Get in the Cage: UFC Fight Night Fortaleza Picks and Analysis

Welcome to another edition of Get in the Cage for DFS Datalytics. UFC Fight Night will invade the streets of Brazil this Saturday night in Fortaleza. This card features bouts with a lot of similar styles, which should make for another interesting night inside the octagon. In the main event, the Phenom, Vitor Belfort returns to his home country to take on perennial contender, Kelvin Gastelum. This fight has the makings to end on an early note, as do many on this card. Good luck to all playing on Draft Kings this weekend. Let’s Get in the Cage!

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Under Card:

Garreth McLellan (13-5) vs. Paulo Borrachinha (8-0) – Middleweight (185 lbs)

DK Salaries: McLellan – $7,100 / Borrachinha – $9,100

Vegas Odds: McLellan +215 / Borrachinha -255

Odds to Finish: -145 (u 1 ½)

Garreth McLellan has not had much success to start his UFC career. He is 1-3 thus far and has a fairly boring style as well. McLellan is a very efficient striker though when he throws. He has landed 55 percent of his strikes through his first four bouts with the company. McLellan almost never throws more than three or four strikes at time. He never throws punches in bunches. McLellan has not defended the take down well since his arrival, however, I don’t think he will need to worry about that this Saturday night. Perhaps the biggest hole I have seen in his game is his striking defense. He has defended less than 50 percent of the strikes that have come his way. This may not bode well for him in this one.

Paulo Borrachinha will be making his UFC debut this weekend at Fight Night. He will bring with him a perfect MMA record of 8-0. Borrachinha has proven to be a heavy knockout artist thus far. He has finished all eight of his professional fights in the first round, which includes seven knockouts. Borrachinha possesses some heavy body kicks in his arsenal and throws with pinpoint accuracy. He likes to be the aggressor in his fights and uses his kicks to keep his opponents at bay. Borrachinha also has shown persistent ground and pound as well. This will certainly be his toughest test to date. McLellan has not been too impressive for me, so I think Borrachinha has a solid chance to win this weekend. This could end up being an all out war.

Fight Prediction: Borrachinha – Rd 1 KO

Rony Jason (15-6) vs. Jeremy Kennedy (9-0) – Featherweight (145 lbs)

DK Salaries: Jason – $8,100 / Kennedy – $8,100

Vegas Odds: Jason -105 / Kennedy -115

Odds to Finish: -135 (o 2 ½)

Rony Jason got off to a solid start to his UFC career, though has greatly faltered over the few years. Jason has merely won just a single bout in his last five since 2013. Jason is skilled in the jiu jitsu game and can pull a submission out of nowhere at times. He has previously shown vulnerability to wrestlers, especially in his last two bouts, where he has been taken down a total of eight times. Jason was able to perform little on the offensive end when he fought Dennis Bermudez. He will be surrendering four inches in terms of height to his opponent this weekend. It is difficult to see his development over the last few years, due to his lack of offense. His sloppy defense is about the only thing you can take from it. Jason is a dangerous submission artist, however, and is always threat in that respect.

Jeremy Kennedy will enter the octagon for just the second time this weekend. He won the decision back in August in his debut fight against Alessandro Ricci. Kennedy has gone the distance in his last three bouts, however, has five early finishes on his resume. Kennedy is a fighter whom prefers to grapple, but has developed some solid stand-up skills as he has grown. He was able to take Ricci down five times in that first fight, so this may not bode well for Jason this time around. Kennedy, however, has not yet faced an opponent with the the submission skills of Jason.

Kennedy spent a great deal of time pressuring his opponent up against the cage and really wore Ricci down as the fight progressed. He showed off stellar conditioning. I will give a slight edge to Jason here because he may be too much for Kennedy on the ground. He can be so quick with his submissions. This fight has a great chance to go the distance though.

Fight Prediction: Jason – Rd 2 Submission

Michel Prazeres (21-2) vs. Joshua Burkman (29-14) – Lightweight (155 lbs)

DK Salaries: Prazeres – $8,900 / Burkman – $7,300

Vegas Odds: Prazeres -240 / Burkman +180

Odds to Finish: -210 (o 2 ½)

Michel Prazeres has one of the most intimidating ground games in the lightweight division. Prazeres is absolutely massive a lightweight. He is definitely one of the strongest fighters in the division as well. Prazeres has incredible power on the feet with the amount of force he packs into his punches. He is on a current three fight win streak and has won five of his last six. When Prazeres gets his opponents to the ground, they typically stay down. He can lay on top of you like a boulder in some instances. Prazeres is not accurate with his take downs overall, but has managed to take every opponent he’s faced thus far in the UFC to the ground. He has put up solid points in his recent victories due to his take downs and transitions.

Joshua Burkman has lost all but one of his six fights since returning to the UFC back in 2015. Burkman is 36 with a lot of miles on him with 44 professional fights on his resume. He has proven to be a tough finish, however, even at this point in his career. His last three have all gone to decision. Burkman is a significant underdog this week according to Vegas and I would have to agree. Burkman has exceptional take down defense, successfully defending 74 percent of those attempted on him. However, facing a fighter with the strength and power of Prazeres, I don’t like his chances. At this point in their respective careers, I will have to side here with Prazeres. He has landed a total of 12 take downs in his last two bouts, so it is likely to see a few more on Saturday night in his home country. I like Prazeres for a lineup this week. Expect this one to go the distance.

Fight Prediction: Prazeres – Unanimous Decision

#13 Rani Yahya (23-8) vs. Joe Soto (17-5) – Bantamweight (135 lbs)

DK Salaries: Yahya – $8,600 / Soto – $7,600

Vegas Odds: Yahya -165 / Soto +145

Odds to Finish: -265 (o 2 ½)

Rani Yahya is one of the more feared grapplers in the UFC today. He has made a living off of getting his opponents to the ground and allowing them to do as little as possible while on bottom. Due to his smothering style, Yahya will be one of the more expensive fighters Saturday night. Yahya has scored over 88.5 points in five of his last 10 bouts in the UFC. He is the type of fighter you really look for when drafting a lineup. His grappling game is far superior to most. In his last fight, Yahya landed seven take downs (5 pts) and advanced his position six times (3 pts) en route to a decision victory. Yahya will look to build upon his current four fight win steak, perhaps with another submission.

Joe Soto, much like his opponent, is another elite jiu jitsu practitioner. The aspect of his fight game that is standing out the most for me at the moment, is his pitiful 44 percent success rate when defending take downs. That is certainly not a admirable stat to have on your resume when facing an opponent like Yahya. This fight ultimately comes down to who is the better grappler and I believe that to be Yahya. Soto certainly possesses the skills to finish, but I don’t think he will have much of a chance to do so. Yahya has a smothering style, which does not allow his opponents to do much of anything. Soto will be worn out come the later rounds. Yayha will certainly be worth a draft this weekend.

Fight Prediction: Yahya – Unanimous Decision

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Rob McGeorge

Lead MMA / NFL Analyst for DFS Datalytics. I have been watching MMA since 2008 and playing fantasy sports since 2012. Follow me on Twitter @CornontheRob12

rob-mcgeorge has 35 posts and counting.See all posts by rob-mcgeorge

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