UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal II – 4.24.2021 – Staff Predictions, Picks, and DFS Analysis (FREE)

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Hello Daily Play Action! Welcome to our collaborative coverage of UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal II. We could not be more excited for this card, the first indoor sporting event in the United States with a full capacity crowd since the start of the pandemic! The pay-per-view is loaded with three massive title fights and headlined by a big-time rematch at welterweight. Our analysis includes a pick for every bout from Anthony Marro, Nicholas Marro and GB. We also feature write-ups that will provide consideration for building lineups on both FanDuel and DraftKings.

When building your lineups here are a few things to consider. Pricing differs for most fighters making some better value on one site over the other. Scoring is important as well. On FanDuel a first-round finish scores 5x the points as a decision, where on DraftKings it scores 3x as many. Grappling is also scored drastically different as FanDuel awards points for takedown defense and submission attempts. DraftKings neglects those two stats and instead values control time and reversals. This new year, DraftKings has also added a quick win bonus for victories in the first minute as well as scoring for non-significant strikes. Lastly, you will only want to take two fighters from the same fight if you think it goes into the late rounds and expect both to reach value. Optimal GPP builds very rarely stack the same fight but it can be a viable strategy in cash games.

As coverage continues, we will keep our Daily Play Action records up to date. Be sure to check out our reasoning though as records will not reflect confidence, we will be picking all fights regardless of if we are betting on them. I highly recommend using Bovada for their user-friendly format and awesome deposit bonuses if you want to bet on any of these picks!

If you are looking for even more UFC content, be sure to also check out Daily Play Action on YouTube where we have begun streaming breakdowns of most cards.

Current Record

  • Anthony: 82-64-1 (Last Year 223-145-6)
  • Nick: 85-61-1 (Last Year 235-133-6)
  • GB: 76-70-1 (Last Year 216-152-6)

Fight odds are as listed from Bovada and last updated 10:30 AM EST 4-24-2021

Early Prelims- Starts 6:00pm EST

Ariane Carnelossi -230 (DK $8600, FD $18) Liang Na +180 (DK $7600, FD $11)

  • Anthony: The card opens with the following strawweight bout between Ariane Carnelossi and Liang Na. Carnelossi was defeated in her UFC debut but that came against a very talented striker in Angela Hill. She gets a much different opponent here as Liang Na is known far more for her grappling prowess. She has a six-inch reach advantage but really will struggle to utilize it on the feet, as her gameplan is dependent on closing distance. Liang Na is one of three Chinese fighters debuting on this card, obviously with their country’s sole champion in the co-main event. Zhang Weili is one of the reasons there is a UFC Performance Institute in China where these three athletes hail. However, all three lack quality wins that I really want to see before betting them regardless of price. Carnelossi will be the harder hitting fighter here and I believe her shorter, more compact body type will allow her to avoid any dangerous grappling attacks. She should take over as this fight wears on and ultimately get the victory. Ariane Carnelossi by Round Three KO
  • Nick: The card opens with a really interesting scrap at women’s strawweight. Liang Na is a highly regarded prospect who has been training at the UFC’s Performance Institute in China. She is primarily a grappler. She aggressively pursues takedowns in most of her fights as her game plan is almost always to work her opponent to the mat for a submission. Carnelossi is one of the more powerful strikers in this weight-class. Her striking isn’t all too technical, but she does push a serious pace and can use her brute strength and volume to put damage on a wide range of opponents. Carnelossi lands more than six significant strikes per minute. She’s going to have a considerable advantage here when this fight is on the feet, but she’ll have to keep it there to stay out of danger. Liang will have a height and reach advantage here, but Carnelossi’s short and stocky frame should help her to defend takedowns against Liang’s grappling heavy attack. Liang’s career trajectory certainly has some upside as she’s only 24 years-old. However, I’m siding with the favorite in this one. Ariane Carnelossi by Decision
  • GB: Ariane Carnelossi by Decision

Aori Qileng -110 (DK $8200, FD $15) vs Jeff Molina -110 (DK $8000, FD $13)

