Event – UFC Fight Night 133
Location – Boise, Idaho
Thank you for purchasing my full DraftKings breakdown for UFC Fight Night 133. My goal here is not to give you my personal lineups, but help you learn to build better lineups yourself, as well as give you my personal picks and strategies for each fight card. Every week I will do my best to break down every fight on the card from a fight standpoint, as well as a DraftKings standpoint. I will also give my pick prediction for each fight along with the method of victory. However, just because I am picking a fighter to win may not mean they are the fighter I would prefer to roster on DraftKings, so be sure to read through my analysis to see where my head is at in my own lineup constructions. If there is anything you think I can add to these be sure to let me know on twitter at @BigMarley3 and I will take it into consideration.
This Saturday, we have a 13-fight card in Boise, Idaho. For these Fight Night cards with smaller GPP prizes, I like to put most of my investment on cash games and try to build my bankroll for the PPVs. There are a few tournaments I am interested in this week, so I will still be multi-entering GPPs, but mostly just the Qualifiers & the main $70k Hook with $15k top prize. Every week I enter the 3-entry max GPPs, and the single entry GPPs, so I will of course be in those again on Saturday. I usually go with 20 LUs for GPPs, but I’m not sure if I want to enter the 20-entry max tourney’s this week. The $5 Qualifier contest allows 12-entries so that is the number of GPP LUs I will likely be making this week. I will make my favorite three lineups first and use those in the 3-entry max & single entry contests. Then I will be more contrarian with my other ~9 lineups since those contests are very top heavy and I will be shooting for solo 1st place.
Jodie Esquibel $8,300 vs Jessica Aguilar $7,900
This is a fight that was scheduled to take place a few weeks ago, in New York, but the Athletic Commission pulled the fight from the card hours before it started because of “chapped lips” on Aguilar. I didn’t have a whole lot of interest in this fight back when it was originally taking place, and I still don’t have much interest now even though the salaries are flipped this time around.
Jodie Esquibel (-145) has a record of 6-3 and lost her only UFC fight to Karolina Kowalkiewicz. KK would beat both these fighters, so I don’t hold that loss against her, but she has not impressed me in any other fight either. She is primarily a boxer and that is where she will look to keep this fight. However, she only has 1 TKO win and 5 of her 6 wins are via decision. Her only real path to victory in my eyes would be to out strike Aguilar and picking up her 6th decision win on the scorecards.
Jessica Aguilar (+125) has a solid record of 19-6, but has lost both of her fights in the UFC. Aguilar is the much more well-rounded fighter in this match, but she is on the wrong side of 30 and seems to be fading. Aguilar should have the edge on the ground in this fight if she can get it there, and she does have a 50% takedown accuracy in her 2 UFC fights. She does have 8 submissions on her record and if there is a submission in this fight, I would expect it to be her. She also has a decent boxing game as well, but I wouldn’t expect a finish on the feet from her either, and the fight should be very even in that area.
On DraftKings, my preferred play of the two would be Aguilar because she has the higher ceiling. If she can get this fight to the ground and win a decision, she should pay off her $7.9k price tag. However, if she can find a submission on the ground, she will for sure pay off that price tag. Esquibel will need to likely land over 100 sig strikes to pay off her $8.3k price tag and I don’t think that is likely. I do think she can win a decision here and probably should if it stays standing for the entire 15 minutes, but she will not make my player pool.
I doubt Aguilar makes my player pool either if I am sticking with 12 lineups but she could be a sneaky GPP play in the big $8 tourney or a Qualifier, so there is a chance. She should be very low owned and if she can get a submission then she can help win a solo 1st place GPP at her ~10% ownership. If you are making 1-5 LUs, I would recommend fading this fight. I would still fade Esquibel with 20 or more LUs, but I would want at least 1 shot on Aguilar if I was making that many.
Overall, I am going to side with the betting line and pick Esquibel to win a decision in this fight. I think she will be the faster of the two and will be able to keep the fight standing for most of the 15 minutes. This is a good example of one of those fights where my preferred play is the person I am picking to lose, but because I am picking Aguilar to lose, she probably won’t make my 12 LU player pool.
