We may be entering the cold end of the year, but we are definitely leaving the cold end of the UFC season. And I can’t like it anymore. After a two-week break, Dana has decided to offer us a new trip to Las Vegas to kick off the month of October. We’re staying at APEX for two weeks before moving overseas for UFC 280, but it’s a little too late. Starting this weekend and after watching Sandhagen fight Song last time we got stuck on our favorite streaming service, it’s now time for another female-led event.
Mackenzie Dern and Yan Xiaonan will go to war on Saturday trying to skip a few positions on the leader leading to a title fight against Carla Esparza – or whoever reigns when they get there. This is the second time in (almost) three months that we’ve gotten a title card from a W-Division fight, so it’s time to celebrate. Here’s hoping the promo slowly but surely promotes more high stakes fights like this in the future!
In this article, I will give you my Fantasy MMA lineup pick for UFC Vegas 61: Dern vs. Yan on 1/10/22. Give me a follow on Twitter @chapulana. Good luck!
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DraftKings MMA Women’s Strawweight – Choice of UFC DFS range
Yan Xiaonan, $7,100 – vs. Mackenzie Dern
Dern and Yan have been in the UFC for virtually the same number of months while fighting roughly the same number of fights over that span, also breaking very similar records. The difference is simply in their age, although it’s not that they’re too far apart, and more importantly in how their runs to this game were built.
Dern has never had more than two UFC wins, having made her debut in March 2018. She enters the Octagon this weekend with a W after beating Tecia Torres last April. Dern has fought twice in the last 12 months (1-1) and three since the start of 2021 (2-1).
Yan, in a stark contrast to Dern, won all of his first six fights with absolute dominance only to drop one against Carla Esparza (defending champion now) in May 2021 and then lose again his last time in March. Both of those fights were pretty disappointing, although his last outing (a decision loss) wasn’t too bad with good numbers in both striking and wrestling.
Neither of these two are amazing at taking down enemies and can’t be considered true wrestling marvels, but they can at least do something on that front with Dern, a true submission artist having won three fights this way. . Both women are yet to win via knockout, although Yan was knocked out as recently as May 2021. Even then, she has yet to lose via submission and comes with a much higher punch volume, so I bet he racked up more fantastic stats and points than Dern this weekend and finally bounced back to get his first W since November 2020.
DraftKings MMA Welterweight – Choice of UFC DFS range
Randy Brown, $9,300 – vs. Francisco Trinaldo
Trinaldo is closer to being 45 than Randy Brown is 33. I’m just saying. Even then, and wearing massive 25-fight wear inside a UFC octagon, Trinaldo doesn’t know how to stop doing this thing called MMA. And hey, it’s not that he’s bad at it these days! Trinaldo is active as hell, fought six times in the last 36 months, and in that time amassed a ridiculous 5-1 record. Oldie but goldie.
Brown was no worse than Trinaldo, mind you. He’s also 5-1 since the start of 2019 and enters this weekend on a three-fight winning streak since August 2020. While both fighters have at least an early finish in recent races, Brown has gotten three of them (two submissions, one KO) compared to Trinaldo’s (one W via KO in July 2020).
Trinaldo has never been knocked out in his 10 years of fighting in the UFC and he was last finished early in March 2017; there have only been three losses (all by decision) in 10 fights since then for him. Brown, on the other hand, suffered a few losses by getting knocked out as recently as August 2020 and July 2018 before that.
Although both fighters showed withdrawal chops at times in their careers, they never fully bought into that style. You can count on one or two attempts from each of these men this weekend, and they will happily pull off one of those takedowns, but that’s it. They’ll need to put in some good punching performance to claim the win, and Randy Brown has been much better at this with better volume numbers and landing over 50% of his SS attempts most often. Give me young Brown who sends Trinaldo to retirement.
DraftKings MMA Bantamweight – Choice of UFC DFS range
Raoni Barcelos, $9,000 – vs. Trevin Jones
You wouldn’t believe it looking exclusively at their 4-2, 0-2 overall record over the past 16 months, but Barcelos are an absolute fantasy MMA machine ranking in the 96th percentile of DKFP. Including all fighters in UFC history, just in case. Barcelos have been so formidable that even in their last two defeats they still scored 54.5 and 72.0 DKFP.
