Updated: Jan 14
After a very exciting PPV event, the UFC returns to action this week for a UFC Fight Night (UFC Vegas 29) that features a handful of older fighters who may have seen their best days come and go. One thing is for sure, we expect a ton of knockouts this week. There will be a theme of violence in our picks on this card from top to bottom.
For this post, we will focus on the main card and provide early previews and picks for each fight. Circumstances, including weigh-ins and other health concerns during this pandemic, can greatly impact not only each fight on Saturday, but where they end up on the card. We will keep all of you up to date with relevant information through our social media accounts and then in our Game Picks on Saturday. Picks mentioned in this post are NOT our final picks:
Korean Zombie (-110) vs Dan Ige (-110)
The Korean Zombie was fun to watch in his prime. You don’t get a nickname like that without the ability to take a punch, but the Zombie did not look like his old self in his most recent fight against Brian Ortega. Ortega has his way with Zombie and really the Zombie did not look aggressive for a single second. Now 34 years old, the damage seems to be catching up to Zombie. His opponent this weekend, Dan Ige, is also known for his ability to take a punch. Ige is the considerably younger fighter at 29 years old and has proven to be competitive with some of the better fighters in the division. We expect this to be an exciting fight, worthy of a main event, but the line does not feel right. We will be taking Ige, especially on Draft Kings, where he is actually the cheaper fighter.
Sergey Spivak (-225) vs Aleksei Oleinik (+175)
In the co-main event, we have another fighter in Oleinik whose best days are likely behind him. The former middleweight now competing at heavyweight turns 44 years old next week. He leads the UFC’s active roster in both wins (59) and submissions (46). Oleinik is a true legend of the sport, but his athleticism is noticeably diminishing. Oleinik will enter the cage coming off consecutive losses and five losses in his last seven fights. Spivak, at just 24 years old, is a young upcoming talent in the division. If this fight happened even three years ago, we may pick a different result, but we have to side with the younger Spivak in this one now. One interesting point to consider is that Spivak seems to do his most damage to opponents on top, while Oleinik loves to pull guard and work his submissions. It will be an interesting style clash to watch. Oleinik to win by sub is interesting at +325, but we still prefer the younger fighter here.
Marlon Vera (-215) vs Davey Grant (+170)
This fight offers a rematch that nobody asked for. Back in 2016, Grant defeated a very young Chito Vera in a unanimous decision. If you rewatch that fight, you can see just how young Vera was at the time and how far his skillset has come since then. It seems like bettors are looking to that result, because the line on Vera opened around -300 and has since come down considerably. We definitely see the argument for Grant being a live dog, but Vera is a durable fighter who has the much more impressive resume since that fight five years ago. Interestingly, Grant has only fought five times in that five year span. We will likely stay away from this fight on DK because the pricing feels off, but Vera will definitely find his way into some of our parlays this weekend.
Julian Erosa (+120) vs Choi Seung-Woo (-150)
In this featherweight bout, we have two exciting fighters with a propensity to win by knockout. Erosa has finished 22 of his 25 wins by KO and has proven to effectively find finished both on his feet and on the ground using a combination of very flashy strikes. His opponent, Choi, has only nine wins under his belt, but has shown to have immense power, but seems to be less skilled on the ground. The biggest criticism of both of these fighters could be their inability to take punches at the level they are able to throw them. Neither guy has a great chin nor does either of them have high level Cardio. Both of these fighters tend to gas out in the later rounds. Watching over Choi’s fights, he has been dropped by some weak punches in his past. When you have a scouting report like this, the fight can really go either way. If we had to pick, we would lean towards the underdog, Erosa, but our favorite play on this fight will be under 2.5 rounds at +105. For DFS purposes, we definitely like taking an underdog with knockout potential for our GPPs.
Wellington Turman (+100) vs Bruno Silva (-125)
Much like the fighters we just discussed, Turman does not seem to possess much of a chin. We saw Turman knocked out in his most recent fight by Andrew Sanchez, who is not known for having power in his strikes whatsoever. Turman is also an average striker at best who really prefers taking fights to the ground when he can. His opponent, Silva, has massive power in his strikes. Silva also has 16 KO’s in 19 career wins. Silva has a very interesting resume, having risen to M-1 champion before a long layoff imposed by USADA keeping him out of competition since 2018. There could be ring rust for Silva in this fight, but he is still a relatively young 31 year old middleweight and we think he comes out ready to prove something here. The line is pretty good already, but if you were looking to juice it up a bit more, we like Silva by KO at +200.
Matt Brown (+140) vs Dhiego Lima (-177)
The first fight of the main card features yet another 40 year old fighter in Matt Brown, who could possibly be fighting for his future with the promotion. Brown has lost his last two fights and five of his last seven. Brown’s biggest flaw is his inability to adapt. He still fights the way he did in his prime: he moves forward and takes damage to give it back. Brown’s problem is that he no longer has the chin or the athleticism to fight that way anymore. It is a mixture of accumulation of damage and his changing camps to one that focuses more on his strength. You can tell physically that Brown has put on muscle over the years, but that comes with a price that is loss of speed. His opponent this weekend, Lima, was on a three fight winning streak before losing a unanimous decision to rising talent Belal Muhammad in February. Notably, Lima has always lacked elite athleticism and his chin has always been an issue. The similar scouting reports makes this an interesting matchup on what is a much weaker card than the star-studded UFC 263 we saw last week. If we have to pick a winner here, we will side with Lima, but our favorite angle here might just be under 2.5 rounds at +110.
*Please do not mistake our opinions expressed here as our picks for the card. We will post all picks for this event and all UFC events in the Game Picks section of the website.
**Odds accurate at time of posting
***Also, let us know if you like this UFC preview! Would you want to see a full card breakdown in the future?