Winner– Jodie Esquibel via Split Decision
Elias Garcia $8,600 vs Mark De La Rosa $7,600
I do have interest in this fight because I think we will see a lot of grappling, and I could see both guys making my player pool. We do have some odds value on De La Rosa which should make him higher owned in GPPs, so cash games could be the best place to target him. My issue with this fight is feeling confident in either guy, which makes me click on their names less than I would like when building my LUs.
Elias Garcia (-140) is making his UFC debut and has an undefeated professional record of 4-0. Garcia is the cousin of Anthony and Sergio Pettis and he earned this debut fight after winning on Dana White’s Lookin’ For A Fight’s latest episode over a former TUF competitor. He seems to be similar to his cousins with his fighting style, who he does train with at Roufusport. He has good striking with punches and kicks, and he has slick submissions on the ground. But, he has issues in the wrestling department. He can lock up submissions off his back if he is taken down, but I don’t see him being the one looking for takedowns in this matchup. I think Garcia will have the advantage on the feet and if there is a KO in this fight, he should be the one to get it. If he is taken down, he could still win the fight there as well, but I think that could be a route to a decision victory for his opponent.
Mark De La Rosa (+120) has a record of 9-1 with his only loss being in his UFC debut against Tim Elliott. He is the husband of Montana De La Rosa, who just picked up a submission win in the UFC last weekend. So, both guys have family who are coming off big wins in the UFC and they will be looking to do the same here. Mark is mostly a grappler but he was dominated in the grappling department in his debut, so we haven’t seen anything from him yet in the UFC. He also has decent boxing with a solid left jab, but I don’t think he has enough power to get a finish on the feet here. I would imagine his game plan is to work his boxing long enough to shoot for an unexpected takedown and work his ground game to find a submission or lock up a decision win down there.
On DraftKings, if I was making 1 LU, I think I would have to fade this fight just because I am not confident in either guy. But, if I was using it in my 1 LU, I would have to favor the underdog because of the line value. De La Rosa is only a +115 underdog but he is $1,000 cheaper on DraftKings. That allows you to get more favorites you like in your LU, so that is why I would prefer him. However, with multiple LUs, I want exposure to both guys and I would imagine I will have pretty even exposure myself. 20-25% of each guy is about the range I would want to be in with my exposure. De La Rosa is also cash viable for the salary savings, but I personally wouldn’t be using Garcia in cash game formats.
I think we will see a back and forth fight with a lot of action on the feet and the ground. This should be a fun fight to watch and could score highly as a whole. I am going to lean towards Garcia as my pick because I think he has more ways to win this fight. I think he could finish the fight standing, on the ground, or get a decision win. I think De La Rosa only has the submission and decision paths to victory. I do think the fight will be close if it hits the score cards but I am going to pick the newcomer to pick up a win in his debut.
Winner– Elias Garcia via Split Decision
Liz Carmouche $8,200 vs Jennifer Maia $8,000
Liz Carmouche (-135) has a record of 11-6 with a UFC record of 3-4. She is known for being the first woman to ever step in the Octagon when she faced Ronda Rousey at UFC 157. She is a powerful wrestler who averages 6 takedown attempts per fight in her 7 UFC fights. She lands takedowns at a 50.94% rate and she should have the wrestling advantage in this matchup. She has finishing power on the feet, but most of her 6 TKO’s come from ground & pound and that is what she will likely be looking to do again here. She has 2 submission wins on her record, but she also has 2 submission losses as well, and her opponent is a BJJ black belt.
Jennifer Maia (+115) is making her UFC debut in this fight and has a record of 15-4-1. She is a Muay Thai style striker with a BJJ black belt, and has 3 (T)KO wins along with 5 submissions on her record. She has OK boxing to go along with her Muay Thai and I think she will have the advantage on the feet here. She will be at a big disadvantage in the wrestling department, but could pull of a submission from her back if she is taken down. She is the current Invicta champion at 125 lbs and has defended her belt twice. All three of her title fights went the 5-round distance so she will have no problem going hard for a full 15-minutes. She is a slow starter but I think she will have the edge the later this fight goes.
I think this fight will be close, just as the betting line indicates. I think Carmouche will be able to use her bullying style and win the first and maybe the second round as well. I don’t think she will be able to put Maia away so I think Maia will be able to win the third round after Carmouche tires out from all of her takedown attempts. I think that 2nd round is what it will come down to and whoever can win that should win this fight. I am not confident either way, but with the inconsistency we have seen from Carmouche, I will just side with the underdog here in her debut.
