After a week off the UFC heads to Las Vegas for UFC on ESPN 9: Woodley vs. Burns, from the UFC Apex. The main event features former champion Tyron Woodley against Brazilian jiu-jitsu powerhouse Gilbert Burns. Woodley is coming off a long layoff since his loss to Kamaru Usman while Burns has taken an aggressive approach, fighting regularly and compiling 5 straight wins. It’s an interesting card, to say the least, let’s look at the salaries.

Chalk

Mackenzie Dern $9300 – Dern took her first loss in her last time out, losing a unanimous decision to Amanda Ribas (we saw that coming) and will now try to rebound against Hannah Cifers. I don’t know if I trust Dern 100% but she should be able to take this to the mat and get the job done. Cifers is pretty durable but should Dern play dictate the terms of the fight it SHOULD end in the 1st via submission. I won’t be all-in on Dern, but I’ll have some of her in my lineups.

Roosevelt Roberts $9200 – I wasn’t impressed with Broc Weaver in his UFC debut and I like the improvement I’ve seen in Roberts. Roberts is better everywhere and his striking is far more fluid than Weavers. Roberts could very well end this early and I see this as a really one-sided fight. I will have some room for RR in the majority of my lineups since I’ll be targeting a lot of dogs. One more thing to consider, I don’t think Roberts will be high owned due to his recent fantasy points output, but he has the chance to really score well in this one.

Mid-Tier

Billy Quarantillo $8600 – If Spike Carlyle has any chance of beating Billy Quarantillo, it’s within the first 2 minutes, after that when Quarantillo gets into a rhythm it’ll be a wrap. Quarantillo is just the more refined striker and grappler, Carlyle had an impressive debut but he carries a lot of muscle and I think that will put him at a disadvantage in the later rounds. Quarantillo just has more realistic paths to victory here. 

Dog

Louis Smolka $7100 – I was honestly shocked when this line came out with Casey Kenney a massive favorite, and needless to say I think it’s a ridiculous line. Smolka looked reinvigorated in his last time out notching a TKO win, while in Kenney’s last fight he was rag-dolled by Merab Dvalishvili. I like Casey Kenney as a prospect, we were on him against Ray Borg, and his performance against an overweight Manny Bermudez was impressive. These are some things you must think about, first off Kenney is not coming out of a full camp, and Smolka’s scrambling and jiu-jitsu can be a problem. I also have seen the muscle that Smolka has put on, and he’s going to be the bigger longer guy. Smolka’s durability and his striking I believe will be the difference here. Some say that Kenney is the better striker and I totally disagree. Shorter cage and shorter camps make this one interesting, and I’m rolling with Smolka here. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll have Kenney in some lineups but for the majority, it will be Smolka for me.

Other fighters to watch

I’m totally split between Woodley and Burns, 50/50, or I might fade the fight in some lineups. I think Klidson Abreu has the chance to get the fight to the mat as Jamahal Hill’s takedown defense is poor. It’s a smaller cage so less room to work for Hill. Also liking Brandon Royval although I’m a little hesitant on the fight being his UFC debut, there’s no crowd so it shouldn’t be that much of a factor. Antonina Schevchenko might be a sneaky good play, certainly has a good training partner to prepare her for Chookagian.

That’s all for this week folks, we’ll be back next week for UFC 250. Stay safe and enjoy the fights!