A slate with 11 fights is a bit of a departure from what fight fans are accustomed to when it comes to Pay-Per-View cards, but we have two blockbusters at the top of the bill, as former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush will lock horns in the co-main event before the Women's MMA G.O.A.T. and bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes takes the center stage against Irene Aldana. We'll cover all fights across four platforms, including a late replacement underdog and a middleweight who keeps coming until his opponent quits. 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
Amanda Nunes ($9,500)
Absent a particularly embarrassing performance by Nunes that saw her run head-first into the same jab until she was exhausted, "The Lioness" has been a dominant force in the Octagon, mixing her athleticism, power, and jiujitsu to amass a 13-1 record dating back to 2015. As a boxer, Aldana could theoretically trouble Nunes in the same way, but it must be noted that the Mexican fighter was taken down five times in a loss to Holly Holm and couldn't deal with the speed of "The Preacher's Daughter" in kickboxing range. Nunes will need to be in her best form, but failing some kind of mental lapse, it seems like the bantamweight champion has too many tools with which she can frustrate her opponent.
Charles Oliveira ($7,600)
The primary mode of attack for Oliveira as champion was to outpace his opponents until they could no longer stand up to his power, but I wouldn't be surprised if he took a different route against Beneil Dariush, who has been known to force clinch exchanges with his opponents. It was largely taken for granted that "Do Bronx" could simply recover when hurt, but instead of going punch-for-punch with a deceptively powerful opponent, the former lightweight king would be wise to have the fight his opponent wants, as he will likely be the superior wrestler and jiujitsu player in this one.
Miranda Maverick ($9,300)
Maverick's stock dipped a bit after back-to-back losses to Maycee Barber and Erin Blanchfield, but each of those defeats come with caveats, as the Barber decision was controversial, to say the least, and Blanchfield looks primed for a shot at the title. "Fear The" has been a nightmare for everyone else in the division, using her lockdown grappling, wrestling, and aggressiveness to wear down her opponents. I expect that no less will happen to Jasmine Jasudavicius, whose ideal type of fight takes place where Maverick thrives. There may be a few interesting ground exchanges in this one, but the better wrestler and grappler should easily come out on top.
Steve Erceg ($6,700)
Erceg is taking this fight on less than two weeks' notice, which is the only explanation I have for the width of the betting line. Dvorak is fast and has some power for the division, but that speed mostly results in nothing more than "Undertaker" skirting along the outside of the Octagon hesitant to engage. That hesitancy will likely cause him issues against Erceg, who constantly looks for opportunities to clinch and bring the fight to the ground. The first-round clock was the only reason Manel Kape didn't take Dvorak's arm home when the two fought in December, and he should be in similar trouble if the fight hits the ground here.
Blake Bilder ($9,000)
Bilder took some time to get going in his UFC debut against Shane Young, but we eventually saw glimpses of a power wrestling game to complement big strikes on the feet. Bilder wasn't a prolific finisher on the regional scene, but Nelson has been known to get tired late in fights, and we've yet to see him win a contest in which he could not overwhelm his opponent with strength. Nelson will be at a disadvantage in that department here, which could result in a late finish due to an empty gas tank.
Aori Qileng ($8,300)
The brother and protégé of famed coach Firas, Aiemann Zahabi has had mixed results in the Octagon but has shown promise of late, winning each of his last two fights. The issue here is that Zahabi needs space to use his athleticism and sharp striking to his advantage, and "The Mongolian Murderer" will pour on the pressure from the opening bell looking for takedowns. If he can use his footwork to stay out of the clinch, the Canadian fighter could win with style points, but it seems much more likely that he will get caught in Qileng's onslaught.
Plays to Consider on Prize Picks
Dan Ige UNDER 12.5 Minutes of Fight Time and Mike Malott UNDER 8.5 Minutes of Fight Time
Ige isn't known as a prolific finisher, but "50K" has done some damage in his wins, knocking out Damon Jackson and Gavin Tucker to record his last two victories. Nate Landwehr is an all-action fighter, and Ige has never backed down from a firefight, which should prevent this one from getting out of the third round.
Mallott and Adam Fugitt are two hard hitters in the welterweight division, having notched 17 finishes among 18 collective wins. Speed and wrestling ability will give Mallott an advantage when it comes to selecting a winner, but Fugitt's nasty clinch game will make it difficult for "Proper" to hang out in close quarters. Whichever way it goes, expect big exchanges early from these two leading to a short night in the cage.
Plays to Consider On SuperDraft
Diana Belbita -1.9 X Multiplier
Maria Oliveira seems too rough around the edges to beat a solid boxer and grappler like Belbita. Not only did she get stuck on the ground for nearly eight minutes in her loss to Vanessa Demopoulos, but she ate at least three looping right hands, one of which sent her to the canvas. In theory, Oliveira could find success here as the longer, more agile fighter, but we've seen nothing in her game to demonstrate that she can put those attributes to good use.
Nassourdine Imavov – 1.8 X Multiplier
Starting slow out of the gate has always been typical of Chris Curtis, but that issue really hurt him in his last fight against Kelvin Gastelum, as the seemingly ironically nicknamed "Action Man" was already too far behind before pouring it on his opponent in Round 3. I expect a similar showing here, as Imavov should be able to use his speed and footwork to get ahead on the judges' scorecards while Curtis is still looking for a way to get himself into the fight.
Bets to Consider
Marc-Andre Barriault wins via KO/TKO (+350)
I was a bit surprised to see the knockout props so juiced in either direction here, as Anders ran through Kyle Daukaus for a stoppage win in December, and Barriualt knocked out an extremely tough opponent in Julian Marquez when the two fought in March. I expect "Powerbar" to live up to his nickname and pour on the pressure here which should eventually lead to his opponent melting. We've seen "Ya Boi" get tired when he is forced to fight at a high pace, and Barriualt is an expert at making the opposition wilt.
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