UFC on FOX 23: Shevchenko vs Pena- “Tap Dancing to a Title Shot”

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Well, well, well. Could Nunes enter her second consecutive title defense as an underdog? After the UFC on FOX 23 card, it is quite possible. Valentina Shevchenko picked up an impressive win in a battle of top-ranked fighters to almost certainly secure herself a shot at the title. Jorge Masvidal picked up arguably the biggest win of his career and Francis Ngannou is on the cusp of superstardom as the next big thing at Heavyweight. I went a solid 8-4, although a disappointing 2-2 on the main card. My Bet Packs produced winning nights, especially my Big Reward play which had a large return. Let’s take a look at my grades for some of the key fighters on the card.

Valentina Shevchenko A+

As she stated in her post-fight speech, this fight showed that she is more than a striker. She took Pena down multiple times from the clinch, which is one of Juliana’s best positions. More impressively, she caught a sub of her back after Pena took her down and was expected to dominate her. Based on how the first fight played out and strides made by Valentina, we could be looking at the next champion.

Juliana Pena C-

Despite the fight taking place every where she wanted it to, she routinely got second best. Pena is still a monster from top position, but she has to continue to improve her striking to add a crucial secondary element to her game. The lack of depth to her attack showed up here.

Jorge Masvidal A

After dropping multiple big fights, Jorge finally picked up a win in a showcase bout. Defeating and finish “Cowboy” puts him in elite company and moves up the Welterweight rankings very quickly. Big things are ahead in 2017 for Jorge. A fight with Robbie Lawler would be a great scrap.

Donald Cerrone D

Losing in front of the hometown crowd is tough, even more someone like Cerrone. “Cowboy” will bounce back, he always does, but his push for a shot at the Welterweight title takes a massive hit here. I felt he was probably on pace to get a title shot in late 2017, that certainly isn’t the case now.

Francis Ngannou A+

Everyone is aware of the issues that Arlovski has against heavy hitters and anything less from Ngannou could have been seen as a letdown. That was not the case at all. The big man took care of business in a manner that sets him up as a legit title threat. A shot at the gold in the next 12-months is a reality.

Andrei Arlovski E

The former champion was dead and buried in early 2011, but battled his way back to relevancy. It is clear that time has once against passed. With four consecutive finishes and a total that has now reach double digits when it comes to knockout defeats- it might be time to walk away for Andrei.

Jason Knight B+

Knight picked up a big win and did it in front of a large audience. That raises his stock significantly. He is quickly becoming “must-see-tv”. This victory should get him a spot in the rankings by Monday and set him up for bigger fights in the not too distance future. While it was a fun fight callout, normally a streaking fighter like Knight is should be looking to call out the winner of a

Alex Caceres C-

He was holding his own on the feet, but his defensive wrestling just wasn’t good enough. Knight is rolling right now, so the loss won’t cost Caceres much, but he does miss out on the big opportunity nonetheless.

Sam Alvey C

It was a win, but far from the type of performance that has people begging to see you in high profile fights. The victory was probably just as much a product of what Marquardt didn’t do as what Alvey did do.

Raphael Assuncao B-

A loss would have been devastating, but Assuncao showed that he is still in the hunt at the top of the division. The victory was clear, but not overwhelming. He needs to blend his counter striking and ground game together more effectively to utilize his entire skill set.

Final Thoughts

There were some pretty decent fights on the card, but the final two contest easily produced the most significant outcomes. Masvidal halted Cerrone’s charge up the ranks, but probably doesn’t outright replace him in the ranking. Jorge needs another big win or two, before people start buzzing about him like they were about “Cowboy”. Shevchenko’s win combined with how the first bout win Nunes played out has her very confident heading into a possible title shot. Conversely, I felt I saw some concern on the face of Nunes once the tap came in. Will she run to 145 to avoid the fight?

So far this year, we are off to a great start. At 18-6, I hope to keep things rolling. The Bets Packs have started equally as strong, but the Cerrone loss did hurt. Time to get to work as the 2017 schedule starts to pick up!

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Depending on your betting style, you can select the Big Bank Roll Parlays which employs a betting strategy focussed on straight and 2-leg parlays that limit the risk and offer a decent return based on your financial commitment. If you are willing to take a little more risk and aren’t interested in putting as much cash in play, but still want a shot at a big return- then the Big Risk/ Big Reward Parlays are for you. Playing both of these strategies together is not recommended.




