UFC Vegas 31: Makhachev vs Moises – 7.17.2021 – Staff Predictions, Picks, and DFS Analysis (FREE)

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Hello Daily Play Action! Welcome to our collaborative coverage of UFC Vegas 31: Makhachev vs Moises. After a stacked card last weekend, the UFC returns to the Apex with a solid eleven fight slate. 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.

Lastly, if you are in search of even more combat sports content be sure to visit RingwormMMA.com! This site is dedicated to providing MMA, boxing and gambling content to fight fans around the world.

Current Record

  • Anthony: 155-109-2 (Last Year 223-145-6)
  • Nick: 153-111-2 (Last Year 235-133-6)
  • GB: 145-119-2 (Last Year 216-152-6)

Fight odds are as listed from Bovada and last updated 9:45 AM EST 7-17-2021

Preliminary Card- Starts 7:00pm EST

Rodrigo Nascimento -360 (DK $9000, FD $21) vs Alan Baudot +270 (DK $7200, FD $8)

  • Anthony: The card opens with two low level heavyweights, Rodrigo Nascimento and Alan Baudot. Neither fighter is all that big for the division and I doubt they hang long with any of the top fifteen names. That was proven in Nascimento’s last bout when he was quickly finished by Chris Daukaus. He is a grappling specialist, so I was not surprised seeing him overwhelmed by heavy boxing pressure. After suffering that first career loss I see him being more urgent to secure a takedown here. Baudot is going to be more willing to strike but I do not like his chances unless he can also connect with something early. Nascimento as a black belt should have no problem locking something up if he does in fact get Baudot to the mat. I see him adding to his list of six submission wins here but cannot confidently bet Nascimento at such a high price. Rodgrigo Nascimento by Round One Submission
  • Nick: Rodrigo Nascimento is coming off the first loss of his career, falling to a highly regarded prospect in Chris Daukaus. Nascimento enters this matchup with six of his eight wins coming via submission. He’s a decorated BJJ black belt, who in almost all of his fights tries to drag things to the mat as early as possible. He made the mistake of standing with Daukaus a bit too long his last time out, but I fully expect him to return to his strengths in this spot and attempt to work Baudot to ground early on. Baudot has a decent Judo base, but he hasn’t really shown an ability to find success grappling against larger opponents. Baudot will weigh-in relatively close to the limit here, but he still seems small for a heavyweight. I expect Nascimento to work for an early takedown until he finds another submission victory. Baudot is a talented kickboxer and he does have a decent range of powerful strikes, but Nascimento is the rightful favorite here due to the discrepancy in styles. Rodrigo Nascimento by Round One Submission
  • GB: Rodgrigo Nascimento by Round Two Submission

Francisco Figueiredo -330 (DK $8900, FD $20) vs Malcolm Gordon +240 (DK $7300, FD $9)

  • Anthony: Here we have a flyweight bout between Francisco Figueiredo and Malcolm Gordon. We get a better idea of Francisco’s upside here today after a close win by decision in his UFC debut. He has a similar approach grappling to his brother Deiveson, but seems a lot less technically sound on the feet. He lacks the former champion’s power as well, but still offers a similar test stylistically to the bottom half of this division. While his opponent Malcolm Gordon has very good grappling, he also has a glass chin. Gordon has been knocked out multiple times, most recently being finished inside a minute when opposing Su Mudaerji. It is hard to feel too confident in Figueiredo at such wide odds, but I see him dominating regardless. A win would allow the UFC to further build up Figueiredo, as well as cut the winless Gordon. Francisco Figueiredo by Round One KO
  • Nick: Malcolm Gordon suffered an ugly loss in his UFC debut against Amir Albazi. He was submitted in that one, which isn’t a good sign considering he’s a BJJ black belt and Albazi is only a purple belt. He also suffered a knockout loss his last time out against Su Mudaerji. He’s likely fighting for his job here, but the UFC really isn’t doing him any favors. Francisco Figueiredo is a bit overrated due to the success of his brother, Deiveson. Still, he likely proves to be a stylistic nightmare for Gordon here. I see him as the better striker in this match-up and honestly superior on the mat too. The line is feeling a bit too wide given how overrated I do think Francisco might be. Still, he’s the clear pick to win in this matchup. It really doesn’t seem like Gordon has what it takes to consistently fight at this level. Francisco Figueiredo by Round One KO
  • GB: Francisco Figueiredo by Decision

