Big Marley’s UFC Vegas 53 Draft Kings Fantasy Breakdown

mma, ufc, ufc on ESPN, marley, draft kings, fantasy, preview, breakdown, betting

If you are just starting out in DFS MMA here are some common terms and their meanings that you will hear every week along with the general rules of MMA DFS:

GPP = Guaranteed Prize Pool (aka tournaments where the top ~25% of the field get paid)

Cash Games = H2Hs, 50/50s, Double-Ups

Stacking = Using both fighters from a fight in the same lineup (typically cash games only)

Over/Under Weight = Your % of exposure to a fighter compared to the projected field %

We have new rules for MMA DFS in 2021 so keep that in mind and think of how the new format will gain you an edge. Here are the new rules:


Strikes +0.2 Pts
Significant Strikes +0.2 Pts
Control Time +0.03 Pts/Second
Takedown +5 Pts
Reversal/Sweep +5 Pts
Knockdown +10 Pts


Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win +90 Pts
2nd Round Win +70 Pts
3rd Round Win +45 Pts
4th Round Win +40 Pts
5th Round Win +40 Pts
Decision Win +30 Pts
Quick Win Bonus +25 Pts

This weekend, we have a 12-fight card back in Vegas in the Apex, and we are in the small cage. DraftKings has some decent contests for us to win money on this week. The main GPP is a $15 buy-in & $100k goes to 1st place with $400,000 in total being paid out. I will probably throw some lineups in that contest & then focus on a main 1-3 lineups for SE & 3-entry max contests. I also might throw 150 lineups in the mini max to work on my MME game.

With that said, let’s get into a couple plays I like this week along with my fade of the week:

Cash Game play of the week – Alexander Romanov – $9,600

Romanov is one of the biggest favorites I have ever seen in the UFC at -2200. He has a huge ITD line at -650 and he is -200 in round 1. He also wants to get the fight to the mat. He is really one of the best plays on paper we have seen, and he will be a core play for me. He is a lock in cash games, and a fine lock button play in GPPs if you want, but he is the most expensive fighter on the card, the highest owned as well. We can get away from him for ownership reasons and maybe he wants to go out there and win a striking match against Sherman. I’d rather lock him over fading him in hopes of something like last week happens where he pulls out. I am hoping people are afraid to go back because he is a better play this week than he was last week with the other fighters in his salary range. If that happens then he won’t pay off his salary unless he gets an early KO.

GPP fight of the week – Rob Font $8,300 vs Marlon Vera $7,900

All-in. Stack in cash. Even stack in GPPs if you want. I want this fight in every lineup I make because they are priced in the mid-range in a high-paced, 5-round fight. I don’t feel confident in picking a winner so get leverage on either guy, but I do expect the winner to put up 90+ points and end up on the optimal. I will pick Font as my preferred play in GPPs but if I really need the $400 to move up elsewhere then I am fine switching to Vera, even in a SE. Do whatever you want with this fight, but don’t fade it.

Underdog play of the week – Gerald Meerschaert – $7,400

If this fight ends early, then it should be Meerschaert who wins. 32 of his 34 wins are finishes and he is much more dangerous on the mat if he can get it there. He is only 2-3 in decisions though and Jotko is 16-2. If it goes the distance, Jotko probably gets his hand raised from winning a striking match. Meerschaert is the more dangerous fighter here with his grappling and that is the only ceiling I see in this fight. I don’t like a lot of the underdogs, so I am going to most likely be overweight to Meerschaert and I am fine with him in all formats.

Fade of the week – Andrei Arlovski – $8,400

Arlovski is going to be a fade for me. I don’t see either guy in this fight putting up a big number in a decision win and probably don’t even hit 10x. They are HWs so the fade is a risk because it could only take one big shot from either guy to end the fight. I still probably X Arlovski out of 150 lineups though because I don’t expect him to wrestle much, and he is a low-volume striker who won’t be scoring big without a 1st or 2nd round win bonus.

Thanks for reading this and good luck this weekend! If you would like my full-card breakdown where I breakdown every fight on the card and give my full DraftKings analysis, as well as all my pick predictions, you can find that at the link below:

(Premium bets are available at that link as well. I am 202-184 for +242.06u (+$24,206) since May 19th, 2018 on Premium Plays)


Written by Kyle Marley

9x DraftKings Qualifier, MMA handicapper for MMAoddsbreaker, MMA Expert for CBSSports & SportsLine, NFL & Lead MMA coach at DFSArmy.


UFC Vegas 53: Font vs. Vera Preview MMAOB Daily Podcast For April 26th

UFC Pros Picks Show – UFC Vegas 53