On Saturday evening, the UFC is once again back at the APEX Center in Las Vegas for their next event, and it’s another good one, if a bit modest on name value. Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka occupy the headlining spot, with the spotlight firmly on Jiri as he makes his sophomore effort inside the octagon. In his UFC debut, he secured a second-round knockout of Volkan Oezdemir. Reyes last fought Jan Blachowicz last year when he was defeated by the reigning kingpin.
Cub Swanson will be taking on the red-hot Giga Chikadze in a fight that could end up taking fight of the night. Merab Dvalishvili also makes his way back to Nevada when he meets Cody Stamann center cage for what will surely be an intense battle. And in what is surely the most compelling matchup on the bout sheet, Gabriel “Moggly” Benitez will face the ultra-tough Jonathan Pearce. The rest of the card is our usual mix of established, mid and lower tier names comprising the rest of the show.
We’ve put together a handy guide of facts and figures to help you when selecting your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups. Each category will feature the standout fighter for his/her achievements in said category. Let’s get started!
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Jonathan Pearce, $7,400
Jonathan Pearce is a serious pressure fighter. The six-foot former lightweight has been using his wrestling to drag down his foes where he frequently pounds them to smithereens with effective striking that has seen its way to eight big knockouts in his career. The switch fighter will enjoy a 4-inch height advantage but will be on an even playing field in reach, as both men clock in with 71-inch wingspans. Pearce has demonstrated high-volume output over the course of three UFC bouts and boasts an average of nearly eight minutes of fight time to gauge his performances. “JSP” averages a whopping 8.80 landed strikes per minute but absorbs nearly as much with 6.65 of his opponent’s strikes landing in that same 60 seconds. He certainly has defensive issues, but his size and ability to overpower his competition makes him a very dangerous out for Benitez.
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Jiri Prochazka, $8,300
Jiri Prochazka is the living embodiment of sanctioned violence. Of his 27 wins, 26 are finishes and 24 are knockouts. He’s three years younger than his opponent, Dominick Reyes, but has more than double the experience with a career that dates back more than nine years. Ever since his first fight, Jiri has been knocking folks out cold, and he’s equally devastating with his hands and knees, seeing crushing, devastating knockouts from both. His kicking game is outstanding, which will be a great counter foil to Reyes’ own excellent kicking game. There are some drawbacks with Prochazka, don’t get me wrong. His propensity to just wade right in, swinging for the fences from Jump Street, can’t be sustainable for very long. Eventually he’ll run into someone that can pick him apart with better technical striking and good countering ability, but so far, he’s seen great success with his slang-and-bang style. Considering how slowly Reyes started in his fight with Jan Blachowicz, I’d imagine his team will want to push for a quicker start out of the gate.
Gabriel Benitez, $8,800
Gabriel “Moggly” Benitez is an exciting grappler with decent striking that he uses expeditiously. He’s also demonstrated flashes of power, as Justin Jaynes found out the hard way last December. Jonathan Pearce has been somewhat of a mixed bag, much as Benitez has, taking a massive loss to Joe Lauzon in 2019, but then turned around his fortune with a great finish of Kai Kamaka last November. Pearce will present another challenge in that he is a huge featherweight, so Gabriel will want to make sure his cardio is in order, as this contest will see two insanely tough customers duking it out. “Moggly” has an added weapon that will come in very handy, and that’s his sensational ground game that has seen him take 10 wins via submission. Even though Gabriel hasn’t subbed anyone in four-plus years, he’s still a threat on the ground, and against Pearce, who frequently uses his wrestling to drag his opponents down, it will be interesting to see how his submission chops play out here.
Dominick Reyes, $7,900
Dominick Reyes looked so good when he faced Jon Jones and there is a large contingent of fans that believe he won the fight. That said, one of the most impactful factors on that fight was Reyes’ cardio. As the rounds wore on, Dominick was obviously winded, and by the end of round three, we could see that his output had greatly decreased, and he was becoming less and less effective. It was, no doubt a great performance, but marred by his leaky gas tank. With Prochazka’s propensity to barrel through his opposition with a wildly aggressive offensive strategy, Reyes will definitely need his cardio to be at its absolute best.
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