UFC Fight Night 103: Rodriguez vs Penn- “Mexican Prodigy”

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The UFC kicked off a near year with a old face returning to action. Unfortunately for BJ Penn it was anything but a welcome homecoming as he was unceremoniously dispatched by rising prospect and future contender Yair Rodriguez. Long time vets Joe Lauzon and Ben Saunders also picked up wins, albeit controversial. While the card lacked big name hype, it featured several entertaining scraps from start to finish. I got off to a great start to 2017, with a 10-2 record and a bet pack that produced a combined 122 units won. All the dirty details are posted below along with who I feel is up next for several of the UFN 103 fighters.

Yair Rodriguez vs Cub Swanson

Swanson is coming off of a huge win over another highly regarded prospect and has a lot of momentum as a result. Rodriguez is being bread for a future title shot while Cub is looking to compile enough wins to get him back on the short list. The winner of this fight could vault themselves into the spot opposite of the Aldo/Holloway winner.

BJ Penn vs Dennis Siver

Penn looked bad, but he was taking on an opponent only a few wins away from a title shot. If BJ wants to continue fighting, he needs to fight appropriate competition. Siver had been pegged to fight the former champion and I feel that is a fight worth revisiting.

Joe Lauzon vs Leonardo Santos

I know a lot of people didn’t agree with the decision, Joe included, but I wasn’t that shocked. Joe might be able to crack the low end of the top 15, but he is going to be a gatekeeper to grabbing a number for the unranked looking to climb. Lauzon presents a battle harden veteran that Leo needs to beat to make that next move.

Marcin Held vs Bobby Green

Held needed to do more than just hold top position. It seems that putting your opponent on his back and holding them there is not enough anymore. Green is another fighter that had built some high expectations, but has since started to flounder.

Ben Saunders vs Jake Ellenberger

Ben got off to a good start, but I felt he floundered before the midway mark of round 2 and should have lost the fight. Ellenberger is coming off a loss, but at this stage of Saunders’s career he needs a shot at a top 15 opponent and Jake is just that- barely.

Court McGee vs Hyun Gyu Lim

A clash of styles, with cardio and volume taking power and aggression. Court needs to learn how to separate himself better on the scorecards. Against Saunders, I felt he was ahead but he needed to push the pace earlier to solidify the win in the eyes of the judges.

Sergio Pettis vs Jussier Formiga

Pettis asked for this fight, so let’s make it happen. With a pair of fighters who have yet to face Johnson, the winner takes a big step towards contention.

Nina Ansaroff vs Jessica Aguilar

Ansaroff looked good and should get a bit of a step up in competition The former World Series of Fighting Champ has been MIA of late, let’s get her back in the cage against Nina.

Oleksiy Oliynyk vs Alexander Volkov

Both guys look like movie villains in their own special way. The winner gets to push up into the upper echelon of a division needing some new faces.

Walt Harris vs Marcin Tybura

Harris picked up an impressive win and he appears to have all the tools to be a force at some level. Similar to the fight above, the winner gets a step up in competition and a potential fight with a top 15 opponent.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it was a pretty solid card. The final fight was both a showcase of an impressive young talent and a clear demonstration that even the best will eventually see the game pass them by. I was quite happy with my start to the year at 10-2 with an all-around productive Bet Pack. Let’s keep it rolling!

 

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Draftkings Line up

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DraftKings
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Fighter 1: Court McGee $7800 
Fighter 2: Augusto Mendes $7900 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 3: Aleksei Oleinik $8600 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 4: Walt Harris $8700 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 5: Cyril Asker $8000 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 6: Joe Lauzon $8500 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
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Salary Remaining:
 
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Subs
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Fighter 1: Sergio Pettis $8100 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 2: Joachim Christensen $8800 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 3: 
Fighter 4: 
 
 
 

 

Yair Rodriguez -348 vs BJ Penn -405 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This is a clear NP for me. Yair is getting the highest profile fight of his career and Penn is coming back after a long layoff. I will look at a prop bet for this bout, but it is better left untouched straight up.

