UFC Fight Night 173 – 5.30.2020 – Staff Predictions, Picks, and DFS Analysis (FREE)

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Hello Daily Play Action! Welcome to our collaborative coverage of UFC Fight Night 173. We have a great card here in Las Vegas, Nevada as live sports are back in action. We do not claim to be experts, but all have been avid fight fans for quite a while now. Our analysis will include a pick for every fight from Anthony Marro, Nicholas Marro and GB. We also feature write-ups that will provide consideration for building lineups on both FanDuel and DraftKings.

When building your lineups here are a few things to consider. Pricing differs for most fighters making some better value on one site over the other. Scoring is important as well. On FanDuel a first round finish scores 5x the points as a decision, where on DraftKings it scores 3x as many. Grappling is also scored drastically different as FanDuel awards points for takedown defense and submission attempts. DraftKings neglects those two stats and instead values advances (such as to half guard, to mount…) and reversals. Lastly, you will only want to take two fighters from the same fight if you think it goes deep. For example, Woodley vs. Burns could end in the late rounds when both guys have high totals already.

As coverage continues, we will keep our Daily Play Action records up to date. Be sure to check out our reasoning though as records will not reflect confidence, we will be picking all fights regardless of if we are betting on them. If you are in search of a good website to tail any of our picks, I highly recommend using Bovada for their user-friendly format and awesome deposit bonuses!

Nick: 28-15-1      Anthony: 27-16-1      GB: 22-21-1

Fight odds are as listed from Bovada and last updated 10:45 AM EST 5-30-2020

Preliminary Card- Starts 6:00pm EST

Chris Gutierrez -120 (DK $8300, FD $17) vs Vince Morales -110 (DK $7900, FD $16)

  • Anthony: We open the preliminary card at featherweight in what should be a close fight between Vince Morales and Chris Gutierrez. These guys have a combined five UFC fights and all of them have gone to decision, making me believe this one will as well. Morales is going to be the slightly busier fighter, but Gutierrez will land the more powerful and clean strikes. If we are lucky, we should see a full fifteen minutes on the feet with these two throwing back and forth. Feel free to pay up for either guy here in what should be a high-volume striking affair. Chris Gutierrez by Decision
  • Nick: We have not seen a ton from either of these guys, but in what we have, it’s pretty clear to me that Gutierrez is the more creative striker. He throws a lot of spinning kicks, but unlike a lot of guys, he seems to use and land them in opportune times without leaving himself too exposed to damage. Morales is a decent striker in his own right, but he does not really appear as polished, especially defensively. I expect he is outclassed and out-boxed here as Gutierrez counters effectively and ultimate squeaks it out on the scorecard. Chris Gutierrez by Decision
  • GB: Looking at this fight its apparent to me that Gutierrez is better than Morales in every account. He is quicker on his feet, strikes well with his legs and just looks to be a well-rounded fighter in comparison to Morales. For Morales he seems to do what he need to, but there is nothing about his skillset that stands out to me. I think Gutierrez takes the opportunity to wear down his opponent for three rounds with a great all-around display. I think the pricing is too low for how much I like Gutierrez, and I would make it a priority to own him. Chris Gutierrez by Decision

Casey Kenney -300 (DK $9100, FD $19) vs Louis Smolka +230 (DK $7100, FD $11)

  • Anthony: The next fight is here at bantamweight as Casey Kenney faces Louis Smolka. The path to victory for Kenney is straight forward, if he can avoid Smolka’s takedown attempts he will be in favorable position most of this fight. Kenney should easily score takedowns of his own and win this one on points. Low exposure to both guys is the best approach for DFS. If Kenney wins it should be a sloppy decision, but if Smolka pulls off the upset it will be by a submission which will score much higher. However, I am confident Kenney can last the full three rounds here. Casey Kenney by Decision
  • Nick: Casey Kenney is coming off a tough loss against Merab Dvalishvili, but I really like his chances to bounce back here. He should have no trouble taking Louis Smolka to the mat early and often in this one. Smolka has decent scrambling ability and takedown upside of his own, but anytime he is up – I see Kenney taking him right back down and controlling the position for the extent of this match. I expect Kenney to score a ton of takedowns here which will be great for him if you decide to use him in DFS. I could see Smolka dishing out decent damage to Kenney, but I do not think he will be able to do enough to overcome the healthy number of takedowns on the scorecard. Casey Kenney by Decision
  • GB: Louis Smolka is a sound fighter on the ground and acts quickly to take advantage of his opponents. His submission skills are good, and he faces a guy who was taken down a total of twelve times in his previous fight. That is worth a look, and even more so given the massive price difference for Smolka here. Scoring takedowns could arguably be the easiest way for Smolka to take this fight and to prevent Kenney from unloading on him. Louis Smolka by Round Two Submission

