This article is part of our Drake's Takes series.
Luana Pinheiro (9-1-0) v. Sam Hughes (5-3-0)
- Pinheiro was impressive in her UFC debut, earning a first-round win after her opponent was disqualified due to an illegal upkick. She was dominating the fight and likely would have won without the disqualification. She is an improving striker with great movement and pressure. She has a nice one-two and power in her hooks and overhands. The Brazilian is an aggressive grappler with elite Judo. She has great body throws and trips, and is dangerous once the fight hits the mat. She is excellent at taking the back and finding chokes but will also pass guard looking for an armbar.
- Hughes lost unanimously in her last fight, dropping to 0-2 in the UFC, and now has her back against the wall. She is a forward pressure striker with a knack for brawling. She will look to rip the body with a nasty hook and throw heavy kicks to break down the legs. She has a good one-two and strong overhand. She offers little defense is easily hittable. "Sampage" works well in the clinch with dirty boxing and has decent body locks. She is strong in top control and as aggressive as they come. She has three wins by submission but does not actively hunt for them often.
DFS Perspective: Pinheiro should be the better fighter anywhere this goes. Hughes is ultra-aggressive and could win rounds with volume or control time if she keeps the momentum. I expect Pinheiro to come out fast and get this down to the mat early where an early submission is likely.
My Pick: Pinheiro
Shayilan Nuerdanbieke (19-6-0) v. Sean Soriano (14-7-0)
- Nuerdanbieke struggled in his UFC debut, dropping a unanimous decision, and now faces another tough opponent for his second fight. He does not offer much in the way of striking. He has good movement but generally only throws looping hooks or overhands mixed with kicks to change levels. "Wolverine" is a strong grappler and looks to get the fight to the mat early and often. He has solid double legs and maintains good control on the mat. He has powerful ground-and-pound and will occasionally give up control to attempt a submission.
- Soriano fought his way back into the UFC, earning a fourth fight in May. It ended with him being submitted for the third time dropping his record to 0-4. He is a technical striker with excellent speed and movement. He has a strong jab and is great at keeping fighters in front of him with strong calf kicks. He is a great counter-striker as well and will bait fighters in to throw quick hooks to the body. The Sanford MMA product has good offensive grappling but tends to get overly aggressive and lose position. He throws dangerous knees and elbows in the clinch and will look to drag fighters down in a body lock. He also tends to give his back when trying to get up and struggles when he is not in control.
DFS Perspective: To me, this is more of a striker vs grappler match. Soriano should look to keep this on the feet and dominate with striking. If he does, he wins this easily and could wind up with an early finish. Nuerdanbieke is going to look to chain takedowns and keep control, or hunt early for a submission. I do not trust either guy, but the winner could score very well.
My Pick: Soriano
Cody Durden (11-3-1) v. Qileng Aori (18-7-0)
- Durden worked himself into a first-round submission in his last fight, dropping to 0-1-1 in the UFC. He is a distance striker with good power and forward pressure. He will look to bounce in and out of the pocket, throwing quick jabs and hooks while mixing some kicks to all parts of the body. He has excellent level changes and is looking to get the fight to the mat at all times. The American Top Team fighter is a strong grappler with a penchant for takedowns. He can shoot from range or snag body locks and trips from the clinch. He is good at maintaining control and staying in dominant positions. He will actively hunt for armbars or look to take the back for a choke.
- Aori took the loss in his debut but was impressive nonetheless, and he now has a solid chance for his first win here. He is a well-rounded fighter with strong striking and excellent movement on his feet. He has a nasty jab and one-two, as well as a powerful overhand. He will look to change levels early attacking the head and body often. "The Mongolian Murder" features a good ground game to go with his striking. He has great single legs and body locks from the clinch and maintains good control from top and side mounts. He does not actively hunt for submissions but is a threat to finish the fight with ground-and-pound.
DFS Perspective: This fight is really close, and Aori is a live dog. Durden will need to chain takedowns and control time or look for a submission. Aori will volume his way to a decision. It should come down to the takedown defense of Aori and the cardio of Durden.
My Pick: Durden
Terrance McKinney (11-3-0) v. Fares Ziam (12-3-0)
- McKinney flashed with a seven-second knockout win in his UFC debut and now looks to build on that amazing start. He is a first-round fighter and looks for the finish from the bell, with all but one win having happened in the first round. He has good striking with strong one-twos and powerful kicks to set up level changes and then throws massive overhands and hooks. "T.Wrecks" also has great grappling and has no issue taking the back of his opponent to find an early submission. He is strong and able to maintain control, pass guard or move into top mount and lay down heavy hammer fists. He has decent takedown defense and offers good scrambling early in fights.
