Get In The Cage: UFC 201 Picks and Analysis
Hello, everyone and welcome to another edition of Get in the Cage. Thank the UFC for putting together such an amazing card for UFC 201. This card has the makings to be one of the best all year. The card is stacked with fighter with tremendous finishing potential. There will be lots of fireworks in this one to say the last. Even if the fights don’t end in a finish, they are still going to be entertaining.
The main event will involve current Welterweight Champion, Robbie Lawlertaking on a former title contender in Strikeforce, in Tyron Woodly. This fight has the makings to be a blood bath. Both men love to stand and trade. The card will also feature two straw weight contenders vying for a championship opportunity this weekend. Multiple heavy hitters like Matt Brown and Fredy Serrano will be looking for the knockout this weekend.
It’s time for them to make a statement and for you as well in DFS. There will be a lot of money to be won this weekend, so let’s get started. It’s time to Get in the Cage. Good luck to everyone this weekend.
Note: Justin Scoggins has been removed from the card due to an issue at weigh-ins, we will be providing at update to that fight soon.
(C) Robbie Lawler (26-10) vs #4 Tyron Woodley (15-3) – Welterweight (170 lbs)
DK Salaries: Lawler – $10,600 / Woodley – $9,000
Vegas Odds: Lawler -140 / Woodley +120
Odds to Finish: -140 (o 2 ½)
Robbie Lawler certainly lives up to his nick name; he is truly ruthless. Lawler is currently on a five fight win streak which includes three straight title defenses. All three of those fights have entered the fifth round and he only finished Rory MacDonald by TKO. Don’t let this fool you however, as Lawler is extremely exciting to watch inside the cage. He is the definition of a brawler and can finish anyone on any given night. Lawler should land a large output of strikes while he is in there this weekend. Tyron Woodley certainly does not throw as much as Lawler, but packs a lot of power in his strikes. Woodley has not been finished since 2012 which oddly enough, was the last time he fought for a championship; that being in Strikeforce. Four of his last five victories have come by way of KO. Needless to say, there will be some serious fireworks in this one. I have to side with the champion, Lawler here in this one. He has entirely too much UFC as well as title defense experience. Woodley lacks such experience. Lawler too, has not been finished in a fight since 2011. He knows how to control the fight and if he feels he is down on the judges score cards, he will do what is necessary to come away with a decision victory. Lawler likes to keep the fight standing, so expect a stand up war here. Lawler lands close to 50 percent of strikes thrown. I would put these fighters in a 50/50, but am weary for tournaments.
Fight Prediction: Lawler – Rd 4 KO
#3 Rose Namajunes (6-2) vs #5 Karolina Kowalkiewicz (9-0) – Straw weight (115 lbs)
DK Salaries: Namajunes – $10,800 / Kowalkiewicz – $8,600
Vegas Odds: Namajunes -210 / Kowalkiewicz +175
Odds to Finish: -230 (o 2 ½)
Rose Namajunes is in my opinion, the best fighter in the straw weight division these days. She is a hungry contender who will be entering her fourth fight since last October. She has been moving up the ranks swiftly winning three straight, including two finishes. Namajunes loves to grapple and get the fight to the ground. She is very successful in doing so as she is 12/18 on take down attempts in the UFC. She loves to go to war. She will be taking on an undefeated Polish fighter in Karolina Kowalkiewicz. That’s a mouth full. This will be her third UFC fight. Both of her previous bouts both went by way of decision, though she landed a significant amount of strikes in the process. In just three rounds in her last fight, Kowalkiewicz landed 119 total strikes. She will have a step up in competition this weekend when she takes on Namajunes. I believe Namajunes will continue her rise to the top and hand Kowalkiewicz her first career loss. Namajunes will in all likelihood get this fight to ground and dominate. She is pretty savvy when it comes to submissions. Four of her six professional victories have come by way of tap out. I believe this fight will end up going to the judges score cards. Both fighters are grinders. I don’t think there will be enough striking output to take this fight into consideration when drafting. Namajunes does have potential to submit Kowalkiewicz however.
