UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Aldana is the latest “Fight Island” offering coming to you live from Abu Dhabi on Saturday night. With the women’s bantamweight title picture poised for a new contender to emerge, the main event of Holly Holm vs. Irene Aldana will likely lay the landscape for Amanda Nunes’ next opponent at 135 pounds. The card is a very low key affair, with name recognition not really factoring in with most of the bout sheet, but fear not, these cards are often the sleeper hits that pack tons of action.
We’re going to take a look at some of the favorites that are very much worth their high DraftKings price tags and the values that could end up being just what’s needed to make a winning DraftKings lineup. Let’s get cracking.
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Kyler Phillips, $9,200
Kyler Phillips’ volume striking and heavy hands (and feet) could fuel him to a very promising career. “The Matrix” is an orthodox striker with great foot and head movement, along with the speed and accuracy that gets his opponents moving backward. He works well in the clinch, landing big knees and nasty elbows. Kyler’s stats are very impressive with 6.53 strikes landed per minute while only absorbing 2.09 in return, a testament to excellent defensive skills. Phillips is also a very aggressive fighter, constantly keeping his opponent on the back foot and bullying them around the cage. Short of a knockout or catastrophic injury, this is Phillips’ fight through and through.
Dusko Todorovic, $9,100
Dusko Todorovic is making his UFC debut after putting together a 9-0 record, culminating with the ninth win on Dana White’s Contender Series last year. It would mark the first time one of his fights would go the distance, after posting finishes in the eight contests preceding it, notching five knockouts and three submissions along the way. Dusko has faced good regional level competition on his way to the octagon, the kind of competition that Townsend has had trouble with historically. Combined with his aggression and the breakneck pace that he sets, Todorovic shouldn’t find it an overwhelming task to get himself in the win column tomorrow night.
Casey Kenney, $9,000
Casey Kenney has such a wide array of tools that even a stud like Alateng Heili ($7,200) will find himself hard pressed to get a victory. Alateng does have a heavy right hand, but Kenney is defensively sound, has outstanding wrestling and keeps up a daunting pace. He’ll have the length and reach to make this a very problematic undertaking for the “Mongolian Warrior,” who just doesn’t have the output to hang in there with Casey. I wouldn’t call Alateng a timid fighter, but he’s certainly not what you’d deem “aggressive,” and that is a trait that Kenny possesses in spades. There’s a reason why the gulf in pricing is so wide, and that’s because Alateng Heili, despite having similar athletic gifts, just doesn’t apply them as effectively as Kenney.
Irene Aldana, $7,800
Irene Aldana is, in my humble opinion, the best chance at unseating Amanda Nunes. I’m not saying she can absolutely get the job done, but she definitely has the tools to do it. A tall bantamweight at five-foot-nine-inches, she’ll end up with an inch in height on the Southpaw Holm. Irene is an excellent boxer with a high output (6.16 strikes per minute), who could use a little extra time in the gym working on her defense (absorbs 5.92 shots per minute). Holm likes to wall and stall a bit, pressing her opponents against the cage and using her dirty boxing on the inside. Holm’s gritty style of late is a far cry from her head kick knockouts from several years back. And Holly’s takedown game won’t be effective by any stretch, should she decide to level change, as Aldana has a 93% takedown defense rate. Let’s not forget the power Aldana packs in that left hook. Ketlen Vieira found out the hard way about that last year. This won’t be an easy fight for Aldana, as Holly will certainly be looking to corral and contain, but she’s quietly been racking up the wins and her time to shine is now, whereas Holm seems to have the sun dipping below the horizon on her own career.
Julianna Pena, $7,600
Juliana Pena is a talented fighter with a very good ground game and sneaky submission chops. She’ll end up three-inches shorter than Germaine de Randamie ($8,600) and will give up two-inches in reach, but she’s as strong as an ox and quite aggressive, as well. Her performance against Nicco Montano was a masterful performance, showing her vast array of offensive and defensive skills. While de Randamie will be the far superior striker, Peña has evolved, and her striking has looked better and better. Where she really shines is on the ground, though. With a very aggressive takedown game, Julianna is powerful enough to get GDR down and keep her there while she works her highly effective ground-and-pound. I don’t think the fight ends in a finish, but I do believe Peña will get “The Iron Lady” down and will maintain enough ground control to get the decision here.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is crooklyn949) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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