UFC Vegas 19 is headlined by Blaydes vs. Lewis, but there are plenty of other fights to break down. This weekly Fight Analysis article will break down and analyze every matchup. Below you’ll find my data-driven analysis for each match as well as a pick to win, which will help us make UFC DFS picks and lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel.
UFC DFS Picks: Blaydes vs. Lewis DraftKings + FanDuel
Blaydes vs. Lewis
In our main event of the evening, Curtis Blaydes takes on Derrick Lewis. This is a very simple fight to breakdown, where we have an excellent wrestler facing an excellent striker. Blaydes operates at a high pace in each of his fights, and chains together relentless takedowns. Once Blaydes has his opponents on the mat, he throws phenomenal ground-and-pound, trying to finish the fight. Lewis is always a candidate for a come-from-behind victory, but I think his chances are slim in this fight. This is one of Lewis’ most difficult matchups since Blaydes will stick to the wrestling gameplan and won’t be suckered into a brawl. Lewis has never dealt with an opponent who fights at this high pace while chaining together multiple takedowns. We have seen Lewis look like a fish out of water at times on the mat, but his physicality has led to reversals. I will be targeting this fight heavily since the amount of takedowns and control time could lead to a great score for Blaydes, while Lewis is a great GPP dart throw at $6,800.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Blaydes ($9,400)
Vieira vs. Kunitskaya
In our co-main event of the evening, Ketlen Vieira takes on Yana Kunitskaya. Since there are 15 fights on this card, we must prioritize the right fights. I’m not sure this fight will make the cut since we have Vieira priced up at $9,300. That’s a hefty price tag for a fighter with only a 55% finish rate, but the skills are there. Vieira has a great chance to dominate this fight, competing on the feet and mixing in incredible judo-esque takedowns against her opponents. Kunitskaya will want to keep this fight on the feet and should avoid grappling against Vieira. I would much rather take a chance with Lewis than Kunitskaya ($6,900). The one deficiency with Vieira is her striking defense, but I don’t think her opponent will be able to capitalize. Vieira should dominate this fight.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Vieira ($9,300)
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Rosa vs. Minner
Charles Rosa faces Darrick Minner in an exciting featherweight bout. I will be targeting this fight plenty for my lineups since I think both have potential to break the slate. Both gentleman are submission grapplers, with high finish rates above 85%. Minner is reckless from the opening bell which has resulted in plenty of first-round victories, but when that has failed, he has been finished in 10 of his 11 defeats. Rosa is a talented grappler himself, and he is tough to put away. We have seen Rosa in some deep submissions, but no one has been able to submit him. If Minner could learn patience, he could try and replicate Bryce Mitchell‘s performance, which was a control based win over Rosa. I’m leaning Rosa in this fight, since he makes less mistakes, and could capitalize on Minner’s recklessness. Minner is a fantastic value play at $7,400 and will be in some of my lineups.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Rosa ($8,800)
Daukaus vs. Oleinik
In our second heavyweight bout of the evening, we have an exciting newcomer Chris Daukaus taking on the veteran Aleksei Oleinik. I will be targeting this fight since I foresee a finish happening here. Daukaus broke onto the UFC scene with back-to-back KO’s, displaying excellent striking and impressive speed for the division. In addition to Daukaus’ striking, he’s also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt. Oleinik is a submission master, grabbing submissions from unlikely positions. Oleinik at $7,600 is a strong value play against the relatively untested Daukaus. However, I think Daukaus can keep the fight on the feet, out-point his opponent, and work towards a finish with his incredible speed. I will be smashing exposure to this fight.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Daukaus ($8,600)
Hawes vs. Imavov
This fight between Phil Hawes and Nassourdine Imavov is finally happening, and I’m nervous. I will be smashing exposure to both sides of this fight. These gentlemen have a finish rate north of 78% and are extremely aggressive. Hawes is a great candidate for the early KO bonus, but I am worried if Hawes can’t get the quick finish. In some of his bouts you can notice significant fatigue, and when you’re fatigued you make mistakes, just ask Rodolfo Vieira. If Hawes is unable to keep a high pace throughout this contest, I can see Imavov capitalizing.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Imavov ($8,000)
Aspinall vs. Arlovski
If you’ve listened to our MMA Strategy show during quarantine, you know that I’m a big fan of Tom Aspinall. I believe in this kid’s potential for the division. Aspinall is a former sparring partner for Tyson Fury and puts together powerful combinations. Andrei Arlovski has been a staple in the heavyweight division for some time, but Father Time is undefeated. I think you could do worse than an Arlovski punt-play at $7,000, since he keeps defying the odds. I think Aspinall has a breakout performance here, but temper expectations from a DFS perspective, as it could be a patient victory.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Aspinall ($9,200)
Gordon vs. Chavez
Jared Gordon battles Danny Chavez in an exciting featherweight bout. Chavez had quite the debut against T.J. Brown, defending takedowns and putting on a striking clinic. Chavez looked great in that performance by throwing a great calf kick. Gordon is a decent striker who pushes a high pace, and mixes in takedowns to solidify rounds. Gordon has faced tougher competition than Chavez. This is not my favorite DFS fight, but I do like Gordon’s price tag, and the fact he has more ways to win.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Gordon ($7,800)
Klose vs. Pena – CANCELED
