Hello Daily Play Action! Welcome to our collaborative coverage of UFC Vegas 25: Reyes vs. Prochazka. It was great having fans back in the arena last weekend, but now we return to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas for a very fun slate of free fights. 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.
- Anthony: 94-65-1 (Last Year 223-145-6)
- Nick: 94-65-1 (Last Year 235-133-6)
- GB: 83-76-1 (Last Year 216-152-6)
Fight odds are as listed from Bovada and last updated 10:30 AM EST 5-1-2021
Preliminary Card- Starts 7:00pm EST
Luke Sanders -145 (DK $8700, FD $15) vs Felipe Colares +115 (DK $7500, FD $14)
- Anthony: The card opens with a featherweight bout between Luke Sanders and Felipe Colares. This is one of the lowest level fights we have had on the docket for quite a while. Colares is a respectable 9-2 in his professional career but has had a rather dicey UFC run thus far. He is a rather talented standup fighter with good Muay Thai but lacks the overall skills to excel in this promotion. The good news for him is that Sanders does not belong here either. As bad as Colares’ resume is Sanders’ is much worse. In his past six bouts he beat a washed Renan Barão, retired the now 8-6 Patrick Williams as a huge favorite, and got finished four times. There is no way I am picking him here and at the current odds I do not mind a small bet on Colares instead. It is not going to be the end of the world if you miss this fight or skip it all together when building lineups. The matchup is extremely volatile. Felipe Colares by Decision
- Nick: Sanders is fairly well-rounded with solid striking ability. However, his hyper-aggressive style sometimes leads to him getting caught with counters. He has enough strength in his base to hang in grappling exchanges, but he certainly finds most of his success on the feet. In many of his recent fights he seems to be “winning until he isn’t.” Meaning he comes out strong and looks effective early, but seems to fade and abandon his technique as a fight wears on. Colares is a BJJ Blackbelt with decent striking ability, but we really haven’t seen him tested extensively against a high level of competition. He’s not going to want to stand and trade with Sanders here, so his success likely depends on his ability to take this fight to the mat. Sanders has just a 53% Takedown Defense in the UFC. Five of Colares’ nine professional Wins have come via Submission. Colares certainly has a path to victory here as an underdog, but I’m not confident in his ability to take Sanders to the mat. Yes, Sanders has been taken down a lot in his previous fights – but those were mostly against superior wrestlers. I’ll have shares of both fighters for DFS purposes. However, Sanders should have enough ability to squeak this out on the scorecards. He’s the far better striker and his wrestling ability should keep this fight standing. Luke Sanders by Decision.
- GB: Felipe Colares by Decision
Andreas Michailidis -230 (DK $9100, FD $20) vs KB Bhullar +185 (DK $7100, FD $10)
- Anthony: Next is an interesting middleweight bout between KB Bhullar and Andreas Michailidis. Bhullar left a bad taste in my mouth after his most recent performance. He suffered his first career loss at the end of a Tom Breese power jab. In that fight he threw a healthy dose of leg kicks and kept his hands rather low, two flaws that Michailidis should have no problem capitalizing on. With Bhullar’s porous takedown defense it should be no problem bringing him to the mat, especially if Michailidis is able to catch a couple kicks. A takedown heavy approach would be the best game plan for the Greek, not only to secure points but to keep Bhullar’s hands down and chin exposed. I see him controlling Bhullar with ease in this bout and eventually finding the seminal blow. He is the shorter man, but has experience fighting at higher weights than this. It is a fight that I expect him to win. Andreas Michailidis by Round Two KO
- Nick: Michailidis is returning to 185 here after getting KO’d last time out against Modestas Bukauskas at 205. He’s a powerful and aggressive striker, but he often leads himself open to counters and there are questions around his cardio coming into this match-up. Luckily for him, he has a very winnable fight in this spot against a fighter in KB Bullar, a fighter who was totally embarrassed his last time out against Tom Breese. Bullar came out flat in that match-up. Breese completely picked Bullar apart on the feet until he put him down with a jab. While I don’t see Michailidis on Breese’s level, he should have enough power to put Bullar away here. The line might be a bit too wide as there are a lot of question marks around both of these guys. Still, I’m siding with the favorite. Andreas Michailidis by Round One KO.