Tim Elliott -165 (DK $8700, FD $18) vs Brandon Royval +135 (DK $7500, FD $14)

  • Anthony: The defending LFA flyweight champion Brandon Royval steps into the octagon here to face Tim Elliott in what is a very intriguing bout. I like the underdog here as Royval should be able to capitalize on the poor defense of Tim Elliott early in this fight. This is also taking place at the UFC APEX where Royval will be very comfortable fighting his debut. He is already scheduled for a Contender Series bout upcoming at this exact facility. James Krause should have Royval prepared for just about anything Elliott may throw at him. Both guys have DFS appeal, but Elliott’s ceiling is a bit too low to warrant high exposure. Brandon Royval by Round Two Submission
  • Nick: Tim Elliot is the more experienced fighter here, but Royval has looked impressive of late and I like his odds here against the gatekeeper. Coming off back-to-back victories via armbar, Royval’s strengths are very clearly his ground game and submissions. Elliot lost via submission in each of his last two fights, a trend that he is been on the wrong end of for the bulk of his lengthy career. There is always a chance Royval is exposed here, as this is easily the toughest test he has seen. Still, I think Elliot’s weaknesses will play to Royval’s strengths. Brandon Royval by Round Two Submission
  • GB: Tim Elliot has a big advantage here on his feet and much more experience as well. Where Royval shines is his ability to take fights to the ground, and to keep them there. His game reminds me a lot of Brandon Schaub, and although we do not have a ton of video on him, I like his chances in this bout. Elliot’s experience will play a key role on how this fight goes, but I cannot justify spending up for him for him with that uncertainty. Brandon Royval by Decision

Jamahal Hill -135 (DK $8400, FD $17) vs Klidson Abreu +105 (DK $7800, FD $15)

  • Anthony: This fight at light heavyweight was an easy pick for me as Klidson Farias de Abreu will take on the rising star Jamahal Hill. If Abreu is going to win this fight he needs to do so early. I am going to rely on the defense of Hill here and think he will stay busy enough to win a decision. The cardio discrepancy here is massive and if we see a third round that is where Abreu will accumulate the most damage. Hill has the advantage in striking and is going to be back on his feet quickly if he is ever taken down. If you side with Abreu here I recommend loading up on DraftKings given his price and the site’s scoring. Jamahal Hill by Decision
  • Nick: Hill enters this one with the biggest reach advantage on the card. Most of Abreu’s victories have come via submission, so it is safe to expect he will be shooting for takedowns here. Hill’s takedown defense is not anything to write home about, but the reach and height advantages should be enough to help his sprawl and keep this fight on the feet. I see Abreu shooting early and often, and ultimately ending up frustrated and gassed as Hill finds a window late. Jamahal Hill by Round Three KO
  • GB: Klidson Abreu is about to catch hands in this one. After a debut with 101 significant strikes, Hill looks to keep the momentum going. His stand-up game is good, but you can see flashes of inexperience in his last bout and I think Abreu is the guy that will test Hill’s ability to be a long-term staple in this division. From a price standpoint, it is Hill or nothing in this one for me. I think he makes a statement tonight. Jamahal Hill by Round One KO

Daniel Rodriguez -340 (DK $7300, FD $13) vs Gabriel Green +260 (DK $6800, FD $12)