Draftkings Line up

Fighter 1: Sam Alvey $9000 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 2: Raphael Assuncao $8200 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 3: Alex Caceres $7700 
Fighter 4: Valentina Shevchenko $8400 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 5: Li Jingliang $8100 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 6: Jordan Johnson $8600 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Salary Remaining:
Fighter 1: Francis Ngannou $9600 (sub for Alvey) 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 2: Eric Shelton $7900 (sub for Johnson) 
Fighter 3: Eric Spicely $8800 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 4: 
Draftkings Additonal Entry Lineup
Fighter 1: Sam Alvey $9000 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 2: Francis Ngannou $9600 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 3: Marcos Rogerio de Lima $9100 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 4: Jorge Masvidal $7300 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 5: Luis Henrique da Silva $7600 
Fighter 6: Alessio Di Chirico $7400 
Salary Remaining:


Valentina Shevchenko -149 vs Juliana Pena +140 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

The line was much closer when it opened and has shifted tremendously against Shevchenko. I still like Valentina over a 5-round fight. She needs to avoid the slow start, but her strength in the clinch will make it difficult for Pena to take her down with regularity. On the feet, she will have a sizeable advantage. It will be a close fight that could change on a dime, VS has more weapons- Silver Play.


Over 5-rounds Shevchenko probably won’t get the finish, but there are some heavy Fantasy favs here, so we need to make hay where we can. Shevchenko will compile 80-115 significant strikes and most likely 2-4 takedowns. These will put up some decent fantasy points for an affordable price.

Donald Cerrone -141 vs Jorge Masvidal +135 

This should be an excellent scrap with the winner getting a big jump. Cerrone is close to a title shot, Masvidal steals his momentum with a win. Masvidal struggled with the kicking attacks of both Henderson and Larkin. Cerrone should have similar success here. Unless Masvidal can stick right in his face and keep attacking, he will struggle to get the better of the exchanges. Gold Play for the red hot “Cowboy”


A lot of people will be on Cerrone, he is expensive, and facing a tough to finish and defensively sound Masvidal. Those are enough reason to pass here.

Andrei Arlovski +333 vs Francis Ngannou -335 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Nothing doing here.The return is too low for such a risk, especially at HW. I’ve got a prop in mind, but not straight bet.


Ngannou is a sub. It will be 2 in and 2 out as posted in the DK section. A finish in the first round has a lot of potential, but Francis carries a lineup impeding price tag.

Alex Caceres +138 vs Jason Knight -135 

Loving the dog here. I’m 3-0 calling Knight’s fights so far, including a pair of upset picks in his favour. I don’t like him here. He has shown the capacity to slow down in fights because he is so aggressive and walks forward behind a lot of swing and misses. At altitude, that slowdown will come quicker and more severe. He benefited tremendously from the inactivity of Hooker, who stayed close by but had minimal output. Caceres will move, strikes, and conserve his energy. If Knight tries to wrestle, Caceres will be difficult to hold down, scramble, and make it difficult for Knight to stay on top. I like Caceres here as a step up against a streaking, but flawed fighter. Bronze play.


Caceres is affordable at $7700 and will score some decent points with volume and a finish isn’t totally off the table. If Knight falters, Bruce LeeRoy will most likely overwhelm him or submit him.

Sam Alvey -142 vs Nate Marquardt +130 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Alvey is becoming a more risky pick with every fight. He has been exposed as a heavy-handed counter striker and nothing more. If you can avoid eating something in return, you can outpoint him in a hurry. I don’t think Nate can. He has a tendency to attack and then freeze up and get tagged. It will only take one from Sam to put him down. This is an ideal fight for Sam and the line is a little off in my opinion- Gold play.


Alvey is a finisher, the numbers don’t lie. Marquardt can be finished and that is the key here. There are multiple big ticket fighters on this card. We need to play one and Alvey mixes the best price with most likelihood of grabbing an early finish.

Raphael Assuncao -138 vs Aljamain Sterling +130 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Not sure why this bout isn’t the top Undercard fight. Assuncao is the more refined fighter at this point in his career. Sterling is a more dynamic fighter, but he is too dependent and vulnerable on the mat. Back in his debut, Gibson had a lot of success taking him down and so did Caraway. Assuncao will as well if he opts to go that route. If he focuses on defensive grappling, he will keep the fight standing and outstrike Aljamain with the superior striking attack. Gold Play for the Brazilian.


We need to find value here with so many heavy favs (7 at $8600 or more). Assuncao is probably not going to finish, but the volume will be respectable and his takedowns will put up some points as well. The money saved here will be spent better elsewhere.

Li Jingliang -117 vs Bobby Nash +115 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Nash is debuting on short notice and fighting at altitude- that is a lot. He has a history of quick fights as well if you want to further pile on. The effective grinding game of Li will be difficult for Bobby to overcome. As the fight advances, Li should find more and more success beating him to the punch and taking him down. Li moves into the Silver play.