  • Anthony: Next is a very fun flyweight bout between Aori Qileng and Jeff Molina. This fight has sat right around even odds all week and for good reason. It will be interesting to see the game plan Molina fights with against a hard-hitting striker that has the power and experience advantage. The IMTP per kilogram score is utilized to measure maximum strength and Aori Qileng actually beat out Francis Ngannou in pound-for-pound punching power. It would not surprise me to see him turn Molina’s lights out quickly here, but I once again am hung up on his poor resume. Similar to Liang Na he has really only beaten cans. With James Krause in his corner, I expect Molina to fight his fight here. He will likely get Qileng uncomfortable by bringing him to the mat and dragging him into deep waters. It is a true coinflip, but I lean Molina ever so slightly. I find it hard to imagine either of these fighters ranked in the top fifteen anytime soon. Jeff Molina by Decision
  • Nick: We have an interesting match-up here between two up-and-comers at flyweight. Molina is an effective striker that does an excellent job mixing kicks into his combinations. He pushes a serious pace and overwhelms his opponents with volume. He’s most comfortable on the feet, but his grappling is advanced enough that he can hang with a wide range of opponents. Molina is another fighter that trains under James Krause. He’s likely going to come into this match-up with an excellent game plan and I fully expect him to weaponize his cardio. I expect him to weather an early store from Qileng, an extremely aggressive striker. Aori Qileng is a well-rounded fighter on a six-fight win streak. He hasn’t really been tested against a high-level of competition, but he has shown good technical ability for someone making their debut. He is extremely aggressive, but when he faces tougher opponents he sometimes puts himself in danger overexerting himself. Qileng is definitely live here as he does have finishing ability early. However, I’m siding with the more measured approach of Molina. Jeff Molina by Decision
  • GB: Jeff Molina by Round Two Submission

Rong Zhu -250 (DK $9100, FD $21) vs Rodrigo Vargas +200 (DK $7100, FD $8)

  • Anthony: Here we have a lightweight bout between Rong Zhu and Rodrigo Vargas. This should be a fight that primarily takes place on the feet as Rong Zhu looks to showcase his exceptionally accurate striking. He is the highest touted of these three prospects and likely draws the easiest opponent in a skidding Kazula Vargas. This is a must win for the Mexican fighter and I think he will be taking a lot of chances in this bout against an opponent far more technically sound. He certainly has the power advantage and I could see him landing some big strikes on Zhu that he has never felt before. Zhu’s only impressive win came over Yilan Sha with a quick knockout, but the remainder of his resume is filled with true cans such as the 1-5 Jiaqiang Han and the 9-8 Bideliya. If Vargas can make this a sloppy fight he has a great chance of pulling off the upset. One final issue I see with these three Chinese fighters is the absence of coaching they have with them this evening. None of these three were able to secure visas for their cornermen and they now are navigating America for the first time on their own, and making very high profile debuts. It would be nice to see one or two secure victories but I think it is going to be an uphill battle. Rodrigo Vargas by Decision
  • Nick: Kazula Vargas has yet to win a fight under the UFC banner. He is a powerful striker with enough strength to put a lot of guys away, but he’s rough around the edges and often finds himself in trouble when he overexerts himself. He usually comes out strong but he’s been known to fade as the fight wears on. Rong Zhu is a highly technical striker with an aggressive style and outstanding countering ability. He is an extremely highly regarded prospect at only 21-years old, but he already has 20 professional fights. He really hasn’t faced a high level of competition, but he has flashed a lot of talent in some of his more recent matchups. Vargas is tough so I expect him to try to pressure Zhu here, but after some early success he’s going to become less and less dangerous. I do feel the line is a bit too wide here as we have yet to see Rong Zhu tested at this level, but Vargas is only a minor step up. As long as he protects himself early he should pull away as this fight wears on. Rong Zhu by Round Three Submission
  • GB: Rong Zhu by Round Three KO

Danaa Batgerel -210 (DK $8500, FD $18) vs Kevin Natividad +170 (DK $7700, FD $12)

