This article is part of our Drake's Takes series.
Alan Baudot (8-2-0) v. Rodrigo Nascimento (8-1-0)
- Baudot has little ground game to speak of but is a powerful striker. He wants to get right in the face of his opponent and use his thunder to put their lights out. He has quick hands for a heavyweight, but his footwork needs work. He will gladly trade blows and brawl in order to land his shots. He has been training lately with Ciryl Gane so it will be interesting to see if his takedown offense and defense has improved as he will likely need it for this fight. He has been susceptible to big shots, and his cardio is questionable.
- Nascimento is a respectable striker with good power and a wizard on the mat. All eight of his professional wins have come via finish (six submissions, 2 knockout), and only two have went past the first round. His movement on the feet can be slow, and he strikes from a distance until he can close in and take his opponent down. He will carry an advantage against most anyone on the mat, and here is no different. He is difficult to get away from and is excellent at finding a submission. As he has only gone into round two twice it is difficult to say how his gas tank runs, but his chin is solid.
DFS Perspective: I do not believe Baudot belongs in the UFC, and this is likely his last opportunity. Other than a lucky knockout, I do not see how he wins this fight. A knockout would yield a slate-breaking value. Nascimento is going to be better everywhere. Once on the mat he should be able to rain heavy ground-and-pound or find a submission. An optimal score is likely to come out of this fight.
My Pick: Nascimento
Francisco Figueiredo (12-3-1, 1NC) v. Malcolm Gordon (12-5-0)
- Figueiredo is a lower-volume, precision striker. He throws with impressive power and walks his opponent down so he can fight in the pocket. He does not use a lot of footwork, instead using good head movement and quick reflexes to make his opponent miss. His ground game looked improved in his last fight, landing four takedowns and controlling his opponent for almost half the match. He is successful hunting for submissions, but his cardio can come into question later in the fight.
- Gordon has severely underwhelmed so far in his stint with the UFC, having been finished in the first round in both fights. He is decent striker with good footwork and hand speed. He uses combos and leg kicks to set up his takedowns. He has power in his hands and is comfortable working on the mat hunting for submissions. He has shown a weak chin in the past, but his cardio holds up well over three rounds.
DFS Perspective: Gordon looked impressive entering the UFC but has not been able to put anything together, and this fight does not get any easier. His weak chin could be tested by the raw power of Figueiredo, resulting in an early finish and high score. Gordon does have a chance with his own power and ability on the mat, but I think he will be overwhelmed early. An early finish will score well for either fighter, but a decision likely is lower scoring.
My Pick: Figueiredo
Miles Johns (11-1-0) v. Anderson Dos Santos (12-8-0)
- Johns is a great technical striker using timely strikes rather than volume. He possesses little power in his hands and relies on defense to win decisions. He can be difficult to hit, and he has great takedown defense. He is a good wrestler but tends to only use it defensively. If he were to open his game a little more and shoot for takedowns, he could be far more successful. He manages his cardio well and has a great chin.
- Dos Santos is a decent striker with a motor that never stops. He continually moves and throws quick shots looking for an opening to take his opponent down. Overall, he has not been very successful with them, but when he makes it to the mat, he tends to do well. He controls well and can hunt for submission in a guard position or from the back. His cardio does become a bit problematic towards the third round, and his chin is questionable.
DFS Perspective: If Johns wins, I am not a fan of this fight. He has not scored well in the UFC, and I do not see it changing here unless he were to finish in the first round. He does not throw enough volume, or get takedowns, to score well in a decision. Dos Santos could score well and nail value if he is able to takedown and control the fight or get an early finish. I think we see a bit of a slower-paced fight resulting in a low-scoring decision.
My Pick: Johns
Khalid Taha (13-3-0, 1NC) v. Sergey Morozov (16-4-0)
- Taha is a good striker with great power. He comes out swinging from the bell looking for that early knockout. He throws good volume if the fight stays standing, but his accuracy needs to improve if he wants to land more significant strikes. He works well in the clinch and defends takedowns at a respectable clip. On the mat, he has shown decent wrestling and scrambling to get back up and avoid submissions. His cardio is good for three rounds, and he has an excellent chin.
- Morozov is a well-rounded fighter with great movement. He ties together his striking with his grappling, striking at a distance while looking for an opening for a takedown. He mixes combos with counter punches, and he's displayed knockout power in the past. He has shown good timing on takedowns and can hold his opponents down, not allowing them to get back up. He can throw impressive ground-and-pound or hunt for a submission. His cardio is excellent, and he has only been knocked out one time in his career, so his chin is durable.