Trevin Jones, on the other hand, was so so sporting a 2-2 record after winning his first two fights by knockout (both times early in the second round) only to drop the next two by submission and decision looking horrific in those losses. It was so bad that he went from averaging over 100 DKFPs in his first two fights to a meager 20 fantastic points in consecutive losses, and from a mediocre 99th to a mediocre 73rd.
All things considered, Trevin Jones got what he asked for. Both losses came against fighters in the 90th and 93rd percent, so it’s not that he was up against minnows. That was the case in his debut, but not so much in his last fight. As for Barcelos, they have faced two pctl top 90 fighters beating one and losing (most recently) to another last January.
While Jones’ number of takedown attempts is garish (14 in his last three fights), he’s only landed one. Barcelos, albeit on lower per-fight volume, have a career-high 8 of 21 in knockouts and have clinched at least one in three of their last four fights. It came out 1 out of 7 on its last outing, however. Barcelos also have a clear advantage per minute in striking volume and honestly, it’s not even close. It must be Barcelos getting back on track and in the W column here.
DraftKings MMA Bantamweight – Choice of UFC DFS range
John Castañeda, $8,800 – against Daniel Santos
Daniel Santos just made his debut in which he lost his first UFC fight. He did it against a veteran of the promotion, not to mention the MMA circuit: Julio Arce. Arce crushed Santos with a 127 out of 265 on SSL while the Brazilian attempted a pretty close amount of SSA himself (229) but could only land 49 on Arce for a putrid 21 landing rate %. Not the best result, but at least he tried and the volume was there.
Castaneda is now entering the Octagon for the fourth time in his UFC career. He also gave up on his debut, although he did so against a much stronger opponent in Nathaniel Wood and scored 27.5 DKFP while being beaten in the eyes of the judges (55 out of 130 SSL). Castaneda bounced back to incredible heights after that, winning two straight fights with 121 and 84 DKFP respectively and both times via early finishes (first via KO, then via Submission).
Prior to his loss, Santos had also won two fights early via TKO and submission, so he definitely has some finishing prowess in him. Both of those wins, however, came in 2019 and it had been a while since Santos had fought, so the UFC loss last April was pretty predictable. Can he bounce back this weekend, though?
Other than Nathaniel Woods in his debut, Castaneda has yet to face someone who throws as many strikes as Santos against Arce. Castaneda has limited his last two opponents to just 26% and 40% landing rate though, so he knows how to defend himself and dodge bullets. The larger resume and better track record made me lean Castaneda on this one.
DraftKings MMA Lightweight – Choice of UFC DFS range
Mike Davis, $8,600 – vs. Viacheslav Borshchev
Where is Borshchev’s UFC career headed? That, I can’t tell you. What I can say at this point is that Borshchev is totally determined to make the most of his days in the promo and fight as many times as his body allows. This weekend will mark Borshchev’s third fight under the Dana banner and it will also be the third fight he’s been in in 10 months.
Mike Davis, on the other side of the spectrum, gets his fourth match this Saturday after fighting twice in 2019 but only once since October 2019, his last fight being in January 2021, almost two years ago. year. Is this something Borshchev might be afraid of, starting too soon to waste fight time in the future? We’ll see how it goes.
When it comes to this fight, the styles couldn’t be more contrasting. Borshchev’s two fights ended in a knockout win and a decision loss for him. He couldn’t even throw 30 SSAs in either of those, let alone a takedown. Alas, the massive boom/bust profile he carries with him having scored 113 DKFP (!!!) in his debut thanks to a first-round knockout and his stink of 6.0 DKFP (!!!) his last time with a stat line reading 12 of 21 in SS… and that’s it.
Other than his first loss – to a very fantastic fighter in Gilbert Burns, mind you – Davis has looked fantastic. He threw over 207 SSAs in the last two fights, landed at least 108 in each of the two (52% and 63% landing rates) and also went 3 of 9 and 2 of 2 in takedowns in his latest releases. It’s Davis day and night.