Woohoo! This weekend’s UFC Fight Night: Waterson vs. Hill is a stellar card! Yes, I’m excited, and you should be, too. There is a veritable cornucopia of awesome fights on this card starting at the very top with the main event. The fight between Michelle Waterson and Angela Hill is such a great stylistic matchup and shows the strides both ladies have made to get here. Hill becomes the first African-American woman to headline a UFC event, a distinction that warrants attention and praise. And let’s not forget the rest of the card, which is filled with some of the most interesting bouts we’ve seen in at least a week or two.
This event is 12 fights deep at last count, but I’ve chosen a select group of fighters that are either worth their expensive DraftKings price tag or are an exceptional value worth taking another look at for your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups. Let’s break it down.
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Andrea Lee, $8,900
Lee is a strong, durable kickboxer with solid striking and an accurate kicking game. She heaps on the volume, but unlike so many that are volume heavy, she doesn’t take a beating to deliver one and is quite defensively sound. Roxanne Modafferi ($7,300) is a gifted grappler but taking down “KGB” isn’t going to be an easy task, and Roxy may find it nearly impossible to do thanks to Lee’s very sturdy sprawl. This fight will likely go to a decision, as both women are very tough and extremely difficult to finish. In the end, Lee’s superior standup should see her with the W, but it won’t be an easy one.
Billy Quarantillo, $9,300
Quarantillo is a prospect who looks like he has the chops to break free from that status and move into contention if he keeps turning in such dominant performances. Billy has 14 wins with 10 finishes, with six of them occurring in his last six fights. He sets an insane pace, heaping on the volume all while landing with surgical accuracy. It’s not often you find a 79% accuracy rate, but that’s the number he’s currently sporting. He’s also very adept on the ground, demonstrating excellent fight IQ and composure while engaged in some real firefights (see Spike Carlyle bout). Kyle Nelson ($6,900) isn’t a pushover, but there is a lot more upside with Quarantillo, which is why the oddsmakers have set the lines so wide here.
Bryan Barberena, $9,000
Barberena is a battle-tested veteran with experience in all aspects of the fight game. He’s best served keeping the fight upright where he can put a pace on Anthony Ivy, and then stay busy with the volume he’s known for. He also has bricks for hands and has 10 knockouts to show for it. His left hook is what Ivy needs to watch out for, especially since he just got chin checked in his last fight with an opponent with far less credentials than Bryan carries. Barberena is capable on the ground but isn’t likely to take the fight there, so Ivy’s path to victory would be to avoid the left and get the fight out of Bryan’s wheelhouse. Ivy is just a bit too green for a seasoned violence king like “Bam Bam.”
Ottman Azaitar, $7,700
Azaitar is a lethal weapon. Full stop. At 12-0 with 11 finishes, it’s hard to ignore his talent. His pre-UFC record is similar to most prospects with lots of regional wins over middling talent, but he kept on track with his UFC debut, absolutely melting Teemu Packalen with a perfect overhand right. Khama Worthy ($8,500) is going to be the real litmus test of where his ceiling lies, as the “Death Star” is a savvy veteran with plenty of power himself. Worthy is also very calm under pressure, weathering the early storm of Devonte Smith’s barrage of kicks before starching his collar. Khama has a glaring issue, though, the big soft spot on his chin that has seen him taste knockout defeat five times. With a heavy hitter like Ottman, that can spell disaster, especially since the Moroccan is aggressive and a fast starter. What a co-main event!
Sijara Eubanks, $6,800
Eubanks is a steal at this price! Sijara’s a strong, skilled grappler, she hits stupidly hard and is the better athlete overall in this matchup. She is a low-end volume striker (4.95 strikes per minute) with solid defense (60%) and constantly evolving boxing now that she’s moved out to New Jersey and trains with Mark Henry full time. Julia Avila is a great prospect, but I can’t help but think she’ll be overwhelmed by Eubanks in the early goings. Now to get back to the downside—stamina issues. “Sarj” has had past troubles with weight cuts and cardio, but she seemed to get that in hand with her last fight, a dominant win over Sarah Moras. In that contest, she took the fight to Moras where she beat her up standing, took her down a couple times, and scored five passes—it was a beautiful performance, even if over subpar competition. Avila’s record looks better on paper, but she wasn’t thrown into the deep end right off the bat, either. And to further illustrate that point, wins over Lauren Murphy and Roxanne Modafferi are a bit more meaningful than the wins the “Raging Panda” has under her belt. This is a very compelling pairing, to say the least.
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