Miles Johns -185 (DK $8400, FD $18) vs Anderson Dos Santos +150 (DK $7800, FD $13)

  • Anthony: Bantamweights Miles Johns and Anderson Dos Santos will do battle next. This is an interesting matchup stylistically as Johns’ wrestling pedigree should gets tested against the jiu jitsu of Dos Santos. At least one or two takedown attempts from Johns should be expected, but both fighters also have solid striking and heavy hands for the division. Johns’ most recent knockout of Kevin Natividad shows just how high his ceiling may be, finishing that bout with a picture-perfect uppercut. He has not been tested much at this level, but Johns has a resume to be proud of nonetheless with regional victories against Levi Mowles and Adrian Yanez. Johns is the pick here as the younger and more explosive fighter, but I would not be surprised to see Dos Santos stick around in this bout or perhaps catch Johns in a submission. He has locked up several guillotines before which poses a major problem to any opponents attempting wrestle. Miles Johns by Decision
  • Nick: Miles Johns is primarily a grappler. He’s shown proficiency wrestling with both single and double leg entries and in this fight, he’s probably best off using it to either stay standing or control position. Anderson dos Santos is a BJJ black belt, but most of his time fighting in the UFC has taken place on the feet. He seems to have a really solid chin and he isn’t afraid to eat shots to throw them. His boxing is far from crisp, but he does put power behind his shots and his willingness to wear damage can allow him to string together decent combinations. Johns has solid power on the feet, but he’s still far from polished in terms of his technical ability. He often leaves himself open to counterpunches and he doesn’t always finish his combinations offensively. He continues to improve, but the price definitely feels a bit inflated here. Dos Santos is Live for a submission so I’ll have some shares in my DFS lineups, but Johns is the pick here. He should be able to use his effective wrestling ability to keep Dos Santos where he wants him. Miles Johns by Decision
  • GB: Anderson Dos Santos by Round Three Submission

Khalid Taha -135 (DK $8300, FD $17) vs Sergey Morozov +105 (DK $7900, FD $14)

  • Anthony: Next is a bantamweight fight between Khalid Taha and Sergey Morozov. We likely see the majority of this bout take place on the feet, but both fighters have a decent ground game to rely on if needed. Taha will lead the dance as he usually throws higher volume than opponents. Some of his best work is in combinations that usually close with a rather significant power shot. Morozov is durable but I worry about him perhaps getting clipped a few times here. It will be interesting to see at what range this fight takes place. Morozov has excellent counter striking and could very well land the more damaging blows in this matchup. He lost in his UFC debut, but that came against undefeated Umar Nurmagomedov. His resume otherwise is loaded with victories, and defeats only against other top level talent like Movsar Evloev and Josh Rettinghouse. Taha seems like a name that he should beat but this fight is as close to a coin flip as they come. I like Morozov as an underdog in this spot but expect the judges to decide the winner of this one. Sergey Morozov by Decision
  • Nick: This is a solid bantamweight matchup that is likely to go a bit overlooked on this card. Taha is coming off a tough decision loss to a very difficult opponent in Raoni Barcelos. He was completely dominated in that spot, but he was awarded a Fight of the Night bonus for his efforts and he did show commendable cardio and durability. Taha is athletic and well-rounded. He puts a lot behind his punches, utilizes a tricky Kung-Fu stance on the feet and has a solid wrestling base if he does choose to lean on that part of his game. He sometimes overexerts himself and leaves himself open to counters, which could prove costly here against an interesting prospect. Morozov is coming off a tough loss in his UFC debut, via submission to highly regarded Umar Nurmagomedov. It’s tough to get too hard on him for that one as Nurmagomedov is widely considered a possible future contender in this division. Morozov is a powerful counter-striker. He does an excellent job reading the timing of his opponents and using those reads to set up effective strikes and decent combinations. When he’s leading striking exchanges, he does a good job working in powerful body kicks. Taha will come out aggressive here and he’s live for the knockout early. However, it feels like stylistically this is a great spot to back Morozov as an underdog. It’s notable that Taha looked visibly drained at weigh-ins. If he had a tough weight cut, it could compromise his cardio as well as his durability here. Sergey Morozov by Decision
  • GB: Sergey Morozov by Decision

