UFC on ESPN+ 59: Kyle Daukaus vs Jamie Pickett - Prediction - 2/19/22
Kyle Daukaus vs Jamie Pickett
Kyle Daukaus (10-2 w/ 1 NC) was actually scheduled to take on Julian Marquez for this one but Marquez dropped out last week. Pickett will take his place on just over 1 week’s notice.
Daukaus (brother of heavyweight Chris Daukaus) is yet another DWCS allum but despite winning his fight on the promotion, he would not receive a contract just then. Instead, he would go back to Cage Fighting FC where he would defend his middleweight title twice, securing finishes by Brabo choke both times. He would then make his octagon debut but it was a tough start as Brendan Allen foiled his welcome party by beating him by decision. He would then split his next two fights by decision (beating Dustin Stoltzfus but falling to Phil Hawes). Nevertheless, the Pennsylvania native would get a big name in Kevin Holland on his next trip to the cage. Despite submitting Holland by rear naked choke, the fight would be overturned to a no contest on the spot when an accidental clash of heads was deemed to have led to the finish.
Jamie Pickett (13-6) would lose his first two fights on Contender Series (Charles Byrd & Punahele Soriano) but evidently third time’s the charm for “Night Wolf”, as he would go on to TKO Jhonoven Pati during his third CS visit. Much like Daukaus, Pickett’s debut would not be an enjoyable one as he would drop a decision to Tafon Nchukwi. His sophomore effort would also not go his way as the middleweight from North Carolina would suffer his first pro TKO/KO defeat at the hands of Jordan Wright. He would right the ship on his next two visits to the cage by scoring unanimous decision victories over Laureano Staropoli and Joseph Holmes. The latter of which came just a few weeks ago during the Kattar/Chikadze fight night card.
Despite giving up 1 inch of height, Picket will enjoy a 4 inch reach advantage over Daukaus. Furthermore, due to the short notice nature of the fight, this one got bumped up to a catchweight of 195 lbs.
How They Match Up
Daukaus is incredibly well rounded, and although his bread and butter is his submission game, his striking is also quite solid. There weren’t many exchanges in his Holland fight, but he was getting the better of few exchanges that did occur in open space. It usually won’t take long for him to try and lock up and get the fight to the mat. His main issue is he’s not very athletic so when stuck in the cage with incredibly athletic fighters, his chances at securing takedowns goes way down. This was on display vs Phil Hawes where he got shut out on 7 takedown attempts.
Jamie Pickett will hold a considerable edge in athleticism but even with that bonus, it didn’t stop him from being held against the cage for long stretches against Holmes last time out. He still fired very nice straight shots off the break and also hit a nice double leg takedown (although failed to do anything with it). Point being he has the tools to potentially get the win quite comfortably here if he utilizes them correctly. I’m not overly confident he will though. He held Holmes against the cage as well for long stretches which I suspect was a remedy for a suspect gas tank.
Not that Daukaus has an unlimited gas tank, he slowed down considerably in that Hawes fight late. This one could get a bit ugly if it turns into a clinch slog. What has me leaning toward Daukaus is if he does get taken down, he is still a legit threat off of his back. He hit a sweep on Hawes that was master class and he has an active guard so catching Pickett in a sub is definitely possible. Also, what he lacks in athleticism he makes up for in terms of hand fighting, wizards, positional knowledge, etc. which he’s used to hold stronger opponents against the cage. His striking defense has also proven to be excellent.
I’ve gone back and forth on this one quite a bit. Not so much flip flopping on the pick, that is going to Daukaus for sure, but going back and forth on if this is going to be an easy win or ugly close. I’ll dive into it a bit more on the betting guide but for now, I’m picking Daukaus to win. Between the two, Pickett is the only one who has been finished, and I think the size advantage may get negated by the short notice factor and sheer edge in grappling wherewithal for Daukaus.