finished in 60 seconds or less)
- Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
- A Significant Strike will count as both a strike and a significant strike and will be worth a total of 0.4 Pts
- Control Time is the time spent in the dominant position on the ground or in the clinch. +0.03 points are awarded per second.
- A Knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider an appreciable amount of time.
- A Quick Win Bonus is awarded to the winning fighter if they win in the first round in 60 seconds or less.