DFS Perspective: Taha scores well here if he finishes early and could score well in a decision if he packs on volume against the fast-paced Morozov. Morozov could smash value if he is able to take Taha down and control the fight on the mat. I expect Taha to defend the majority of takedowns and keep this fight on the feet.
My Pick: Taha
Amanda Lemos (9-1-1) v. Montserrat Ruiz (10-1-0)
- Lemos is an ever-improving fighter. She has a great all-around game, and she packs a punch. Her striking is precise, and she uses great movement to control the ring. She walks her opponent down throwing quick one-twos, and heavy leg kicks. She works well in the clinch, where she can get a body lock or trip and then hunt for a submission or throw ground-and-pound. Her defense can be lacking at times, and she becomes hittable trading blows with her opponent. Her defense on the ground is good and allows her to reverse or scramble into a favorable position. Cardio should not be an issue here, and her chin is solid.
- Ruiz is a strong grappler with decent striking. She will walk her opponent down to get into the pocket and throw combinations with power. She is great at taking down from the clinch and can control on the mat for long periods of time. In her last fight she used four takedowns to control for nearly ten minutes. She is very strong and has terrific cardio. Her chin has not been questioned, and this fight will tell us a lot about it.
DFS Perspective: Lemos is a contender in this division, and I fully expect her to dominate this fight. She could end up with another huge knockout giver her power and score well. Ruiz would need to land multiple takedowns and control on the mat in order to score well, as I do not see her getting a finish here.
My Pick: Lemos
Daniel Rodriguez (14-2-0) v. Preston Parsons (0-0-0)
- Rodriguez is a technical striker with high volume and good power. He works the head and body with quick jabs and big power strikes. He will also level change using low kicks to attack the calves and body. He loves to stand in the pocket and brawl to give out punishment while eating whatever is thrown at him. His ground game is decent from what we have seen in the past, but he rarely uses it. His cardio is not in question, and his chin is phenomenal.
- Parsons steps in on short notice to make his UFC debut. He appears to have limited striking but excels on the mat, where all nine of his wins have come by submission. He will try to work from a distance and time his shots so that he can set up his takedowns. He also looks to have quick hands and movement. The mat is really where he wants to be, and if there he does well to control his opponents. He can pass guard well and get himself into a position for a submission. His cardio is good, but his chin largely untested.
DFS Perspective: I think this is a bad matchup for Parsons, but if he can get Rodriguez to the mat, he could upset and score well. An early submission would be slate breaking. So long as Rodriguez avoids the takedowns, he will absolutely dominate this fight on the feet, and likely win by knockout.
My Pick: Rodriguez
Gabriel Benitez (22-9-0) v. Billy Quarantillo (15-2-0)
- Benitez is a solid striker featuring good power and speed. His movement is quick, and he likes to pressure forward to get into the pocket. He uses devastating legs kicks to the legs and body and throws decent volume. His ground game is decent, with his Jiu-Jitsu being slightly above average. He does not shoot often for takedowns and does not control opponents on the ground well. His cardio can come into question towards round thee, but his chin is durable.
- Quarantillo is a notoriously slow starter with good striking and an excellent ground game. He uses great movement to control the ring, and combinations with his fast hands to pressure forward. He throws high volume, and times takedowns well. On the mat, he has excellent control and passes guard to hunt for submissions. His power is commendable, and he is dangerous when he gets into a groove. Cardio will not be an issue here, and his chin is as durable as they come.
DFS Perspective: A potential fight of the night, this has the makings of an awesome fight. Two guys who leave it all out there every fight and do not stop working. If Benitez can avoid the mat, he will hold the advantage on the feet. If Quarantillo comes out firing from the start he will be hard pressed to lose here. A finish is possible here, but a higher scoring decision is more likely. Quarantillo likely scores more in a decision win with takedowns and control time.
My Pick: Quarantillo
Rodolfo Vieira (7-1-0) v. Dustin Stoltzfus (13-2-0)
- Vieira is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wizard with decent striking on the feet. He uses leg kicks, jabs, and defense to set up for takedowns. His strength on the mat allows him to pass guard whenever he wants, control his opponent, and search for the best submission. He is phenomenal at taking the back and holds a lot of power when raining down ground-and-pound. His cardio after the first round is extremely questionable, as shown in his last fight, and that will be the worry here as well.