  • Anthony: This should be a fun bout at bantamweight between Danaa Batgerel and Kevin Natividad. We have seen some flashes from Natividad that are promising but he really is not that high level at this point of his career. The name quicksand implies a grappling heavy style which Natividad does implement, just not all that well. In this fight I expect Batgerel to pick him apart on the feet so it will be key for Natividad to make this fight ugly if hoping to come out victorious. We have seen him knocked out on several occasions already and that is a major concern for him again here. Batgerel has shown a good chin and excellent finishing ability. He has a chance to win this fight with a technically sound decision, but I think it is more likely that he turns Natividad’s lights out. He is a fighter I am certainly interested in rostering on both FanDuel and DraftKings this evening. Danaa Batgerel by Round One KO
  • Nick: Kevin Natividad is well-rounded with the ability to hang pretty much everywhere. His wrestling seems to be more developed than his striking, but he sometimes has issues putting damage on opponents once he gets a fight to the mat. More than half of Natividad’s total wins have come via knockout, but most of those came against weak and mediocre competition. He does a good job following up his jab to start combos, and he packs a lot more power than we usually see out of a guy with his frame. Danaa Batgerel is an extremely powerful and technical striker. However, similarly to Natividad we haven’t really seen him tested against a high level of competition. Natividad will have a grappling advantage here, but I expect this fight to take place mostly on the feet. Both guys have power, but Batgerel has never been KO’d and Natividad was in both of his professional losses. I could see this one going either way, but I’ll back the chin of the favorite here. Danaa Batgerel by Round One KO
  • GB: Danaa Batgerel by Decision

Preliminary Card- Starts 8:00pm EST

Pat Sabatini -265 (DK $8800, FD $19) vs Tristan Connelly +210 (DK $7400, FD $10)

  • Anthony: I have been going back and forth on this featherweight bout between Pat Sabatini and Tristan Connelly all week. Connelly is a very scrappy fighter who has lost just one bout in his past ten walks. He primarily fights at lightweight but dropped ten pounds for this contest and most recently pulled off a huge upset at 170. He is truly happy to fight anyone, anywhere, and that grit is what makes him an attractive dog play once again. However, Sabatini is the more natural featherweight entering this bout. He has excellent hand speed and all-around striking. I am fairly certain that he gets the better of Connelly on the feet but this fight will more than likely be decided by exchanges on the mat. Connelly has won tough fights by out grappling opponents in the past but I think Sabatini’s experience rolling at Renzo Gracie Philly likely has him ready to defend things in this bout. I do not feel comfortable betting on either side of this one but the pick is going to be Sabatini. Neither of these guys are very appealing DFS plays in my opinion as I expect this bout to go the distance. Pat Sabatini by Decision
  • Nick: Sabatini is a well-rounded fighter with decent striking ability and slick BJJ. He’s making his UFC debut here, but he has faced decent competition as a former Featherweight Champion of CFFC. He is still unproven in a lot of ways, but he appears skilled enough to stick with the roster for a while. Tristan Connelly hasn’t fought since 2019, when he pulled off a huge upset over Michel Pereira. He weaponized his cardio in that spot. Pereira spent too much time showboating and Connelly had enough patience to take advantage as the fight wore on. Sabatini is good in scrambles, he has shown solid body-lock takedown ability and I feel his clearest path to victory here will be to ground Connelly as much as possible. That being said, it is no easy task. Connelly’s greatest strengths are his toughness and grit. He has decent takedown defense and he’s definitely too cheap for his upside here. While I disagree with the line, I am siding with Sabatini as a favorite. I feel like he has shown improvements in most of his recent fights. He is the younger and more explosive fighter and I think he gets it done in this spot against a game but far less technical Connelly. Pat Sabatini by Decision
  • GB: Tristan Connelly by Round Two Submission

Brendan Allen -165 (DK $8400, FD $15) vs Karl Roberson +135 (DK $7800, FD $13)