  • Anthony: Kevin Holland was scratched from this bout with an injury, so we now get Daniel Rodriguez against Gabriel Green at welterweight. I am considering close to max exposure on Rodriguez for both FanDuel and DraftKings here. He is essentially a free square, still at his old price from when he was pit against Holland but now shifted from a +180 underdog to a huge favorite. This fight will be over in round one. Green may have a future in the UFC but stands little to no chance in this fight. He is used to fighting at lightweight primarily making him the much smaller fighter as well. Daniel Rodriguez by Round One KO
  • Nick: Rodriguez lucked out here as he no longer must deal with Kevin Holland who was scratched. Instead, he will square off against Gabriel Green moving up to face Rodriguez here at 170 pounds. This feels very similar to the Giga Chikadze fight we saw on the last card where he backed into a much easier (and smaller) alternate opponent. However, for DFS purposes Rodriguez is a much better play than Chikadze was at a similar price. He has a lot of upside here as he has won via finish in six of his last fights. The oddsmakers may be giving Rodriguez a bit too much juice here, but I expect him to handle Green without much struggle. The size difference will be apparent as soon as these guys touch gloves. Daniel Rodriguez by Round Two KO
  • GB: I was disappointed to hear that Kevin Holland had to pull out of this fight but plugging in Green should make this interesting. Daniel Rodriguez is slightly unknown, but after dismantling Tim Means he was quickly put on the map. Rodriguez has great countering ability, which he should be able to use well against a fast fighter like Green who will try and land punches quick. I see Rodriquez timing his counters well and winning this one convincingly. Both fighters are priced super low, so taking someone from this fight provides huge salary relief. Daniel Rodriguez by Round Two KO

Antonina Shevchenko -145 (DK $8500, FD $15) vs Katlyn Chookagian +115 (DK $7700, FD $13)

  • Anthony: We close out the preliminary card at women’s flyweight where Katlyn Chookagian looks to bounce back from her loss to Valentina Shevchenko by fighting her sister. Antonia Shevchenko is not nearly as talented as the champion when it comes to fighting on the ground, but I think her boxing will be enough to score her a win here. It is tough to ever back Chookagian because she is almost never going to win inside the distance. This will likely stay standing for a full fifteen which heavily favors Shevchenko. Keep in mind Chookagian has not once scored a takedown in the UFC. Neither fighter is a priority for me in my lineups. Antonina Shevchenko by Decision
  • Nick: It is tough to imagine this fight does not go to the scorecards, and for that reason I don’t really like either of these girls for DFS. Chookagian was absolutely man-handled by Antonina’s younger sister Valentina in her last fight, but it is totally irrational to expect her to be able to pull off a similar performance here. Antonia is smaller than her sister, not nearly as strong or developed as a striker or on the mat. I would not be shocked if Antonina pulled this one off, but I think Chookagian is out for vengeance here and her experience will be enough to carry her to victory. Katlyn Chookagian by Decision
  • GB: I will rarely pick a fighter in women’s MMA unless I am sure that they have a clear advantage on the ground. As both Shevchenko and Chookagian are predominantly strikers, I see no value in this fight relative to their prices. If I have shares of anyone it will be Shevchenko as her striking ability is far superior. She is the only one who could end this early or worst case will have the volume to earn a decision. Antonina Shevchenko by Decision

Main Card- Starts 9:00pm EST

Mackenzie Dern -400 (DK $9300, FD $19) vs Hannah Cifers +300 (DK $6900, FD $10)

  • Anthony: The main card begins in the women’s strawweight division as Hannah Cifers enters the octagon to face Mackenzie Dern. There is not too much to say about this fight as the one preceding it is really the coin flip. Dern should have no problem dominating Cifers who is really only good when standing up. I anticipate that Dern will secure the takedowns she needs, and her jiu-jitsu advantage will be enough to finish Cifers early. I would not bet this fight, but I will own a lot of Dern in my lineups. Mackenzie Dern by Round One Submission
  • Nick: To put it simply, Dern is the bigger and stronger fighter here. The juice at -400 feels a bit on the heavy side, but I cannot envision Cifers keeping this one on the feet long enough to do any real damage. I expect Dern to score a takedown early and flip it into a finish. The DFS price feels a bit high on Dern here, but she is more likely to score a finish than a lot of the other fighters on this card. Mackenzie Dern by Round One Submission
  • GB: An interesting statistic to consider with women’s MMA is that nearly 70 percent of all fights end in a decision. This paired with the information from the last female fight does not really give me a ton of confidence rostering Dern at such a high price. To me it feels like a trap. However, I do not mind pivoting and using Cifers here as her price is too low for her to fail if this goes the distance relative to her counterpart. Hannah Cifers by Decision

