Drake's Takes: UFC 281 Adesanya vs. Pereira

Drake's Takes: UFC 281 Adesanya vs. Pereira

This article is part of our Drake's Takes series.

The top MMA betting and DFS plays for this weekend's UFC 281 card are up and courtesy of Drake Burden, who breaks down betting and lineup strategy, as well as offers predictions for the entire event.

Carlos Ulberg (7-1-0) v. Nicolae Negumereanu (13-1-0)

Carlos Ulberg - Height: 6'4" - Reach: 77" - Orthodox
~ High volume 
~ Plus wrestling
~ 4 finishes in 6 wins

Nicolae Negumereanu - Height: 6'0" - Reach: 78" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling
~ 11 finishes in 13 wins

DFS Perspective: Ulberg should have a sizeable edge on the feet and should piece Negumereanu up for 15 minutes. Negumereanu could steal a round or two if he can find success with takedowns, but I prefer Ulberg with the volume edge he will have.  

UFC 281 Pick: Ulberg

Julio Arce (18-5-0) v. Montel Jackson (12-2-0)

Julio Arce - Height: 5'7" - Reach: 70" - Southpaw
~ Moderate volume 
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 10 finishes in 18 wins

Montel Jackson - Height: 5'10" - Reach: 75" – Southpaw
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 7 finishes in 11 wins

DFS Perspective: Arce should provide a stern test for Jackson and could find success throughout the fight anywhere it goes. Jackson has been impressive during his rise in the UFC and should be slightly better in every aspect of this fight. I expect him to get the job done and would not be surprised if he had another slate-breaking score.     

UFC 281 Pick: Jackson

Mike Trizano (10-3-0) v. Seungwoo Choi (10-5-0)

Mike Trizano - Height: 5'11" - Reach: 71" - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume 
~ Plus grappling
~ 4 finishes in 9 wins

Seungwoo Choi - Height: 6'0" - Reach: 74" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling
~ 6 finishes in 10 wins

DFS Perspective: Trizano has a solid chin and can keep this fight close everywhere it goes. I expect Choi to be a little better, with more volume and power. I would not be surprised if Trizano won, but I will side with Choi. Without a finish, this fight likely does not score well.     

UFC 281 Pick: Choi

Karolina Kowalkiewicz (14-7-0) v. Silvana Gomez Juarez (7-4-0)

Karolina Kowalkiewicz - Height: 5'3" - Reach: 64" - Orthodox
~ High volume 
~ Plus grappling
~ 4 finishes in 13 wins

Silvana Gomez Juarez - Height: 5'3" - Reach: 65" – Orthodox
~ Low volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 9 finishes in 11 wins

DFS Perspective: Gomez Juarez will have a power advantage, but I see that as her only path to winning. She has not fought the same level of competition, either. Kowalkiewicz will have a solid edge in volume and a significant edge if the fight hits the mat. I expect her to avoid the power and navigate to another victory.     

UFC 281 Pick: Kowalkiewicz

Matt Frevola (9-3-1) v. Ottman Azaitar (13-0-0)

Matt Frevola - Height: 5'9" - Reach: 71" - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume 
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 5 finishes in 9 wins

Ottman Azaitar - Height: 5'8" - Reach: 71" – Switch
~ High volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 12 finishes in 13 wins

DFS Perspective: Azaitar has not fought in over two years but has impressive power. A knockout is likely his only path to victory. Frevola should have a significant edge in volume and on the mat. Given Azaitar's potential rust and single path to victory, I side with Frevola to win this fight.    

UFC 281 Pick: Frevola

Andre Petroski (8-2-0) v. Wellington Turman (18-5-0)

Andre Petroski - Height: 6'0" - Reach: 73" - Switch
~ Moderate volume 
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 8 finishes in 8 wins

Wellington Turman - Height: 6'0" - Reach: 72" – Orthodox
~ Low volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 12 finishes in 18 wins

DFS Perspective: Petroski should be the better fighter everywhere this goes, but he tends to gas late in fights. Turman can keep this fight close on the feet or potentially take over late if he can avoid getting finished. Turman has a path to win, but avoiding the complete game of Petroski until he tires will be difficult.

UFC 281 Pick: Petroski

Erin Blanchfield (9-1-0) v. Molly McCann (13-4-0)

Erin Blanchfield - Height: 5'4" - Reach: 66" - Orthodox
~ High volume 
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 4 finishes in 9 wins

Molly McCann - Height: 5'4" - Reach: 62" – Orthodox
~ High volume
~ Plus wrestling
~ 6 finishes in 13 wins

DFS Perspective: McCann's best chance to win is on the feet. Her striking is as good or better, but avoiding the wrestling of Blanchfield is a challenge. Blanchfield has shown incredible tenacity in her fights, particularly with her wrestling, and I expect her to have her way with McCann leading to another solid win.

UFC 281 Pick: Blanchfield

Dominick Reyes (12-3-0) v. Ryan Spann (20-7-0)

Dominick Reyes - Height: 6'4" - Reach: 77" - Southpaw
~ Moderate volume 
~ Plus wrestling
~ 9 finishes in 12 wins

Ryan Spann - Height: 6'5" - Reach: 79" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 17 finishes in 20 wins

DFS Perspective: Reyes has dropped three straight, and you have to wonder where his head is at. He has power and will test Spann's chin if he lands clean, but I see the knockout as his only path to victory. Spann also carries power but will have a significant edge on the mat and could lock up an early sub. I do not trust Reyes much right now and side with the considerable underdog in this one.     

