This was a big card this weekend with two titles on the line and a 5 round fight between Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler as they now fight for the second time since their battle back in 2004. It should be a great night of fights! Let’s look at some fighters to target.

Chalk

Valentina Shevchenko might be worth a look, but my favorite fighter above 9k is Curtis Blaydes at $9200. Ok, did he make a mistake against Derek Lewis? Yes, but I just don’t see that happening here. Jairzinho Rozenstruik is a solid striker with good power, but his takedown defense is sub-par, and all I see in this fight is Blaydes getting this to the mat smothering Rozenstruik. We all know that Rozenstruik off his back is like a fish out of water, and Blaydes on top with the ground and pound and nasty elbows will be a big problem for the Rozenstruik. However, Blaydes will score well with takedowns, control time, and eventually a stoppage; Blaydes is a really solid play, in my opinion.

Mid-Tier

Merab Dvalishvilli $8900 – Takedowns, takedowns, takedowns…I do think that Dvalishvili will be extremely popular, but in 5 of his last six fights, he’s scored at least 100 fpts, and the only time he didn’t score above 100 was against John Dobson, who has some of the best takedown defense we’ve seen in the UFC. Plain and straightforward, Marlon Moraes doesn’t like pressure, and his cardio issues are well-known. Merab has never secured a win inside the distance in his UFC career. Still, it’s highly possible to happen Saturday night as I see Dvalishvili overwhelming Moraes and eventually Moraes looking for a way out. It’s a shame because Moraes at one time had a bright future, but since the fight against Cejudo, he just looks like a broken fighter. Merab rolls here.

Nick Maximov at $8000 is also worth a look, but he’s making his UFC debut, so buyer beware. I do expect him to have a good showing, though.

Dog

Brian Ortega $7600 – I love what I’ve seen from Ortega since the loss to Brian Ortega; his footwork has progressed tremendously, and the way he cuts angles exceptionally well. Ortega was once known as a guy with decent striking and a top-level Jiu-Jitsu game, now it’s all coming together, and his offense combined with his length and quickness, I feel, will give Volkanovski a lot of problems. As far as Volkanovski is concerned, something seems off with him regarding his body language and actions in the press conference Thursday, and he seems significantly on edge. It’s just something I noticed, yet Ortega was relatively calm. Volkanovski has dealt with Covid on two separate occasions is a huge red flag, and no-one knows how bad it was, but we never heard much about it. If this fight were to go into the 4th or 5th rounds, what would Volkanovski have left in the tank? Huge question marks surround Volkanovksi; I can’t say the same for Ortega. Ortega will prevail on Saturday night.

Other dogs to consider:Jalin Turner $7800 – Uros Medić had an awe-inspiring performance in his UFC debut, but come on…Aaron Cruz??? The tuner should be favored here, and I think Turner’s athleticism, speed,no one and lengthy reach will give Medić a lot of problems.