Amanda Lemos -550 (DK $9300, FD $22) vs Montserrat Ruiz +380 (DK $6900, FD $8)

  • Anthony: You won’t want to miss this women’s strawweight bout between Amanda Lemos and Montserrat Ruiz. Lemos is garnering a lot of hype entering this one, having won three consecutive fights since moving to 115 pounds. She throws incredibly high volume and seems to pick apart any opponent in this weight class who opts to stand and bang. While it may seem like a longshot Ruiz has the potential to really test her grappling here. Lemos has not had to defend many takedowns but Ruiz is a specialist, mastering the head and arm throw and getting her opponents to the mat early and often. Despite her previous opponent Cheyanne Buys training specifically to defend that technique, Ruiz dominated her. I could see her controlling Lemos for a round or two in this fight and that alone is worth a dog shot at the current odds. The wins for Lemos are not great and Ruiz should provide resistance for a full fifteen minutes here. I do not believe she is going to get outmuscled like many other pundits assume. The underdog is also being backed by people I trust in manager Ali Abdelaziz and coach Rafael Coredeiro. Montserrat Ruiz by Decision
  • Nick: Montserrat Ruiz does a good job pushing forward and putting pressure on her opponents. She’s willing to eat shots to throw them, but she prefers to grapple in most matchups. She has found a lot of success overpowering and muscling takedowns against smaller and inferior opponents. Lemos is anything but that. A major key to this matchup is the fact Lemos used to fight at bantamweight. She’s likely going to be the much bigger fighter here. Lemos is similar to Ruiz in that she’s willing to eat shots to throw them. Her grappling may not be quite on the same level as Ruiz’s, but she throws a whole lot more volume and lands her strikes at a much higher rate. Lemos does an excellent job mixing in leg kick to keep her opponents at range. She has never been taken down in the UFC, she’s going to be the much better striker when this fight is standing. Ruiz does have an extremely effective head and arm throw, but I don’t expect she has much success with it here against a much stronger opponent. Lemos is emerging as a legitimate contender in this division. I expect her to keep rolling here. Amanda Lemos by Round Two KO
  • GB: Amanda Lemos by Round Two KO

Daniel Rodriguez -350 (DK $8800, FD $20) vs Preston Parsons +265 (DK $7400, FD $10)

