The only real takeaway that I have from UFC Paris is that Benoit Saint-Denis continues to make me look stupid. Congratulations to him on the big win, masterfully done. Aside from picking against BSD the three fights to target were spot on and all produced insane scores. This time around for 293 we will attempt to do the same.
UFC 293 will be taking place in Sydney, Australia and is our third consecutive international event. The main event is middleweight champion Israel Adesanya against Sean Strickland, and the rest of the slate is loaded with fighters from Australia and New Zealand. There are some really interesting fights on this slate, but it is not ideal for picking winners in my opinion because many of the fights are at the higher weight classes and the ones that aren’t are looking to be razor thin with just a few exceptions.
Below you will see my recommended fights to target on the FanDuel slate for UFC 293. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to tweet @WeWantPicks on Twitter and they will get back to you ASAP.
FIGHT #1 TO TARGET (-900 FDNGTD)
JUSTIN TAFA ($17) vs. AUSTEN LANE ($11)
As I stated above in the introduction, this slate is loaded with fights in the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions, so why not jump right in. The first fight we have to look at, and the fight most favored to end inside the distance on the entire slate, is a rebooked fight from UFC Jacksonville between Justin Tafa and Austen Lane. This one should be fun!
Justin Tafa is a big, heavy handed heavyweight that has a reputation for his power. Tafa also seems to carry that power with him through the entirety of the fight which can spell trouble for opponents that think they can just manage the range and point fight their way to a win. When Tafa connects with something, it falls more often than not. Beyond the striking skills and immense power though, Tafa doesn’t have much to offer in the other disciplines. This can lead to holes in his game being exploited by some opponents. It is fairly unlikely we see much but striking here however.
Austen Lane is a former NFL defensive lineman that has migrated to the MMA scene. Lane seems to be exceptionally athletic which can create problems for slower opponents, and his length can be a great asset for him as well. In their first meeting back in UFC Jacksonville Austen Lane was looking to get the better of Tafa in my opinion prior to the fight being stopped due to an eye poke.
Whichever way you go here you are all but guaranteed a high score. Personally I am on the Lane side, and am a little surprised at how much value can be found on that side considering he was pretty clearly overwhelming Tafa in the brief meeting the two had recently. Obviously Tafa is live for a flash knockout at any moment, but I think the athleticism gets the better of him from Lane.
FIGHT #2 TO TARGET (-550 FDGTD)
ALEXANDER VOLKOV ($17) vs. TAI TUIVASA ($12)
And another one! – DJ Khaled voice. More heavyweights for our enjoyment, this time around some ranked competitors. On one side we have Alexander Volkov and on the other hometown favorite Tai Tuivasa. Both of these guys are pretty exciting when they fight so I am sure that this fight won’t let us down.
Alexander Volkov is starting to be towards the end of his fighting career in my assessment, but that doesn’t mean he is washed up just yet. Volkov is still a very large man, with some serious striking skills. He doesn’t have the most power, but the power that he does have is adequate. Volkov doesn’t really wrestle, and he won’t have to deal with wrestling is this one either. This should remain a striking affair until one man folds, which is a fight that Volkov is pretty comfortable with.
Tai Tuivasa is all power and excitement. There isn’t an overwhelming amount of technical skill there, but surely there is enough. Tuivasa’s strength comes in his ability to bite down on his mouthpiece and move forward throwing bombs. When those bombs hit their target good things happen for Tai. That will surely be his fighting style in this fight as well, especially because he will need to close quite a bit of distance.
I have tried to get on the Alexander Volkov train for this one, but I just can’t. I don’t think Volkov can last in the pocket with Tuivasa and I think Tai will fold him sooner or later in this fight. Whichever fighter manages to come away with the win it should be high scoring and exciting for as long as it lasts.
FIGHT #3 TO TARGET (-330 FDNGTD)
CARLOS ULBERG ($19) vs. DA UN JUNG ($10)
Behind Manel Kape, Carlos Ulberg is the fighter that is most favored by me this week. I think Ulberg is coming into his own and has the striking skills and size to be a real problem in the division. On the other side we have Da Un Jung, who is a large man himself that packs plenty of power. I think the difference in this one will be the speed of Ulberg however, and I think it catches up to Jung in round two.
I would be very surprised if this fight makes it to the scorecards, so you are likely to find a nice little come up on the winning side of this one regardless of which fighter that is that grabs the win. Just another exciting fight on a card that I wasn’t overly excited for until maybe yesterday.
GOOD LUCK THIS WEEKEND
Good look to all heading into this event. If you are watching it at home, follow along with @WeWantPicks on YouTube for live bets on the fight companion. Also, tweet your winning lineups at us and we will do our best to recognize your greatness.
Enjoy the event, and make sure to keep it locked on We Want Picks for tons of great MMA content.