On DraftKings, my preferred play would be Maia, but I really have no interest in this fight and will have zero exposure to it myself. I don’t see a finish coming in this fight, and I don’t see either fighter being able to dominate the full 15-minutes. Even with the number of takedowns Carmouche gets in fights, she has only passed 67 points one time in her UFC career, so even with a win she may not 10x her salary. Maia should have a better shot at 10x with a win, but I don’t see her getting many takedowns so I don’t see how she scores highly without a finish. If you are making 20 LUs I think you can use this fight to be contrarian because both should be low owned, but I think you can safely fade this fight.
Winner– Jennifer Maia via Split Decision
Kurt Holobaugh $8,800 vs Raoni Barcelos $7,400
Kurt Holobaugh (-190) has a record of 17-4 and is 0-1 in the UFC. His only UFC loss was back in 2013 and he was released afterwards. He picked up 8 wins outside the organization after that fight and was brought back last year to fight on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series where he beat Matt Bessette in the 1st round. However, that fight was overturned to the use of an IV and he was suspended for 9-months. He is an aggressive striker with good boxing. He has a nice jab and straight right, and he likes to chop down his opponents lead leg. He likes to throw in combos and is always looking for the KO. He has a purple belt in BJJ and an OK wrestling game, but he will likely look to keep this fight on the feet unless he gets in trouble there and decides to shoot for a takedown.
Raoni Barcelos (+165) has a record of 11-1 and will be making his UFC debut in this fight. He is a BJJ black belt who seems like he would rather stand and bang. He has heavy hands on the feet and he likes to brawl where he does have one-punch KO power. I think Barcelos should have the edge on the ground in this fight but he might prefer to keep it standing and we could see a slugfest. The current line for Fight Doesn’t Go To Decision is -140 so I think Vegas sees a possible KO in this fight. On the ground, Barcelos has submissions he could use, but he likes to use ground and pound and look for the KO there as well. He is very well-rounded and could be a live dog in this fight.
On DraftKings, I do like this fight and both guys could make my player pool. I wouldn’t start my LUs with either guy, but I may mix them in with my core players since there is a good chance this fight doesn’t see the score cards. We could see a 1st round KO from either fighter in this match and that will put them over 100 DK points, so that is why this fight is worth targeting. I think this fight will go under owned in GPPs, so you may only need 15-20% of each guy to be in line with the field. I will probably be right around that number myself and I will say my preferred play is Holobough since he is ultimately who I am picking to win this fight. I have been impressed with what I have seen from him lately and I think he could get an early finish here.
Winner– Kurt Holobough via 1st round (T)KO
Said Nurmagomedov $8,500 vs Justin Scoggins $7,700
In this fight, we have the cousin of Khabib Nurmagomedov making his UFC debut against a very well tested veteran in Justin Scoggins. Personally, I don’t like the idea of this matchup if they are trying to build Nurmagomedov. Scoggins has shown the skills to be a title contender in this division but has thrown a few fights away due to a terrible fight IQ. Either way, I think they are killing off a prospect here and that is what I don’t like. The actual matchup itself, I am interested in and do have a DraftKings interest as well.
Said Nurmagomedov (-155) has a record of 11-1 and will be making his UFC debut as I just mentioned. On tape, you would have no idea he was related to Khabib because they don’t have similar styles at all. Said is more of a striker who likes to throw a lot of flashy strikes and his favorite is the flying knee. He is good in the clinch and likes to work the knees there as well. He can get takedowns from the clinch and he likes to use the trip takedowns when he does want the fight on the ground. But it seems like he prefers to keep it standing so we could be in for a fun fight here.
Justin Scoggins (+135) has a record of 11-4 with a UFC record of 4-4. In his last 3 UFC losses, it looked like he was winning each fight before he did something dumb and got caught in a submission. On the feet, Scoggins looks like he could hang with almost anybody in the division, but he seems to have a problem where he needs to shoot for a takedown even if he is winning the fight standing. He is a karate style striker with great movement. He is dangerous with kicks and punches and he does have a decent wrestling game to go along with his top-level karate. He does have 1 submission on his record but 3 of his losses are via submission and if we see a sub in this fight it will most likely be Scoggins tapping.