Fight Prediction: Namajunes – Unanimous Decision
#9 Matt Brown (22-14) vs Jake Ellenberger (30-11) – Welterweight (170 lbs)
DK Salaries: Brown – $10,900 / Ellenberger – $8,500
Vegas Odds: Brown -335 / Ellenberger +275
Odds to Finish: -125 (u 1 ½)
Matt Brown is one of the most exciting fighters you will see fight inside the octagon. He is always looking for the finish one way or another. He has also shown to be much more durable going to decisions against former champ, Johny Hendricks and now current champion, Robbie Lawler. He did lose to both of them as well as Damian Maia in his last fight. To his credit, those are the elite of the elite and Brown has shown he can hang with the best. This noes not excuse the fact he has lost three of his last four however. Jake Ellenberger appears to be merely a shell of the great fighter he once was. He has lost two in a row and five of his last six. Even worse than Brown. Ellenberger has been knocked out twice since 2014 when facing elite strikers. Brown is an elite striker with some heavy hands. Ellenberger never has a large striking output in his fights, so I would certainly avoid him here. I believe Brown will certainly be the aggressor in this one. Brown has 11 finishes in his UFC career and I predict number 12 coming this weekend. Ellenberger is fairly durable, so I think it may take until the second or third round to ultimately finish him. Brown is the more accurate striker here and will dish out much more punishment than Ellenberger. He too will have the height and reach advantage.
Fight Prediction: Brown – Rd 2 KO
Francisco Rivera (11-6) vs Erik Perez (15-6) – Bantamweight (135 lbs)
DK Salaries: Rivera – $ 9,700 / Perez – $9,700
Vegas Odds: Rivera +115 / Perez -135
Odds to Finish: -225 (o 1 ½)
Vegas sees this as a fairly even contest, as does Draft Kings. I would have to agree, however I think I am going to side with underdog here, Francisco Rivera. Rivera has faced some stiff competition lately fighting the likes of Uriah Faber, John Lineker, and Brad Pickett. All veterans and top contenders in the bantamweight division. He is on a bit of a skid here with all of these losses. He has only won once in his previous five fights. Erik Perez has faced much easier competition and has gone 2-2 in his last four bouts in the UFC. I believe the lack of experience will be his downfall here. Rivera should win on the feet, certainly. He lands at a higher volume per minute than Perez will. This fight really is pretty even when you take everything to account. I only see Perez winning this fight however, if he takes Rivera down and holds him down. I don’t see a finish happening in this one. I would side with Rivera here. I would most likely avoid this fight though this weekend. Rivera could be a decent option if he is able to land a decent amount of strikes, but I don’t see either of these fighters in the winning lineup.
Fight Prediction: Rivera – Split Decision
#5 Ian McCall (13-5-1) vs #13 Justin Scoggins (11-2) – Flyweight (125 lbs)
DK Salaries: McCall – $9,000 / Scoggins – $10,400
Vegas Odds: McCall +205 / Scoggins -245
Odds to Finish: -245 (o 2 ½)
Justin Scoggins has been on the rise in the flyweight division. He has won his past two and has looked impressive doing so. He showed a great all around game in his previous fight. He has a solid output of strikes and showed off superior grappling. He took down Ray Borg a total of four times and advanced to a better position on multiple occasions when he found his openings. He too is very accurate with his take downs; landing 68 percent of his attempts in his UFC career. Ian McCall is certainly not a finisher. The majority of his fights have gone to decision. His last six fights actually, which date back to 2012, have all been decisions. He is a tough finish as well, clearly. Most 125 pounders are. McCall has battled through a multitude of injuries throughout his career, so his health is always a concern. Scoggins is a very accurate striker landing over 50 percent of his strikes thrown. Scoggins certainly has a chance to finish in this one, however McCall is so hard to finish as we have seen. I ultimately believe that will be the case again here. Scoggins is definitely worth a draft however. He is a heavy favorite in his one and can connect sending McCall to the canvas at any point.