  • Anthony: Here we have a very close fight at middleweight between Brendan Allen and Karl Roberson. It is striker versus grappler here in a fight that will likely be decided inside the distance. Allen had been the winner of seven consecutive bouts before getting knocked out by Sean Strickland in his most recent appearance. He was seriously outboxed in that fight and could run into the same exact issue today against Roberson, but the biggest error made by Allen was being content to stand and trade. I expected him to find success grappling with Strickland and am anticipating that same result if he does indeed shoot for the takedown. Roberson has been submitted in the first round of his three professional losses. He struggles to protect his neck against high level grapplers and desperately needs to keep things standing in order to emerge victorious today. Although it is tough backing Allen after his last loss, I am going back to the well with him here. In my eyes he is still a threat in this weight class and just a few takedowns should be sufficient in securing this win. Brendan Allen by Round One Submission
  • Nick: We have an interesting match-up here at middleweight between two fighters coming off losses. Allen isn’t as good of a striker as Roberson, but he does throw enough volume to keep things close on the feet. He’s coming off an ugly knockout loss to Sean Strickland in which he spent too much time standing, so I’m expecting him to go back to leaning on his strengths here, his BJJ and submission skills. Roberson has solid enough boxing that Allen should know better than to sit in the pocket with him. It’s important that Allen keeps his chin tucked and avoids a big shot from Roberson, but as long as he does he should find the takedowns he needs for a finish. Each of Roberson’s last three losses have come via submission. I’m expecting a similar fate for him here. Brendan Allen by Round One Submission
  • GB: Brendan Allen by Round One Submission

Dwight Grant -200 (DK $9200, FD $20) vs Stefan Sekulic +160 (DK $7000, FD $9)

  • Anthony: I am intrigued by this matchup at welterweight of Dwight Grant and Stefan Sekulic. In his last bout, Grant was a few clean shots away from finishing Daniel Rodriguez inside of the first round. After dropping D-Rob he pounced and overexerted himself a bit too hard chasing the finish. As a result we quickly saw the tides turn and Rodriguez rally to finish him in that same first round. He has exceptional power for this division, not only dropping D-Rod who has a granite chin but also collecting six more professional wins via knockout. Sekulic has good grappling that he may try to challenge Grant with here, but he is also usually game to stand and trade with opponents. I see this fight being all Grant for as long as it stays standing, which likely will dictated by the more powerful Grant. I could see him being a bit more tentative, learning a lesson from his previous fight not to rush the finish. However, I believe that when it presents itself we see Grant capitalize today. Dwight Grant by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Dwight Grant recently left one of the better camps in the country in AKA. He is fairly well-rounded with accurate striking but he doesn’t really throw a ton of volume. He has knockout power, but if he doesn’t finish his fights early he usually fades as things wear on. In spite of these flaws, he’s the rightful favorite in this spot. Sekulic has not fought since 2018 and at weigh-ins Grant appeared a lot stronger and more physically imposing. I don’t want to over invest in Grant in this spot because he has shown issues in both his chin and his cardio. Still, I do think he gets the win. Dwight Grant by Round One KO
  • GB: Dwight Grant by Round Two KO

Randy Brown -145 (DK $8700, FD $16) vs Alex Oliveira +120 (DK $7500, FD $12)

  • Anthony: The featured prelim will also take place at welterweight and feature Alex Oliveira versus Randy Brown. Cowboy Oliveira has always been a fan favorite and received a very warm welcome from the fans in Jacksonville during ceremonial weigh-ins. He is an all-action fighter, showing very diverse striking and the ability to finish fights on the mat. He is quite the journeyman, it is just unfortunate that he never really found success against the higher level competition he faced. Randy Brown is eerily similar, with a lot of UFC wins but losses against higher ranked fighters such as Vincente Luque, Niko Price and Belal Muhammed. Both are finishers, but this fight will likely be a bit less action packed than you may expect based on their complimentary styles. I see it being quite the dance but Brown has a significant size advantage and likely dictates at what level this takes place. I think he has the power advantage over Cowboy on the feet and the ability to control him if things do hit the mat. It is a super volatile fight to pick but I side ever so slightly with Randy Brown. Randy Brown by Decision
  • Nick: Cowboy Oliveira is known as one of the more entertaining fighters in this division. He is extremely active when he’s in the cage, is very well-rounded and does an excellent job closing distance against a wide range of opponents. His hyper-aggressiveness sometimes puts him in bad positions, which could provide a window for a powerful striker in Randy Brown. Oliveira is well-versed on the ground, but it is seeming more and more that he prefers to keep most of his fights on the feet. Brown will have a slight reach advantage here. Oliveira usually tries to strike at range against most opponents, but he won’t be able to lean on that game plan in this matchup. Brown should be able to match Oliveira’s energy early on, but he’ll have to be careful to manage his cardio as he’s been known to gas late in fights. That being said, Oliveira has the same cardio issues. Brown may start to fade as this fight wears on, but Oliveira will be right there with him. I could see Brown ending this one early if Oliveira isn’t careful, but I think it’s more likely that as this fight wears on each guy becomes less dangerous. Regardless of when it ends, I am siding with the favorite in this spot. I feel like Oliveira is a bit too far past his prime and undersized at 170. Randy Brown by Decision
  • GB: Alex Oliveira by Decision

