UFC Vegas 27 DraftKings Picks
Rob Font impressively knocked out Marlon Moraes in December of 2020 to reach a top contender spot in the bantamweight division. Training with the New England Cartel team alongside Calvin Kattar, Font has found a consistent winning streak, opening up opportunities to potentially fight for the title. His opponent this weekend, Cody “No Love” Garbrandt, is also coming off a huge victory in the division against Raphael Assuncao. With the scheduled fight between Cory Sandhagen and T.J Dillashaw postponed until July 24th, the main event this weekend will be a key piece in determining who could be next in line to challenge for the bantamweight title (after Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan have their expected rematch).
China Top Team member Yan Xiaonan is undefeated in the UFC, riding a six-fight win-streak and hopes to secure the top contender spot in the strawweight division with a win over veteran Carla Esparza. The highly anticipated middleweight matchup between Jack Hermansson and Edmen Shahbazyan kicks off the main card in what could easily be the Fight of the Night when things are all said and done.
UFC Vegas 27 DraftKings Picks
Ben Rothwell – $9,200
The 39-year-old heavyweight finally solidified an opponent for Saturday after his scheduled bout with Philipe Lins was canceled and replacement Askar Mozharov was forced to withdraw. Despite making his UFC debut this weekend, opponent Chris Barnett does have plenty of mixed martial arts experience with 27 professional fights in overseas promotions. Ten-year UFC veteran Rothwell will be a tough matchup for the newcomer and I expect his experience to shine in this outing. Additionally, the reach advantage will be extreme for Rothwell, including a height difference of seven inches. This price seems more than fair as I predict Rothwell will be way too much to handle for Barnett’s debut.
Justin Tafa – $9,000
“Bad Man” Tafa returns to the octagon after dropping a split decision victory to UFC heavyweight prospect Carlos Felipe. I do not think I was the only spectator surprised at Tafa’s success against Felipe in that fight, and arguably suffered the bad end of a tough split decision. One thing is for certain, Tafa can strike with the best in the heavyweight division. Opponent Jared Vanderaa looked fantastic in his Dana White Contender Series appearance, nailing his post-fight interview calling out Sergei Spivak and earning the request. Although the callout was successful, his performance against Spivak was the complete opposite. I expect that is why Tafa’s price is fairly high in this spot, however, grab Tafa with a high chance of a knockout victory.
Yan Xiaonan – $8,600
As mentioned in the introduction, Xiaonan is riding plenty of momentum on an impressive streak. This fight against Carla Esparza will determine who is the top strawweight contender behind Zhang Weili. In her last fight, Esparza utilized her fantastic wrestling skillset to earn the victory against formidable Marina Rodriguez. If Carla wants her hand raised Saturday, she will need to execute that same wrestling success. However, Xiaonan has underrated wrestling abilities and I believe her length and power will be a major problem for Esparza. I expect Xiaonan to dominate this fight in all facets, from striking to wrestling. I love this pick.
Court McGee – $8,000
Despite a three-fight losing streak, I believe this is a great spot for McGee to bounce back. His opponent Claudio Silva is one of the UFC’s best submission artists, with a notable win over Leon Edwards in 2014. Then Silva took a four-year hiatus to recover from nagging injuries. He returned to the UFC in 2018 and did not face top talent until October 2020, when he lost in dominant fashion to James Krause. McGee has yet to be submitted in his career, and I am banking on that trend continuing this weekend. As long as McGee stays away from submission trouble, this should be an easy victory to get him back on the winning track.
Cody Garbrandt – $7,900
This price for Cody “No Love” incorporates too much recency bias from Font’s knockout victory over Moraes. Interestingly, Font has found success in his UFC career against wrestlers and struggled against top-level strikers. even though he is a boxing specialist. Stylistically, I think this fight favors Garbrandt. who has some of the fastest hands in all of mixed-martial-arts. I loved how he looked against Assuncao, showing everyone he is still a bantamweight to be feared. Grab “No Love” at a more than fair price with the potential to rack up plenty of significant strikes over the five-round fight.
Edmen Shahbazyan – $7,300
Thinking back to Shahbazyan’s fight against Derek Brunson, that was a very tough spot for the 23-year-old as a -400 favorite. Hyped-up fighters heavily promoted by the UFC often produce disappointing results when competing against weathered veterans, and that is exactly what we saw in that fight. Although Shahbazyan was disappointed at the result, I bet when he looks back on his career, he will be grateful for the lessons learned. Shahbazyan shot out of the gate against Brunson, wasting so much energy in the first round, allowing the composed and experienced Brunson to take advantage in the later rounds to earn the finish. Jack Hermansson is certainly one of the most complete fighters in the UFC with tremendous wrestling, striking, and toughness. This price is just way too low to pass up.