The UFC is back with the second of three fight cards in an eight-day span. Now, that is how you play catch-up after a month away! The card is a fun, 14-bout affair with a solid mix of top prospects, contenders and fresh faces making their debut. Sitting at the top of this show is a welterweight battle between Number 8 ranked Michael Chiesa and Number 9 ranked Neil Magny. This top contender’s match is the most compelling fight on the entire card, and that’s saying something considering the wealth of talent showcased on the bout sheet.
The prime directive of this post is to separate four fighters into two categories. The “Targets” category is designed to showcase which two fighters are most worth their hefty DraftKings price tags, and the “Values” category details the two fighters that deliver the most bang for their small price tag buck. Let’s get started!
Neil Magny, $8,300
Neil Magny is one of the most well-rounded fighters at welterweight. Fighting from the orthodox stance, Magny has a diverse striking game, excellent wrestling, stamina for days and an evolved fight IQ. Magny has a reputation for being a bit of a mixed bag, but it is undeserved in my humble opinion. In the last five years, Neil has lost just three fights out of 12. Two of the three were Top 10 competition at the time of the fights, and Larkin (just outside the rankings at the time), had just come off a win over Jorge Masvidal.
Magny has much better striking than Chiesa and has more power in his punches than the Washington native. His wrestling chops are excellent and his top control is lead heavy. Neil also makes wonderful use of his long frame, using range and volume far better than “Maverick” does. Magny also has a far better strength of schedule, whereas Mike’s last notable win was in 2016 against Beneil Dariush.
This is a very well-matched fight, one that either man can win, but the pricing here couldn’t be more appropriate.
Mounir Lazzez, $9,000
Mounir Lazzez might only have one fight inside the hallowed grounds of the octagon, but that one outing was enough to keep all eyes on him, as he outclassed top prospect/fringe contender Abdul Razak Alhassan in his UFC debut. Lazzez is most known for his heat-seeking missile of a right, but he demonstrated an ability to pace himself, enabling him to pick Alhassan apart pretty handily. His footwork is smooth and light and his defensive skills are coming along, even if he still eats a few to give a few. Thank you for that durable chin, but do keep working on your defense, good sir.
His grappling is pretty good, too, but the stats available are limited, just one fight worth, but in that bout, he averaged four takedowns with 100% accuracy. He defended at 75%, getting taken down just once, and escaping the position relatively quickly. Warlley Alves ($7,200) is not an easy target, but he has been away for over a year and he’s hit some rough patches in his last few fights.
This is another great fight where the pricing is absolutely on point.
Vinicius Moreira, $8,000
Vinicius Moreira isn’t the best light heavyweight. He’s not in the Top 15. What he is though, is a tough, scrappy fighter with a decent clinch game, and much more natural athletic ability than Ike Villanueva ($8,200). Many point to Ike’s 14 knockouts as an automatic reason to pick him, but those were all against low-level competition. I know “Mamute” is coming off three losses, but he’s a better athlete and a darned good submission specialist. This will come in handy since Villanueva is very susceptible to submissions with five losses (three via some form of arm submission, two via choke) to illustrate that. Isaac also has a touchy chin with another five losses coming via knockout, most recently his last two fights, again to subpar competition, even at the UFC level.
The pricing here is very close, as it should be with likely “loser leaves town” matchups like this. It’s about as evenly matched as you can get, but if I had a nickel to put on one of them, it would be Moreira.
Roxanne Modafferi, $7,100
The original underdog, never duplicated, always appreciated. Roxanne Modafferi has been in the game longer than anyone on this card. With nearly 18 years in the sport, “The Happy Warrior” deserves every ounce of respect we can muster. A marvelous grappler, her ground game is her most effective tool and has aided her in many, many victories—25 of them to be exact. He striking has evolved steadily under the tutelage of John Wood at Syndicate MMA, and her durability has seen her opponents unable to finish her in nearly 10 years.
Viviane Araujo ($9,100) is the heavy favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook for a reason. She has excellent striking and has demonstrated some real power, particularly against Talita Bernardo, where a mammoth right hook put a coffin nail in Talita’s night. Roxy will have a barrage of punching to overcome, and she’ll likely not have a complete blowout on the ground either, as Araujo’s ground game is more than capable.
I know this is a long shot, but Roxy has been the OG underdog spoiling fights for years, and at this insane price, it’s hard not to pick her.
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