The long awaited UFC 294 card from Abu Dhabi is here. We had some late adjustments to the top end of the card with Alexander Volkanovski stepping in on late notice to rematch Islam Makhachev as well as Kamaru Usman filling in for Paulo Costa against Khamzat Chimaev. There’s a lot of talent on this card ranging from superstars down to prospects.
The goal of this article is to focus on a few of these standout fights from a DFS perspective for FanDuel. Over half of the fights are expected to end inside the distance but 3 stand out above the rest.
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FIGHT #1 TO TARGET (-400 FDNGTD)
Ikram Aliskerov ($23) vs. Warlley Alves ($8)
Ikram Aliskerov is well-known for his dominant Russian wrestling style, which is distinguished by constant pressure, skillful body locks, and tie-ups. Although he defeated Phil Hawes, it's important to note his struggles with striking before landing the knockout shot. His straightforward striking consists of a defensive high guard, long kicks, and the occasional flying knee. BJJ black belt Warlley Alves uses striking to set up takedowns and exploit his aggressive BJJ techniques. Despite his lack of technical finesse in striking, Alves is always looking for the knockout, delivering powerful blows with single-minded intent. His recent fight with Nicolas Dalby highlighted his explosive but somewhat one-dimensional style.
The data points to Aliskerov winning Inside The Distance. Aliskerov's ITD odds of -275 reflect his superior finishing ability. To assert mat dominance, he may use a KO strategy or leverage takedowns. Alves is still a wildcard in GPPs where a surprise KO, especially in round one, is still possible. However, I will likely be backing Aliskerov or staying away entirely.
FIGHT #2 TO TARGET (-400 FDNGTD)
Mohammad Yahya ($15) vs. Trevor Peek ($15)
Trevor Peek and Mohammad Yahya are set to square off in what many expect to be an unpredictable fight. Peek's raw aggression relies on sheer determination rather than technical prowess, as evidenced by his forward charges and unrelenting punches. His significant flaws, particularly his takedown defense, were highlighted against Chepe Mariscal. Yahya, on the other hand, combines patience and power with his traditional martial arts stance. Although he isn't known for his high strike volume, he packs a punch with every blow and uses cage control when under pressure.
Both fighters are vulnerable in different ways. Yahya, who has been finished in all of his professional losses, suggests a possible weakness Peek could exploit. The odds favor the fight ending Inside The Distance (ITD), indicating a high-octane confrontation.
Yahya may have the technical advantage, but Peek's relentless drive cannot be overlooked. It's best to get exposure on both fighters, with a slight preference for Yahya. Overall, us as fans can expect an exciting fight.
FIGHT #3 TO TARGET (-275 FDNGTD)
Shara Magomedov ($18) vs. Bruno Silva ($12)
Shara Magomedov, a knockout specialist with 10 KO/TKO victories in 11 fights, steps into the ring, buoyed by widespread betting support. His diverse martial arts background, lightning-fast strikes, and strong takedown defense distinguish him as a significant threat. Bruno Silva, a striker with BJJ skills, on the other hand, has a striking prowess that can dismantle any opponent. However, Silva's recent knockout loss to Brendan Allen casts doubt on his ability to stand up to Magomedov's power.
While Magomedov utilizes a variety of strikes, he rarely pursues finishes unless it involves a spinning strike. Silva's aggressive style emphasizes his intense in-cage demeanor. However, his vulnerability was revealed in his most recent bout. Given the histories of both fighters, this fight has a high chance of ending quickly. If the duel continues past the first round, it remains to be seen whether their combined volume can result in a high-scoring decision.
Magomedov is the favorite in the eyes of the sportsbooks. However, completely dismissing Silva's potential may be a mistake. Magomedov by KO/TKO/DQ appears to be a popular wagering option. However, in larger tournaments, getting to both fighters appears to be the smart approach.
GOOD LUCK THIS WEEKEND
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