UFC Fight Island 7: Holloway vs Kattar – 1.16.2021 – Staff Predictions, Picks, and DFS Analysis (FREE)

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Hello Daily Play Action! Welcome to our collaborative coverage of UFC Fight Island 7: Holloway vs Kattar. Our team enjoyed a lot of success debuting UFC coverage in 2020 and we all look forward to another great year of fights in 2021. Today’s preliminary card will be on ESPN+ but the main card is available to everybody airing live for the first time on ABC! 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 each card.

Nick: 235-133-6   Anthony: 223-145-6   GB: 216-152-6

Fight odds are as listed from Bovada and last updated 8:00 PM EST 1-15-2021

Preliminary Card- Starts 12:00pm EST

Austin Lingo -240 (DK $9000, FD $20) vs Jacob Kilburn +190 (DK $7200, FD $10)

  • Anthony: The first fight back from hiatus is a featherweight bout between Austin Lingo and Jacob Kilburn. Lingo had made his UFC debut early last year against fellow LFA alumnus Yousef Zalal. While he was not victorious in that bout, he threw some very nice counters and just missed connecting with the right-hand multiple times. I think that says more about the illusiveness of Zalal than it does about Lingo who should have a much easier night at the office in this bout. Kilburn is a well-rounded martial artist, but I feel he lacks the defense and patience needed to handle Lingo here. On the feet Lingo is the more heavy-handed striker and on the mat he has been known to lock up plenty of early submissions throughout his career. I think that Kilburn has a chance to win the late rounds and a decision if he can stay away from Lingo in the larger cage. However, I am ultimately siding with Lingo in this fight and expecting him to get the job done early. I think he has one of the higher DFS ceilings on this card. Austin Lingo by Round One KO
  • Nick: Lingo’s only professional loss came against a tough opponent in Youssef Zalal. He’s primarily a striker but fairly-well rounded with decent cardio and solid defensive grappling. Kilburn is a fairly well-rounded fighter as well, but he has no real standout skill. He’s a creative striker but seems to leave himself open to damaging counter-shots. His footwork is still developing and while he does have a good chin, it really hasn’t been tested yet against a high level of competition. Lingo definitely seems like the fighter further along in his development, so I expect Kilburn to be significantly outmatched here no matter where this fight goes. Lingo is fighting out of a hot camp in Fortis MMA. He is the more powerful and technical striker. He throws strong combinations and if he can find the opening, he has enough power to put Kilburn away early. Kilburn has submission ability, but Lingo is good enough on the mat to keep this fight standing. The price on Lingo does feel a bit hefty, but I’m comfortable backing him here as a favorite. Austin Lingo by Round One KO
  • GB: Jacob Kilburn by Decision

Sarah Moras -205 (DK $9100, FD $20) vs Vanessa Melo +165 (DK $7100, FD $8)

  • Anthony: Next on the card is a women’s bantamweight bout between Sarah Moras and Vanessa Melo. If you end up sleeping in late and missing this one, I do not think you will be heartbroken by the result. Melo enters on a three-fight losing steak and has yet to secure a win inside of the UFC. You would assume she gets her walking papers with a loss here but even that may not be the case given the company’s lack of depth in this division. The same can be said about Moras who is 2-5 in the UFC. I expect that she fishes for takedowns early and often in this bout in order to secure dominant position. However, I would not bet a penny on either of these fighters. Even though it is likely Moras can grind out a victory, her striking is awful and Melo can easily steal this decision by keeping things on the feet. There is some DFS appeal to Moras in this spot but I do not think it is justified by her high price tag. Sarah Moras by Decision
  • Nick: The loser of this fight likely loses their spot on the UFC roster. This is a low-level match-up between two women on the tail end of their respective careers. Melo is the slightly more powerful and technical striker. She’s generally more aggressive than Moras but she’s going to be significantly outclassed if this fight hits the mat. Moras has decent takedown ability, she controls her weight well and she can usually maintain position once she gets on-top of an inferior opponent. Moras is going to try to take Melo down here. If she’s successful, it’s likely her fight to lose. My confidence is very low here, but I’ll side with the better grappler. Sarah Moras by Decision
  • GB: Sarah Moras by Decision

Ramazan Emeev -300 (DK $9200, FD $20) vs David Zawada +230 (DK $7000, FD $9)

