UFC Vegas 93 Preview and Predictions: The MMA Mashup

UFC Vegas 93 Preview and Predictions: The MMA Mashup

A 12-fight card awaits bettors and DFS players on Saturday, and we are here to break down every fight across three platforms to help those who are looking to wager find ways to profit. Picks this week include a green fighter who is as tough and willing as they come and a wrestle-boxer who is always live to have a strong performance. Our betting lines this week come from the RotoWire MMA betting page and are accurate to the post date of this article.

Plays to Consider on DraftKings

Shayilan Nuerdanbieke  ($7,400)

 Shayilan is one of my favorite types of underdogs to play, as his willingness to throw heavy in the pocket, wrestling, and overall strength give him a great opportunity to accrue points. He also has a nice matchup in Melquizael Costa, who has trouble moving his head off the center line. The Brazilian fighter was knocked out by a hard-throwing pressure fighter in Steve Garcia and carries just a 42 percent takedown defense rate, which gives me even more confidence that Nuerdanbieke's skill set will play well here. 

Carli Judice ($7,100)

Judice may only have four professional MMA fights to her name, but I loved what I saw on the Contender Series when she landed a whopping 168 significant strikes. Judice has an offense-first style and the toughness to eat clean shots, which will likely play well in the flyweight division. While she didn't secure a takedown against Ernesta Kareckaite, Judice did some heavy work in the clinch. Gabriella Fernandes is an accomplished kickboxer but seems unable to avoid being taken to the ground, as she was taken down seven times in her first two UFC fights. I like Judice to overwhelm her opponent with pressure before securing time in top position.

Asu Almabayev ($9,500)

As a singularly-minded wrestler with no shortage of cardio or submission ability, Alamayev looks like a force to be reckoned with in the flyweight division. We know how big wrestlers can score on DraftKings, and "Zulfikar" will likely want to spend even less time on the feet than usual, as Jose Johnson is a slick striker who will own a height advantage of nine inches. "Lobo Solitario" has already been submitted in a UFC cage,  and Almabayev will constantly look for the finish.

Tagir Ulanbekov ($8,900)

It seems the residue of a close loss to Tim Elliott is still affecting Ulanbekov, as he has not been priced above $9,000 in either of his last two fights despite scoring a combined 240 points in those bouts. We will take the gift here once again, as Ulanbeckov is a dedicated grappler who is not afraid to strike when he has to. Joshua Van has looked good in the organization thus far but has had to work through trouble each time he's stepped in the Octagon. It looks like the right time for him to take a loss, which should teach him that he won't be able to simply brute force his way through opponents as he climbs the ladder at flyweight.

Tatsuro Taira ($8,600)

Alex Perez showed the world his power still plays when he knocked out Matheus Nicolau, but he will get a very different test in Taira. The Japanese fighter will look to control the cage, throw hard strikes, and land takedowns from the opening bell. As a wrestler, Perez will likely be a bit too comfortable scrambling with his opponent, ultimately leading to bad positions and a favorable outcome for Taira owners. 

Josefine Knutsson ($9,100)

Knuttson showed a fantastic all-around game in her UFC debut, notching 81 significant strikes and three takedowns. Being solid everywhere should be more than enough to get the job done against Julia Polastri, who is willing to let her opponent dictate where the fight takes place and absorbed an incredible 5.11 significant strikes per minute in her two fights on the Contender Series.  

Plays to Consider on Prize Picks - Significant Strikes

Nate Maness OVER 27.5 Significant Strikes, and Garrett Armfield OVER 69.5 Significant Strikes.

I fully expect Maness to knock out Jimmy Flick, who never seemed to recover after taking time off for personal reasons following a flashy submission victory in his UFC debut. However, "The Brick" still has his toughness, and anything other than a straight KO/TKO will give him time to recover, as it seems unlikely that Maness will want to enter his guard. Flick can do good work if he can get the fight to the ground, but the heavy hands of Maness should ultimately win the day.

If I were forced to say something nice about the Sikjitsu gym, it would be that fighters who train there are incredibly tough and don't seem to know another way to fight other than to come forward. Such is the case with Brady Hiestand, who was beaten up for most of his fight with Danaa Batgerel and was able to find a late finish. Armfield will match his opponent's energy in the pocket and should be able to thwart takedown attempts, ensuring that this fight stays in the center of the cage. 

Plays to Consider on Prize Picks - Fight Time

 Jeka Saragih UNDER 4.75 Minutes of Fight Time, and Adam Fugitt OVER 11.5 Minutes of Fight Time

The fight between Saragih and Weston Wilson is so one-sided in terms of odds that it's tough to play on most platforms. Wilson is a fighter who will likely never have a long fight, as he stands straight up with a karate style that allows for powerful strikes but also leaves him open to being hit very hard in return. Saragih likes to throw from close range, making it hard to see how this fight lasts longer than a few exchanges.

Fugitt has had a tough schedule early in his UFC career, taking bouts against prospects Mike Malott and Michael Morales in two of his first three fights. Fugitt is somewhat hittable, but we have seen Josh Quinlan struggle mightily with range, and he will face a five-inch reach disadvantage in this matchup. The 35-year-old can do some of everything in the cage, and Quinlan does not look like he has the power to be a committed finisher at this level.  If he cannot get on the inside effectively, Quinlan will have his third straight difficult bout against an incredibly strong opponent, which could lead to him playing it safe on the outside and bleeding time off the clock.

Bets to Consider 

Timothy Cuamba Wins via KO/TKO (+195)

Lucas Almeida has always had a problem with head movement. While he was able to find a way through his war with Mike Trizano, he wasn't quite so fortunate in his matchup with Andre Fili, which saw him eat a massive hook while exchanging in the pocket. Cuamba is a powerful striker, and though he could have issues with Almeida's range weapons, it seems only a matter of time before he finds his opponent's chin.

Douglas Silva de Andrade Wins via KO/TKO (+335)

Those who read this article series regularly may know that I am no fan of Miles Johns, who tends to stand flat-footed and whose offense is limited to single power shots and half-hearted takedown attempts. While the same could be said for De Andrade regarding striking, the athleticism gulf should be profound in this one. The Brazilian fighter showed in fights against Sergey Morozov and Gaetano Pirrello that he can still crack, and Johns will be available to be hit without much threat coming back in De Silva's direction.

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Christopher Olson
Christopher Olson writes DFS articles and blogs for a variety of sports including MLB, NFL and MMA. Follow him on Twitter @RealChrisOlson
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