Sunday evening, the UFC puts forth its 112th Fight Night card from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The headliner features Michael Chiesa vs. Kevin Lee and will undoubtedly provide plenty of fireworks in this “rematch” to their press conference scuffle last month. The supporting cast on the card is solid as well and will see MMA besties, Felice Herrig and Carla Esparza return to action in a pair of fights that might see the winners in title contention conversation.
Lightweight prospect Darrell Horcher also makes his return to action after more than a year off following a horrific motorcycle crash that left him with numerous injuries including a lacerated kidney and liver, torn ACLs and PCLs, compound fractures, road rash and a slew of contusions. It will be interesting to see how his knees hold up during the fight, considering he had to have a bone graft on the right one.
Among these competitors are four underdogs that have an excellent chance to, in the words of my Jersey brother Big Mike Iurato, “86” the favorites, helping you claim the spoils of their victories via a points windfall for your DraftKings teams. Let’s get started.
Dominick Reyes $9,300 / Joachim Christensen $6,900
Many will recognize Reyes as the man that put an excruciating halt to his opponent’s showboating with one of the most devastating head kick knockouts we’ve seen in ages, but he’s still very green, and his win column (6-0) is filled with victories over subpar, regional-level talent.
Christensen (14-5) is far more battle-tested with strong basics and a solid chin. He is 38, but still has plenty left in the tank to capitalize on an upstart’s errors, especially with those “Octagon jitters” possibly coming into play.
Joachim Christensen via DEC
Tim Means $9,000 / Alex Garcia $7,200
The “Dirty Bird” makes fighting in a phone booth an art form, mixing up skull-rattling knees and elbows in a symphony of violence that is always a crowd-pleaser. He’s a tall, rangy fighter with a massive 75” reach that he uses just long enough to get an opponent’s timing down before he closes in for the kill. Unfortunately, he has big issues with takedown defense, leaving him wide open for grapplers to reap the benefits from.
Garcia, a stout fireplug of a man, has crushing, soul-separating power, and a phenomenal blast double. When he barrels across the Octagon for a takedown, you can guarantee you’re going tail over teakettle in a hot second. His cardio is a bit suspect, but he has an excellent chance to grab the upset here.
Alex Garcia via (T)KO
Felice Herrig $8,300 / Justine Kish $7,900
Felice Herrig has upset the last two favorites she faced, with the defeat of Alexa Grasso being the real feather in her cap to date. She’s got excellent fundamentals coming from a kickboxing base, but her wrestling, under the careful tutelage of Jeff Curran, has blossomed exponentially. She’s gritty and durable, but she’s a petite athlete, and against Kish, who is enormous for the division, that might prove to be a bigger problem than most would think.
Kish is a strong, hyper aggressive fighter who has no issues standing in the pocket and trading leather. She’s perfectly willing to eat three to give one and has absolutely devastating knees in the clinch. She’s got very capable wrestling and is extremely durable.
This was a difficult choice to make, but I can’t help but think Kish has the better arsenal to capture the W.
Justine Kish via DEC
Kevin Lee $8,200 / Michael Chiesa $8,000
Kevin Lee and Michael Chiesa are running it back for the press conference crowd, and I’ve got to admit, I’m really liking this fight. I’d even go out on a limb and predict it will secure FOTN honors, but I digress.
Lee is a phenomenal natural athlete who demonstrates good power in his developing striking. While a great wrestler with good top control and ground-and-pound, he still makes bad choices, which Chiesa will be more than happy to take advantage of.
Chiesa has shown constant improvement in his striking, but his submission game and seamless grappling are where he really shines. Excellent in scrambles, “Maverick” doesn’t seem to have a panic button, pulling off slick reversals and transitions with ease. He uses his height and range well and should find the victory Sunday night.
Michael Chiesa via SUB
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is crooklyn949) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.