- GB: Andreas Michailidis by Round Two KO
Loma Lookboonmee -400 (DK $9400, FD $21) vs Sam Hughes +300 (DK $6800, FD $8)
- Anthony: Here we have a strawweight bout between Loma Lookboonmee and Sam Hughes. Lookboonmee has looked fine to start her UFC career, showing just how good her striking is in a great performance last fall against Jinh Yu Frey. It is always good to back Tiger Muay Thai products training under the Hickman brothers and Lookboonmee falls into that category. My only issue with this bout is the absurd odds. I seemingly always get burned by large underdogs at women’s strawweight and there is no way I am touching Lookboonmee here. Hughes had a tough go in her UFC debut but that came against a very good fighter in Tecia Torres. She will certainly get pieced up if things stay on the feet here but there is a path to victory for her by bringing things to the mat. I might end up saying Phuket and throwing a few bucks on Hughes here, but Lookboonmee wins this fight most of the time. She does not win it 80 percent of the time though as the odds at -400 imply. Loma Lookboonmee by Decision
- Nick: We have an interesting match-up between two women that are likely better off fighting at Atomweight. Lookboonmee has an advanced Muy-Thai base, she’s a volume striker and most of her success comes in the clinch. She has shown continuous improvements at the UFC level, and she’s coming off an impressive Win over Jin Yu Frey. Sam Hughes was decimated her last time out against Tecia Torres. She never really got going in that spot, and it seems like there’s a decent chance she’s in the UFC sooner than she should be. The line does feel a bit wide here, as Lookboonmee is still developing. However, she’s seemingly much further along in her development than Hughes is. I doubt I pay the freight on her for DFS, but I’m siding with the favorite. Loma Lookboonmee by Decision.
- GB: Loma Lookboonmee by Decision
Poliana Botelho -290 (DK $8900, FD $21) vs Luana Carolina +230 (DK $7300, FD $9)
- Anthony: Here we have a women’s flyweight bout between Luana Carolina and Poliana Botelho. Yesterday we saw Carolina miss weight by over two pounds. It is not a good look for her as a former bantamweight and especially concerning given the fact she now faces a high-volume opponent. Botelho is a rather good striker who has excellent kicks and a solid clinch game. She is the far more technical striker of these two and a lot more defensively sound than Carolina. Neither of these women are that well versed on the mat, but the gruesome kneebar that Carolina most recently suffered sits fresh in my memory. Botelho does not have the technique to pull off a submission like that but I do give her the ever so slight edge on the ground as well. I am staying away from this bout after the weight miss but the odds seems right where they should be. Botelho has a bit further to climb in this division and should get past Carolina here. Poliana Botelho by Decision
- Nick: Botelho is coming off a tough decision loss to Gillian Robertson, but she looked decent in that fight as a +185 Underdog. Botelho is excellent at striking in the clinch. She made the mistake of engaging in grappling exchanges with Robertson in that spot, but she’s unlikely to make similar mistakes here against another woman who prefers to stand and swing. Luana Carolina is coming off an ugly kneebar loss to Ariane Lipski. She missed weight here and didn’t look great on the scale. Carolina is a high-volume striker that does an excellent job keeping pressure and pace on inferior opponents. However, Botelho feels like a tall task here. Botelho seems to have more power and land more accurately in exchanges. This should be a fun scrap I could see going either way, but once again I’m siding with the favorite. I see Botelho as landing the sharper and more damaging strikes. Poliana Botelho by Decision.
- GB: Poliana Botelho by Decision
Kai Kamaka III -155 (DK $8400, FD $16) vs TJ Brown +130 (DK $7800, FD $14)
- Anthony: This should be a very good featherweight bout between Kai Kamaka and TJ Brown. After two short notice bouts, Kamaka steps into the cage today with an eleven-week camp under his belt. He is a very proficient striker but at just 26-years-old he clearly has some growing left to do. In his most recent bout, Jonathan Pearce landed 5 of 7 takedowns before finishing him in the second round. That should be the exact game plan that Brown implements here, and I actually can trust him to do so with James Krause in his corner. He is the much bigger fighters and I do not see him having any issues pushing Kamaka around in this one. He is easily my most confident underdog play on the card. Even in a worst-case scenario I think he can at the very least keep Kamaka honest while standing. Definitely take a look at Brown when building your DFS lineups. TJ Brown by Round Three Submission
- Nick: When this fight is standing, I see Kamaka as having the clear advantage. He has excellent head movement, and while doesn’t throw much volume – the strikes he throws are meaningful and crisp. He has decent power for a Featherweight, but has never Won professionally via KO. TJ Brown is a decent wrestler with solid BJJ. He’s likely to look for the takedown here and his clearest path to victory is going to be to take this one to the mat. Kamaka has a terrible 37% Takedown defense in the UFC. He’s going to look like the much better fighter when these guys are standing and trading, but I’m not confident he can prevent Brown from taking this fight to the mat. Three of Kamaka’s professional losses have come via Submission. This one could go either way, but I’m siding with the underdog. As long as Brown’s cardio holds up here he has the much clearer path to victory. TJ Brown by Round Two Submission.