  • Anthony: Closing the prelims is a fun welterweight bout between Daniel Rodriguez and Preston Parsons. The UFC newcomer Parsons has won four consecutive fights to earn his shot in the promotion. He is a very small welterweight. While I do like the grappling I got to watch from Parsons in tape study this week, he still seems underdeveloped physically and in his striking. Rodriguez should have no problem boxing up Parsons in this fight, having the much heavier hands and threatening offensive pressure. Having been in camp prepping for Abubakar Nurmagomedov, Rodriguez should be ready to stuff any takedown attempt he sees from Parsons. He will likely overwhelm and eventually finish the newcomer for as long as things stay standing here. Rodriguez also has a BJJ brown belt he can rely on if stuck in any compromising positions. I think he gets the job done here with relative ease. Daniel Rodriguez by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Daniel Rodriguez has very sharp boxing, which isn’t surprising as he is currently coached by Joe Schilling. He has not really used his grappling much at the UFC level but holds a brown belt in BJJ. He is certainly a well-rounded fighter and has a lot of momentum coming into this matchup off a convincing win over fan favorite, Mike Perry. Making his UFC debut here, Preston Parker is taking this fight on short notice. He’s coming off four consecutive wins, with all nine of his professional victories coming by way of submission. Parker has decent striking ability, but he’s never had success against anyone near the level of Rodriguez. Rodriguez has never been submitted across his sixteen professional fights. I expect Parsons to try to take him down here, but Rodriguez should be able to keep this fight on the feet for however long he needs to. Daniel Rodriguez by Round Two KO
  • GB: Daniel Rodriguez by Round One KO

Main Card- Starts 10:00pm EST

Gabriel Benitez -165 (DK $8500, FD $18) vs Billy Quarantillo +135 (DK $7700, FD $16)

  • Anthony: The main card opens with what should be an awesome featherweight bout between Gabriel Benitez and Billy Quarantillo. I had picked Quarantillo to win in his past four fights. His run of eight in a row came to an end most recently though in a loss by decision to Gavin Tucker. Quarantillo usually starts fights slow, but as he becomes more comfortable at distance we see the striking get much better. I am a fan, I just see him having a lot of trouble with an opponent like Benitez. Moggly looked great on the scales yesterday which was my primary concern this fight week. He had a bout against Jonathan Pearce fall through due to a weight miss and took his previous two fights up at 155 pounds. At featherweight there are few that can match Benitez’ complex striking. I see him chopping down Quarantillo’s legs early and landing the more meaningful blows in this matchup. He is also the far more defensively sound of the two. Gabriel Benitez by Decision
  • Nick: This is one of the more exciting fights on the card, and certainly a contender for Fight of the Night. Benitez missed weight his last time out, and as a result his fight with Jonathan Pearce was called off. This will be his first fight in 2021 and it’s worth noting he looked solid on the scales leading into this bout. Benitez is a pressure striker who generally does a good job controlling the center of the octagon. He throws hard and heavy leg and body kicks, he mixes his jabs in well and stays true to the Shooto Box style of rapidly moving in and out of range. Quarantillo, like Benitez, pushes an outstanding pace. Twelve of his fifteen professional victories have come via finish and while he’s been known as a slow starter he has a knack for finishing fights in the later rounds and he builds up momentum and speed. While Quarantillo feels like one of the more live underdogs on the card, I’m not sure he can extend this as long as he needs to. I expect the highly technical Benitez to overwhelm him early. Gabriel Benitez by Round One KO
  • GB: Billy Quarantillo by Decision

Rodolfo Vieira -200 (DK $8700, FD $19) vs Dustin Stoltzfus +160 (DK $7500, FD $11)

