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Expert UFC DFS Fight Analysis, Tips & Picks for UFC Vegas 31: Makhachev vs. Moises Saturday, 7/17 | DraftKings & FanDuel

Matt Gajewski



UFC DFS Picks DraftKings FanDuel UFC Vegas 31 expert picks predictions ultimate fighting championship projections las vegas betting odds predictions best bets

After star-studded UFC 264, MMA action returns with UFC Vegas 31: Makhachev vs. Moises. This weekly Fight Analysis article will analyze every matchup on the card. Below is data-driven analysis for each matchup and a pick to win. This, along with Awesemo’s 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.

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UFC Vegas 31: Makhachev vs. Moises MMA DFS Picks

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Islam Makhachev vs. Thiago Moises

Headlining UFC Vegas 31, Islam Makhachev faces Thiago Moises in the men’s lightweight division. Makhachev enters this fight with a 19-1 professional record and a seven-fight winning streak. Recently Makhachev knocked off Arman Tsarukyan, Davi Ramos, and Drew Dober. On the other side, Moises is 15-4 in his career, winning each of his last three fights. Earlier this year, Moises defeated Alexander Hernandez via decision. One of the most hyped fighters in the division, Makhachev is known for his training with Khabib Nurmagomedov. Makhachev still trains at American Kickboxing with Nurmagomedov and possesses a strong background in combat sambo. On the feet Makhachev lands 2.00 significant strikes per minute, while absorbing 0.77. Moises trains out of American Top Team and has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but he lands only 2.85 significant strikes to 3.88 absorbed.

Rather than strike, both fighters tend to bring fights to the ground. This makes sense given their backgrounds in sambo and jiu-jitsu. Makhachev lands 3.46 takedowns on average with 68% accuracy. Meanwhile, Moises averages 1.06 takedowns per bout with 33% accuracy. Moises has 63% takedown defense to Makhachev’s 93%. Makhachev has only been taken down once in his UFC career by Tsarukyan. Meanwhile, Moises has struggled against certain wrestling heavy opponents. Beneil Dariush, Kurt Holobaugh, and Bobby Green landed multiple takedowns on Moises. Both fighters also routinely hunt submissions. Makhachev averages 1.0 per bout to Moises’ 1.2. With Moises occasional struggles on the mat, his best chance to win could be defending the takedown and keeping this fight standing. Overall, this fight has plenty of finish potential. Makhachev has eight wins by submission and three by knockout in 19 professional wins. Moises also has three knockouts and six submissions in 15 professional wins. While the numbers may not be there from a striking perspective, Makhachev has a fairly high work rate. Even at $9,400 in DFS, Makhachev is very likely to score well as a -650 favorite. Because of the five-round nature of the fight, low projected ownership, and a miniscule salary, Moises also likely enters the winning DFS lineup with a win. Still, the official pick is Makhachev as he continues to climb the division.

UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Islam Makhachev ($9,400)

Marion Reneau vs. Miesha Tate

In UFC Vegas 31’s co-main event, Marion Reneau battles Miesha Tate in the women’s bantamweight division as a +110 underdog. Reneau enters this fight with a 9-7-1 professional record. However, she has dropped her last four fights, including a decision loss to Macy Chiasson earlier this year. On the other side, Tate has not fought since 2016. Tate’s last two fights ended in losses at the hands of Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington. Jack of all trades, master of none, Reneau’s background comes mainly in jiu-jitsu, where she has a black belt. Also utilizing some Muay Thai and boxing, she lands 3.29 significant strikes per minute to 3.37 absorbed. With a negative striking ratio, Reneau has not won the striking battle in any of her last four fights. Tate comes from a wrestling background. She lands 1.93 significant strikes to 2.71 absorbed. However, Tate has displayed a strong ground game throughout her career. She averages 2.06 takedowns per bout, compared to 0.66 for Reneau. Neither fighter defends takedowns well, but Tate should have an advantage here. Her 52% takedown defense narrowly edges Reneau’s 50%. Reneau has been taken down at least once in each of her last 10 fights. She has also allowed multiple takedowns in five of those. Both fighters will hunt submissions, making an early stoppage possible here.