- GB: Kai Kamaka III by Round One KO
Luana Pinheiro -170 (DK $8500, FD $17) vs Randa Markos +140 (DK $7700, FD $12)
- Anthony: Now we return to women’s strawweight for this tilt between Luana Pinheiro and Randa Markos. It is the UFC debut for Pinheiro who looked excellent in her Dana White’s Contender Series fight last November. She really has not fought many high-level opponents yet, but every opponent put in front of her she has disposed of with relative ease. It is six consecutive first round wins for Pinheiro entering this one. Her striking is good, carrying a lot of power and great offensive footwork. She also has a good judo base to rely on and rather proficient jiu jitsu when things hit the mat. In a division like this there are certainly winnable fights for Pinheiro, and .500 Markos is one of them. Three rather young prospects have beaten the 35-year-old Markos as of late and a loss here likely marks the end of her UFC tenure. She may be able to outlast Pinheiro and find herself a decision win, but I really think the prospect gets the job done here. Based on her output and finishing ability I like Pinheiro a lot on DraftKings and FanDuel. Luana Pinheiro by Round Two Submission
- Nick: While Markos will definitely have the experience edge in this one, Pinheiro poses a lot of problems for her stylistically. She’s very aggressive with a high volume striking style on the feet, but her greatest strengths come from her wrestling base and Judo background. Markos might find some success early in this match-up, but she throws less volume than Pinheiro and she comes into this fight with only a 59% Takedown defense. Markos is a Submission threat in her own right, but I feel it’s far more likely that Pinheiro finds an advantageous position if this fight hits the mat. Pinheiro will need to be careful not to overexert herself here, but she’s very clearly the younger and fresher fighter in this spot. My confidence is low here as we’ve yet to see Pinheiro against this level of competition. Still, I feel she’s the rightful favorite. Markos is a live dog, but I’m siding with youth in this spot. Luana Pinheiro by Decision.
- GB: Luana Pinheiro by Decision
Main Card- Starts 10:00pm EST
Merab Dvalishvili -285 (DK $9000, FD $23) vs Cody Stamann +225 (DK $7200, FD $11)
- Anthony: The card continues with this bantamweight bout between Merab Dvalishvili and Cody Stamann. There are few fighters that command my attention like Dvalishvili, who I will always tune in to watch preform. He enters this bout on a five-fight win streak, extended most recently with a victory over John Dodson. After being thrown to the fire in his first two UFC bouts, it is nice to see Merab taking these gradual steps up in competition now. Stamann has been on his radar for a while after they were originally scheduled to do battle last winter. He is a very tough test but one I see Dvalishvili disposing of with the same strategy as usual. He has averaged nearly eight takedowns per fight and simply smothers opponents by dragging them to the mat. Stamann may be able to combat some takedowns with his American wrestling but Merab trains with even better wrestlers every day, including the division champion Aljamain Sterling. I will have exposure to him everywhere given his extremely high ceiling. He put up a DFS dud against Dodson who did a good job stuffing takedowns, but nonetheless I suggest going back to him here. The price on DraftKings makes him especially appealing. Merab Dvalishvili by Decision
- Nick: Merab is one of the best pure wrestlers there is at Bantamweight. He has shown an ability to score Takedowns from a wide range of positions and he’s set several UFC records for most takedowns in a fight. Merab should outclass Stamman on the mat in this spot, but by a much slimmer margin than we’ve seen in a Merab fight in quite a while. Stamman’s greatest strength is his powerful wrestling base. He’s decent on the feet, but most of his success has come via controlling position against inferior grapplers. Stamman is well rounded, but his grappling strengths are likely going to be nullified here against Dvalishvili. I don’t see either guy knocking out the other, so I’m siding with the favorite to get this done on the scorecards. Dvalishvili’s takedown heavy game-plan should help him score well here for DFS. This should be a fun scrap regardless. Merab Dvalishvili by Decision.