  • Anthony: Here we have a good welterweight bout between Ramazan Emeev and David Zawada. If you have not watched an Emeev fight before he is a very high-pressure fighter. He averages two takedowns per bout and usually does well controlling his opponents for at least a few minutes of every fifteen. In his last fight against Niklas Stolze, we also got to see some more striking from Emeev who has continued to develop over time. He will more than likely be able to dominate this fight but if things get dicey, it does help that the judges are scratching in their scores here in this corner of the world. While the path is pretty clear for Emeev he does need to be careful due to Zawada’s active guard. We have seen his teammate Magomed Ankalaev get caught in a triangle in a fight he dominated, but that is about my only concern in this one. As long as Emeev protects his neck for fifteen minutes I view this as his fight to lose. Ramazan Emeev by Decision
  • Nick: Zawada is coming off an impressive upset victory as a +260 underdog against Abubakar Nurmagomedov. His last two wins have come via choke, he has an extremely active guard and does an excellent job hunting for submissions from off his back. He has an aggressive style and is an interesting prospect, but Emeev is likely to control him in this spot. Emeev is a pressure grappler, he does a good job maintaining dominant position over a wide range of opponents. He has excellent takedown ability via both sweeps and more traditional single-leg entries. He’s not the most exciting fighter to watch, but he has a very high Fight IQ and leans on his strengths to consistently add wins to his resume. Emeev’s takedown ability and his chain wrestling makes him an enticing DFS play. I expect him to fight a smart reserved fight and grind out the decision as a favorite here. Zawada is live for a submission if anything, but I expect Emeev to use his advanced wrestling ability as a means to keep himself out of harms’ way. Ramazan Emeev by Decision
  • GB: David Zawada by Decision

Carlos Felipe -210 (DK $8600, FD $20) vs Justin Tafa +170 (DK $7600, FD $11)

  • Anthony: The next fight takes place at heavyweight between Carlos Felipe and Justin Tafa. I am a bit surprised that Felipe is this large a favorite after his previous two bouts in the UFC. His boxing is alright but nothing to write home about and I cannot agree with paying 2 to 1 on him in this spot. Justin Tafa is a very heavy hitter. He has a variety of strikes at his disposal and a powerful left hand that can put anyone out if it lands clean. It will be crucial for him to get the finish early in this fight as his cardio has been an issue in past performances. Juan Adams is not a special name to have on your resume, but Tafa finished him with ease in his last UFC appearance. His time training at Tiger Muay Thai certainly paid off in that bout. I liked what I saw out of Tafa on the scale and believe he has the slight size advantage in this matchup. While Felipe probably wins this fight if it goes the distance, Tafa can hurt him in the standup and likely survive at the very least if brought to the mat. I will be backing the underdog in this one and he is certainly on my radar when building GPP lineups. Justin Tafa by Round One KO
  • Nick: This is a fairly low-level match-up between two plodding heavyweights. Carlos Felipe is coming off a solid win over Yorgan de Castro, but he still seems raw. He hasn’t really shown enough volume or to precision to be a threat in this division, but he remains talented enough to keep his spot on the roster. Justin Tafa had a lot of hype coming into the promotion, but he’s been mostly a disappointment so far. He has knockout power, but his cardio is suspect and he hasn’t really shown technical boxing ability at the level of Felipe. Felipe showed a decent chin and decent enough submission defense in his fight against a quality prospect in Sergey Spivak. He never really had any big moments, but he did a good job staying active and keeping things closer on the scorecards than they probably should have been. He was frustrating to watch at times during his last fight, but as long as he can avoid a knockout blow from Tafa early he should be able to pick him apart in a boring fight and win this one on the scorecards. Tafa has GPP appeal in DFS due to his KO ability, but I don’t plan to have much exposure to either of these guys. Carlos Felipe by Round Three KO
  • GB: Carlos Felipe by Round One KO

Wu Yanan -115 (DK $8400, FD $19) vs Joselyne Edwards -115 (DK $7800, FD $11)