Fight Prediction: Scoggins – Unanimous Decision
#11 Nikita Krylov (20-4) vs Ed Herman (24-11) – Light Heavyweight (205 lbs)
DK Salaries: Krylov – $10,200 / Herman – $9,200
Vegas Odds: Krylov -170 / Herman +150
Odds to Finish: -130 (u 1 ½)
Ed Herman is a crafty veteran of the sport and looked very impressive in his 205 lb debut. That was against Tim Boetsch however, who is a hit or miss fighter at this point in his career. Herman is at the back end of his career at 35 years of age and I believe he will be at a significant disadvantage coming into this weekend. When put up against elite competition, Herman has failed to deliver. Unfortunately for him, Nikita Krylov has come to town and has been on a tear at light heavyweight as of recent. He has finished four straight fights all of which did not even see the third round. His only loss in recent memory was to Ovince Saint Preux, who is a top 10 fighter. Needless to say, Herman is no where near ready to be considered a top contender. Herman has a very good overall game and is savvy with his submissions, but does have strong hands. Krylov is stronger and more crisp overall than Herman. It is difficult to see this fight not being finished before the final bell sounds. They will probably stand and trade for a while before Krylov ultimately takes him down and finishes him. Krylov is a pretty safe bet for your lineup this weekend. He is not overly priced at just $10,200. Krylov is the much more accurate of a striker and will land much more than Herman. He lands roughly six significant strikes per minute.
Fight Prediction: Krylov – Rd 2 Submission
Ross Pearson (21-11) vs Jorge Masvidal (29-11) – Welterweight (170 lbs)
DK Salaries: Pearson – $8,700 / Masvidal – $10,700
Vegas Odds: Pearson +190 / Masvidal -230
Odds to Finish: -235 (o 2 ½)
Both of these fighters have fought recently. Heck, Ross Pearson is about to fight his fourth fight since January. Pearson trying to make a statement and a quick one for that matter. However, he is 1-2 in those fights this year all going by way of decision. Jorge Masvidal has gone to a decision in seven of his previous eight fights which dates back to 2013. With the fight styles these two possess, it certainly seems like this one too will go to the judges score cards as well. Both men are UFC veterans looking to make a statement. Masvidal is the taller and more accurate striker of the two and should land at a higher volume than will Pearson. He is also much more accurate with his take downs. Pearson has literally won a fight then lost a fight since 2013. You win some, you lose some, I suppose. To abide by the pattern, he would have to win this fight. I don’t see that being the case however, as Masvidal is the all around better fighter. I personally believe this fight will be pretty even, and Pearson does throw hard. If you’re in need of a cheap option to complete your lineup. I would certainly say Pearson is reliable enough to draft. I think he can certainly pull out the victory here and at $8,700, that is a steal. But I would probably avoid this fight for this card. Masvidal will in all likelihood control the majority of this fight wherever it may go. He will most likely bring it to the ground because Pearson does have exceptional power.
Fight Prediction: Masvidal – Split Decision
Anthony Hamilton (14-5) vs Damian Grabowski (20-3) – Heavyweight (265 lbs)
DK Salaries: Hamilton – $9,400 / Grabowski – $10,000
Vegas Odds: Hamilton -130 / Grabowski +110
Odds to Finish: -130 (o 1 ½)
This fight is perhaps a tale of two cities. It will be the knockout power of Anthony Hamilton vs the submission prowess of Damian Grabowski. Both of these fighters have been unimpressive, but have shown solid finishing technique. This being a heavyweight bout, has tremendous finishing potential. It did not take much to finish Grabowski when he faced heavy hitter, Derrik Lewis in February. It took just 14 strikes to finish Grabowski. In his defense, Lewis has some of the heavier hands in the heavyweight division. However, that is still a little worrisome. If Hamilton is able to connect with a few punches, this one can certainly be ended early. This fight really is a pick em kind of fight. Hamilton in the UFC has been beaten every possible way, so it will be down to who is more aggressive early on. I believe that to be Hamilton. He is cheaper and can be a great acquisition to your lineup. At 10 grand flat, Grabowski is the favorite and can certainly finish this one as well. Overall, I believe this could be a boring grinded out decision however.
