This article is part of our Drake's Takes series.
Brian Kelleher (23-12-0) v. Kevin Croom (21-13-0)
Fight Analysis: Kelleher is a veteran in the UFC and known for his guillotines. He carries power in his hands with a devastating hook but is always looking for a chance to jump the guillotine early. Croom is stepping up as a late replacement to take on Kelleher. He is a decent striker with a nice one-two, strong leg kicks and a love for grappling.
DFS Perspective: 34 of their 44 wins have come by way of finish, and I do not see this being any different. I think this matchup is far better for Kelleher, and he comes away with another victory. That said, Croom is lethal on the mat and could catch Kelleher at any time.
My Pick: Kelleher
T.J. Brown (15-8-0) v. Charles Rosa (14-6-0)
Fight Analysis: Brown is a decent striker with ample power and sound pressure. He throws a solid jab and strong winging hook mixed with wild overhands and kicks. Additionally, he is an elite grappler with a penchant for finding early submissions. Rosa is stepping in as the short-notice replacement to take on Brown. He strikes from a distance, mixing in one-twos with various kicks to all parts of the body. Moreover, he is crafty when hunting submissions but struggles at times wrestling and grappling.
DFS Perspective: Rosa has alternated wins and losses since joining the UFC (11 fights), and his last fight was a loss. If you're superstitious or anything of that nature, going with Rosa seems like the obvious choice since his previous fight was a loss. Unfortunately, I believe he suffers an end to that and loses his second in a row. Brown is ultra-aggressive, and backing Rosa up constantly will crack him. He should be better everywhere this goes and is also working on a full camp.
My Pick: Brown
Court McGee (20-10-0) v. Ramiz Brahimaj (9-3-0)
Fight Analysis: McGee has been in the UFC for over 10 years and acts as a gatekeeper of sorts for the Welterweight division. He has an average, but serviceable, skill set with a solid one-two, footwork and defense. Additionally, he mixes in takedowns and is great at keeping control on the mat. Brahimaj is not much of a striker but has a quick jab and is great at changing levels to work in takedowns. He is an elite grappler, and all of his nine wins have come by submission. His level of competition has not been high, and this fight against McGee will be a good indicator of where he is given how little experience he has in the Octagon.
DFS Perspective: McGee is a decision machine, having gone to the scorecards in 15 of the last 16 fights. If this again goes to the cards, I would favor him winning it. Brahimaj will want to take this to the mat as soon as possible, where he can grapple to lock up an early submission.
My Pick: McGee
Jamie Pickett (12-6-0) v. Joseph Holmes (7-1-0)
Fight Analysis: Pickett is a technical striker with considerable power in his hands. He does well to stay at range, fighting behind a stiff jab and tight hook. Moreover, he will occasionally mix in takedowns and look for ground-and-pound in top control. Holmes is a recent Contender Series winner making his debut and looking to find his mark early. He is a boxer with excellent movement and massive head kicks. He has a mean one-two, big overhand and will mix in various kicks early to change levels. Additionally, he will mix in takedowns to grapple and take the back for a choke.
DFS Perspective: I think this is an excellent debut matchup for Holmes. Pickett has not been all that impressive in the UFC but has faced better competition, so this will be a fantastic gauge of Holmes's readiness level. Pickett will have crisper striking from a technical standpoint and should avoid going to the mat with Holmes. Holmes will likely be more aggressive with higher volume or look to get the fight to the mat, where I believe he would dominate.
My Pick: Holmes
Bill Algeo (14-6-0) v. Joanderson Brito (12-2-1)
Fight Analysis: Algeo is a high-volume striker with a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu. He has elite cardio and fights behind a nasty one-two and grit. Additionally, he has a penchant for finding the back for chokes when on the mat. After a successful stint on the Contender Series, Brito is making his debut and is an exciting well-rounded prospect. He has good power behind a strong overhand-hook and quick one-two. Furthermore, he mixes in takedowns and has fantastic grappling and submission attempts.
DFS Perspective: Algeo makes every fight tough, and I expect this to be no different. He can win anywhere the fight goes and puts up enough volume to take decisions. Brito looks ready to make this debut, and I expect him to come in hot and challenge Algeo the whole fight. There is a slight concern with his cardio, but I think it holds out, and he finds an early finish.
My Pick: Brito
Dakota Bush (8-3-0) v. Viacheslav Borshchev (5-1-0)
Fight Analysis: Borshchev is fresh off his win in the Contender Series and looking to make a splash in his debut. He is a talented kickboxer with fight-ending power and excellent distance control. He features nasty kicks and a fantastic one-two from range. Bush is a decent striker with a heavy overhand and powerful round and low kicks. He excels in both grappling and wrestling and will be looking to take the fight to the ground early and often.