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Nothing here. I usually like to play the 5-rounders, but I think Penn will be able to stick around longer than most expect. Better options for less cash available on this card.

Joe Lauzon -107 vs Marcin Held +110 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Loved Diego over Held in his debut, great dog pick. I like Lauzon here as well. Held gives up position too much and is a bit of a gas risk. If/when they compete on the feet I favour Joe’s aggression and more capable offense to carry the action. Held needs an early sub and against a veteran grappler like Lauzon, taking risks will have limited return. Gold Play for Joe.

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Lauzon has a great track record for finishing fights. Over his last 5 wins, his lowest point total has been 99. That is a pretty solid return for an $8500 investment. If this bout does go the distance, Lauzon should still find success scoring with takedowns, striking activity, and aggression grappling. Love this play. Sign him up.

Ben Saunders -106 vs Court McGee -102  

Another closely lined fight. I feel this bout is similar to the Saunders/Robertson contest, with 1 key difference. I picked Kenny to win that fight and felt he deserved the nod. The difference here will be McGee’ work rate. Saunders is both hittable and pretty predictable at distance. That will play right in the aggressive flow of offense coming from Court. McGee doesn’t have a lot of power, but his cardio and volume will be too much for Saunders to keep up with. Additionally, when Court can augment his offense with a takedown or 2, he wins. Ben will go to his back to attack with his guard, that won’t be a good position for him. Court joins Lauzon in my Gold play.

Draft-Kings-Logo

McGee could be the deal of the day for the fantasy players. He is currently costing us just $7800, which is a great investment for a volume striker who will most likely get overlooked by the majority of players. McGee isn’t known for stopping power, so I don’t expect to see him popping up on a lot of player’s radars. Saunders gets hit a lot, including 91 strikes by Robertson. Kenny isn’t exactly a big output guy, so I expect to see Court putting up even better numbers. If we mix in a couple of takedowns, look for McGee to come in around the 85-105 mark. Add him.

Sergio Pettis -129 vs John Moraga +133 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

I’m not a big fan of Moraga. He cost me a tonne of money in his debut, as the only fight I lost on the card of what still turned out to be a very successful night. That isn’t why I picked against him. I picked him to lose his last bout, which he did. I feel Pettis is a better version of the man that just beat Moraga. He is more active with his hands and can wrestle. Moraga’a issues with maintaining a consistent output and/or looking for takedowns will cost him here. Pettis will simply do more. Sergio finalizes my Gold plays.

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I see this bout going the distance and while Sergio might be able to put up some points I have him as nothing more that a sub option because he is affordable.

Augusto Mendes +148 vs Frankie Saenz -155 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Dog Alert. Saenz hasn’t impressed me that much of late. Yes it was against top level guys, but the cracks are still exploitable here. I picked Wineland to upset him, which worked out well. Going back to his fight with Kakai, Saenz struggled with his wrestling both offensively and defensively. Sirwan took him down 3-times and probably would have won the fight with some prolonged top control. I was on Frankie that night. Mendes has decent wrestling, but more importantly he is an elite grappler. If he gets Saenz down, that will be a tough spot for the wrestler. On the feet, Saenz has a chin that is a bit of a vulnerability and his striking can be erratic and sloppy. Mendes isn’t a world beater on the feet, but he has some pop. He will figure into my Silver play.

Draft-Kings-Logo

If Mendes wins this fight it will most likely be by finish- either a knockout or submission. I like him at an affordable $7900 against a fighter that most are picking against. A nice under the radar play that will produce a sizeable return.

Aleksei Oleinik -135 vs Viktor Pesta +125 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This is a one of a number of fun fights involving the bigger boys on the roster. Pesta hasn’t impressed me of late. He is a takedown or bust type fighter that has struggled to make his wrestling count of late. Without takedowns, his striking is simply too green. Oleinik is pretty solid wrestler with a capable submission game. He is older, which will prevent this fight from being a top play, but I still think he wins. He held his own early in his last fight and won in the opening round before getting hurt and fading. The layoff certainly played a role. I expect him to take Pesta down early, grind on him, and eventually get the sub. Pesta’s willingness to grapple will make it easy for Oleinik to get in close. I see lots of predictors backing the underdog here, a trendy dog is an easy fade for me. Bronze play.