Main Card- Starts 10:00pm EST

Jimmy Crute -210 (DK $8900, FD $19) vs Anthony Smith +170 (DK $7300, FD $12)

  • Anthony: The main card opens with a light heavyweight bout between Anthony Smith and Jimmy Crute. This fight will be a big step up in competition for Crute who has looked excellent in his young career. His only loss thus far came against Misha Cirkunov but he has since finished two opponents inside of the first round. The path to victory will be wrestling Smith to a convincing decision, although Crute certainly has the skills to finish most opponents. I see him taking advantage of Smith’s pour takedown defense but struggling to keep up with Lionheart on the feet. It is peculiar to see the former contender lined as such an underdog here, especially since Crute has not proven himself against this talented of opponents. I like the jiu jitsu of Smith and think all the value is on him in this bout. He struggled in this cage against Glover Teixeira, but the larger octagon will certainly help him defend shots better than he was able to versus Aleksandar Rakić. He is a very appealing play on both sites but particularly FanDuel as he will need to defend a few takedowns in order to win. Anthony Smith by Round Three Submission
  • Nick: Anthony Smith was a potential title contender before he was decimated by Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakić in his last two losses. He was dominated via grappling in both of those bouts, as he’s generally been having issues with bigger and stronger light heavyweights. He looked good his last time out in a win against Devin Clark, but he’s definitely on the decline. Many believe he’d be a lot more successful if he could cut to 185 pounds. Crute is one of the more exciting prospects we have at light heavyweight. He’s a powerful striker but many of his wins have come thanks to his outstanding submission ability. Crute has a better than 80 percent takedown accuracy. He is often so aggressive, that he gasses out if unable to put his opponents away early. However, that hasn’t been much of an issue for him as four of his last five wins have come via first round finish. Smith has excellent BJJ and he should be able to negate most of Crute’s strengths on the mat. However, I don’t see Smith finding much success grappling offensively. Additionally, while Smith is definitely a tough out – I think Crute is far more likely to finish this fight. He is the more powerful and explosive striker at his point in his career. I won’t deny Smith definitely has an experience advantage here. However, I like what I’ve seen from Crute enough to back him as a favorite in this spot. Jimmy Crute by Round Two KO
  • GB: Jimmy Crute by Round Two KO

Chris Weidman -130 (DK $7900, FD $14) vs Uriah Hall +110 (DK $8300, FD $15)