Reneau averages 0.8 submission attempts to Tate’s 1.6. Eight of Reneau’s nine career wins occurred via stoppage, but she has never been finished herself. Tate has 10 of 18 wins via stoppage, with seven by submission. Tate has been finished five times herself, but against some of the UFC’s best competition, including Nunes and Ronda Rousey. While the time away raises concerns for Tate, she still has advantages over the elder fighter on a losing streak. For DFS, Tate is a -130 favorite, making her appropriately priced at $8,200. Overall, she is the more aggressive fighter and likely looks to bring this fight to the ground. While a finish is not likely, repeated takedowns are Tate’s path to a solid score. On the other side, Reneau’s output leaves her unlikely to score well outside of a finish. At +500 to finish the fight, she looks like a fighter to potentially avoid. Tate gets it done in her return to the Octagon.

UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Miesha Tate ($8,200)

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Mateusz Gamrot vs. Jeremy Stephens

In the men’s lightweight division, Mateusz Gamrot takes on Jeremy Stephens as a -220 betting favorite. Gamrot has an 18-1-1 (no contest) professional record but sits at 1-1 in the UFC. He lost a controversial decision to Guram Kutateladze in his debut. He out-struck Kutateladze 52-37 and landed five takedowns to Kutateladze’s zero. Now training out of American Top Team with partners like Jorge Masvidal and Dustin Poirier, Gamrot rebounded with a knockout win over Scott Holtzman earlier this year in April. On the other side, Stephens has a 28-18-1 (no contest) professional record. Stephens is 0-4 in his most recent fights, but those bouts came against Jose Aldo, Zabit Magomedsharipov , Yair Rodriguez, and Calvin Kattar. Stephens will now be jumping a weight class to hopefully rediscover his previous success.

On the feet Stephens may have a striking edge, but both fighters utilize extreme forward pressure. Gamrot lands 4.26 significant strikes per minute to Stephen’s 3.18. Gamrot has improved his striking of late, including the incorporation of more kicks. However, Stephens has the power edge. He has 19 of his 28 professional wins by knockout, while Gamrot has just six of 18 wins via knockout. On the mat Gamrot looks far more dangerous. With background wrestling, Gamrot averages 4.91 takedowns per bout, with seven total takedowns in his two UFC fights. He has just 33% takedown accuracy, but his aggression stands out here. Stephens lands 1.16 takedowns himself, but he has struggled with superior grapplers. Magomedsharipov took Stephens down three times, but Stephens also defended nine other takedown attempts in his last eight fights. Stephens has 65% takedown defense overall, but Gamrot has the edge on the mat. Still, Stephens has fought superior competition to this point. Where Gamrot falls on the talent spectrum in relation to fighters like Magomedsharipov and Kattar is important here. For DFS, Gamrot looks like one of the most underpriced fighters at $8,600. A -220 favorite, Gamrot’s output makes him one of the top plays on the card. Likewise, Stephens never shies away from a firefight. Also producing 21 professional wins via stoppage, Stephens profiles as a potential underdog to target. Gamrot is the official pick, but this fight deserves extra priority in DFS lineups.

UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Mateusz Gamrot ($8,400)

Rodolfo Vieira vs. Dustin Stoltzfus

Moving to the men’s middleweight division, Rodolfo Vieira takes on Dustin Stoltzfus as a -220 betting favorite. Vieira has a 7-1 professional record with his lone loss coming in his most recent fight against Anthony Hernandez. 2-1 in the UFC, Vieira also has wins over Oskar Piechota and Saparbek Safarov. On the other side, Stoltzfus is 7-2 professionally and 1-1 in the UFC. After defeating Joseph Pyfer on Dana White’s Contender Series, Stoltzfus dropped a decision to Kyle Daukaus late last year. Neither fighter is known for their striking, but Stoltzfus is slightly more aggressive. He lands 2.48 significant strikes per minute to Vieira’s 1.66. He also has solid kicks, making him the more diverse striker. Both fighters have poor striking defense at 42% for Vieira and 48% for Stoltzfus. Vieira is a four-time world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He averages 7.00 takedowns per bout with 47% accuracy. Vieira has at least two takedowns in every fight. On the other side, Stoltzfus averages 2.48 takedowns himself, with 62% takedown defense. However, he has displayed cracks in his game. Daukaus landed two takedowns on Stoltzfus, while shutting him out on seven attempts. Both fighters also have plenty of submissions on their profiles. Vieira has six of seven wins by submission. Stoltzfus has five of 13 wins by submission. One X-factor here is Vieira’s cardio. After five of his fights ended in the first, Vieira completely collapsed in the second round against Hernandez. Stoltzfus has five decision wins on top of his seven by stoppage. While the takedown defense is not great, if Stoltzfus can outlast Vieira’s initial barrage, he has a path to victory. At $8,700, Vieira is a less aggressive, more expensive version of Gamrot. Vieira likely needs a finish to pay off, while Stoltzfus is cheap enough to win via decision. Going with the upset here, Stoltzfus gets the upset victory by outlasting Vieira on the feet.

UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Dustin Stoltzfus ($7,500)

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Billy Quarantillo vs. Gabriel Benitez

Kicking off the main event, Billy Quarantillo takes on Gabriel Benitez in the men’s featherweight division. Benitez is 2-2 in the UFC since 2018. Recently he knocked out Justin Jaynes, after losing a pair of fights to Omar Morales and Sodiq Yusuff. Benitez will fight here at featherweight after most recently competing at lightweight. Conversely, Quarantillo will look to right the ship after suffering the first loss in his UFC career to Gavin Tucker last December. Prior to that loss, Quarantillo won each of his first four UFC fights. An extremely aggressive fight on paper, Quarantillo lands 7.03 significant strikes per minute with 64% striking accuracy. Benitez trains out of American Kickboxing Academy and also has roots in boxing. He lands 4.38 significant strikes per minute with poor 38% accuracy. However, his 70% striking defense is far superior to Quarantillo’s 42%. Benitez is also the more diverse striker. He utilizes a multitude of kicks from his kickboxing and Muay Thai training.

Quarantillo’s tendency to eat damage could also nullify his high work rate as the fight progresses. Both have a Brazilian jiu-jitsu background. Quarantillo has a black belt and averages 1.28 takedowns per bout. Benitez is far less aggressive with 0.17 takedowns per bout and 56% takedown defense. Benitez has not faced a takedown attempt in four straight fights after allowing 10 in a pair of bouts against Enrique Barzola and Jason Knight. Quarantillo had 57% takedown defense himself, but both fighters welcome the ground game. Quarantillo has been taken down multiple times in three of his five UFC fights. Tucker notched seven takedowns in Quarantillo’s most recent fight, but Benitez does not have the same wrestling skills as Tucker. Quarantillo averages 1.8 submission attempts to Benitez’s 1.2 attempts. Looking at finishing potential, Quarantillo has six wins by knockout and five by submission in his 15 professional victories. Likewise, Benitez has eight wins by knockout and 10 by submission in his 22 professional wins. From a DFS perspective, this fight looks like an absolute banger. Quarantillo is one of the better underdog targets at $7,700 coming off his loss. Benitez is also fairly priced at $8,500. With Quarantillo’s aggression and strong ground game, his advantages should hold up against Benitez. Quarantillo is the official pick here.

UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Billy Quarantillo ($7,700)

Daniel Rodriguez vs. Preston Parsons

Originally scheduled to fight Abubakar Nurmagomedov, Daniel Rodriguez now faces UFC newcomer Preston Parsons. Rodriguez is 14-2 in his professional career and 5-1 at the UFC level. Prior to his win over Mike Perry this April, Rodriguez lost his first UFC bout to Nicolas Dalby in a controversial decision. Conversely, Parsons makes his UFC debut after submitting Jeff Peterson in June of this year. Parsons is 9-2 in his career overall. One of the most aggressive fighters on this card, Rodriguez lands 7.87 significant strikes per minute. His aggressiveness also shows up in his 5.69 significant strikes absorbed. However, Rodriguez is going to be the more advanced striker here. He utilizes good kicks and a varied approach on the feet. Rodriguez lands 1.06 takedowns on average with 55% accuracy. However, this may be an area for him to avoid. Parsons has all nine of his professional wins coming via submission. Parsons possesses adequate striking, but he prefers to strike with the goal of setting up takedowns. This can open him up to big shots against superior strikers. While Parsons appears to have an edge on the mat, Rodriguez is a significant step up in competition. Rodriguez has four submissions himself and still could be the superior grappler here. With such a wide gap in talent, bookmakers are projecting a stoppage in favor of Rodriguez. In DFS, Rodriguez deserves special attention at $8,800. He is -280 to win the fight overall, with favorable props inside the distance. Parsons comes in as a complete unknown at $7,400. Likely to go under owned, Parsons warrants consideration in large GPPs. However, the step up in competition is too much, making Rodriguez the official pick.

UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Daniel Rodriguez ($8,800)

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Amanda Lemos vs. Montserrat Conejo

In the women’s strawweight division, Amanda Lemos takes on Montserrat Conejo as a -500 favorite. Lemos has a 9-1-1 (draw) professional record and sits at 3-1 in the UFC. Lemos lost to Leslie Smith in her debut on three weeks’ notice and up a weight class. Shortly after the fight, she received a two-year USADA suspension. Since then, she dropped down to strawweight and rattled off three straight wins. Most recently Lemos defeated Livinha Souza via first round knockout. On the other side, Conejo enters her second UFC fight after defeating Cheyanne Buys in her debut. Conejo is 10-1 overall in her career. From a striking perspective, Lemos is known primarily for her Muay Thai and boxing. She has a four-inch height and reach advantage here and lands 6.21 significant strikes per minute. Her 5.39 significant strikes absorbed and 45% striking defense leave her open to big shots at times. Conejo is far less aggressive as a striker. She lands just 1.00 significant strikes per minute and only landed 15 total strikes in her bout against Buys. However, Conejo comes from a wrestling background and landed four takedowns in her UFC debut. While she also attempted two submissions, she failed to secure either. Lemos has also shown solid aggression on the mat. Also possessing a background in judo, she averages 1.98 takedowns with 100% accuracy. Lemos has 100% takedown defense but only faced one attempt in her career. Two factors work against Conejo in this fight. Lemos has a strength of schedule edge and a massive size advantage. For DFS purposes, Lemos likely goes under owned among the expensive fighters. She is $9,300 and -500 to win this fight, but an extra $100 rosters Makhachev. For that reason, she is a potential contrarian target. Conejo does not have many paths to victory, but her miniscule $6,900 price tag could break the slate with a win. Going with the chalk, Lemos gets it done here.

UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Amanda Lemos ($9,300)

Khalid Taha vs. Sergey Morozov

The closest projected fight on the prelims, Khalid Taha takes on Sergey Morozov in the men’s bantamweight division. A -155 favorite, Taha is 13-3-1 (no contest) in his professional career. However, his four fights in the UFC ended with a 1-2-1 record. Taha defeated Bruno Silva, but the fight was overturned when Taha failed a drug test. After serving his one-year suspension, Taha lost a unanimous decision to Raoni Barcelos last November. On the other side, Morozov lost his only UFC fight via submission to Umar Nurmagomedov earlier this January. Taha has a background in taekwondo but is one of the least aggressive strikers on this card. He lands 2.86 significant strikes per minute with 35% accuracy. Absorbing 4.26 strikes per minute, he has a significant negative striking ratio. Similarly, Morozov has a negative striking ratio with 0.81 significant strikes landed to 2.89 significant strikes absorbed. Morozov utilizes solid combinations and kicks, but Nurmagomedov smothered him in his UFC debut.

Taha and Morozov have 43% and 39% striking defense, respectively. On the mat Taha has decent wrestling but missed his lone two takedown attempts at the UFC level. Allowing 10 takedowns himself, his takedown defense comes in at 61%. On the other side, Morozov allowed five takedowns in his debut, while attempting none himself. However, Morozov has a background in jiu-jitsu, and Nurmagomedov is an extremely difficult opponent to face in a debut. Looking at finish potential, Taha has nine of his 13 wins coming via knockout, while Morozov has eight of his 16 wins also coming via knockout. With that said, bookmakers still believe his fight hits the judges. For DFS, this fight does not look enticing at first glance. However, the small sample sizes leave a chance for increased output. At $8,300, the line continues to move against Taha here. Potentially the less aggressive fighter as well, Taha makes a middling DFS play. On the other side, Morozov may go under-owned after a tough debut performance. Morozov has a strong strength of schedule on the regional scene and will be the official pick here in an upset over Taha.

UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Sergey Morozov ($7,900)

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Miles Johns vs. Anderson Dos Santos

Another fight taking place in the men’s bantamweight division, Miles Johns faces Anderson Dos Santos as a -175 favorite. Johns enters this fight with a 3-1 record in the UFC. After dropping a bout to Mario Bautista in early 2020, Johns rebounded with a win over short-notice replacement Kevin Natividad. On the other side, dos Santos is 1-2 in the UFC with losses to Nad Narimani and Andre Ewell. However, he knocked off Martin Day via submission in his most recent fight. Neither fighter is particularly aggressive on the feet. Johns lands 3.33 significant strikes per minute to dos Santos’ 2.66. Johns appears to have an edge here with dos Santos negative striking ratio. Dos Santos absorbs 4.80 strikes per minute overall. Instead of striking, both fighters prefer to bring fights to the mat. Johns has a background in wrestling and lands 1.21 takedowns on average. Dos Santos is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and averages 1.30 takedowns himself. This creates an interesting matchup on the ground. Dos Santos has just 66% takedown defense but welcomes ground fighting to some degree. Johns’ takedown defense comes in at 87%, but he has not implemented many submissions to his game. Dos Santos averages 0.9 per bout, but Johns has yet to attempt a single submission at the UFC level. Dos Santos also has 12 of his 21 professional wins coming via submission. Johns has never been submitted, but his strength of schedule raises questions here. Dos Santos has the superior strength of schedule but is eight years older than Johns. For DFS, this fight features a solid pace, despite the low likelihood for a finish. Johns comes in appropriately priced at $8,400, but his work rate falls below dos Santos. This makes dos Santos an attractive underdog at $7,800. A close fight overall, dos Santos is the official pick in this bout.

UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Anderson dos Santos ($7,800)

Francisco Figueiredo vs. Malcolm Gordon

In the men’s flyweight division, Francisco Figueiredo takes on Malcolm Gordon as a -310 favorite. 12-3-2 in his career, Figueiredo won his UFC debut over Jerome Rivera earlier this year. Conversely, Gordon will look to right the ship after losing his only two UFC fights to Su Mudaerji and Amir Albazi. Neither fighter has excelled on the feet in small samples. Figueiredo lands 1.93 significant strikes, while absorbing 2.07. Similarly, Gordon lands 0.55, while absorbing 3.87, despite a kickboxing background. Training with his brother Deiveson Figueiredo, Francisco has strong boxing and the superior standup here. Both fighters have black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu with experience in wrestling. Digging into the small samples, Figueiredo landed four takedowns in his debut win. He did not find a submission, but Rivera has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu himself. On the other side, Gordon has not attempted a takedown in the UFC. He also failed to defend the only takedown against him at the hands of Albazi. While he has not landed a takedown in the UFC, Gordon still has an offensive grappling style. Figueiredo has not been as strong off his back, creating a potential path for a Gordon upset. Unlike most flyweight fights, this bout is +130 to get to a decision. 10 of Figueiredo’s 12 wins came via stoppage. Meanwhile, he has been knocked out and submitted once himself. Likewise, Gordon finished 10 of his 12 wins early, while being finished in all five of his losses. For DFS, the aggression and strong likelihood of a finish make this a potential fight to target. A -310 favorite and -120 to end the fight early, Figueiredo is a strong target at $8,900. Due to the low-level nature of the fight, Gordon is also a live dog at $7,300. Figueiredo is the official pick, but Gordon should be mixed into DFS lineups.

UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Francisco Figueiredo ($8,900)

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Rodrigo Nascimento vs. Alan Baudot

Kicking off the prelims, Rodrigo Nascimento faces Alan Baudot as a -340 favorite in the men’s heavyweight division. Nascimento is 8-1 in his career, but 2-1 in the UFC. After defeating Michal Martinek and Don’Tale Mayes, Nascimento lost his most recent fight via knockout to Chris Daukaus. Meanwhile, Baudot is 8-2 in his career. He lost his only UFC fight against Tom Aspinall. However, Baudot has a decent strength of schedule with his only other loss coming to Dalcha Lungiambula. On the feet Nascimento lands 4.23 significant strikes per minute, while absorbing 4.32. Nascimento trains out of American Top Team but grapples more than the average heavyweight. Nascimento averages 2.70 takedowns and submission attempts per bout. He also has six of his eight professional wins coming via submission, including his two wins in the UFC. On the other side, Baudot trains out of MMA Factory and relies on his knockout power. Baudot only has one UFC fight, but he lost the striking battle 16-3, before getting knocked out by Aspinall. Aspinall also took Baudot down, which looks problematic against the wrestling heavy Nascimento. Still, Baudot has strong striking, training with the likes of Francis Ngannou and Cyril Gane at one point or another. For this reason, Nascimento needs to be careful of Baudot’s power. Baudot has seven of his eight career wins coming via knockout. Nascimento also has all eight of his victories coming via stoppage, with two knockouts and six submissions. At $9,000, Nascimento has slightly better odds (-340) and in the distance props (-165) than Figueiredo. For that reason, finding the extra $100 in salary makes sense here. On the other end, Baudot’s path to victory is an early knockout. Nascimento is the official pick as the more well-rounded mixed martial artist.

UFC DFS Pick for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA: Rodrigo Nascimento ($9,000)

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Matt Gajewski graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Economics. Matt has worked in the fantasy industry for the past four years, focusing on DFS and Sports Betting. Matt specializes in NFL, College Football, College Basketball, XFL, and MMA. With GPP victories across the major sports, Matt also qualified for the DraftKings 2020 Sports Betting Championship and won a seat to the College Basketball Tourney Mania final.

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