On the feet, I think this will be a very fun fight and we may see the whole fight take place there too. Scoggins does like to mix in his wrestling, but his last 3 losses are from getting caught in a sub after his takedown attempt so I would hope he has learned his lesson here. If the fight does hit the ground I would favor Nurmagomedov whether he is on the top or the bottom. I think this will be a close fight on the feet and I think both fighters will want to stand until they feel they are at a disadvantage there. Because I have seen Scoggins do well against the better competition I will favor him on the feet, but I am not confident about it. Overall, I will side with Nurmagomedov to get the win because he has more ways to do it, but I could just be buying into his last name here.
On DraftKings, I will have exposure to both guys and my preferred play would be Scoggins at the cheaper salary. I think he has the better shot at paying off his $7.7k salary in a win than Said does at $8.5k. I have just been burned too many times by Scoggins giving fights away that I don’t want to be too invested on either side of this fight. I would imagine I will be around 20% on each guy in GPPs. I don’t hate either guy in cash games but I wouldn’t be starting my LU there, it would be more for my last spot if I had $8.5k or $7.7k remaining.
Winner– Said Nurmagomedov via 3rd round submission.
Alexander Volkanovski $9,200 vs Darren Elkins $7,000.
In this fight, we have a top 10 ranked fighter in Elkins, coming in as the biggest underdog on the card against an unranked Volkanovski. In my opinion, this should have been the final fight on the prelims if not on the main card.
Alexander Volkanovski (-330) has an impressive record of 17-1 and is undefeated in the UFC with 4 wins. He has a great all-around striking game and sets a very high pace landing 5.91 sig strikes per minute at an accuracy of 61.92%. He can end the fight with punches or kicks and he has 10 (T)KO’s on his record, including 2 in the UFC. Not only does he have a very high striking pace with KO ability, but he also has a dominant wrestling and top game on the ground. He averages 4.46 landed takedowns per 15 minutes at an accuracy of 51.85% and he has impressed me quite a bit. I think he will be the better fighter wherever this fight ends up, unless it is with him on his back. He will have a significant speed advantage on the feet, and he should have the wrestling to be able to keep it there. His goal should be to set the pace and control where this fight goes. Other than Elkins taking his back, or putting him on his back, he shouldn’t have a lot to worry about here.
Darren Elkins (+270) has a record of 24-5 with a UFC record of 14-4. He is on a 6-fight win streak and he has beat some solid talent in that streak, with him being the underdog in 4 of those fights. Elkins is a super tough veteran with zero quit in him and a ton of heart. He is a grinder overall, and likes to control his opponent against the cage or on the ground while he works in his strikes there. He has an improved stand-up game but only lands sig strikes at a rate of 3.14 per minute at an accuracy of 36.89%. He can hang on the feet and has some OK boxing and kicks, but most of his striking is to set up a takedown and he would prefer to strike on the ground. He is great at weathering the storm of his opponent early in the fight and taking over late in the fight when he has much more left in the tank than his opponent.
I think this is a bad matchup for Elkins and I think Volkanovki could get a TKO finish here. I think everywhere Elkins is good, Volkan will be better. I also don’t see him gassing out from putting a beating on Elkins and letting him come back in fights like he has in his previous few wins. If this fight does go to a decision, the pace and the wrestling game from Volkan will be enough to seal him a unanimous decision.
On DraftKings, only Volkan will be making my player pool. If you are making under 20 LUs, I think you can safely fade Elkins here. If you are making 20 or more, then maybe taking a few shots on Elkins at low ownership wouldn’t be the worst idea and maybe he can wear Volkan out late and get a 3rd round finish. I just don’t see that happening and I would rather own the most expensive fighter on the card and put Volkan on my LU. If I was making only 1 LU, I would want to have him on it if I could afford his high salary and still like the rest of my team. I do expect him to be near 40% owned in GPPs, so I will personally be overweight to that. I think he is a solid cash game play as well with his betting line and high pace. He should be able to 10x his $9.2K salary even with a decision win. He averages 116.5 DK points per fight and he has never scored less than 100. That is the type of fighter I like to target and he is one of my favorite plays on the card.