DFS Perspective: Borshchev will look to keep this fight at range and strike his way to a decision or early knockout. However, he has shown issues being controlled when taken down, and that is where Bush will find success. Bush is going to look early for takedowns and work this fight down to avoid the volume from Borshchev. He should be able to keep control or find a submission if he can bring the fight to the mat. Either way, I do not see this fight going to the cards, given the questionable cardio from both fighters.
My Pick: Bush
Katlyn Chookagian (16-4-0) v. Jennifer Maia (19-7-1)
Fight Analysis: Chookagian sports a four-inch reach advantage that helped her win their first matchup unanimously. She is a master at managing distance and staying behind her one-twos and kicks. Maia is a volume striker who works behind a stiff jab and nice, looping hook. Neither fighter shoots for takedowns often or offers much on the mat. This fight will primarily play out on the feet, where Chookagian has an advantage due to her size.
DFS Perspective: This is a rematch from two years ago, and I expect it to play out just like the first one. Chookagian will keep the fight at range and keep Maia from doing damage inside the pocket, and cruise to a relatively easy decision victory.
My Pick: Chookagian
Brandon Royval (12-6-0) v. Rogerio Bontorin (17-3-0)
Fight Analysis: Royval is an aggressive fighter who loves to make it a dog fight right out of the gate. He has improved striking behind a nice jab-hook and will mix in strong kicks to change levels. In addition, he is an exceptional grappler with excellent armbars and triangles. Bontorin continues to impress his way up the rankings behind the power in his hands and elite grappling. He throws behind a solid jab and powerful hook and always tries to make it a grappling match.
DFS Perspective: Both guys are proficient grapplers, and someone is likely getting finished. Bontorin has a little more power in his hands and better wrestling. Royval is quicker and a slightly better grappler. This is a tight fight with the edge going to Royval, but do not be surprised if Bontorin takes the upset.
My Pick: Royval
Jake Collier (12-6-0) v. Chase Sherman (15-8-0)
Fight Analysis: Collier is quick for a heavyweight and throws high-volume because of it. He throws a lot of kicks and mixes in well behind a slick jab. Sherman is an athletic heavyweight who also throws plenty of kicks and fights behind a strong hook and overhand. He looks to rush into the pocket to deliver maximum punishment but tends to leave himself open to big shots. Neither fighter does much work on the ground, and this likely stays on the feet for as long as the fight goes.
DFS Perspective: It is difficult to get behind either of these fighters, given that neither are that good. They both have high volume, and I believe it comes down to landing the big shot or who slows down the other with leg kicks. I'll give Collier the slight advantage because he looked better in his last couple of fights.
My Pick: Collier
Calvin Kattar (22-5-0) v. Giga Chikadze (14-2-0)
Fight Analysis: Chikadze is a phenomenal kickboxer with tremendous power and is coming off three consecutive knockout wins. He now faces his stiffest test and will be looking to land one of his nasty head kicks for another early victory. Additionally, he has fast hands, mixing solid one-twos with his kicks and keeping the fight at a distance. Kattar is as tough as they come and will be looking to insert himself back into the title picture with a huge win here. He is a high-volume boxer who thrives in the pocket, winging hooks and one-twos in combination.
DFS Perspective: This is a strikers' delight, and I expect to see both fighters throwing volume on top of more volume. Kattar ate over 400 significant strikes in his last fight, so it is hard to know where his head is after that, but I will assume he is 110 percent ready to go. I think that Chikadze will have the edge in the early going, but if he is unable to score a knockout, I think Kattar takes over late and dominates with volume or a finish himself.
My Pick: Kattar
Significant Strikes = 0.6pts
Takedown = 6pts
Takedown Defense = 3pts
Knockdown = 12pts
Submission Attempt = 5pts
Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win = 100pts
2nd Round Win = 75pts
3rd Round Win = 50pts
4th Round Win = 35 pts
5th Round Win = 25pts
Decision Win = 20pts
- Significant Strikes are "Distance Strike" or "Clinch/Ground Strikes" that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
- A knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider a substantial amount of time.
Strikes: +0.2 PTS
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
Control Time: +0.03 PTS/SECOND
Takedown (TD): +5 PTS
Reversal/Sweep (REV): +5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +10 PTS
Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win (1rW+): +90 PTS
2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rW+): +45 PTS
4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 PTS
5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 PTS
Decision Win (WBD+): +30 PTS
Quick Win Bonus: +25 PTS
(fight is finished in 60 seconds or less)
- Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
- A Significant Strike will count as both a strike and a significant strike and will be worth a total of 0.4 Pts
- Control Time is the time spent in the dominant position on the ground or in the clinch. +0.03 points are awarded per second.
- A Knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider an appreciable amount of time.
- A Quick Win Bonus is awarded to the winning fighter if they win in the first round in 60 seconds or less.