- GB: Merab Dvalishvili by Decision
Sean Strickland -285 (DK $9200, FD $22) vs Krysztof Jotko +225 (DK $7000, FD $10)
- Anthony: One of the matchups I am most excited for takes place here at middleweight between Sean Strickland and Krysztof Jotko. Both fighters enter on three fight win streaks, though they differ drastically in time frame. Strickland suffered a rather grueling motorcycle injury and subsequent two-year layoff but bounced back in a big way with two victories to close 2020. Jotko on the other hand fought just once last year beating Eryk Anders in May. They are both experienced UFC fighters with a lot of their best attributes residing in the standup. Jotko has unique southpaw striking with a kick heavy attack that causes a lot of issues for opponents. He can play the counter game well and has unusual entries that help him crash distance. Strickland is a much more traditional boxer, touching opponents a lot on the body and the head. It will likely be a full fifteen minutes on the feet and I believe Jotko is being underrated quite a bit by oddsmakers. He is very crafty and can certainly point fight his way to a victory here. Strickland’s win against Jack Marshman does not impress me and his victory over Brendan Allen felt rather lucky. I will buy back into in if he can get past Jotko but I do not see that happening tonight. Krysztof Jotko by Decision
- Nick: Both of these fighters are coming off of three consecutive Wins under the UFC banner. Strickland has only lost to an extremely high level of competition. He’s coming off an impressive KO over Brendan Allen his last time out. He’s an extremely high-level kickboxer with excellent takedown defense and a BJJ Brown Belt in his back pocket. He does an excellent job countering against a wide-range of strikers, and his footwork is amongst the class of the division. Krysztof Jotko is fairly well-rounded, but he doesn’t seem to have any singular standout skill. He’s a decent grappler and his boxing is fairly crisp, but I expect Strickland to outclass him no matter where this fight goes. This should be a fun scrap with Fight of the Night potential. Still, I’m siding with the favorite. I like Strickland to continue to build off his current momentum, keeping this fight on the feet and eventually finding Jotko’s chin. Sean Strickland by Round Two KO.
- GB: Krysztof Jotko by Round Three Submission
Ion Cutelaba -120 (DK $8200, FD $15) vs Dustin Jacoby +100 (DK $8000, FD $14)
- Anthony: Don’t miss this light heavyweight bout between Ion Cutelaba and Dustin Jacoby. Not surprisingly, we saw Cutelaba most recently starched by Magomed Ankalaev in their long-anticipated rematch. I believe that fight was not an issue of Cutelaba’s chin, but rather his opponent who could very well be wearing the division’s belt in the future. Cutelaba is a powerful striker who has a very well-rounded skillset he rarely relies on. It is frustrating to see him never go to the well with his wrestling base as he certainly could here against a lifelong kickboxer. However, I see Cutelaba beating Jacoby on the feet just as well as he could on the mat. He got a skeptical decision win against Maxin Grishin in his most recent bout and I really have not been impressed by him since his return to mixed martial arts. Cutelaba has the size on him as a true 205er and I see him putting Jacoby out with brute force rather than technical striking. At these odds it is an easy choice for me, but keep in mind that Cutelaba can rarely be trusted with your money given his Fight IQ. Let us hope this bout stays on after Cutelaba got physical at weigh-ins yesterday. Ion Cutelaba by Round One KO
- Nick: Dustin Jacoby has excellent striking ability. A former Glory Kickboxer, he brings a diverse arsenal of kicks and he generally does a good job using them to keep his opponents at range. Jacoby has a nice jab, a strong left hook, and he has continuously shown an ability to eat punches in order to throw them. Cutelaba is going to come out firing here, he always does. He’s hyper aggressive with serious power and explosiveness on the feet. He’s an underrated grappler as a lifelong Greco Roman Wrestler, but he doesn’t seem to lean on his grappling much in most of his fights. Jacoby has an excellent leg kick, but if he throws it excessively there’s a chance he creates opportunities for Cutelaba to take him down here. As long as Cutelaba executes a grappling heavy game plan this feels like his fight to lose. He’ll have to manage his cardio, but I feel like he bounces back in this spot. The longer this fight wears on, the more likely I think it is that Jacoby pulls off the upset. However, I’m siding with the favorite. Cutelaba’s recent losses have come against an extremely high level of competition and I just don’t see Jacoby on that level right now. Ion Cutelaba by Round Two KO.