- Stoltzfus is a well-rounded fighter who fights at a slower pace and lower volume. He uses his big power to keep his opponent honest and baits them into his counters. He has commendable movement and quick hands. His ground game overall is good. He has good takedowns, and controls well on the mat. His gas tank is not in question, and he has shown a good chin.
DFS Perspective: Stoltzfus was out-grappled in his last fight and now gets someone even better at it. If he can make it through the first round, his odds improve significantly. Vieira gassed out in the first round last fight and eventually got submitted in the third round with nothing left. I fully expect Vieira to explode in the first round in a similar way but working to save some gas if it moves to later rounds. Vieira by first-round sub will again score optimally. Stoltzfus would nail value with a finish in rounds two or three with decent volume.
My Pick: Vieira
Jeremy Stephens (28-18-0, 1NC) v. Mateusz Gamrot (18-1-0, 1NC)
- Stephens is a dangerous and entertaining striker. He uses huge power from the bell looking to take his opponent out with a single blow. He throws good volume, and his movement is quick. He sets up his power shots with low kicks and combinations to the calves and body. He has decent takedowns when he chooses to utilize them and controls his opponent well on the mat. His defense at times can be lacking and he is always willing to stand and brawl. His cardio is not an issue, but his chin is questionable.
- Gamrot is an all-around great fighter. On the feet he is a boxer who attacks the head and body with fierce combinations and power. He does not throw the most volume but is technical and accurate. He works well from a distance and has excellent takedowns. He dominates on the mat with heavy top pressure and great control. His cardio and chin are elite.
DFS Perspective: This could be a highly exciting fight. Gamrot is the better all-around fighter, but Stephens is a wild man in the ring. A finish here is likely making it a fight to target. Stephens, as a dog, would crush value with an early finish. Gamrot could score well with a finish or a decision with takedowns and control time.
My Pick: Gamrot
Marion Reneau (9-7-1) v. Miesha Tate (18-7-0)
- Reneau is a veteran of the sport with good striking and great movement. Though she is getting up there in age, she still fights with conviction. Her striking is technical, and she uses her leg kicks to attack all parts of the body. She mixes feints and combinations to back her opponents up. A black belt in jiu-jitsu, she is great at searching for submissions. She does not actively search for takedowns but works well off her back and is fantastic at scrambling. Her cardio can be questionable, but her chin is still durable.
- Tate is back after almost five years off and looks to be in amazing shape. When she fought previously, she had good striking with quick hands and great movement. She was great at setting up her takedowns and getting the fight to the mat where she could control her opponent. She is difficult to get away from and is great at passing guard searching for a submission.
DFS Perspective: Cupcake is back, and this is a great matchup for her. This may very well be Reneau's last bout, as she is now 44 and on a four-fight losing streak. She likely has the upper hand in striking, but her volume is not always the highest. She has also shown lately how easily she can be taken down, and I think that is where Tate will take advantage. If Tate can use her takedowns and control Reneau on the mat, she should be able to win two rounds easily. A low-scoring decision is likely either way it goes.
My Pick: Tate
Islam Makhachev (19-1-0) v. Thiago Moises (15-4-0)
- Makhachev is a low-volume, technical striker with amazing grappling and wrestling. He possesses good power in his hands and lets his opponents walk into it. He uses quick counters and combinations to set up his takedowns. He can takedown against the cage or in the open ring, and then controls the fight on the mat. He does not give up control and is always working into a better position or hunting for submissions. He can also throw heavy ground-and-pound in top control. His cardio is elite, and his motor never stops.
- Moises is a much-improved striker with nice combinations and heavy kicks. He carries power in his fast hands and ends his combos with knees or kicks to the head. His volume leaves us wanting more, but he makes his shots count when he can walk his opponent down. He does not shoot for takedowns as much as he maybe should, but his jiu-jitsu game is among the elite. He is dangerous hunting for submissions off his back, and his cardio allows him to keep moving
DFS Perspective: Makhachev holds the advantage here anywhere this goes. He will likely ragdoll Moises and control the fight from start to finish, leading to a decent-scoring decision. Moises being the cheapest fighter on the slate could absolutely break it with a sneaky submission win if he finds it. I do not see that happening. This should primary play out on the mat with little significant striking.
My Pick: Makhachev