- Ziam has won back-to-back decisions after a close win in his last fight, moving to 2-1 in the UFC. He likes to strike from distance, landing big front and round kicks to change levels early. He does not throw with a ton of power, or much volume, and typically is not overly aggressive. He has a strong jab-hook and looks to pressure forward, but struggles with pressure himself. "Smile Killer" is strong in the clinch and will look to smash knees into the body. He has not been successful with takedowns, landing only one in nine attempts. If he gets put on his back he tends to struggle, and being submitted is a possibility.
DFS Perspective: After that debut, it is hard to go against McKinney. He has insane pressure and finishing ability. If he wins, he likely wins again with an early finish, blowing away value. Ziam has a chance if he can keep McKinney at range and tire him out, taking over late.
My Pick: McKinney
Loma Lookboonmee (6-2-0) v. Lupita Godinez (6-2-0)
- Lookboonmee earned her third UFC win in four fights via unanimous decision and continues getting closer to being ranked. She is a Muay Thai striker with quick hands and solid volume. She can strike at range or in the pocket with good one-twos and powerful front and round kicks. She has sharp feints and stays composed at all times during the fight. The Tiger Muay Thai fighter is phenomenal in the clinch and will break her opponents down quickly. She will attack with brutal knees and elbows or look to lock the body or trip to earn a takedown. She struggles to keep control on the mat, however, she does have a decent top game.
- Godinez is back again for her third fight in 42 days and continues to be one of the busiest fighters in the UFC. She is high-volume, aggressive and very quick. She cuts the cage off well and has excellent footwork. She has a big left hook and will mix her combinations up with those hooks, jabs and crosses. The past LFA Strawweight Champion also features a great ground game. When she struggles to work into the pocket, she will clinch up and force her way in. She will also shoot for single and double-leg takedowns and work control on the mat.
DFS Perspective: This should be a great fight and really could go either way. If this stays on the feet, Lookboonmee should win a decision with volume. Godinez will need to avoid long striking exchanges and get this fight to the mat, where she could dominate with control time or find a submission. I think the pricing should be closer than it is, leaving the value with the dog.
My Pick: Lookboonmee
Rafa Garcia (12-2-0) v. Natan Levy (6-0-0)
- Garcia took a tough-luck decision loss last time out, dropping back-to-back fights to begin his UFC tenure. He is a strong striker with decent power and good movement. He uses a big overhand and a quick one-two, as well as strong low kicks, to pressure forward. He will level change and clinch fighters against the cage, throwing heavy knees and looking to lock the body. The Mexican fighter sports a solid ground game that features precise single and double legs. He can shoot or trip for takedowns and maintains control through chain wrestling. He can hunt for various submissions, or mount in top and rain down heavy ground-and-pound.
- Levy has earned his shot with the UFC after a successful run in LFA and then in the Contender Series. He is a strong Karate striker with devastating kicks. He looks to pressure forward with heavy round kicks to the head and low and front kicks to the body and legs. He has a slick jab and solid overhand right to left hook. The Syndicate MMA product features a black belt in Karate and Kung Fu and is a well-rounded fighter. He has excellent takedowns with singles and doubles, as well as trips and body locks from the clinch. He will look to maintain control from a top mount but has struggled to do much work from it in past fights. He does have three submission victories in six wins and does have a chance to get another one here.
DFS Perspective: I think a decision is more likely between these two guys. I give Levy a slight advantage everywhere this goes, but he can be a little wild at times and get himself caught. In a decision win, Levy likely scores better than Garcia with takedowns and control time.
My Pick: Levy
Pat Sabatini (15-3-0) v. Tucker Lutz (12-1-0)
- Sabatini is a well-rounded fighter with an aptitude for finishes, as referenced by his upset submission victory in his last fight. He has decent striking and nice low kicks. He throws jabs and one-twos with fast hands and in quick combinations to pressure his opponent back. The former CFFC champion excels at takedowns and getting the fight to the mat. He is an excellent wrestler and maintains control using his strength, wearing fighters down quickly. He can change mount and control with ease and determine where the fight goes. His submissions game is great, and he is always a threat to end it early.