Winner– Alexander Volkanovski via 1st round (T)KO
Alejandro Perez $9,100 vs Eddie Wineland $7,100
Alejandro Perez (-170) has a record of 20-6-1. He was the winner of TUF Latin America and has a UFC record of 6-1-1. Perez is a boxer with an OK wrestling game. He has 9 (T)KO wins and 5 submissions on his record. He hasn’t looked super impressive in any area but he just finds a way to win. He only lands sig strikes at a pace of 3.74 per minute with a 38.92% accuracy. He has solid defense and is primarily a counter striker. He fights at a slow pace, but has good technical striking and he likes to throw leg kicks to slow his opponent down.
Eddie Wineland (+150) comes into this fight with a record of 23-12-1 with a UFC record of 5-6. He is an old-school vet who was a killer back in the WEC days. He is purely a boxer and doesn’t throw many kicks at all. He has good defense and movement on the feet and he should have the power edge in the fight. He only lands sig strikes at a pace of 3.21 per minute at a poor accuracy rate of 28.15%, but he has 13 (T)KO’s on his record and he will be looking to get number 14 in this fight.
On DraftKings, my preferred play is Eddie Wineland at $7.1k. I think he is an acceptable cash punt as well as a GPP punt. He could get the KO in this fight and will easily pay off his salary if that happens. However, if this fight goes to decision like the odds indicate (-160), I think he has the better shot at hitting 10x. There is also some line value on Wineland’s side so I think that also helps his case for cash games.
Perez will be a total fade for me at $9.1k. He is not aggressive enough on the feet to land enough strikes to pay off that high price tag, so you are really relying on a finish for him to get 10x. He also doesn’t wrestle enough to hit that 91 or more points we are looking for at his salary so I would rather just pay up for Volkan who has a much higher ceiling.
I am going to pick Perez to win a close decision in this fight but I could see him scoring 50 points in a win. If that happens, there is no way he ends up on the winning lineup and we could even see a loser score more than that on this card. I will have exposure to Wineland so I hope I am wrong on this prediction, we could see a close split decision that goes either way. I also think if we do see a KO in this fight, I would personally favor Wineland to be the guy to get it.
Winner– Alejandro Perez via Split Decision
Cat Zingano $8,100 vs Marion Reneau $8,100
In this fight, we have #6 ranked Zingano taking on the #7 ranked Reneau with even salaries on DraftKings. This is the first fight on the main card and it should be a fun fight with a good mixture of striking and grappling. I will keep this one short because my personal strategy will be real cut and dry, but I like both sides of this fight on DK.
Cat Zingano (+100) has a record of 9-3 with a UFC record of 2-3. All 3 of Zingano’s losses have come in her previous 3 fights, so she has her back against the wall here against Reneau. She is an aggressive fighter who likes to wrestling and work in her ground and pound. She averages 1.93 landed takedowns per 15-minutes, and has a great accuracy rate of 70% on her takedowns. On the feet, she only lands at a pace of 2.66 per minute, but she is accurate there as well with a 62.5% accuracy. She will be at a disadvantage on the feet here so her game plan will be to get this fight to the ground and work her aggressive top game.
Marion Reneau (-120) has a record of 9-3-1 with a UFC record of 5-2-1. She is a full-time gym teacher who has found a way to put herself into title contention with the UFC being her part-time job. This fight falls during the summer break for schools so I would imagine she has had a bit more time to focus on this fight. If it were up to me, she would be on a 5-fight winning streak because I had her beating Correia (draw) and Evans-Smith on the scorecards, but judges didn’t agree. She has good striking and should have the advantage at distance in this fight. She also has a slick ground game from the top or the bottom, but I don’t see her having a lot of success in the wrestling department.
Both ladies have 5 (T)KO’s, 3 submissions, and 1 decision win on their records. They will both be looking to get the finish in this fight as well and that is why I am interested in it. As well as all the possible grappling and advances that could take place. But, I keep going back and forth picking a winner, so that is making me want to use it in less lineups.