UFC 281 Pick: Spann

Brad Riddell (10-3-0) v. Renato Moicano (16-5-1)

Brad Riddell - Height: 5'7" - Reach: 71" - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume 
~ Plus wrestling
~ 5 finishes in 10 wins

Renato Moicano - Height: 5'11" - Reach: 72" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 9 finishes in 16 wins

DFS Perspective: Moicano is the more well-rounded fighter and will have a considerable edge on the mat. Riddell will be looking to keep this fight on the feet, where he can use his power to land a knockout. I have a slight lean toward Moicano, but it is not confident, and I would not be surprised if Riddell won this.

UFC 281 Pick: Moicano

Dan Hooker (21-12-0) v. Claudio Puelles (13-2-0)

Dan Hooker - Height: 6'0" - Reach: 75" - Switch
~ High volume 
~ Plus wrestling
~ 17 finishes in 21 wins

Claudio Puelles - Height: 5'10" - Reach: 72" – Southpaw
~ Low volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 9 finishes in 12 wins

DFS Perspective: This should be a classic striker vs. grappler match. Hooker will be looking to keep this on the feet and should be able to enact enough volume to snare a decision or score a knockout. Puelles is a masterful submission artist and will only need a single takedown to potentially find a sub. It's a close fight, and I will side with the dog.

UFC 281 Pick: Puelles

Frankie Edgar (23-10-1) v. Chris Gutierrez (18-3-2)

Frankie Edgar - Height: 5'6" - Reach: 68" - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume 
~ Plus wrestling
~ 11 finishes in 24 wins

Chris Gutierrez - Height: 5'9" - Reach: 67" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 9 finishes in 18 wins

DFS Perspective: Edgar looked good in his most recent fight until he got knocked out again. This is his retirement fight, and I do not expect it to go his way. Gutierrez is as tough as they come, with a solid all-around game. I expect him to use his excellent leg kicks to wear Edgar down early and eventually find a knockout. 

UFC 281 Pick: Gutierrez

Dustin Poirier (28-7-0, 1NC) v. Michael Chandler (23-7-0)

Dustin Poirier - Height: 5'9" - Reach: 72" - Southpaw
~ High volume 
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 21 finishes in 28 wins

Michael Chandler - Height: 5'8" - Reach: 71" – Orthodox
~ High volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 18 finishes in 23 wins

DFS Perspective: High-profile fight that I wish was five rounds instead of three. This should be an absolute war, and I am all for it. Both guys are well-rounded and can pack a punch. The winner will likely be whoever executes their game plan better. A finish is always possible, but these guys are grinders, and I expect a decision after 15 minutes. I lean the way of Poirier, as he is slightly better everywhere outside of power. 

UFC 281 Pick: Poirier

Carla Esparza (20-6-0) v. Zhang Weili (22-3-0)

Carla Esparza - Height: 5'1" - Reach: 63" - Orthodox
~ Low volume 
~ Plus wrestling
~ 8 finishes in 19 wins

Zhang Weili - Height: 5'4" - Reach: 63" – Orthodox
~ High volume
~ Plus wrestling
~ 18 finishes in 22 wins

DFS Perspective: Esparza will need to do about ten times more than what she did to earn the belt in her last fight. Her best path is to get takedowns and keep control on the mat. Weili, who also has solid wrestling, will have a massive advantage on the feet with power and volume, and I expect her to run away with this to get her belt back.    

UFC 281 Pick: Weili

Israel Adesanya (23-1-0) v. Alex Pereira (6-1-0)

Israel Adesanya - Height: 6'4" - Reach: 80" - Switch
~ Moderate volume 
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 15 finishes in 23 wins

Alex Pereira - Height: 6'4" - Reach: 79" – Orthodox
~ High volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 5 finishes in 6 wins

DFS Perspective: I can see Izzy doing what he has been doing and fighting a defensive game doing just enough to retain his belt. However, Pereira should be ready for it and has the size to kick and counter his way into the pocket. Izzy will keep the belt and win a boring decision if he cannot. Izzy could also test the chin of Pereira, but the last they fought, it was Pereira knocking him out. I like that to happen again here and for Izzy's reign to end.

UFC 281 Pick: Pereira

 

For more MMA DFS-specific content, check out our DraftKings MMA preview, or play around with your favorite combinations of fighters on our DFS MMA Lineup Optimizer.

FANDUEL MMA SCORING

Moves Scoring
Significant Strikes = 0.6 pts
Takedown = 6 pts
Takedown Defense = 3 pts
Knockdown = 12 pts
Submission Attempt = 5 pts

Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win = 100 pts
2nd Round Win = 75 pts
3rd Round Win = 50 pts
4th Round Win = 35 pts
5th Round Win = 25 pts
Decision Win = 20 pts

Scoring Notes

  • Significant Strikes are distance strikes 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 time.

DRAFTKINGS MMA SCORING

Moves Scoring
Strikes: +0.2 pts
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.2 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)

Scoring Notes

  • Significant Strikes are any distance strikes 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 time.
  • A Quick Win Bonus is awarded to the winning fighter if they win in the first round in 60 seconds or less.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Drake Burden plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Dburdz, DraftKings: Dburdz.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Drake Burden
Drake is a proven DFS winner with multiple four-figure paydays under his belt. He took an interest to writing MMA during the pandemic and is active in various Discords and other social media communities.
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