TOMMY TOE HOLD – FIGHTER PICKS
There’s nothing better than a UFC title fight — except a title fight in a brand new division. This Saturday night, the most prominent MMA promotion in the world unveils their new women’s featherweight division when Holly Holm takes on Germaine de Randamie for the 145-pound strap. Despite the division not being sorted out just yet, it’s a contest that should provide plenty of sanctioned violence and entertainment to hardcore fans around the globe.
The rest of the card isn’t too shabby, either. The return of the legendary Anderson Silva against the hard punching Derek Brunson will serve as the co-main event of the evening, and super scrappy flyweight fan favorite Iain McCall will finally get to fight after a 2+ year layoff and 367 canceled fights. To say I’m excited for this event would be a massive understatement.
As with any card of this magnitude, there is plenty of potential for you to make a grip of points on your Draftkings fantasy teams via the mighty underdog spoiling the night of the favorite. I’ll be giving a brief breakdown of the fights I feel have the greatest possibility to end in an upset. Let’s get started.
Derek Brunson $8,300 / Anderson Silva $7,900
Derek Brunson is a big, powerful athlete with the ability to turn off the lights with just one punch. He’s a dynamic wrestler with enough explosive capability to power himself into or out of positions in the blink of an eye. He was on a fantastic streak until Robert Whittaker put a halt to it this past November.
By his own admission, Brunson was entirely too greedy in looking for the knockout, wading forward against the super dangerous Aussie and paying for those actions with a good bit of his consciousness. His defensive game needs polish, and against Anderson Silva, you don’t want to skimp on defense.
Silva is a very dynamic striker with excellent countering ability. He has great footwork and the extraordinary capability to slip punches with cat-like reflexes. He has black belt level grappling and great flexibility. There’s a reason he defended the belt 10 times. There’s a reason he’s considered a legend. Even at 41 years of age, Silva is still exceptionally dangerous.
Between Brunson’s defensive deficiencies and Anderson’s ability to capitalize on fighters with these same tendencies, we should see the legend back in the win column Saturday night.
Anderson Silva via (T)KO
Jacare Souza $9,500 / Tim Boetsch $6,700
Jacare Souza is a grappling god. There’s no two ways around it. If the fight hits the ground, it’s a pretty reasonable assumption that the exchanges will be in his favor. His striking is serviceable, but it doesn’t pack much heat. At 37 years, Souza is fast approaching the twilight years of his career, and his performance against Yoel Romero showed that.
Tim Boetsch is in that same, late thirties age bracket where fighters begin weighing their options for post-fighting careers, but right now, he’s on a bit of a surge thanks to his well-known knockout ability. He’s got a great wrestling base and a solid guillotine. Let’s be honest here; as long as Boetsch can keep the fight standing, he’s likely got this fight cinched up.
Tim Boetsch via (T)KO
Dustin Poirier $9,300 / Jim Miller $6,900
Dustin Poirier is a talented fighter who had a four fight win streak snapped when Michael Johnson ended his night in the first round this past September. He has great striking and packs plenty of power, and his ground game is very, very good, but against an accomplished grappler like Miller, it may not be enough.
Miller is a seasoned, crafty veteran with excellent conditioning, an evolving standup skillset and deadly ground game. The best part of his grappling is that he’s dangerous from any position, including from his back. Miller has been in some wars and knows how to put promising fighters back to square one of their title aspirations. One thing is certain, this contest has all the ingredients for a FOTN recipe.
Jim Miller via DEC
Randy Brown $8,400 / Belal Muhammad $7,800
Both Brown and Belal are strikers first and foremost, with Brown coming from a kickboxing background and Belal relying on a more boxing-centric style. Brown will have the advantage in height (4 inches) and reach (6 inches), as well as having a full camp behind him; however, don’t let the trees cloud your view of the forest. Brown is still very green and has some issues with his defensive grappling, as evidenced by his loss to Michael Graves last year.
Muhammad is a strong brawler with good power and capable wrestling. He’s durable and has the conditioning to give Brown problems with a merciless pace. This fight basically comes down to the fact that Muhammad is just a better overall fighter. Don’t let the fact that he’s in this fight on short notice cloud your judgement. He’s still got all the tools necessary to put Brown away.
Belal Muhammad via (T)KO
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.