Roosevelt Roberts -360 (DK $9200, FD $21) vs Brok Weaver +270 (DK $7000, FD $11)

  • Anthony: Roosevelt Roberts takes on Brok Weaver here at lightweight in what I thought had fight of the night potential. I was hyped about Weaver and considered taking him here, but he just is not polished enough to fight at this level. He weighed 157.5 pounds early yesterday and did not even try to cut. He has the talent to beat some guys at lightweight and will be comfortable here in the 25-foot octagon at the APEX. However, Roberts is solid in the clinch and has much better striking at range. I think he should be able to piece Weaver here. Both are viable options as far as DFS goes. Roosevelt Roberts by Round Two Submission
  • Nick: I was high on the grit we saw from Weaver leading into his last fight. However, he was mostly exposed against Rodrigo Vargas even though he scored the win. Weaver is a brawler, but as he starts to face tougher competition, it is tough to expect him to be able to weather the better technical ability of his opponents. Weaver fights tough, but he does not seem to have the instincts or experience to deal with quality technical ability that Roosevelt Roberts will bring to the table here. Roberts has a well-rounded game and on-tape he looks better than Weaver in just about every category. There are multiple ways Roosevelt can win here, but I see him taking Weaver to the ground and controlling him once he is there. Roosevelt Roberts by Decision
  • GB: Strange fight here. Personally, I think Roosevelt Roberts has the clear advantage of the two, and the line tells the same story. Do I want to pay top dollar for him on either site? Not really. But I will look to plug Roberts into GPP’s in anticipation that he is able to take the fight to the ground where he should out wrestle Weaver. I am not confident enough that he is a shoe in for a win without the judges, but he does have the grappling skills to win either inside the distance or out. Roosevelt Roberts by Round Three Submission

Billy Quarantillo -140 (DK $8600, FD $18) vs Spike Carlyle +110 (DK $7600, FD $14)

  • Anthony: This is a catchweight bout as Billy Quarantillo weighed in at 145.5 pounds and Spike Carlyle sits at an even 150. I am confident in picking Spike Carlyle here because even though he is at a size disadvantage he is still better all-around compared to Quartantillo. This fight should not go the distance but if it were, I would also give an edge to Carlyle. The Treigning Lab should have him ready for this and once he closes the distance Carlyle can score the finish either on the feet or on the mat. Both guys are great plays on both FanDuel and DraftKings, but I prefer Carlyle for his price and higher ceiling. Spike Carlyle by Round One KO
  • Nick: It has been a while since either of these guys lost a fight. Spike Carlyle is in ridiculous shape, but Quarantillo seems to have the better overall ability and a more well-rounded game. The later this fight goes the more likely I think Quarantillo pulls it out, but he will have to avoid an early onslaught from Carlyle who is going to do everything he can to put him away. I think Quarantillo is cerebral enough to recognize Carlyle’s game plan before he falls victim to it. I like both guys for DFS purposes as if Carlyle does win it is likely to come via knockout. Billy Quarantillo by Decision
  • GB: This should be a great bout between two prospects to propel themselves in this division. Both fighters are completely different in style, as Quarantillo is slick on the ground while Carlyle is full of power and speed. If we see this fight taken to the mat Quarantillo has the advantage, but if it stays on their feet Carlyle will. From a pricing perspective I must give the edge to Quarantillo as takedowns can be a great way to accumulate points, especially if you feel a decision is in order. I will probably own near equal shares of both guys here. Spike Carlyle by Round Two KO

