This article is part of our UFC Picks series.
It may not be a pay-per-view card, but Saturday's 11-fight slate offers some intriguing matchups and opportunities. We'll cover all of it across five platforms, including two underdogs that come in at (+200) or wider. All lines are taken from the William Hill online sportsbook and are accurate as of the post date of this article.
Without further ado, let's get to it
Plays to Consider on DraftKings
Marc Diakiese ($8,700)
This wasn't a comfortable pick to make, as I can easily see Rafael Alves' swarming pressure and power giving Diakiese fits, but "Bonecrusher" has been leaning on his wrestling of late, and Alves spent nearly half the fight against Damir Ismagulov in bottom position on the strength of just two takedowns. Alves will go for submissions on the bottom, but Diakese has only been tapped once in 18 professional fights, which gives me confidence that he will be able to keep himself safe on the ground.
Da Un Jung ($8,300)
While the size and strength disparity here won't be the same as Jung's bout with William Knight, "Sseda" will still hold a grappling advantage against Kennedy Nzechukwu, and has shown good enough cardio that he shouldn't allow his opponent back into the fight after working for takedowns. Jung should have more than one avenue to get the victory here, as he is a solid kickboxer with a crisp jab, and Nzechukwu has been known to fight at a slow pace.
Collin Anglin ($7,000)
Anglin was overwhelmed by the slick striking of Melsik Baghdasaryan in his Octagon debut, but the 28-year-old showed in his Contender Series bout that he is generally the one willing to press forward and look for grappling exchanges. Getting back to these tactics would be for the best against Sean Woodson, who uses his length and boxing combinations to keep opponents at bay, but has been taken down at least twice in three of his four UFC (and UFC-adjacent) fights. By collapsing the space, Anglin should be able to take away Woodson's best attribute, allowing him to wear on "The Sniper" over three rounds.
Felicia Spencer ($9,100)
Spencer's record since entering the UFC may not be anything to write home about, but it's worth noting that two of her three losses have come against the most dominant women in MMA history. She will take a big step back against Leah Letson, who couldn't help but eat punches from a pure submission grappler in Julija Stoliarenko, and stands square enough that takedowns should be no problem for someone like "Feenom." I don't often buy into the idea of mercy bookings, but it seems clear that this is a fight intended to get Spencer back in the win column.
Plays to Consider on Prize Picks
Miguel Baeza OVER 1.0 Takedowns and Cynthia Calvillo UNDER 2.0 Takedowns
Baeza is a slick and powerful kickboxer, but we have seen how fast Khaos Williams' hands can be on the counter, and "Caramel Thunder" has taken his share of flush shots in the Octagon. I think this fight will stay at range until Baeza's upright posture results in him getting tagged, at which point he should attempt to get the fight to the floor and work his grappling game. Williams has a habit of letting his opponent control the center of the cage, making it easier for Baeza to back him up against the fence.
Calvillo came into the organization as a jiu-jitsu ace, but she falls in love with her hands far too often for me to take anything but the under here. Andrea Lee will enter the contest with just a 57 percent takedown defense rate, which may persuade some to the other side of the line, but I can't trust that Calvillo won't be drawn into a kickboxing match here, particularly if she starts having success early.
Plays to Consider on SuperDraft
Marcos Rogerio de Lima – 2.2X Multiplier
These days, it seems like Rogerio is thought of more as a punchline than a fighter. This may be due to the fact that there have been multiple occasions in which "Pezao" just stopped fighting when things got rough for him. Why on earth would I place my confidence in a fighter like that? As a former light heavyweight, De Lima should be infinitely faster than Ben Rothwell, who doesn't do much more than walk after his opponents these days. "Big Ben" will certainly try to put a pace on the Brazilian fighter, but we saw the 40-year-old tire himself out in a matchup with Marcin Tybura, and De Lima should have enough early success to ride the momentum through.
Liana Jojua – 2.25X Multiplier
Jojua's had a rough stretch in the UFC, but I'm having a hard time with her being such a big underdog against Cortney Casey, who holds just a 38 percent takedown defense rate and tries to close distance with big, single shots. Jojua's kickboxing was looking sharp in the opening minutes of her bout with Miranda Maverick, and I don't think Casey will be able to overwhelm her the way Maverick did. Casey has an aggressive guard, but that may be her undoing here, as Jojua has shown herself to be razor-sharp when it comes to submissions, and Casey was dominated for the better part of three rounds before being tapped out by another strong grappler in Gillian Robertson.
Plays to Consider on Monkey Knife Fight
Thiago Moises OVER 65.5 Significant Strikes and Joel Alvarez UNDER 46.5 Significant Strikes
It's been kind of hard to get a read on Joel Alvarez in the UFC due to him submitting opponents who (for some reason) thought it would be a good idea to take him down in Round 1. When he does stay on his feet, the BJJ specialist features a slow, kick-heavy attack, which seems designed to make his opponents want to engage in the clinch. We saw just how slick and agile Moises has become on his feet in his fight with Alexander Hernandez, and while he was submitted in his most recent bout, it should be noted that Alvarez has yet to attempt a takedown in four UFC bouts. I don't expect that Moises will want to try his luck on the ground here, which should mean that he will be able to let his hands go on the inside.
Max Holloway OVER 165.5 Significant Strikes and Yair Rodriguez OVER 123.5 Significant Strikes
I'm putting the Main Event in this section because I'm not sure how else to approach it. It's not that I think Holloway will lose, but prices are far too steep against an opponent who is a better kicker and should be faster than the former featherweight champion. The one thing we can be sure of here is volume will come in spades over the course of five rounds. Rodriguez may have hovered around this mark in his previous five-round affairs, but he has never faced someone who pushes a pace like Holloway. This should lead to the two furiously exchanging in the center of the cage until the final bell sounds.
Bets to Consider
Yadong Song to win via decision (+138)
Song versus Julio Arce promises to be a compelling fight between two technical and powerful boxers, but Yadong will likely be the quicker man in the cage, while also being the better kicker. The speed in particular will be important against Arce, who does good work mixing his targets but is a bit too happy to get involved in exchanges. Our fighters have only been stopped twice in a combined 44 professional fights, and I expect Song to be the one with his hand raised after 15 minutes.