  • Anthony: This is a middleweight rematch over ten years in the making between Chris Weidman and Uriah Hall. It was the first career loss for Hall and one that he has wanted to get back ever since. They squared off in Atlantic City, New Jersey which is not far from where both these fighters call home. Now they meet on the back nine of their careers, both coming off much needed victories. Hall was a bit hesitant in his most recent fight against Anderson Silva but I am giving a pass. It is always difficult for fighters standing across the cage from the legendary Spider, and he had five rounds with which to work and was likely conserving his energy. Hall will want to keep things standing here today against the All-American wrestler and I think we see him do just that. He has solid takedown defense and the only way Weidman finds success in this bout is by neutralizing Hall’s dangerous strikes. I see things being back and forth early but as Hall stuff takedowns and pieces up Weidman, he clearly starts to pull away. Weidman is just 2-5 in his last seven fights and impossible to trust against high level strikers. He has a glass chin and all five of his career losses have come by knockout. Uriah Hall by Round Three KO
  • Nick: Weidman is coming off a solid win over Omari Akhmedov. He neutralized Akhmedov with effective position control and while his cardio was spotty at times he got the job done winning convincingly on the scorecards. Hall is coming off a win over Anderson Silva. He scored the knockout over Silva in the fourth round after very little activity in that one. He didn’t look great, but he did enough to score that win over a legend in Silva and he carries that momentum into this match-up. Hall’s power advantage here will be significant. Six of his last seven victories have come via knockout. He is a highly technical kickboxer, but he’s often criticized for his lack of volume and urgency. Hall has a decent 69 percent takedown defense, but I do expect Weidman to ground him in this spot. I see Weidman having a lot of success early here, but I’m not confident in his cardio holding up as this fight wears on. I’d be confident in backing Hall here, but I’m a bit concerned that his mediocre takedown ability and general inactivity will cost him if this fight hits the scorecards. I’m not really confident in either side here, but I’ll go with Weidman to score the takedowns he needs to stay out of danger. Chris Weidman by Decision
  • GB: Chris Weidman by Decision

Valentina Shevchenko -500 (DK $9500, FD $22) vs Jessica Andrade +350 (DK $6700, FD $15)

  • Anthony: The first of three title fights takes place at women’s flyweight between the champion Valentina Shevchenko and challenger Jessica Andrade. The Brazilian is a powerhouse regardless of weight class and immediately earned this shot after decimating Katlyn Chookagian in her 125-pound debut. While she does have excellent BJJ, it is the strength of Andrade that is most intimidating. She secured the strawweight strap against Rose Namajunas in 2019 with a vicious slam knockout. I do not see her having any of that success against Shevchenko though. The champion has looked untouchable, with her only losses coming to Liz Carmouche in 2010 and in two tight decisions versus Amanda Nunes. Her striking is amazing, with insane speed and accuracy. She really is a sniper and I see her picking apart Andrade from range in this fight. In the larger cage, she will have plenty of room to work her powerful kickboxing. She is well versed on the mat too, making any path to victory for Andrade difficult to pinpoint. Obviously as a massive favorite, it is tough to get action on Shevchenko here. This is actually one of the better betting lines you will see for her though as Andrade is a more than game opponent. I think you can lay that juice if you want to as I seriously doubt we see the belt change hands tonight. And still. Valentina Shevchenko by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Shevchenko is one of the best female strikers to ever step in a cage. She is a highly technical kickboxer with extremely powerful kicks and enough speed to land a variety of combinations against anyone in this division. Shevchenko will have a considerable reach advantage in this spot. She is a far more technical and polished striker in comparison to Andrade. Shevchenko has been leaning on her grappling a bit more lately, but in this particular match-up I expect her to mostly stand and trade. Andrade is one of the tougher tests Shevchenko has seen over the past couple of years. However, it’s a test I expect her to pass. Andrade is most successful when she’s able to overwhelm smaller opponents, but Shevchenko doesn’t fit that mold. Shevchenko should be able to lean on her striking at range here, stay on the feet and use her grappling to keep things where she wants them. No matter where this fight goes, I expect Valentina will have her way with the much smaller Andrade. It has to be said that Andrade is extremely tough and won’t be as easy of an out as some of Shevchenko’s past opponents. However, I still don’t see this challenger on the level of the champion. And still. Valentina Shevchenko by Round Three KO
  • GB: Valentina Shevchenko by Decision

Zhang Weili -210 (DK $9000, FD $21) vs Rose Namajunas +170 (DK $7200, FD $17)

