On Saturday afternoon, the UFC returns to the APEX Center after a brief, one-week hiatus for UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Holland. The event featured 15 fights originally, but one of the main card bouts, Kyle Daukaus vs. Aliaskhab Khizriev, has been scratched due to COVID-19 protocols.
The remaining 14 fights are a solid mix of veteran talent and rising prospects, culminating with a middleweight battle that could see the winner lined up for a future contest with current 185-pound kingpin, Israel Adesanya. We’ll also get to see the return of Nina Ansaroff (now Nina Nunes) to the octagon against Mackenzie Dern—a fight that has “Action” written all over it. And in the main event, Italian contender Marvin Vettori takes on the always dangerous Kevin Holland. One other fight I’d like to make note of is the undercard pairing of Jack Shore and Hunter Azure—another prospect battle that is all but guaranteed to be a banger.
Any way you slice it, this event has carefully matched fights that should provide plenty of excitement and entertainment value to even the most distinguished MMA palate. We’ve put together a handy guide of facts and figures to help you when selecting your DraftKings fantasy lineups. Each category will feature the standout fighter for his/her achievements in said category. Let’s get started!
DraftKings is hosting a big UFC Fight Night fantasy MMA tournament that pays out $350K in guaranteed prizes, including $100,000 to first place. The fantasy MMA contest locks at 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday. Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: MMA $350K Throwdown [$100K to 1st].
Daniel Rodriguez, $8,800
Daniel Rodriguez is the absolute embodiment of a volume striker. He averages a whopping 7.68 strikes landed per minute, and those punches carry quite a bit of heat behind them. The Southpaw will be facing orthodox fighter, Mike Perry, also the wielder of serious power, although we’ve not seen it since 2017 against a now-retired Alex Reyes. Rodriguez may set a breakneck pace, but he also suffers the volume striker’s plight, he absorbs nearly as much punishment as he doles out—6.12 strikes per minute. If those punches are coming from someone with the vaunted power that Perry has demonstrated on 11 different occasions, Daniel may want to work on shoring up some of those defensive issues. In addition to Perry’s power, “D-Rod” might also want to be cautious of “Platinum’s” grappling. It’s not top shelf, but it’s effective enough to get his opponents to the ground here and there and set the tone at a Submission Underground event that saw him best Al Iaquinta early last year. This fight is almost certainly Daniel’s to lose.
Kevin Holland, $6,600
Kevin Holland is not the fighter with the most knockouts on this card, but he is the one with the most recent one, as well as being a very consistent finisher in general. In total, Kevin has finished 17 of his 21 wins, 12 of them by way of knockout. The orthodox fighter will carry a distinct height and reach advantage, a statistic that will likely not make much difference in the grand scheme of things, as Vettori routinely fights taller guys. Holland’s right hand, and the almost absurd angles he can throw it effectively from (see his Jacare knockout), is a gamechanger, plain and simple. That said, he has a very tough customer with Marvin Vettori. “The Italian Dream” isn’t just a good striker with solid wrestling, he’s also insanely durable, and the only middleweight to really give Adesanya a run for his money (took him to a split-decision). So, if Holland plans to get this done neat and tidy, he’ll really need to take the fight seriously and swarm early. He’s a creative and dynamic striker but couldn’t seem to find his rhythm against Derek Brunson last month, losing via decision because he simply decided to not bother defending takedowns. Vettori is not the guy you want to play games with. He’s deadly serious about making his way to the top, and Holland will have to bring his A-game to stop him.
Jim Miller, $7,100
This bout will put Jim Miller in extremely rarified air as he will become the athlete with the most fights inside the UFC octagon—37! Miller’s UFC career has been a serious of highs and lows pretty regularly. He hasn’t had a bona fide hot streak since 2011, where his seven-fight run was snapped by Benson Henderson, but he has been fairly dependable about keeping the riff-raff out of the rankings. Jim is a super tough, grapple-heavy fighter (18 submission wins) with decent standup that often tricks him into believing he should keep the action on the feet. This is a somewhat common occurrence for grapplers that abandon the one that brought them to the dance in favor of their often inadequate striking (see Diego Sanchez). At 37 years of age and with 48 fights behind him, Miller is rapidly approaching the twilight of his career and his opponent, Joe Solecki, will be looking to use him as a stepping-stone. He’ll need to make sure his conditioning is in order and he’ll need to keep his cool. One thing is certain, with both men having high-level wrestling/grappling, we might end up getting treated to something truly special here.
Mike Perry, $7,400
Mike Perry came into the UFC almost six years ago and immediately started rattling off knockout victories. A brief setback to Alan Jouban, and he was back to winning again. Then, Perry started experiencing real issues, suffering a pair of back-to-back losses before notching another win, over short notice lightweight, Paul Felder. Since then, he’s fought six times, winning only two of those six. It’s no secret that Perry has had a series of high-profile personal issues, but those issues seem to be impacting his career. He missed weight in his last fight against Tim Means, this after posting himself eating fast food just days out from the fight. To no one’s surprise, Perry gassed hard in the fight, losing to Means via unanimous decision. Hopefully, he’s managing his camp better this time around, but I cannot put my confidence in him just yet. It should be noted that Perry has an official camp now, as he is training at MMA Masters in Miami, so hopefully this will instill some much-needed discipline in him.
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