Draft-Kings-Logo

With the submission laden record and takedown heavy approach for the Ukrainian and the question chin and porous defense of Pesta we can score points in a number of different ways. I like Oleinik to win inside the distance, potentially inside the first half of the opening round. Watch for the early takedown and quick mount. Add him.

Alex White +185 vs Tony Martin -172 

This is going to be an interesting fight and will most likely come down to Martin’s cardio. I simply could not play Martin as a favourite knowing how badly he has gassed in the past. Some people are pointing to his size as a factor that will make him too overwhelming once he takes White down, but if he can’t finish early- his size works against him. He cuts a lot of weight. Conversely, White is moving up a division and won’t have to drain himself as much. I like his speed to be a factor against a heavier opponent. In a battle of scenarios, I will take the month’s notice limited weightcut over the fighter that traditionally cuts a lot of weight and gasses out. Bronze play.

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I will pass here.

Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger +133 vs Nina Ansaroff -135 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Statistically, the numbers don’t favour Ansaroff if the fight goes the distance. She is 1-4 on the cards, struggling to win bouts when she can’t get the finish. JJL has gone the distance in 8 of her 9 fights, winning 5. I still like Nina here and wouldn’t be shocked if we don’t see the scorecards. JJL is way too willing to get hit and gets hit a lot, 5.43 SLpM. Nina hits hard, is accurate, and can counter strike. JJL over-extends when attacking at times and is right in the pocket. I felt Nina could have been given the nod against Kish, but even in defeat she impressed me. This fight was very close to being in my Gold play, top Silver action.

Draft-Kings-Logo

I have Nina in my lineup. She has 4 career knockouts, so she knows how to finish. If we do go the distance, the volume should be there and she is pretty aggressive on the mat if it goes there. Most players won’t be on Nina because they will opt to pick from the bigger men on the card. I like Nina here as a bit of a fantasy sleeper.

Devin Powell +226 vs Drakkar Klose -230 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Just an all around pass here. Too many unknowns to consider betting this fight. Could be a fun scrap, but not worth an investment.

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Same as above.

Chase Sherman +120 vs Walt Harris -132 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

I took Sherman in his debut and was disappointed. He is pretty stiff and way too hittable for the HW division. If that continues to be the case, the knockout defeats will mount. I think he is a perfect opponent for Harris. Walt has faced some decent competition and struggle to get a foothold, but I felt he looked better in his last fight. He is going to be the quicker man with the better overall striking attack. Harris hits hard and will make Sherman pay. Harris joins Ansaroff in my Silver section.

Draft-Kings-Logo

Looking for an early finish here. As mentioned above Sherman gets hit a lot and Harris hits too hard to take that type of damage. All of his wins have come by knockout and in the opening round. A perfect play for your Fantasy team.

Bojan Mihajlovic +206 vs Joachim Christensen -211 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

I am going to pass here. Christensen should win this fight, but at this type of a return, he isn’t my favourite play. Mihajlovic is coming down a weight class, so that could be a bit of a factor one way or another. Should be some violence here, but no bet from me.

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At $8800, Christensen is a little expensive for my lineup- but I could afford him based on my underdog picks. I’ll post him as a sub. He carries a solid work rate and could grab the finish if he can pile up the damage.

Cyril Asker -112 vs Dmitrii Smoliakov +108 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Smoliakov looked like hot trash in his debut. He was shorting his punches and looked tired half way through round 1. There were questions about his level of competition and they seemed to be answered fairly quickly. If he can’t get his opponent out of their quickly, it is going to get ugly. Asker didn’t have a great debut, but it was against a pretty tough opponent. Overall, he seems durable enough and a better overall fighter to get by the early onslaught from Smoliakov to get the win. Regardless, it is a HW bout with a pair of 0-1 UFC fighters- Bronze play.