On DraftKings, I will be completely even on this fight. I may only make 1 LU with each fighter, but it will be the same LU other than this fight. I will go ahead and favor Zingano for the wrestling advantage, so I will try out some LUs with her in it. Then I will use my favorite one(s) and make that LU twice, but use Reneau in the other LU. That way if this fight does end up on the winning lineup, I will have the winner. I just need my core fighters to win as well for that strategy to work.
Any time I don’t have a real lean on an even priced fight that could score highly, I always just use this double-up strategy. If you don’t have the bankroll to throw the losing LU’s away then I wouldn’t recommend this strategy and if you aren’t confident in picking a winner, just fade the fight and hope it’s low scoring. I don’t think this fight is a must play at all, I just think it could score highly and I want at least 1 LU with each fighter.
Winner– Cat Zingano via 2nd round TKO
Chad Mendes $8,900 vs Myles Jury $7,300
This is one of my favorite fights on the card and I am glad to see Chad Mendes back in the UFC after his 2-year PED suspension. Before his suspension, he was one of the top guys in the division and now he is coming back to a very tough opponent in Myles Jury.
Chad Mendes (-150) comes into this fight with a record of 17-4. His UFC record is 8-4 with all his losses coming from former UFC champions. He is an explosive fighter with great wrestling. He averages 4.16 landed takedowns per 15 minutes at an accuracy of 54.55%. He has never been taken down in his UFC career and I don’t expect that to change here. He likes to set a high pace and use his explosive striking to either KO his opponent or close the gap so he can shoot for a powerful double leg. He is great at chaining together takedowns controlling the fight on the ground. On the feet, he does have KO power and doesn’t mind standing. He should have the power edge on the feet, but I don’t expect him to want to stand for long against Jury.
Myles Jury (+130) has a record of 17-2 with a UFC record of 8-2. He is a very well-rounded fighter and is comfortable anywhere the fight goes. He will have a 7-inch reach advantage in this fight so he will look to keep on the outside and try to knock Chad out. If this fight does go to the ground he has a solid grappling game and could pull off submissions from his back, but he will be at a big disadvantage there and should look to get back to his feet asap. On the feet, I think he will have the advantage so it could come down to whether he can stop the takedowns and keep this fight where he wants it. He could also catch Chad with a knee or guillotine on the way in, so Chad will need to watch out for that.
On DraftKings, I will have exposure to both guys but my preferred play is Chad Mendes in GPPs. I do think Jury is the better cash play if you are looking to punt at $7.3k because he does have a lot of line value in his favor since he was near +185 when these salaries where created.
I just think Chad has the higher ceiling in this matchup with the wrestling and KO power he brings to the table. I’m looking forward to seeing if it is the same Chad Mendes from years ago, but I am willing to invest in him and his wrestling in this spot. He should come at lower ownership because of the line value on Jury, and Jury could be popular himself. I do also want some GPP exposure to Jury but I will be underweight to the field on him, and overweight on Mendes. I think Mendes will play it safe in his first fight back and keep this fight on the ground where he wants it. We could see close to 10 takedowns from him in this matchup and I love targeting that on DK.
Winner– Chad Mendes via Unanimous Decision
Randy Brown $8,300 vs Niko Price $7,900
This should be a fun fight and I am looking forward to watching it. I am more looking forward to watching it than I am investing in it because I think it is a very close fight and it could go either way. I don’t like having exposure to too many people with only 12-20 LUs, so I have to pick my spots and that will make me underweight to this fight.
Randy Brown (-125) has a record of 10-2, and he is 4-2 in the UFC. Randy is a long striker who uses his height to his advantage. He is well-rounded on the feet and has powerful kicks as well as punches. He also has submissions off his back, but not much of a wrestling game. 80% of his wins are from finishes and 50% are (T)KO’s. He will be looking to keep this fight on the feet and strike at range at a controlled pace. I don’t see him having much interest in taking this fight to the ground but he could pick up a submission victory if it does go there.
Niko Price (+105) has an 11-1-1 record and is 3-1-1 in the UFC. His draw NC was actually a KO win over Alex Morono but was overturned due to a failed drug test and he hasn’t seen a decision in any of his 5 UFC fights. He is an aggressive striker with a heavy top wrestling game and is active when looking for submissions on the ground. I think Brown will be the more technical striker but Niko should have the power edge. If the fight hits the ground, I think it will be Price who takes it there and should have the advantage. Brown is good at getting back to his feet and Price only lands takedowns at a 27.27% accuracy, so I don’t think Price will consistently be able to get it to the ground if that is his plan. I think most of this fight will take place on the feet and it should be close there but I would favor Brown.