  • Anthony: This is an interesting matchup at bantamweight between Wu Yanan and Joselyne Edwards. I really have a difficult time trusting Yanan based on her UFC career thus far. Her losses are really disappointing even as a young prospect and her wins carry little water as well. She beat Lauren Mueller, but her other ten victories came against opponents with a combined two wins. Edwards does not have a much better resume but I am more impressed by her finishes. She throws a very wide arsenal of strikes and if this is a kickboxing match, I give her a slight advantage over Yanan. Additionally, I worry a bit about Yanan moving up and down so often in weight and now taking on a true 135 pounder. Edwards was able to fight Sarah Alpar to a split decision loss over five rounds and I believe she has the higher ceiling of these two. I ever so slightly lean her way in this contest. Joselyne Edwards by Decision
  • Nick: Edwards is taking this fight on short notice, but by most accounts this is a fairly close match-up. Yanan hasn’t really developed into the level of fighter than many thought she would have before she debuted in the UFC. She has a decent kicking game, but her strikes don’t seem to do much damage and her overall grappling ability leaves a lot to be desired. She’s still young and has been away for a long time, so chances are she’s improved here. Still, it’s tough to get overly excited about her as we haven’t had a chance to see her fight lately. Edwards is a powerful striker, but she sometimes overexerts herself and leaves openings for her opponents. Her skills look under-developed when you watch her on film and we really haven’t seen her tested against a high-level of competition. Yanan has the more impressive resume no matter how you slice it. Edwards is bigger and more athletic, but in terms of skill she doesn’t yet seem on Wu’s level. Both girls are fairly well-rounded without any stand-out skill, so I’m siding with who I feel has the advantage in both technical ability and experience. This should be a close fight and I wouldn’t want much money on either side. Wu Yanan by Decision
  • GB: Wu Yanan by Decision

Phil Hawes vs Nassourdine Imavov 

  • This fight has been postponed due to a issue with Hawes’ medical clearance 

Main Card- Starts 3:00pm EST

Dusko Todorovic -165 (DK $8500, FD $19) vs Punahele Soriano +135 (DK $7700, FD $12)

  • Anthony: The main card opens with a very good fight between Dusko Todorovic and Punahele Soriano. Both of these fighters are undefeated but somebody 0 has to go today. I really like what I have seen out of Todorovic thus far. His UFC debut was an easy ground and pound finish over Dequan Townsend and as long as he can avoid the power of Soriano I think he gets the job done here. Todorovic throws heavy hands when on the feet and will look to strike when he is comfortable there. On the ground he has a good jiu jitsu base not only to control opponents but to also lock in submissions when they present themselves. Soriano has gotten to this point with a strong left hand and a I think that he certainly has a punchers chance in this bout. However, Dusko seems to have him just slightly beat wherever this fight goes. Although neither has had their chin really tested I think that Todorovic will be able to dish out the damage at a rate far higher than Soriano. His striking is far more technical and I see him winning by knockout here. Both are good plays on DFS due to their high upside and Soriano’s extremely low price when compared to the current odds. Dusko Todorovic by Round Two KO
  • Nick: This is one of the more exciting fights on this entire card. These are two promising middleweight prospects, both undefeated professionally and coming off impressive debut victories under the UFC banner. Todorovic is an extremely powerful striker with crisp boxing and a solid BJJ game in his back pocket. He’s well rounded with a solid grappling base, but he seems most comfortable on his feet. He throws extremely powerful combos and uses the fence well to put his opponents in difficult positions. Soriano has a solid wrestling-base of his own, but like Dusko he’s also primarily a striker. He has a powerful left hand, and for someone lacking significant professional experience he looks fairly polished in exchanges. Soriano is live for a knockout here, but I think it’s more likely that Todorovic leans on his advanced footwork and head movement to pick Soriano apart at range. Todorovic has already scored a notable knockout win over Michel Pereira in 2018. Soriano may be a bit more powerful, but over the course of fifteen minutes I feel it’s more likely he drops Soriano than the other way around. This is the type of fight you’ll want to hedge a bit for DFS purposes. Still, I’m siding with the favorite to get things done inside the distance. Dusko Todorovic by Round Two KO
  • GB: Punahele Soriano by Decision

Joaquin Buckley -285 (DK $9400, FD $22) vs Alessio Di Chirico +225 (DK $6800, FD $8)

