UFC Fight Night 70 MMA DFS picks
Last week for UFC Fight Night 69 was a VERY fruitful day at DFS MMA, as I ended up 1st out of 400 participants in a contest at Kountermove.com. We all know that with these kind of success stories, there are plenty of weekends that go awry, too, even when you use your best judgment and logic. And like pro athletes – win or lose – when we move on to the next weekend of action it’s time to forget about past success or failure and focus on the task at hand.
This weekend the Seminole Hard Rock and Casino in Hollywood, Fla. hosts the UFC Fight Night 70. I used to work late nights at a sports media company in the Fort Lauderdale area. After work I would head over to the casino with my buddy from the newsroom and we would pick off inebriated tourists while playing blackjack. I have VERY fond memories of this casino and hope to add to those good thoughts with a winning card at UFC Fight Night 70. Let’s go!
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(Kountermove.com salaries in parentheses) (all times ET).
Lyoto Machida ($5,400 vs. Yoel Romero): The last time we saw ‘The Dragon’ he was on the short end of a rear-naked choke loss to Luke Rockhold at UFC on FOX April 18, knocking him off track. He has lost two of his past three bouts, although defeats to Rockhold and Chris Weidman are certainly nothing to be ashamed about. The Dragon also has wins against CB Dolloway, Gegard Mousasi, and Dan Henderson over the past couple of years, a “who’s who” of UFC in the middleweight class. The Cuban Romero wants to be the next to knock Machida off course, and at 9-1 he has had an impressive career to date. He is 5-0 in his UFC career, including four KO/TKO’s. However, he has yet to face a fighter of Machida’s caliber. The ‘Soldier of God’ will give Machida a tough fight and this one is likely to go the distance, but Machida will come out on top despite a grueling, physical fight just nine weeks ago in his rear-view mirror. Many say age might be catching up to Machida, but Romero is 38 years old, so that argument is a wash.
Alex Oliveira ($5,400 vs. Joe Merritt): The Brazilian welterweight is a decisive favorite in this one, as he looks to stay on track. He is tremendous on the ground, so Merritt will want to obviously avoid that. After a loss March 21 to Gilbert Burns by an armbar, Oliveira took out his aggression on KJ Noons with a rear-naked choke after just 2:51 at UFC Night Night May 30. He is back in the octagon after less than a month, but don’t expect that to be an issue. He has three fights under his belt since Feb. 21, but only one has gone the distance. In fact, only two of his 14 career bouts have gone the entire 15 minutes and there is little reason to believe Merritt will be an exception. Look for a submission win for Oliveira, perhaps as early as the end of Round 1.
PLENTY OF UPSIDE
Santiago Ponzinibbio ($5,000 vs. Lorenz Larkin): Despite the DFS salary disparity (Larkin at $4,600), Ponzinibbio is actually a moderate underdog according to Vegas at +175. The Argentine is coming off an impressive unanimous decision win as a similar underdog at UFC Fight Night Feb. 22 when he stopped Sean Strickland. That followed up a KO/TKO win at UFC Fight Night 51 over Wendell Oliveira, so ‘El Rasta’ is on quite the roll. In fact, he has wins in nine of his past 10 bouts overall and of 19 career victories, 11 have come via KO/TKO and five by submission.
Ponzinibbio is a well-rounded fighter just making his way into UFC and he can make a big splash against Larkin who has dropped three of the past four bouts. He dropped down a weight class before last fight and was solid, so Ponzinibbio won’t have an easy evening. If Ponzinibbio brings the energy and can avoid the knockout punch, look for a win by decision.
Thiago Santos ($4,800 vs. Steve Bosse): Santos has not displayed consistency in his UFC career, splitting four bouts to date. In his debut at UFC 163 he lost by submission (guillotine) after just 47 seconds – a shocking result to stay the least. He quickly rebounded by blasting Ronny Markes with a knockout in less than a minute at UFC Fight Night 38, only to follow that up with a sluggish unanimous decision loss at UFC 175 against Uriah Hall. Then the last time we saw him at UFC 183 he was picking apart Andy Enz with vicious blows before winning via KO/TKO in less than two minutes. ‘Marreta’ has lightning quick hands but seems to struggle in the ground game. If he can keep Bosse upright, he can use his concrete hands and quickness to pulverize the opposition and win a quick one by knockout.
Levan Makashvili ($4,200 vs. Hacran Dias): Makashvili is a risky pick as he owns the lowest-priced DFS salary on the board. The American has just one UFC fight under his belt, a split-decision win against Mark Eddiva at UFC Fight Night May 16. He takes this fight on short notice to sub for Chas Skelly who bowed out due to an undisclosed illness. Makashvili will be facing the Brazilian’s Dias who has won 22 of his 25 career bouts. However, Dias is just 2-2 in his UFC career and all four bouts have gone to the judges’ scorecards. Makashvili has an opportunity to really establish himself here and Dias has not shown much urgency in his UFC career to date. The American is a great value play and will allow you to squeeze in plenty of studs up top, too.