Fight Prediction: Hamilton – Unanimous Decision
#7 Wilson Reis (20-6) vs Hector Sandoval (12-2) – Flyweight (125 lbs)
DK Salaries: Reis – $11,000 / Sandoval – $8,400
Vegas Odds: Reis -320 / Sandoval +260
Odds to Finish: -130 (o 2 ½)
Wilson Reis was initially supposed to be fight for the Flyweight Championship of the world at this event against Demetrious Johnson. That fell through, unfortunately for him. He has won three of his last four fights inside the octagon. Of his six fights within the company, five have gone to the judges score cards. He has a great chance to dominate on the ground in this one. Hector Sandoval is a newcomer making his UFC debut this weekend. Sandoval looks like a strong prospect, but this will almost certainly be too much too soon for him. He is being fed to the dogs here in my opinion facing the number seven ranked flyweight in the world in Reis. He has much more experience than does Sandoval and I think that will show in this one. Sandoval’s losses have come against two fighters that were let go from the UFC. Reis is never one to put out a decent striking output, but he has the opportunity to take Sandoval down on multiple occasions and pass to better positions. He should dominate from there. He has done so in many of his previous fights. With Reis being the most expensive fighter, he may be drafted less than most and certainly can finish the much less experienced Sandoval. However, it could easily go to decision as Reis has to be not much of a finisher.
Fight Prediction: Reis – Rd 2 Submission
Michael Graves (6-0) vs Bojan Velickovic (14-3) – Welterweight (170 lbs)
DK Salaries: Graves – $10,500 / Velickovic – $8,900
Vegas Odds: Graves -235 / Velickovic +195
Odds to Finish: -220 (o 2 ½)
Michael Graves is an undefeated fighter (6-0) with two wins in the UFC. He has shown off skills with his take downs thus far as he has landed over 50 percent of his attempts. He too, has not allowed a take down in his brief UFC career. Graves has shut down a younger prospect in Randy Brown and has shown a strong all around game. He has finished five of his first six professional bouts. Bojan Velickovic is 1-0 in the UFC and 14-3 overall. It is important to note here that he has never been finished in his MMA career. Velickovic has had more experience though and has some elite grappling skills. In his first fight, he did not land very many strikes. If the fight stays at boxing range, Graves can pull off a KO, but I don’t think this will occur. Velickovic is the taller fighter here and owns a fairly significant reach advantage here. I’m going with my gut and say were going to see a somewhat boring affair. I would avoid this fight when drafting.
Fight Prediction: Graves – Split Decision
Ryan Benoit (8-4) vs Fredy Serrano (3-0) – Flyweight (125 lbs)
DK Salaries: Benoit – $9,500 / Serrano – $9,900
Vegas Odds: Benoit +105 / Serrano -125
Odds to Finish: -105 (u 2 ½)
Ryan Benoit has been rather unimpressive since entering the UFC back in 2013. He has gone 1-2 in that time while being finished twice. Had it not been for a come from behind victory against Sergio Pettis, he would be 0-3 easily. Beniot will have a three inch reach advantage in this one. He has not been an accurate striker inside the octagon landing not even 30 percent of his strikes. Fredy Serrano is 2-0 in the UFC so far with two KO/TKO victories. He has only one professional bout outside the UFC. He has already showcased some world class power while he’s been in there. The division should keep tabs on him. Benoit has struggled against stronger wrestlers in the past, so look for the Pan American medalist to frustrate Benoit on the ground and show off his power with a TKO win early in the fight. I would say Serrano is a fairly safe bet here. Especially being prices under $10,000. He has decent odds to finish this one before the final bell.
Fight Prediction: Serrano – Rd 1 TKO
Cesar Arzamendia (7-3) vs Damien Brown (15-9) – Lightweight (155 lbs)
DK Salaries: Arzamendia – $9,600 / Brown – $9,800
Vegas Odds: Arzamendia +100 / Brown -120
Odds to Finish: -170 (o 1 ½)
There really isn’t much to go off of with opening fight. Both will be making their second UFC appearances and both lost in their respective debuts. So, I will do my best with this one. For Cesar Arzamendia, his last three victories have come by way of choke in the first round. He too has been finished in his last two defeats, so he has shown serious vulnerability against lower ranked competition. To his credit, he is a Muay Thai champion. Damien Brown is certainly the more experienced fighter in this one with nearly 25 professional fights. Both have been susceptible to being finished in a variety of ways, so it is a bit of a toss up. Vegas sees this as a fairly even contest as well. Both fighters prefer to submit their opponents, but I will ultimately have to side with the experience of Brown. Look for him to secure the take downs and work out a submission. This fight could be hit or miss. Draft at your own risk.
Fight Prediction: Brown – Rd 2 Submission
Article by: Robert McGeorge @CornontheRob12