  • Anthony: Next on the card is another middleweight bout between Joaquin Buckley and Alessio Di Chirico. You likely will remember Buckley for his viral knockout last year over Impa Kasanganay. I have bet against him three fights in a row but will not be burning any more this time around. The UFC seems to clearly be building up his name, feeding him a Di Chirico who has lost three consecutive fights. The Italian has never been knocked out in his career but came awfully close in his last fight against Zak Cummings. Buckley is technically sound so even if the knockout weren’t to materialize, he is likely going to win this fight. My only concern would be these two throwing low volume and going to a decision based on their propensity to counter punch. Still, I think you have to take the side of Buckley in this cherrypicked matchup. I do not plan on betting him at this price tag but will have a lot of exposure in FanDuel and DraftKings contests. Joaquin Buckley by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Alessio Di Chirico is coming off three straight losses and he’s more than likely fighting for his job here. The UFC is fully behind promoting Joaquin Buckley. He’s far from a developed talent, but his knockout ability makes him an easy sell. Di Chirico is willing to stand and strike, but he leaves himself open to counter-shots which is likely going to lead to his defeat here. Buckley’s last four wins have come via knockout. Di Chirico has never been KO’d professionally, but he doesn’t throw enough volume to really keep Buckley off of him for fifteen minutes. Di Chirico has a solid chin and I don’t expect this one to come early, but Buckley should get the win again here. Joaquin Buckley by Round Two KO
  • GB: Joaquin Buckley by Round Two KO

Santiago Ponzinibbio -315 (DK $9300, FD $23) vs Li Jingliang +245 (DK $6900, FD $9)

  • Anthony: Up next is the featured bout at welterweight between Santiago Ponzinibbio and Li Jingliang. As a fight fan I am very happy to see Ponzinibbio finally making his return to the octagon. He is carrying a seven-fight win streak into this bout despite having not fought since November 2018. His health complications seem to have improved and now he faces a peculiar matchup in Li Jingliang. The Leech is stepping in here for the originally scheduled Muslim Salikhov and while he is certainly a top 25 guy in the division, this feels like a perfect tune up fight for Ponzinibbio. Seeing him scheduled against the likes of Salikhov, Robbie Lawler and Kamaru Usman give you an idea of just how high his ceiling is. I think he finds his way back into the welterweight rankings very soon after a win in this bout. Jingliang is a tough customer and has only lost to upper echelon guys as of late, but as I believe we see in the main event there are levels to this. His striking is not quite on the level of Ponzinibbio and I think by chopping down the leg of Jingliang the Argentinian will cruise to his eighth consecutive victory. I hesitate to bet much on him given the long layoff but will certainly have a lot of exposure in my DFS lineups. Santiago Ponzinibbio by Decision
  • Nick: Ponzinibbio was the class of this division before he was forced to miss more than two years with an extensive list of injuries. He’s coming off seven consecutive wins, but not having fought since 2018 there are a lot of questions around what version of him we’re going to see here. If he’s 100 percent healthy, he should roll through Li Jingliang here. Li is a powerful striker with a fun aggressive style, but he’s fairly one dimensional and his technical ability just isn’t on Ponzinibbio’s level. This should be a fun fight for however long it lasts, but I expect Ponzinibbio to recapture some of that momentum he was building back in 2018. Li has enough finishing ability that he could pull up an upset if Ponzonibbio’s health is compromised, but all signs seem to indicate he’s back and ready to go. Santiago Ponzinibbio by Round One KO
  • GB: Santiago Ponzinibbio by Round Three KO

Carlos Condit -175 (DK $8700, FD $16) vs Matt Brown +145 (DK $7500, FD $14)