Drakkar Klose takes on Luis Pena in a strange lightweight contest. Pena was once regarded as a prospect, mainly due to his size (6’3″) for the division. Pena has underwhelmed in the UFC, and has been placed in some favorable matchups, but did not breakout like he should have. Pena is now against a tough opponent in Klose, who will push a ridiculous pace. Klose is a well-rounded fighter, but truly enjoys overwhelming his opponents on the feet, and keeping them on the backfoot. If I had to nitpick, I would say that Klose has a clear deficiency in his striking defense, as he gets hit often and keeps his chin straight up in the air. I just don’t think Pena will be able to capitalize, despite Klose coming off a knockout loss to Beneil Dariush. I think Klose has a lot of potential in this matchup.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Klose ($9,000)
Castaneda vs. Wineland
A staple in the bantamweight division, Eddie Wineland, looks to return against John Castaneda. Wineland is looking to rebound from that highlight reel defeat to Sean O’Malley. Over the years we have seen Wineland face the who’s who of the bantamweight division. Wineland is a unique striker, who likes to keep his hands low and throw caution to the wind. Wineland has secured victories over some notable names and has only been taken out by some legitimate talent. I can’t say that Castaneda is on the same level. Castaneda debuted against Nathaniel Wood, and had some moments, but I was left unimpressed. Castaneda’s path to victory would have to be via grappling, and I just can’t see that happening. It’s 2021, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think Wineland is a fine underdog at $7,900. If I’m playing anyone in this fight, it’s Wineland.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Wineland ($7,900)
Landwehr vs. Erosa
Up next are two exciting strikers in Nate Landwehr and Julian Erosa. I think that this will be a popular fight to target, as both fighters have a salary of ($8,100). Over the years we have seen Erosa bounce in and out of the promotion, and most recently, secured an upset victory over Sean Woodson. I can’t deny Erosa from a great performance, but it was largely due to the inexperience and lack of cardio for Woodson. Erosa is a good striker on the feet, who has a sneaky submission game to back it up. Erosa’s chin has been in question for some time now, as he has been knocked out 5 times. Landwehr is an aggressive fighter, who has fought legitimate competition over the years. I think Landwehr will be able to close the distance and capitalize. I will have exposure to both sides, but I think Landwehr should be the favorite and comes at a favorable price tag.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Landwehr ($8,100)
Alves vs. Sabatini – CANCELED
I am really excited for this bout between Rafael Alves and Pat Sabatini! Both men are talented Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelts, with good striking. I have a feeling this is a fight that will be a part of the optimal lineup. Alves puts together impressive combinations, and hunts for the finish. With such a reckless style, Alves often gets caught by a big shot, or stuck in a submission as he has been knocked out 3 times and submitted 6 times. Sabatini is a well-rounded fighter who minimizes mistakes and has looked great in CFFC. Sabatini has accepted this fight on short-notice, but I slightly lean in his favor. You probably need the winner of this fight.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Sabatini ($7,300)
O’Neil vs. Dobson
Why do I have to break this fight down? We have Casey O’Neil versus Shana Dobson in the most volatile fight of the evening. If you are wagering money on this fight, you are crazy. It’s difficult to get a confident read on this fight, since we have an untested fighter in O’Neil, taking on Dobson who just pulled off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. O’Neil has some skills, mainly in the grappling department where she looks to implement immediate takedowns and control. Dobson doesn’t specialize in one particular area but has a glaring hole in her wrestling defense. This could be a recipe for a disaster against a good grappler, but Dobson was able to reverse from some sticky situations against Mariya Agapova. As much as it hurts me to say, I think I will slightly favor the fighter who has been tested against some legitimate competition. This fight could be a part of the optimal, since there are so many questions surrounding both.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Dobson ($7,700)
Emmers vs. Skelly
Interesting featherweight bout here between Jamall Emmers and Chas Skelly. Both of these fighters are good grapplers, with Emmers being a powerful wrestler, while Skelly is a crafty submission artist. Emmers should look to keep this fight on the feet and pick apart Skelly, who has some of the worst striking in the UFC. If Emmers can defend takedowns, I think he wins this fight handily. If Emmers looks to implement takedowns, things could get tricky against a guy who scrambles so well and can threaten you with chokes from unorthodox positions. Skelly is a dog, and a great value play at $7,400, due to his 72% finish rate, and knack for finding the neck. I believe Emmers will be too wise in this fight and could pick apart Skelly en route to a great score.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Emmers ($8,800)
Rodriguez vs. Zahabi
Aiemann Zahabi is looking to return to the cage against an exciting newcomer in Drako Rodriguez. We have a fighter with a notable last name in Zahabi, who has not shown his best in the UFC octagon. We continuously hear about Zahabi’s game, but I wonder how much is overblown. Rodriguez on the other hand has shown good promise, with knockout power and submission finishes. Even though Rodriguez is not a BJJ blackbelt like Zahabi, he hunts finishes. This fight is extremely difficult to feel good about, but I will have plenty of exposure here. I am slightly leaning Rodriguez, basing my decision off of results and not hype, but I would not be surprised to see the Zahabi upset.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Rodriguez ($8,700)
Spivac vs. Vanderaa
Our first fight of the evening, and our first-of-three heavyweight bouts, Sergey Spivac takes on Jared Vanderaa. This bout will come down to the clinch game, and top control. I think we have seen Spivac develop in the UFC, and I think he is more well-rounded than most of the division. Spivac can determine where this fight takes place and put Vanderaa in some bad positions. Obviously this is heavyweight MMA, and anything can happen, but I predict Spivac controlling Vanderaa in the clinch, and mixing in some takedowns en route to a one-sided decision.
UFC DFS pick for DraftKings: Spivac ($9,100)
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