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If Asker wins it will be inside the distance as simply don’t see Dmitrii surviving a full 3-rounds based on his cardio and previous fight history. Sign him up.

 

1. Yair Rodriguez -348 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

2. Joe Lauzon -107 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

3. Court McGee -102 

4. Sergio Pettis -129 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

5. Nina Ansaroff -135 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

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6. Walt Harris -132 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

7. Joachim Christensen -211 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

8. Aleksei Oleinik -135 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

9. Augusto Mendes +148 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

10. Cyril Asker -112 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

11. Alex White +185 

12. Drakkar Klose -230 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

1. Joe Lauzon -107 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

2. Court McGee -102 

3. Alex White +185  

4. Augusto Mendes +148 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

5. Cyril Asker -112 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

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bETTING SCENARIOS

Exclusive Bet Pack Information.

Prop Bets

Yair Rodriguez/BJ Penn Total Rounds Over 2.5 -115 

A lot of people are looking for a finish here, I’m not so sure. Yair is a dynamic striker, but he is far from a knockout artist. Conversely, BJ has been very difficult to finish in his career- just 3 stoppages despite facing elite level competition. Keep in mind, all 3 fighters that stopped BJ had a similar style- heavy top position wrestlers. They all won by TKO, not KO, and it took them into rounds 3, 4, and 3 respectively. I see Yair outclassing BJ, but not actually stopping him. Even with the layoff, Penn sticks around into the second half of the fight.

Yair Rodriguez to Win by Decision +317 

See above, just with a little more risk and better return.

Joe Lauzon/Marcin Held Total Rounds Under 2.5 +150  

I am a little surprised we are getting plus money at 2.5 rounds. Both men a solid track record for finishing fights and each man’s greatest strength will draw them directly into the wheelhouse of their opponent. Lauzon has gone the distance just once compared to 25 wins by finish. Held has 16 career stoppage victories compared to 6 wins. Lauzon’s relentless pace will create a slowdown that could lead to a stoppage in a little later in the fight or a flash sub early is also a possibility. The line is too tempting to pass up.

Court McGee to Win by Decision +220 

Court isn’t known for his power, with just a trio of career knockouts. While Saunders has been knocked out 4-times, they all came against guys with big-time power. McGee might be able to break him down with his pace, but I just don’t see a finish materializing for McGee who has won his last 5 via decision. Play the plus money on a trip to the cards.

Augusto Mendes/Frankie Saenz

See Betting Scenario Section.

Aleksei Oleinik Wins by Submission +250 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Oleinik has won 41 of his 50 career victories by submission. That is 82% for all of you mathmatologists. I like those odds when we are getting this type of value. Pesta’s wrestling might be his strength, but on his back he will be simply overwhelmed by his foe. His recent 11-fight winning streak was highlighted by 9 submission wins. He adds another here, possibly rocking Pesta before tapping him out.

Nina Ansaroff to Win by TKO/KO/DQ +500 

Prior to coming to the UFC, Nina had 4 wins by knockout. Her finishing skills took a downturn with a step up in competition. Against Kish, she showed why she is a dangerous striker. Ansaroff cracked Justine with some big shots. Shots that would have put most opponents down. JJL is just too willing to get hit over a 3 round fight to find success against this type of offense. At +500, I love this bet.

Chase Sherman/Walt Harris Total Rounds Under 1.5 +120  

Harris has never won a fight that has gone beyond round 1, winning 8-times bu knockout in the first frame. Sherman has won all 8 of his fights in the first round and lost his only pre-UFC debut in round 1 as well. Both guys can finish, both guys can be finished, and both guys will stand and trade. Someone is going down.

Bojan Mihajlovic/Joachim Christensen

See Betting Scenario Section.

Cyril Asker/Dmitrii Smoliakov 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

See Betting Scenario Section.

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