Li joins my team because of his activity rate and the vulnerability of his opponent. Under these circumstances, it will be hard for Nash to go a full 15-minutes. Li isn’t known for his finishing skills, so he won’t be at the top of most players lists. I like him.

Luis Henrique da Silva +205 vs Jordan Johnson -195 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

No bet here. Lots of action on da Silva here, which has a lot to do with his last fight. I feel he as been vulnerable throughout his UFC and pre-UFC run to getting taken down and that is what Johnson does best. Still, I will stay away here.


I am on Johnson here. He has the dogged wrestling based attacked to both score points and wear da Silva out. Once the Brazilian is gassed, he should be ripe for the pickings. Lots of players will be jumping on the more affordable da Silva to help save money on their cards- fade em. See the additional entry team.

Alessio Di Chirico +105 vs Eric Spicely -111 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

I was on Di Chirico early, but felt he is simply too vulnerable to a grappling heavy fighter like Spicely. The American isn’t that impressive overall, but he does one thing quite well. If Di Chirico shores up his TDD, he can win this fight- Bronze play for Spicely.


A sub spot for Spicely. He is a finisher that will be very active on the mat- that will put points on the board. Hard to fit him in without taking a hit somewhere. See the additional entry team.

Jeremy Kimball +130 vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima -139 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This line has swung massively after Rogerio missed weight. I still think he gets the job done here. His style doesn’t hinge on going deep in fights and a prolonged output of offense. Kimball is coming in on short notice and doesn’t impress me. Watch for da Lima to set up arm triangle choke or guillotine if he can’t get the initial knockout. At this price, there is value to be had- Silver Play.


He is a finisher, but at $9100 it is just too much to spend. See the additional entry team.

Alexandre Pantoja +113 vs Eric Shelton -124 

A lot of people are on Pantoja, but I like the still developing fighter coming out of a big TUF season to show us a massive improvement. Shelton will defend takedowns and do more at range than his opponent- especially later in the fight. Superior cardio, a slightly more diversified game, and an improving skill set has me favouring Shelton. Debuting fighters, uncertainty = Bronze play.


Shelton comes in as a sub. He gets the call if I move Ngannou into the lineup in place of Alvey. Shelton replaces Johnson.

J.C. Cottrell -132 vs Jason Gonzalez +120 

Both guys have just a small sample size of UFC experience, under less than ideal conditions. Cottrells has a better overall attack and a great window to get the job done. It is either a Bronze play or a pass.


Nothing here.


1. Francis Ngannou -335 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

2. Sam Alvey -142 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

3. Donald Cerrone -141 

4. Raphael Assuncao -138 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

5. Marcos Rogerio de Lima -139 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med


6. Valentina Shevchenko -149 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

7. Li Jingliang -117 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

8. J.C. Cottrell -132 

9. Jordan Johnson -195 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

10. Eric Shelton -124 

11. Alex Caceres +138 

12. Eric Spicely -111 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

1. Alex Caceres +138 

2. Raphael Assuncao to Win by Decision +156 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

3. Li Jingliang -117 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

4. Eric Spicely -111  12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

5. Eric Shelton -124 

1. N/A






Exclusive Bet Pack Info.

Prop Bets


Donald Cerrone to Win by Decision +175 

Cerrone has been a killer. Taking guys out that aren’t easy to finish. Masvidal is one of those guys, but the lack of finishes on his record is the product of stout defense more than just toughness. Cerrone will do enough, but he won’t get the finish here. A solid plus money option.

Andrei Arlovski/Francis Ngannou Total Rounds Under 1.5 -190 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Both guys can finish. No doubt about it. Ngannou is taking a step up in competition and if AA gets in his face it will be interesting to see how he responds. Someone is going down here, most likely Andrei- I like the Under.

Sam Alvey/Nate Marquardt 

Check the Betting Scenario Section.

Raphael Assuncao to Win by Decision +156 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This should be a good fight, evenly matched, and as a result not ending before the final bell. Assuncao has 10 overall decision wins and has gone the distance in 5 of his last 6 contests. He will get the better of the action to grind out a win on the scorecards. Solid bet.

Eric Spicely to Win by Submission +210 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Spicely will come out of the gates looking for the submission and Di Chirico has proven vulnerable against fighters that want to take him down. This play is quite similar to the OAM and Oliynyk sub props; plus money with a fighter’s who is a little on the one-dimensional, but is quite good at that dimension.

Marcos Rogerio de Lima to Win by Submission +365 

The Under 1.5 has a limited return, but this is a solid play. Kimball has a clear vulnerability on the mat and de Lima has an underrated submission game. Look for him to try and avoid punching himself out by going for the early submission win.

Alexandre Pantoja/Eric Shelton

Check the Betting Scenario Section.

J.C. Cottrell/Jason Gonzalez 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Check the Betting Scenario Section.