  • Anthony: Next we have a middleweight bout between Rodolfo Vieira and Dustin Stoltzfus. In February, Vieira lost to Anthony Hernandez by submission as a -500 favorite. The then undefeated fighter was touted as a jiu jitsu sensation who could submit just about anyone inside the octagon. While that may be true, his cardio was drained extremely early on and he ultimately was the one who got choked out. As good as all his prior finishes may be, that one performance should have bettors steering clear of him now just a few months later. He burns too much energy on explosive moves when hunting dominant position. I would like to bet against him but unfortunately Stoltzfus offers very little upside. Anybody with half decent cardio may be able to escape the early rounds and beat Vieira, it is just a question of whether or not Stoltzfus can defend for that long. His resume is not good enough for me to back, even as a sizeable underdog. I reluctantly side with Vieira but please do not bet on this fight. Rodolfo Vieira by Round One Submission
  • Nick: Rodolfo Vieira is one of the most talented BJJ players in the UFC, as a decorated black belt and Five-time BJJ World Champion. He’s a Freestyle Wrestling and a Combat Sambo Master of sport, but he definitely leans on his jiu-jitsu as it’s far and away his greatest strength. Vieira’s striking is far from technical, but he’s a monster physically so he can put power behind his punches and close distance effectively enough to work opponents to the mat. He’s averaging more than six takedowns per fifteen minutes in the UFC. Stoltzfus hasn’t seen the same level of competition that Vieira has, but he does look well-rounded when you watch him on film. He has a somewhat surprisingly effective kicking game which he uses to keep his opponents at range. As good as his kicking can look, Stoltzfus is primarily a grappler. He has a strong wrestling base and while his BJJ is still very much developing, he’s already shown an ability to find creative submissions with wins via both kneebar and twister. As impressive as this may seem, he’s been dominating on the ground against far inferior grapplers compared to Viera. His only real shot in this spot is to weaponize his cardio and take over on Vieira if he starts to fade. The line feels too wide here knowing the holes in Vieira’s game, but he’s the rightful favorite. Rodolfo Vieira by Round One Submission
  • GB: Rodolfo Vieria by Round One Submission

Mateusz Gamrot -220 (DK $8600, FD $19) vs Jeremy Stephens +175 (DK $7600, FD $12)

  • Anthony: The featured bout takes place at lightweight between Mateusz Gamrot and veteran Jeremy Stephens. I am already a big fan of Gamrot after just two bouts in the UFC. He was signed after a dominant run in KSW where he was champion and I believe he has top ten potential in the UFC as well. His record is blemished by a single loss, a decision against Guram Kutateladze in his promotional debut. Even Kutateladze admitted that Gamrot was the rightful winner in that bout. He has very dominant wrestling and grappling that is complemented by powerful strikes from both stances. Jeremy Stephens is a big name and formidable opponent, but his best days are very much behind him. He has the most losses in UFC history. Gamrot can dominate him in the wrestling here, being much bigger than the career featherweight. I do not want to see Gamrot get into a brawl but even if that were the case his hands are just as powerful as Stephens. While Stephens is always live for a flash knockout, there is no way I back him here having not won since early 2018. Mateusz Gamrot by Round Two KO
  • Nick: A former KSW double-champ, Gamrot is an excellent chain grappler with a wide range of takedowns and entries. He has ridiculous cardio, a solid chin, and excellent instincts both scrambling and in striking exchanges. While he doesn’t really have true one-punch knockout power, he lands meaningful strikes that force his opponents to respect him no matter where the fight goes. He’s coming off an impressive knockout win of Scott Holtzman, and he’ll look to carry that momentum into this spot against long time UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens. Stephens is a tough and gritty brawler who has been in there against legends like Max Holloway, Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo. He’s going to have a serious experience advantage here, but it certainly feels like he’s in the twilight of his career. Stephens’ willingness to engage in an exciting brawl is likely to be his downfall in this spot. He’s still dangerous, but a willingness to engage definitely compromises his defense. His chin has become a bit of a question at this point in his career but moving up to 155 means his durability should improve a bit. Stephens has spent the majority of his career fighting at featherweight. This will be his first lightweight matchup since 2012. He’s going to be dangerous whenever this fight is standing, but Gamrot is far more well-rounded. I expect him to lean on a takedown heavy approach on his way to a convincing win on the scorecards. Mateusz Gamrot by Decision
  • GB: Mateusz Gamrot by Round Two KO

Miesha Tate -165 (DK $8200, FD $13) vs Marion Reneau +135 (DK $8000, FD $15)

