UFC on FOX 29 takes place this Saturday Night at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona with a 14 fight card headlined by the Main Event between Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier. Both of these lightweights will be looking to put their names in the talks for upcoming title fights in a crowded UFC Lightweight Division and beings the fact that they are both ranked inside the Top 6, the winner could very easily be a fight away from a title shot.
This week, we will break down the 4 fight main card and give out top plays for the week from a handicapping perspective, as well as our top two Daily Fantasy Sports picks from this card.
UFC on FOX 29 Main Card (FOX)
Main Event – Lightweight Division – Justin Gaethje (18-1) vs. Dustin Poirier (22-5)
The main event will consist of $5 Dustin Poirier taking on #6 Justin Gaethje. Gaethje is coming off the first loss of his career against Eddie Alvarez at UFC 218. He was KO’d in the 3rd round of that fight in what many are calling one of the best fights in 2017. Gaethje had previously been unbeaten in 18 pro fights and will be looking to get back in the win column with a win over Poirier.
Poirier comes into this fight off a win over Anthony Pettis at UFC Fight Night 120. Poirier KO’d Pettis in the third round of that fight and will in his second consecutive Main Event slot when he faces Gaethje. He has gone 2-1-1 in his last 4 fights. Poirier has struggled with better strikers but is elusive enough that he should be able to make this competitive.
Gaethje is a come forward, swinging wildly type of fighter that will take a shot on the chin to be able to throw his own shots. That will work on many lower level fighters that he faced in the WSOF but here in the UFC, that won’t fare well for him. I think he walks into a big shot from Poirier and goes down for his second consecutive loss.
Handicapping Selection: Dustin Poirier WINS via 1st Rd KO
Co-Main Event – Welterweight Division – Carlos Condit (30-11) vs. Alex Oliveira (18-5-1)
Carlos Condit is the 12th ranked Welterweight in the UFC. He will be facing a replacement opponent in Alex Oliveira, who is a very game and dangerous opponent. Oliveira was riding a 4 fight win streak, not counting the UFC 207 No Contest, before he faced Yancy Medeiros in his last fight. Oliveira was the major favorite in that fight and ended up getting KO’d in the 3rd round in one of the best fights of 2017!
Condit comes into this fight on a losing streak of his own, but a much larger losing streak. Condit has lost his last 3 fights and 6 of the last 8 overall. The level of competition that he has faced in those fights is much greater than that of Oliveira. Oliveira is a strong striker and Condit has always fared well against decent strikers. His downfall has always been his wrestling and his inability to stop the takedown. I don’t think that will be much of an issue here against Oliveira, who will be very happy to stand and strike with Condit.
Condit is a very good striker, so is Oliveira, but the difference here is the fact that Condit has faced a much greater level of competition than Oliveira. Condit has fought the likes of Robbie Lawler, Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley, Thiago Alves, George St. Pierre, Johny Hendricks, Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald. Oliveira has really only fought Yancy Medeiros and Donald Cerrone, both of which he lost and was finished. No one else on his resume really stands out and I look for Condit to get back in the win column as a fairly decent price of Condit +180.
Handicapping Selection: Carlos Condit WINS via Unanimous Decision
Middleweight Division – Israel Adesanya (12-0) vs. Marvin Vettori (12-3-1)
Israel Adesanya will be making his second fight in the UFC and looking to remain undefeated. He is currently 12-0 and showed in his UFC debut that he is one of the top striking middleweights out there right now in a weaker division. He will be facing Marvin Vettori, who is 12-3 overall and 2-1-1 in the UFC. Vettori is from Italy and will be traveling in to take on Adesanya in what I think could be the Fight of the Night at UFC on Fox 29.
There is a major striking difference here between Vettori and Adesanya. Adesanya has an unorthodox form of striking and he is very fast! His hand speed was actually surprising for a middleweight in his UFC debut against Rob Wilkinson. Wilkinson was undefeated coming into that fight and he was made to look amateurish by Adesanya. This guy really looks like he could be the next big thing in the UFC!
Handicapping Selection: Israel Adesanya WINS via 1st Rd KO
Women’s Strawweight Division – Michelle Waterson (14-6) vs. Cortney Casey (7-5)
A top 10 matchup in the women’s Strawweight Division will take place on Saturday Night when Michelle Waterson makes her return to the cage after suffering back to back losses at the hands of Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunas, to take on Cortney Casey. Waterson is a karate style fighter that trains out of Jackson Wink MMA with some of the toughest fighters in the world. Waterson will give up a height and reach advantage to her opponent, Casey.
Casey is coming in off a loss of her own, dropping her last fight to Felice Herrig by split decision. Casey is a talented striker that should keep the fight on the feet. She has lost 4 of her last 7 fights but all 4 of those losses were by decision. She has only fought 2 times in the last 12 months and will be looking to avoid going 7-6 and possibly receiving a pink slip when she takes on Waterson Saturday Night.
The UFC has set this card up so there are a lot of strikers facing each other. This is a prime example of a striker vs. striker matchup. I personally think that Waterson is the better striker of the two and she should be able to come back with a victory over Casey.
Handicapping Selection: Michelle Waterson WINS via Unanimous Decision
UFC on FOX 29 Prelims Card (FOX)
- Middleweight Division – Antonio Carlos Junior (9-2) vs. Tim Boetsch (21-11)
- Welterweight Division – Muslim Salikhov (13-2) vs. Ricky Rainey (13-4)
- Flyweight Division – John Moraga (18-6) vs. Wilson Reis (22-8)
- Middleweight Division – Krzysztof Jotko (19-3) vs. Brad Tavares (16-4)
UFC on FOX 29 Early Prelims Card (UFC Fight Pass)
- Lightweight Division – Gilbert Burns (12-2) vs. Dan Moret (13-3)
- Women’s Flyweight Division – Shana Dobson (3-1) vs. Lauren Mueller (4-0)
- Welterweight Division – Yushin Okami (34-11) vs. Dhiego Lima (12-6)
- Heavyweight Division – Arjan Bhullar (7-0) vs. Adam Wieczorek (9-1)
- Bantamweight Division – Alejandro Perez (19-6-1) vs. Matthew Lopez (10-2)
- Bantamweight Division – Luke Sanders (11-2) vs. Patrick Williams (8-5)
Top UFC on FOX 29 Play
Brad Tavares over Krzysztof Jotko – Tavares is a very underrated fighter that is facing Jotko who is coming off losses to Uriah Hall and Dave Branch. Tavares can beat you on the feet or go to the ground and submit you. The path to beat him is to KO him and Jotko just doesn’t impress me with his striking. The play here is Tavares over Jotko!
Top UFC on FOX 29 Underdog with a Shot
Adam Wieczorek over Arjan Bhullar – Bhullar and Wieczorek both made their UFC debuts in their last fight and both won by decision. When you look at who they fought, I think Wieczorek has the advantage in the fact that he fought 23 fight veteran Anthony Hamilton. He is just as comfortable on the feet as he is on the ground and with Bhullar wanting to use his superb wrestling to his advantage, he may find himself in submission and on the backside of a L. At +325, you’d be foolish not to at least take a small chance with Wieczorek.