UFC Vegas 25 may be headlined by Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka, but there are plenty of others to keep an eye on. This weekly Fight Analysis article will break down and analyze every matchup on the card. Below, you’ll find my data-driven analysis for each match and a pick to win; this info, as well as using Awesemo’s expert MMA DFS projections, Top Fighters Tool and UFC DFS ownership projections will help us make the most informed UFC DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel MMA lineups.
UFC Vegas 25: Reyes vs. Prochazka MMA Picks
Reyes vs. Prochazka
This main event between Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka should be fireworks and an interesting stylistic clash. Prochazka broke onto the scene with an incredible knockout victory over Volkan Oezdemir, and is now facing a big step up in competition against Reyes. Prochazka’s fighting style makes this interesting because he is an unorthodox striker who punches from odd angles, mixes in feints and fakes to confuse his opponents and has incredible knockout power. Reyes is a proven commodity in the UFC though, and is the much safer play due to his UFC experience. I have questions surrounding both men as Reyes is looking to overcome a knockout defeat while Prochazka is reckless defensively. I wouldn’t recommend avoiding this fight in most of your lineups, and I will be splitting my exposure. It’s a slight lean towards Reyes.
UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Reyes ($7,900)
Swanson vs. Chikadze
The co-main event is a striker’s delight pairing Cub Swanson and Giga Chikadze. Over the years Swanson has proven to be a tough test within the division, as he possesses skills in all departments and has fought legitimate competition throughout his UFC and WEC tenure. Chikadze is a new prospect within the division, due to his kicking dexterity and trickiness. I feel like Swanson will be one of the most popular underdog plays, and I can’t knock it. Swanson has fought every notable name within the division, and could exploit the grappling deficiencies of Chikadze if he chooses to. I believe that Chikadze’s kicking game will be too much for Swanson to handle though, as Swanson relies on boxing range and has been punished with kicks in the past. Swanson will be a part of my underdog pool, but this is a sneaky spot to target Chikadze at $8,600. My only fear is if this fight goes the distance and doesn’t produce the most fantasy points.
UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Chikadze ($8,600)
Cutelaba vs. Jacoby
Next is an interesting fight between Ion Cutelaba and Dustin Jacoby. Cutelaba is a maniac inside the octagon, pushing a high pace, throwing with reckless abandon and chaining together powerful takedowns at times. Jacoby will need to keep this fight at distance where he can pick apart Cutelaba with straight punches and low kicks. I foresee this fight ending in emphatic fashion as a result of dominance or exhaustion. I am leaning towards Cutelaba in the matchup, as his strength and pressure can break most men in the division. I did not like what I saw in some moments of Jacoby’s last fight, and Cutelaba can implement his strong top game. The pricing on both fighters make this a necessity for your lineups. Don’t count out a Jacoby come from behind victory, but I am favoring Cutelaba.
UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Cutelaba ($8,200)
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Strickland vs. Jotko
Next up is an exciting fight between Sean Strickland and Krzysztof Jotko. I have become a fan of Strickland, and I like him in this matchup against Jotko. Strickland is a talented striker with strong takedown defense, and should get the better of Jotko in most exchanges. Strickland likes to play with his food at times, which can limit his potential for scoring well. I do recognize that Jotko is an interesting contrarian play at $7,000, but I favor Strickland in all facets of the game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Strickland walk away with a finish.
UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Strickland ($9,200)
Dvalishvili vs. Stamann
If looking for the chalkiest play on the slate, meet Merab Dvalishvili. Most players will not hesitate to put Dvalishvili in their lineups because of his insane scoring potential. In this matchup against Cody Stamann he could run into some resistance in the wrestling department, limiting his upside. From the opening bell you will witness Dvalishvili push a fast pace, and attempt to chain multiple takedowns together. Stamann is a strong wrestler himself and usually has that advantage over his opponents. If Stamann is able to nullify Dvalishvili’s takedown attempts, I have confidence in Stamann as the superior striker. We can’t ignore the potential of Dvalishvili, so we must roster him in some of our lineups. Both men tend to go the distance, and perhaps taking an underweight approach to this fight is a perfect way to diversify your lineups.
UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Stamann ($7,200)
Botelho vs. Carolina
In the low-level fight of the evening, Poliana Botelho takes on Luana Carolina. Both women like to strike on the feet and both have technical deficiencies. Botelho has the slight grappling advantage, and it’s the path of least resistance. Carolina has serviceable grappling, but relies on aggressive Muay Thai. This matchup seems like a very close contest, and I am leaning towards the underdog Carolina.
UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Carolina ($7,300)
Markos vs. Pinheiro
Next is WMMA’s gatekeeper Randa Markos taking on newcomer Luana Pinheiro. Initially I wanted to back Markos because of her UFC experience, but I’m having a hard time with it. Pinheiro is an accredited Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Judo fighter, capitalizing in the clinch and landing in top position. Markos has found herself either in the clinch or on the mat often in the UFC and that does not inspire confidence in me. I recommend having Markos in some of your lineups because UFC experience means a lot, and if she’s able to keep this at striking range things could get interesting. Pinheiro looks like a special newcomer though, and could easily outclass Markos on the mat. I am siding with Pinheiro due to Markos’ tendencies in the octagon.
UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Pinheiro ($8,500)
Benitez vs. Pearce
Up next, Gabriel Benitez takes on Jonathan Pearce in a lightweight banger. Benitez has proven to be a talented striker and formidable opponent in the division. In some of Benitez’ fights he has been taken down throughout, which makes Pearce an intriguing target at $7400. I will have some exposure because of that grappling potential, but I am siding with Benitez in the matchup. His striking is superior, and his takedown defense will be enough to walk away with the victory.
UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Benitez ($8,800)
Kamaka vs. Brown
In another fight that should have GPP implications, Kai Kamaka battles T.J. Brown. This is a simple battle between two fighters we cannot trust. At times both fighters have displayed potential, and at times they have shown deficiencies in their game. Both fighters have switched training camps ahead of this matchup, with Kamaka heading to Xtreme Couture and Brown heading to Glory MMA. In his most recent outing, Kamaka was completely outclassed on the mat by Jonathan Pearce, and looked like a fish out of water. That is my worry here against an accredited wrestler in Brown, who at one time put up 73.2 points in a loss with seven takedowns. I favor Brown in the matchup based on takedowns, control time and Kamaka’s odd lack of finishing ability. In his debut Kamaka looked phenomenal with powerful combinations, and perhaps this matchup will come down to conditioning. This should be one of your most prioritized fights on the card, and I am leaning towards Brown.
UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Brown ($7,800)
Hughes vs. Lookboonmee
The first women’s bout of the evening features Sam Hughes and Loma Lookboonmee. I am intrigued to see Hughes with a full camp and I am hesitant to back her after her debut. In addition to my concerns surrounding Hughes, I like what I have seen from Lookboonmee. She comes from a strong camp in Tiger Muay Thai and has slowly developed from a Muay Thai fighter to an MMA fighter. Outside of a Hughes grappling path to victory, I don’t see her having much success in this matchup. I can see Lookboonmee outclassing her on the feet and being well-prepared in the takedown defense department. It’s Lookboonmee for me but she’s expensive and will need a dominant performance to pay off that price tag.
UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Lookboonmee ($9,400)
Bhullar vs. Michailidis
In a middleweight matchup, K.B. Bhullar takes on Andreas Michailidis. Neither one of these fighters had the debuts they were looking for so I’m interested to see them here. Bhullar has tricky kicks and crisp combinations, but Michailidis should be the more well-rounded fighter. Michailidis tends to point fight in many fights, but could have a grappling advantage if he gets on top. I’m hesitant to roster him at that price of $9100, so I will be underweight. I do think Bhullar is one of the most overlooked fighters on the card at $7,100, but worth a look with his dynamic striking. I am picking Michailidis, but will include Bhullar in my long shot group.
UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Michailidis ($9,100)
Sanders vs. Colares
Kicking off UFC Vegas 25 is Luke Sanders taking on Felipe Colares. I’m not sure how to feel about this matchup as both men have been underwhelming in the UFC, and Sanders was once a hyped fighter for the division. Sanders has great moments in every fight and suddenly allows his opponents to capitalize on one mistake and he falls victim to defeat. Colares is extremely durable as displayed against Montel Jackson. Sanders is the better overall fighter and should beat Colares in all areas, as long as he avoids having his back taken and submitted.
UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Sanders ($8,700)
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