  • Anthony: The co-main event is a great one at welterweight between Carlos Condit and Matt Brown. These are two legends of the sport finally competing after years of this fight falling apart. I am expecting this to be the final fight for Matt Brown regardless of the outcome as he just turned the ripe age of 40 a few days ago. This is the final fight on Carlos Condit’s contract, but I think he is a lot closer to his former self than Brown at this point in their careers. I would not be surprised to see him continue fighting in the UFC for a while after this one. In his last fight we saw Condit pick apart Court McGee. He looked extremely quick on his feet and fought a very smart game plan. I think his striking artistry will be on full display here in the 30-foot cage as he throws the kitchen sink at Brown. There is always danger getting inside the pocket against The Immortal and his strong elbows, but Brown has looked extremely slow in the stand up as of late. His only victories since 2016 came versus Ben Saunders and Diego Sanchez, while Condit continued to face the best of the best during that timeframe. This fight would have provided an exhilarating main event several years ago but at this point I think Condit has far more left in the tank. He should be able to get the job done with ease either by decision or a finish due to strikes. Carlos Condit by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Condit is a former Interim Champion. Throughout his career he’s been known as an extremely well-rounded fighter. He is an excellent striker with a serious BJJ game as well. He’s a fan favorite due to his relentlessness in the octagon and a willingness to pursue violence no matter who he’s squared-up against. I’m likely a bit biased here as I’ve been a fan of Condit’s for years. He’s well past his prime, but I feel like he still has enough dog in him to win match-ups similar to this one. Brown still has KO power, but he’s lost a lot of speed. He’s proved to be a bit chinny over the past few years and with a loss here he could be done fighting for the UFC. Brown does a good job mixing in vicious knees and elbows. If he can close the distance on Condit here there’s a good chance he gets him into a spot where he can cause a lot of damage. That being said, Condit is the far more technical boxer. He should be able to keep Brown at range and pick him apart from a distance. Condit has excellent footwork and he’s still pretty fast for a guy this deep into their career. Neither guy is what they once were, but Brown seems closer to the end of the road. Brown’s clearest potential back to victory here would be to try to take Condit to the ground and control position. Condit doesn’t have good takedown defense, but he’s extremely skilled off his back as a Brown Belt in BJJ. I think it’s more likely that these guys stand and swing, so I’m comfortable backing Condit here. I’m not sure he finds that knockout in this spot, but this feels like his fight to lose. Carlos Condit by Decision
  • GB: Carlos Condit by Decision

Max Holloway -165 (DK $8900, FD $21) vs Calvin Kattar +135 (DK $7300, FD $18)

  • Anthony: Our main even is a thriller of a featherweight bout between the former champion Max Holloway and rising star Calvin Kattar. Blessed Holloway holds just about every featherweight UFC record there is with over 1,000 significant strikes thrown in the octagon. It is crazy to think he is a mere 29 years old given all he already accomplished, especially because his “young” counterpart here is three years his senior. While Kattar carries a lot of power and throws excellent boxing combinations, I think it will be extremely difficult for him to keep up with Holloway for five round. Max has a very high output and excellent spatial awareness inside of the cage. We often see him angle off well after strikes which I believe to be a huge factor against a guy as heavy handed as Kattar. While there certainly is an argument that Kattar has the best boxing in the division, I think that Holloway still has a slight edge. Even conceding the title of “better boxer” to Kattar, I think Holloway is superior in every remaining aspect of mixed martial arts. He has competed at the highest level for a very long time and now looks to be in the best shape of his life entering a featherweight bout. Kattar is a very game opponent and I would not be surprised if he takes a few rounds from Holloway in this fight, but I do not see him being the first opponent ever knocking out the former champion. The reach of Max will also play a major factor in deciding this one. I am betting Holloway in this spot given the value on the current line, and absolutely loading up on this bout in my DFS lineups. It is going to be a 25-minute standup war and I cannot wait to see it. Max Holloway by Decision
  • Nick: This is an excellent main event match-up between two of the UFC’s more technically gifted strikers. This is the first time in four-years that Holloway is fighting without a belt on the line. He’s coming off a controversial loss to champion Alexander Volkanovski, so he still sits as the top featherweight contender in the world. This is a huge step up for Kattar, but one he’s very happy to take because if he pulls off the upset here he may be in line for a title shot soon. Kattar will come out aggressive and should do some damage early as Max works out his timing. Holloway came out aggressive his last time out, but he usually throws mostly feints early setting up shots for later rounds. Max has become known for his ridiculous chin and durability. He’s willing to eat shots to throw them, but he does a good job assessing the power of his opponents and avoiding trouble when he needs to. Holloway was winning convincingly early on in his last bout but it seemed he got too comfortable as the fight wore on. I expect him to learn from this mistake here. Kattar is an outstanding boxer but I still feel like Holloway is on another level. These are two of the most elite strikers in the division, but Holloway’s abilities are just a bit more eclectic and advanced. As good as Kattar is, Holloway has seen his style before. If this fight stays on the feet (and I expect it to) Holloway should pull away comfortably over the course of five rounds. This is a rare fight in that I actually think there’s viability to stacking it for DFS purposes. Both strikers are extremely durable and they both throw a ton of volume. It wouldn’t shock me if Kattar caught Holloway with a big shot, but Max has never been KO’d before. Max Holloway by Decision
  • GB: Max Holloway 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