  • Anthony: The co-main event is a women’s bantamweight bout between Marion Reneau and the returning Miesha Tate. The former champion has not fought since late 2016, but now steps back into the octagon after the sizeable layoff. Tate looks to be in excellent shape after having two children and more recently returning to train full time. She has always been a good draw for the promotion and this seems like a layup fight to knock off the rust. Reneau is no pushover, but this will unfortunately be her final appearance in mixed martial arts. Reneau announced this week that she would be retiring after this bout and ending a career that began in 2010. She is 44 years old and has lost her previous four appearances. Tate will likely utilize offensive wrestling to win this bout as she always has. I do not see Reneau offering too much resistance if things do hit the mat. It would be interesting if things stayed standing, but Tate will not let that happen having not eaten a punch in such a long time. The price for her on FanDuel is very appealing. Miesha Tate by Decision
  • Nick: This is the first fight for Miesha Tate since her loss to Raquel Pennington back in 2015. She has since had two children, but she appears to be in possibly the best shape of her career. The former bantamweight champion has found most of her success utilizing advanced wrestling and offensive grappling ability to beat opponents. Reneau seems to have visibly lost a step or two since she was considered a contender in this division. She is a powerful striker, but she tends to rely on her strength against most opponents. She has solid BJJ, effective position control and her ground and pound has scored her multiple wins. I could see her getting a sweep or takedown of her own, but I expect Tate outmuscles her here. Reneau has announced that this will be the final fight of her career. Knowing this, it’s tough to know how serious she’s going to have taken this fight camp. Additionally, Tate was the bigger fighter at weigh-ins, a rarity in most of Reneau’s bouts. I expect Miesha to utilize a takedown heavy gameplan to win this one on the scorecards. Miesha Tate by Decision
  • GB: Miesha Tate by Decision

Islam Makhachev -800 (DK $9400, FD $23) vs Thiago Moises +500 (DK $6800, FD $15)

  • Anthony: The main event takes place at lightweight between Islam Makhachev and Thiago Moises. Neither fighter has headlined before, though Makhachev has been chasing a spot atop cards for quite some time. He is widely regarded the next best thing out of Dagestan after Khabib Nurmagomedov. With The Eagle retired and in his corner, Makhachev hopes to claim the lightweight championship very soon. He not only has excellent pressure grappling but also a diverse striking attack that is already further developed than Khabib’s. We may see him strike a bit more in this fight against a grappler as accredited as Moises, but in top position I am not very worried about him getting caught in any submissions. Makhachev is usually less focused on the ground and pound, opting to instead wrap up opponents or at the very least advance towards submissions of his own. While this is a short notice main event, Makhachev is certainly prepared to go a full five at this point. He may be a bit less aggressive due to the longer time with which to work but I see him dominating today nonetheless. The odds help to highlight how big of a mismatch this is. Makhachev deserves a spot in the top five of this division. Islam Makhachev by Round Four Submission
  • Nick: Islam Makhachev is one of the more promising up-and-comers in the UFC. He is a decorated grappler as a Master of Sport in Combat Sambo. He pushes a serious pace and has enough wrestling ability to take almost anyone in this division down repeatedly. Makhachev has underrated striking, knockout power and clear draw for the promotion. He doesn’t throw much volume on the feet, but he can be highly effective when he does throw. While he’s certainly capable on the feet, Makhachev averages more than three takedowns per fifteen minutes. His greatest strength is most certainly his grappling ability, but it will be interesting to see how he balances his game here against another dangerous grappler. Moises is a jiu jitsu specialist. He has a black belt under Paulo Streckert and boasts six victories by submission. Moises is coming off a solid win over Alexander Hernandez in which he showed considerable improvements everywhere. While he’s likely to hang as a ranked fighter at lightweight for a very long time, he feels overmatched in this spot. Makhachev will have an advantage no matter where this fight goes. The line has gotten a bit ridiculous on the hype around the consensus “Next Khabib,” but Makhachev is clearly the pick here. I expect he wears on Moises until finally breaking him. Islam Makhachev by Round Four Submission
  • GB: Islam Makhachev by Decision

*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