- Lutz looked great in his UFC debut after two successful stints on the Contender Series and earned himself a strong unanimous decision. He is a bit of a slow starter with improving striking and good movement. He will switch stances often, throwing multiple low kicks to the legs and will follow them up with uppercuts and hooks. He has fast hands with nasty jabs and one-twos. He tends to fight with his lands low taking unnecessary damage. "Top Gun" is a fantastic wrestler and what he relies on to win fights. He will punch fighters into the clinch and then works for takedowns against the cage. He will tire fighters out quickly with relentless wrestling and then look to mount on top and lay down nasty ground-and-pound.
DFS Perspective: Sabatini showed he is a submission threat at any time during a fight, and I think that will be his path to victory here. Lutz should be better on the feet and dominate striking. He will also give Sabatini a run for his money wrestling, and so long as he avoids getting submitted, I think he earns the upset. Sabatini is never out of a fight and will continually be searching for an early submission.
My Pick: Lutz
Davey Grant (13-5-0) v. Adrian Yanez (14-3-0)
- Grant had his three-fight winning streak come to a halt after losing unanimously and now looks to begin a new one. He is a strong striker with a huge hook and overhand. He will bully fighters forward with flurries and pin them in the clinch. Against the cage, he mixes in short hooks with devastating knees. He throws strong kicks to all parts of the body and uses volume to put his opponents away. "Dangerous" Grant excels on the mat and uses level changes to shoot for takedowns. He has a great double leg, as well as a body lock against the cage. He maintains control long enough to pass guard in search of a submission. He will also look to mount on top and throw ground-and-pound.
- Yanez shocked with another big knockout his last time out, bringing his record to 3-0 in the UFC. He is an elite boxer with great technical prowess. He does not throw a ton of volume but makes what he does throw count. He will back his opponents up with quick jabs and has nasty kicks. He will purposely fight with his hands low to draw punches and then throw powerful counter combos. The Texan's ground game can be lacking at times, and he rarely shoots for takedowns or moves into the clinch, preferring to keep the fight in the center of the ring. When taken down, his scrambling is elite, and he works his way back up quickly.
DFS Perspective: Yanez has the takedown defense to keep this fight from hitting the mat, as well as superior striking. Grant has never been knocked out, and will likely throw more volume, making him live for an upset. Without a knockout, I am not sure Yanez does enough to score a win from the judges, but he should still be considered the favorite given his striking pedigree.
My Pick: Yanez
Joanne Wood (15-6-0) v. Taila Santos (18-1-0)
- Wood, formerly Calderwood, took a questionable split-decision loss last time out and is now seeking a win here to push her to 3-3 in her last six. She is a solid striker who throws a lot of volume with forward pressure. She throws hard, quick kicks to help set up one-twos and hooks with her jabs. She makes good use of elbows and knees both in and out of the clinch. "Jojo's" grappling is much improved, and it has shown in the last few fights. She will occasionally mix in takedowns with doubles or body locks, looking to control and move into a top mount for ground and pound. Her takedown defense has also improved significantly, but she does struggle off her back.
- Santos earned her spot in the top 10 with another dominant, unanimous decision victory last fight, bringing her to 4-1 in the UFC. She is an excellent striker with quick hands and fantastic footwork. She throws fast with strong jabs, crosses and looping hooks. She is high volume with good power and will look to mix in leg kicks to change levels. The Brazil native has a great ground game to go with her stand-up. Her strength allows for easy takedowns and control on the mat. She is not much of a submission threat, instead passing guard into top control where she can unload a flurry of devastating strikes to end the fight early.
DFS Perspective: This lines up as a striker vs grappler kind of match. Both ladies throw good volume with Wood getting the edge on the feet. Santos will have a huge advantage on the mat, so I expect her to take it there early and often. She should be able to keep control for the majority of at least rounds and potentially finish Wood early.
My Pick: Santos
Rani Yahya (27-10-1, 1NC) v. Kyung Ho Kang (17-8-0, 1NC)
- Yahya comes in after another submission victory in his last fight and is now 4-1-1 in his last six. He is an electric starter with increased ferocity in the first round. He fearlessly throws power shot after power shot with jabs and kicks. He works inside and throws quick combos letting his hands fly. He will trade in the pocket looking for an opportunity to shoot for takedowns. The Brazilian is a menace on the mat with exceptional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and relentless takedown attempts. He has 21 submissions in his 27 wins so when he gets it to the mat he usually gets the job done early.
- Kang returns after a long layoff and looks to pick up where he left off. He is a well-rounded fighter with powerful striking and a fantastic ground game. He has great one-twos and fast hands. His movement is great, and he will mix in a kick to change levels now and then. "Mr. Perfect" has excellent takedowns with single and doubles or trips and throws. He can control for the round, move into top control for ground-and-pound or hunt for a submission. He has good takedown defense and scrambling if he is taken down.