- GB: Ion Cutelaba by Round One KO
Giga Chikadze -185 (DK $8600, FD $18) vs Cub Swanson +150 (DK $7600, FD $13)
- Anthony: The co-main event takes place at featherweight between Giga Chikadze and Cub Swanson. This is excellent matchmaking as we are certainly in for a good stand-up brawl between two fighters on tidy win streaks. Giga is thus far undefeated in the UFC, going 5-0 since his debut. He is not the highest volume striker but lands with cracking power that seems to sway the judges. It is very difficult for opponents to close the distance on him given the danger he possesses in his hands. The affectionately named Giga-kick is also a weapon he has perfected, a left liver kick that has hurt numerous foes. Swanson is a UFC veteran and a true test for Chikadze. He is past his prime years of beating the likes of Dustin Poirier and Charles Olivier but proved there is some gas in the tank most recently by knocking out Daniel Pineda. As slick as Swanson is though, Giga is a brutal matchup. He dwarfed Swanson and should be much bigger in the cage. The weight cut seemed a bit tougher for Chikadze this time around but I trust him here nonetheless. I do not think Swanson will have anywhere to hide and expect Chikadze to control this bout from start to finish. Giga Chikadze Decision
- Nick: Giga Chikadze is coming off 5-straight UFC Wins, but this is easily the toughest test he’s seen at this level. Swanson has wins over the likes of Dustin Poirier, Charles Oliveira, and Chad Mendes. He’s certainly past his prime, but he showed in his last fight (a knockout win over Daniel Pineda) that he still has enough power to end a fight on the feet and inside the distance. Swanson is going to have a grappling advantage here, and if he’s going to score the upset he’d be wise to lean on it against Chikadze. Chikadze is an extremely high-level kickboxer with excellent range. He throws extremely powerful kicks and his countering ability is extremely advanced. If this fight stays on the feet for three rounds, I expect Chikadze to Win convincingly. However, Swanson is extremely well rounded so he should be able to hang on the feet enough to get to the ground if he needs to. This is an extremely tough fight to call, but I’m siding with the value on the underdog. I expect Swanson to mix in his grappling and pull off the upset. My confidence level is low in this spot, but I think Swanson has enough left in the tank to score the Win. Cub Swanson by Round Three Submission.
- GB: Giga Chikadze by Round Two KO
Jiri Prochazka -125 (DK $8300, FD $19) vs Dominick Reyes +105 (DK $7900, FD $18)
- Anthony: We arrive at our main event at light heavyweight between Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka. The Czech fighter has catapulted up the rankings after his UFC debut against Volkan Oezdemir, a fight he won by second round knockout. He had grown up in the RIZIN promotion prior though, honing his craft and become a very formidable opponent. We often see Prochazka fighting with rather lackluster defense but dominating opponents nonetheless. His last nine wins have come by finish via punch or punches. He hits like a truck and is often either pressuring opponents with volume strikes or standing and trading with potshots and good head movement. The only loss he has suffered since 2013 came in the RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix after beating current Bellator Champion Vadim Nemkov earlier that same night. The reason this fight has given me so much trouble is due to the puzzle that is Reyes. He was once touted as the future champion of this division but now has suffered his first two career losses back-to-back, both in fights for the belt. Reyes absolutely has the technical advantage over Prochazka, I just worry about the power and speed difference. He could potentially take over in the later rounds of this one but I worry about him surviving that long first. It is an incredibly tough bout to predict but I lean ever so slightly with Prochazka. I personally will be splitting my exposures, playing Reyes on DraftKings and Prochazka in most if not all of my FanDuel builds. Jiri Prochazka by Round Two KO
- Nick: Jiri Prochazka is coming off nine consecutive Wins via KO. In all of his recent fights, Prochazka has come out aggressive and swinging. He has shown stellar power and an ability to close the distance quickly and violently. He sometimes overexerts himself and leaves himself open to counter shots, but he’s a dangerous opponent for anyone in this division. He’s coming off an impressive Knockout Win over a highly regarded Volkan Oezdemir as a +150 underdog. He was hyper-aggressive in that spot, but I’m encouraged by his interviews this week as it seems like he knows he needs to bring a more measured approach moving forward. Reyes is a lengthy southpaw, which could frustrate Prochazka at times as he’s forced to compromise his angles. He looked terrible his last time out against Jan Blachowicz, but prior to that match-up he managed an outstanding performance against the greatest Light Heavyweight of all time in Jon Jones. Reyes did an excellent job striking at range in that spot. He threw extremely effective counters and he kept things close on the scorecards for the entirety of Five Rounds. I could really see this match-up going either way, but I feel like Prochazka’s powerful aggressive style is enough to give Reyes fits. In many ways Prochazka’s style is similar to what Reyes struggled with against Blachowicz his last time out. I’ll have shares of both of these guys for DFS purposes, but I’m siding with Prochazka. Jiri Prochazka by Round Two KO.
- GB: Jiri Prochazka 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