Augusto Sakai -120 (DK $8200, FD $17) vs Blagoy Ivanov -110 (DK $8000, FD $16)

  • Anthony: Great matchup here at heavyweight for our co-main event as Blagov Ivanov looks to do battle with Augusto Sakai. The odds for this fight are dead on as I can really picture this going either way. Sakai has the better striking, but I think he lacks the real power threat you need to keep somebody like Ivanov from closing the distance. The one thing that would worry me is high volume leg kicks from Sakai, but I still am going to back Ivanov in this one. My prediction is that he can continue pushing forward in the third round when Sakai may be damaged too much already. Neither is going to be very high owned by me when it comes to FanDuel or DraftKings in this spot. Blagoy Ivanov by Decision
  • Nick: heard a lot of people suggest this will be a boring fight, but I disagree. Sure, these guys are not the most technical in the world, but they will both throw their shots and they’ll both eat plenty. Ivanov will try to score on takedowns, but I expect Sakai and his 88 percent defense to keep things on the feet. Ivanov has one of the best chins in the sport, but he is not very likely to match the volume that Sakai should be able to put on him in this spot. I expect this one to stay on the feet and Sakai’s reach and speed to be the difference.Both guys will take damage, but I see Sakai throwing and landing more strikes and ultimately winning on the scorecards. I am not loving either of these guys for DFS as I do not expect a finish. Augusto Sakai by Decision
  • GB: Blagoy Ivanov can grapple decent enough to control an opponent like Sakai. He like most heavyweights, has clear knockout power but I think Augusto Sakai does stand a chance in this fight regardless what the spread says. Ivanov will attempt to keep this fight close, clinching his opponent for the majority of the match. For DFS you have to lean Sakai given his pressuring and knockout ability. It is hard to justify Ivanov’s price should this go to decision, which I say it does. Blagoy Ivanov by Decision

Tyron Woodley -175 (DK $8800, FD $22) vs Gilbert Burns +145 (DK $7400, FD $18)

  • Anthony: We finish here with a great main event at welterweight as Gilbert Burns will take on Tyron Woodley coming off his title defeat. Burns has been red hot and this win could vault him to a title shot very soon. There are a lot of different directions this fight can go but you have to imagine the top priority for Burns will be securing a takedown and looking for a submission. In my mind though the 92 percent takedown defense of Woodley is going to stuff him. On top of that Woodley has so many other advantages such as striking, reach and wrestling. I love the discounted price on Woodley coming off a layoff and loss and if he comes out looking like his old self this should be an easy fight for him to take. You should not be interested in stacking both fighters in lineups just because I do not think we make it to a fourth round. I think you absolutely need to own at least one of these guys though. Tyron Woodley by Round Two KO
  • Nick: It seems like a lot of people forgot just how good Tyron Woodley was before he fell to Usman in his last match. Sure, he was completely picked apart, but he seemed totally out of focus at the time and you have to think he knows he has a ton on the line here. Woodley is known as physical specimen, but his real advantage comes in his ability to think through a fight and take what is given to him by his opponent. Burns is going to come out firing here. I expect him to try to take Woodley to the ground but be stopped most attempts. Burns does not really have experience in deep waters as he has never fought a championship round. I see Burns coming out strong here, but Woodley finding his holes and landing the bigger shots. I’m really excited for this one. Tyron Woodley by Round Four KO
  • GB: This should be a great fight between two fighters whose game heavily relies on countering. I am interested to see what Woodley we get. He was a dominant champ, but since then he looks like he has slightly lost a step. Woodley is elite on his feet and will try and keep this from getting to the ground. On the other side we have Burns who will be able to stand and fight with Woodley, as seen in his recent beating of Demian Maia. His biggest advantage in this fight is his ground game, and I expect him to try early and often to get Woodley down. Burns is cheaper and perfectly rounded, so given Woodley’s arthritic issues, I see Burns smothering him. Gilbert Burns by Round Three Submission

*Anthony, Nick and GB play on both FanDuel and DraftKings, and although they express their opinions, they may also implement other plays and strategies without notice