The UFC's Mexican Independence Day slate has endured a considerable amount of shakeup, but the show goes on with 11 bouts beginning Saturday at 7 PM EST. We'll take a look at every fight across four platforms to determine the best way to return profit. This includes a fighter who hasn't seen the inside of a cage in almost seven years, and a finisher with fast, accurate hands looking to build on his debut performance. Our betting line this week is from the RotoWire MMA betting page and is accurate to the post date of this article
Plays to Consider on DraftKings
Valentina Shevchenko ($8,500)
In what must have been an extremely difficult pill to swallow, Shevchenko was comfortably on her way to a title defense against Alexa Grasso when an ill-advised spinning backkick led to "Bullet" getting her back taken. While she fought for as long as she could, the squeeze of Grasso proved to be too much, and the champion was forced to tap. Grasso showed some slick boxing prior to the finishing sequence, but there's no reason to think she can get the better of the 35-year-old absent another opportunistic moment, as Shevchenko controlled the fight up to that point with her wrestling, while also out-landing her opponent in terms of significant strikes. Oddsmakers found themselves in a difficult spot with respect to the former flyweight queen, resulting in what seems like a steal of a price.
Christos Giagos ($7,400)
Daniel Zellhuber was able to pick apart Lando Vannata simply by using his length to keep him on the outside. While Giagos will be similarly disadvantaged in reach and height, I expect his power to pay dividends here, as "Groovy" was still able to land shots throughout the fight. Prospective owners may look at Zellhuber's 91 percent takedown defense rate and prepare for the worst, but it's important to note the majority of that came from "Golden Boy's" fight with Trey Ogden, who has only landed one takedown outside of that fight in five attempts. It will be interesting to see how Zellhuber handles a committed wrestler who also has the power to change the course of the fight.
Lupita Godinez ($9,400)
We've seen Godinez struggle when takedowns don't come easily, but Elise Reed has had problems with physically strong fighters in the past and structures her game around boxing in the pocket. This means she will look to close distance on Godinez armed with just a 50 percent takedown defense rate in six UFC fights.
Tracy Cortez ($8,200)
Jasmine Jasudavicius used her physicality and length to keep upright and at range against a relentless grappler in Miranda Maverick, but Cortez has taken down each of her UFC opponents at least twice, including a Judo champion in Stephanie Egger. This leads me to believe that Cortez won't have issues grappling with a bigger fighter and should be able to employ her usual style of dominating on the mat. She also should be the advancing party for much of the bout, as Jasudavicious seems largely content to let the fight come to her.
Raul Rosas ($9,600)
Rosas had his obligatory prospect loss to a competitor in Christian Rodriguez, who simply didn't go away as easily as previous competition. Fortunately for "El Nino Problema," it seems the UFC has found a suitable bounce-back matchup, as Terrence Mitchell has no problem grappling with his opponents and can be incredibly sloppy in exchanges. While the price may seem prohibitive here, two takedowns and a first-round finish are all that is required for Rosas to bring back a nice return on his salary, and these two will keep an incredibly fast pace from the opening bell.
Plays to Consider on Prize Picks
Josefine Knutsson OVER 47.5 Significant Strikes, Roman Kopylov OVER 45.5 Significant Strikes, and Kevin Holland UNDER 48.5 Significant Strikes
The line being set this low indicates that Marnic Mann is expected to force a grappling match, but the gap in athleticism here will be so wide that I don't think we need to worry about the Swedish fighter being stuck on the cage too often. If she does hit the floor, Knutsson should be able to work back to her feet, as Mann has never been much of a control grappler. This should result in a total that will be surpassed rather easily, as neither of these women are consistent finishers.
As a fighter who has won 10 of 11 fights by KO/TKO, Kopylov may not seem like someone we can make money taking overs against. It's worth noting, however, that just one of those finishes came in the first round, and he has gone over the mark set here in two of his last three bouts. When we consider that Josh Fremd has been knocked out just once in his 15-fight career, it begins to look like these two will be in the cage long enough to pile up strikes.
It seems odd to me that this is the line with the highest total on our docket, as both fighters are accustomed to quick finishes. We know from his fight with Stephen Thompson that Holland is ideologically opposed to wrestling in the cage, which means these two should throw big shots at each other from the opening bell. This being the case, I find it hard to believe that the bout lasts long enough for either man to get to the above mark.
Plays to Consider on Super Draft
Alex Reyes - 2.2 X Multiplier
I may not make this play on something resembling a full slate, but we need to differentiate ourselves on a card with just 11 fights. Reyes hasn't fought in MMA since being knocked out by Mike Perry in 2017, but he showed that he is agile and accurate with his strikes before getting caught with a knee in the clinch. Meanwhile, Charlie Campbell is much more of a plodding fighter who wants to sit in the pocket and throw big shots. Ring rust may hit us like a ton of bricks here, but I haven't seen enough from Campbell to justify his status as such a big favorite.
Daniel Lacerda – 2.05 X Multiplier
Speaking of taking chances, the wild nature of Lacerda seems bound to get him a finish if he hangs around the organization long enough, as he combines incredible pace and toughness with power. That opportunity may come against Edgar Chairez, who is willing to let his opponent dictate where the fight takes place and has shown questionable Fight IQ in the past. Lacerda isn't the type of opponent you want to let get a head of steam, as the Brazilian fighter has finished all 11 of his professional MMA wins.
Bets to Consider
Fernando Padilla wins via KO/TKO (+165)
Padilla will have a number of things in his favor coming into his fight with Kyle Nelson, including sizable advantages in height and reach, a clear edge in power, and crisper, more accurate boxing. All of these elements together will likely mean disaster for Nelson, who needs to get on the inside and grind his opponent down. Padilla isn't the most responsible fighter on the roster when it comes to defense, but it's unlikely that "The Monster" will be able to put significant offense together before eating a big shot.
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