UFC Vegas 92 Preview and Predictions: The MMA Mashup

UFC Vegas 92 Preview and Predictions: The MMA Mashup

While Saturday's 12-fight slate may not offer much from a fan's perspective outside of an intriguing main event, we still have plenty of competitively-lined contests to sift through to determine the best way for bettors and DFS players to profit. We'll take a look at each bout on the card, including a strawweight tank who is always live for a finish and a forgotten middleweight looking to reestablish himself against an aging veteran. Our betting line this week comes from the RotoWire MMA Betting Page and is accurate to the post date of this article.

Plays to Consider on DraftKings

Oumar Sy ($9,600)

The price may seem prohibitive here, but Sy can blow through this number due to his athleticism, power, and commitment to wrestling. Tuco Tokkos was set on fire in his Road to UFC fight against Mingang Zhang, as he carries his hands low and tends to swing from his hip. If he can avoid the big, looping shots, Sy can have his way with a comparatively slow-footed brawler who tends to get stuck on his back. 

Themba Gorimbo ($8,400)

On a card that finds viable underdogs hard to come by, Gorimbo can break the slate at his price. "The Answer" is a grappler by trade but has notched knockdowns in his last two fights using long straight punches. Ramiz Brahimaj is a power wrestler and grappler but has been left on an island when he cannot get his game going, as we saw in particularly one-sided losses to Max Griffin and Court McGee. Gorimbo should be able to use his frame and scrambling ability to keep pace with the 31-year-old, while every second spent on the feet will be his domain. This spells trouble for Brhimaj and success for those who roster Gorimbo.

Kleydson Rodrigues ($8,600) 

After a couple of tough draws to begin his UFC career, Rodrigues finds himself in a good spot against Heili Alateng. "The Mongolian Knight" is a classic big puncher who tries to corral opponents against the fence and work his grappling game. The issue here is that Rodrigues will be much quicker than Heili, and we just saw that the 32-year-old took a decisive loss against Chris Gutierrez, who was far too elusive with his footwork. Unless Alateng can catch his Brazilian opponent early, Rodrigues will be able to pick the Chinese fighter apart from range while mixing in his own grappling for good measure.

Ariane Carnelossi ($7,400)

I mentioned earlier that dogs may be hard to come by on Saturday, so I'm opting for a flawed fighter who has the ability to put up a big score. "Sorriso" throws caution to the wind and charges at opponents with power shots, which is more effective at strawweight than it might be in some other divisions. She will then use her strength and BJJ prowess to get to favorable positions on the ground. Piera Rodriguez is a grappler in her own right, and while we have seen Carnelossi stuck on her back, that aforementioned strength should play a big role in keeping her upright here. Rodriguez plants her feet to throw her combinations, making her a nice target for Carnelossi's blitzes. 

Emily Ducote ($9,200)

Ducote is mostly known for her volume punching, but even an inkling of a wrestling game makes a fighter live to put up a big score against Vanessa Demopoulos, who owns just a 30 percent takedown defense rate. We have seen Ductote opportunistically grapple at the end of rounds, but Demopoulos is far too concerned with hunting for submissions from guard, which will give Ducote ample time to get ahead with control time and ground and pound. "Lil Monster" isn't particularly effective in any facet of MMA, meaning that Ducote can pile up the points wherever she pleases. 

Plays to Consider on Prize Picks - Significant Strikes

Melissa Gatto OVER 55.5 Significant Strikes, Angela Hill UNDER 79.5 Significant Strikes, and Khaos Williams Under 44.5 Significant Strikes

Gatto made her name in the UFC as a grappler but should have a striker's delight against Tamires Vidal, who plods forward at a glacially slow pace, throwing leg kicks and overhand rights almost exclusively. Gatto has developed a very crisp 1-2 combination over the course of her tenure in the organization, which she should be able to use to stop her opponent in her tracks. While some clinch grappling here may stem totals to an extent, neither woman is a particularly good wrestler, which should keep this fight at space for the better part of 15 minutes.

Angela Hill is a perpetual threat to put up over 100 significant strikes in three-round affairs, but she will need to tread lightly against Luana Pinheiro, who will come forward and try to remove the head from her opponent's shoulders with every strike thrown. Hill's new and improved grappling game saw her compete on the ground with the likes of Virna Jandiroba, and I expect her to put these skills to use against Pinheiro, keeping her at close range and in bottom position to mitigate the threat. This should result in an uncharacteristically-low strike total for Hill as she attempts to navigate tricky situations at range. 

Carlston Harris fights so wildly that it's generally a safe bet to take unders in his matchups, but this is doubly the case in the bout against Williams, who is a precise striker with ferocious power. Harris generally uses his length and frame to keep himself safe, but these two fighters are virtually identical in attributes, meaning both men will be in danger while throwing in the pocket. I expect an early KO/TKO to be the most likely outcome here, as Williams' 80 percent takedown defense rate should prevent Harris from imposing his will in 50/50 positions.

Plays to Consider on Prize Picks - Fight Time

Tom Nolan UNDER 5.5 Minutes of Fight Time, Adrian Yanez UNDER 9.75 Minutes of Fight Time, and Lerone Murphy OVER 20.5 Minutes of Fight Time

It seems likely that the UFC wanted to give Nolan a bounce-back opportunity after his knockout loss to Nikolas Motta, giving us ripe conditions for an early finish on Saturday. While Victor Martinez is no stranger to a knockout victory, he is far more flatfooted in the pocket than Mota and walks into his opponent's range on a straight line. This should lead to an early crash between the two competitors, which is just what we want when two dedicated finishers square off.

I'm struggling to imagine a scenario in which Yanez and Vinicius Salvador make it out of the second round. The Brazillian fighter likes to march forward with his hands down and redline his cardio in Round 1, while Yanez is a sniper with incredible power. Yanez could potentially be a bit gun-shy after losing by KO/TKO in his last two fights, but Salvador will force exchanges that will make playing it safe almost impossible.

The fight between Lerone Murphy and Edson Barboza will be interesting for several reasons. The key point to remember for our purposes is that neither man is a particularly good finisher. Both tend to get their knockout wins in big, flashy moments rather than a sustained attack. As these men prefer to strike at range, we likely get 25 minutes of a kickboxing match, with Murphy trying to work his wrestling periodically.

Bets to Consider

Abus Magomedov Wins via KO/TKO (+120)

I may be the only believer Abus has left after back-to-back poor showings against Sean Strickland and Caio Borralho, but Magomedov still has a solid boxing game that centers around not taking damage. The Russian fighter will likely find it difficult to work his wrestling for the third consecutive outing, but Warlley Alves' chin has all but deteriorated at this point, and the explosive movement seems to have disappeared. This will give Abus time to push the Brazilian fighter against the fence and find the knockout blow. 

For another UFC betting perspective, check out our UFC Vegas 92 Best Bets for this weekend. For the latest in UFC odds, head to the RotoWire MMA Betting section. 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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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