DFS Perspective: A matchup between two guys who love to fight on the mat. I think Yahya will have the advantage in the first round, but if he is unable to seize a finish then it turns to Kang's advantage. Either guy could get a finish. Kang has more ways to win, but both guys should score well in a decision victory. I think Kang's takedown defense and power/volume drives him to the finish line here.
My Pick: Kang
Michael Chiesa (18-5-0) v. Sean Brady (14-0-0)
- Chiesa had his four-fight win streak come to an end after being submitted in Round 1 of his last fight, moving his UFC record to 4-3 in his last seven. He has decent striking with a strong one-two and overhand. He will use pressure to back his opponent up to the cage and throw furious combos and elbows while waiting for the perfect chance to take the fight to the mat. "Maverick" is elite at shooting for takedowns or getting body locks against the cage. He uses his strength to overwhelm and lay loads of pressure with his top control. He is excellent at keeping control on the mat and will look to take fighters' backs when opponents attempt to get up.
- Brady extended his winning streak to 14 and moved to 4-0 in the UFC with another huge submission win in his last fight. He is a technical striker with excellent cage control. He walks opponents down while throwing feints to work into the pocket. He has a nasty jab-hook and will throw leg kicks to break fighters down. The former CFFC champion is a strong grappler with a black belt in jiu-jitsu. He has great single and doubles and excels with takedowns in the clinch. He will quickly look to move into half guard in search of a kimura or armbar. He can also move into top control and throw heavy ground and pound.
DFS Perspective: This fight could come down to who gets position on the mat. Both guys are excellent on the mat. Brady will have the advantage on the feet, but I do not see either guy looking to keep it there. I expect Brady to be more explosive and work better in the clinch. I think Chiesa is more likely to get a finish, and Brady is more likely to win by decision.
My Pick: Brady
Ketlen Vieira (11-2-0) v. Miesha Tate (19-7-0)
- Vieira struggled her way to a unanimous-decision loss last time out, acquiring her second defeat in three fights. She is an aggressive, forward-pressure striker looking to brawl in the pocket. She has big power and throws quick hooks and jabs in combinations. She will look to push fighters into the cage and unleash flurries of combinations. The Brazilian fighter is an elite grappler with a black belt in Judo and BJJ. She does not shoot for takedowns at range but will back them into the clinch and throw or trip them down. In top mount, she is strong and throws devastating ground-and-pound. She also does well passing guard and hunting for submissions.
- Tate made a successful return after five years to the UFC with a big third-round knockout win last July. She has much-improved boxing with a great jab and one-two. She applies forward pressure with hooks and overhands behind her one-twos pressuring fighters into the cage where she can lock onto a takedown. "Cupcake" is a strong grappler with seven submission victories in her 19 wins. She has excellent single and double-leg takedowns and will get trips against the cage. In top mount, she has great control and ground-and-pound.
DFS Perspective: This should be a fun fight. On paper, I would give the advantage to Vieira. However, she can be wild and make mistakes because of it, and Cupcake is no slouch. She looked great in her last fight, albeit against the now-retired Reneau. This should give us a tell on how ready Cupcake is for higher competition. Look for Tate to exploit the weaknesses of Vieira and lock up a decision win.
My Pick: Tate
Significant Strikes = 0.6pts
Takedown = 6pts
Takedown Defense = 3pts
Knockdown = 12pts
Submission Attempt = 5pts
Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win = 100pts
2nd Round Win = 75pts
3rd Round Win = 50pts
4th Round Win = 35 pts
5th Round Win = 25pts
Decision Win = 20pts
- Significant Strikes are "Distance Strike" or "Clinch/Ground Strikes" that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
- A knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider a substantial amount of time.
Strikes: +0.2 PTS
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
Control Time: +0.03 PTS/SECOND
Takedown (TD): +5 PTS
Reversal/Sweep (REV): +5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +10 PTS
Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win (1rW+): +90 PTS
2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rW+): +45 PTS
4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 PTS
5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 PTS
Decision Win (WBD+): +30 PTS
Quick Win Bonus: +25 PTS
(fight is finished in 60 seconds or less)
- Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
- A Significant Strike will count as both a strike and a significant strike and will be worth a total of 0.4 Pts
- Control Time is the time spent in the dominant position on the ground or in the clinch. +0.03 points are awarded per second.
- A Knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider an appreciable amount of time.
- A Quick Win Bonus is awarded to the winning fighter if they win in the first round in 60 seconds or less.