  • Anthony: The next fight will decide the strawweight champion and Zhang Weili makes her third defense against Thug Rose Namajunas. Her last bout was one of the greatest of all time as she got the split decision nod over Joanna Jędrzejczyk. I thought it was a fight that she certainly won, displaying extremely high volume striking and unflappable pressure. It will likely be a similar game plan today as she faces Namajunas who certainly has the striking chops to throw down like Joanna did. I do not think that is the game plan Pat Barry wants to see though. Although she can strike with Weili it is not going to be easy given the champion’s volume. It will not be easy to take things to the mat either as Weili retains a 100 percent takedown defense entering this bout. It is going to be an awesome scrap but I have to put my money on Weili here. She has proven herself to me. The champion has been victorious in 21 consecutive bouts and I do not see the streak ending today. Namajunas was +500 when she took the belt off Jędrzejczyk in 2017. I find it odd that she is just +170 here and will be betting Weili rather confidently as a result. And still. Zhang Weili by Decision
  • Nick: Both of these girls are built for five rounds, meaning conditioning shouldn’t really be a factor here. Zhang Weili is coming off one of the greatest fights in the history of the sport, a decision win and title defense over Joanna Jędrzejczyk. That match-up took place almost entirely in the middle of the octagon, but this match-up with Namajunas poses a different type of threat. A decent striker, Namajunas is going to try to lean on her superior grappling in this spot. She is a well-versed striker, but Weili’s power and pressure is likely to break her down if she stands with her for too long. Namajunas is certainly a live underdog here. She does have enough ability on the feet to potentially hang with Zhang long enough to ground her and find a submission. However, the odds of that seem slim. Zhang has a ridiculous 100 percent takedown defense in the UFC. Rose may look good on the feet early, but I expect Zhang to wear on her through the later rounds and eventually take over on volume and damage. This should be a really fun match-up and one of the more competitive fights on the card. However, I’m siding with the favorite to keep this on the feet and retain her title. And still. Zhang Weili by Round Four KO
  • GB: Zhang Weili by Round Two KO

Kamaru Usman -375 (DK $9400, FD $23) vs Jorge Masvidal +285 (DK $6800, FD $16)

  • Anthony: The card closes with a rematch for the welterweight strap between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. These two fought in July of last year with Masvidal flying to Abu Dhabi on just six days’ notice to save that main event. This fight will likely be very similar to the first one. We saw Usman stand and strike with Gilbert Burns in his last title defense, but wrestling is the clear path to victory against a guy with hand speed like Masvidal. Right now, Usman is clearly in his prime and not only demonstrating power in the octagon but excellent Fight IQ as well. On a full camp we will see Masvidal better prepared to defend takedowns and fight back to his feet, something he will likely be able to do for a full twenty-five minutes. However, Usman is not going to slow down and his promise of a finish looks a lot more likely after sawing through Gilbert Burns. Fans try to diminish his accomplishments but two of his previous three fights were finishes and he is remaining an extremely active champion. We did see him rocked a bit in the Burns fight, and Masvidal has the knees and elbows to knock out anybody in the promotion. However, Usman is as motivated as ever and his time with Trevor Wittman is already paying dividends in the striking department. I think he puts on a show here. And still. Kamaru Usman by Round Four KO
  • Nick: This is a rematch of a fight that took place over the summer. Usman won convincingly via decision in that spot, leaning on his wrestling to control position and grind on Masvidal for the better part of five rounds. Masvidal did take the first match-up with Usman on just six-days’ notice, but many believed Masvidal had already been training for months. Masvidal is absolutely the better striker out of the two, but Usman is a dramatically better grappler. I feel like the gap in grappling is wider than the gap in striking, mostly because Usman has shown both excellent defense and a chin on the feet. He recently began training under an excellent striking coach in Trevor Wittman, and his jab and his overall boxing ability seems to improve every time we see him fight. I don’t really think Usman is anywhere near Masvidal in terms of offensive striking, but he doesn’t really need to be in this spot. Masvidal will find his shots, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to keep Usman from ultimately pressuring him up against the cage and down to the mat. No matter how you slice it, Usman has the clearer path to victory here. He has no reason to stand and trade with Masvidal and I expect he scores his takedowns early and often on his way to another victory. He is my favorite pay up option on either DFS site. And still. Kamaru Usman by Decision
  • GB: Kamaru Usman by Round Three KO

*Anthony, Nick and GB play on both FanDuel and DraftKings, and although they express their opinions, they may also implement other plays and strategies without notice