On DraftKings, my preferred play is Price. Not only is he the cheaper fighter of the two, but he also has a better chance to use a wrestling based game plan to get a submission or win on the judges’ scorecards. He also has the higher DK scores and the higher ceiling, so I would prefer to just save the $400 and use him if I was targeting this fight. I may fade Brown all together but it could burn me. However, he has only scored more than 62 DK points one time so I think with 12 or less LUs, you can safely fade him as well and if he gets the win it might not hurt us. If I was making 20 or more LUs, I would want some exposure to Brown, but closer to the 10% range, where I would rather have closer to 20-30% on Price.
I am going to pick Price to pick up the win here but I am not confident in that at all and that is why I don’t want much exposure to him. If I have $7.9k left over for my last spot, I like him in that case and would pick him over Aguilar. But I will not be starting any LUs with him and he could possibly not make my player pool at all. I wouldn’t want this fight in cash games because I don’t have a real lean on it and I don’t think either guy is “safe”.
Winner– Niko Price via 3rd round (RNC) submission
Dennis Bermudez $9,000 vs Rick Glenn $7,200
Dennis Bermudez (-255) comes into this fight with a professional record of 16-8 and a UFC record of 9-6. Bermudez is going into this fight on a 3-fight losing streak and could need a win here to keep his job. He is a wrestler with powerful takedowns and a solid top game. He also throws with heavy punches on the feet and sets a very high pace, mixing in his striking and takedowns. Bermudez lands sig strikes at a pace of 4.59 per minutes, and he also averages 3.6 takedowns per 15 minutes. If he finished more fights, he would be a great DK target in general with his fighting style. The issue with Bermudez is his chin, and being put on his back. He doesn’t have a submission game off his back so if his opponent has a decent wrestling game, he can be taken down and lose decisions that way. He also is dropped in almost every fight. His chin shouldn’t get any better with age, so that will always be a concern for him moving forward.
Rick Glenn (+215) has a record of 20-5-1 with a UFC record of 2-2. Glenn is a gritty veteran who seems comfortable anywhere the fight goes. He is primarily a striker and he has 11 (T)KO’s on his record. He mixes in shots to the body well and sets a fast pace landing 4.43 sig strikes per minute. He will have 6-inch height and 4-inch reach advantage in this fight. Last time he had that advantage in the UFC, he beat the hell out of Gavin Tucker and scored 134 DK points. He has a good grappling game as well with solid ground and pound, but he only has a 16% takedown accuracy, so I think he will be looking to keep this fight standing and try to test the chin of Bermudez.
On DraftKings, I do have interest in both guys and they will both make my player pool. I have toyed around with both guys in my cash lineup, so I am ok with either guy in cash which is weird to say. The betting line and wrestling game is what makes Bermudez a viable cash play, and the low price and low ITD line are why Glenn is an acceptable cash punt.
I am curious to see what the ownership will be on these two, but I would guess Bermudez will be near 30% owned and Glenn slightly under 20%. I think I want to be overweight on both guys, personally. Even though the betting line for Fight Goes To Decision is at -280, I think the winner of this fight will have a good chance of paying off their DK salary.
If Bermudez wins, it is likely going to include multiple takedowns and advances, along with any sig strike points he can pick up along the way. I think he has one of the higher ceilings on this card and could even reach up to ~120 or more if he can get a finish. For $100 less, I would much rather have Bermudez over Perez.
Rick Glenn, on the other hand, can also get over 100+ points in this matchup and could end the fight with a 1st round KO. If that happens, he will very likely be on the winning lineup, and that is why he will be in my player pool. Because I want to be overweight to the field, I will likely have over 25% Glenn in my LUs, and closer to 40% for Bermudez. Either way, I think this is a great fight to target and get leverage over the field. I am going to pick Bermudez to win this fight so that is why I am higher on him than Glenn with my own exposure.
Overall, I think the wrestling from Bermudez will be too much for Glenn and I see him being successful with his takedowns in every round. Glenn doesn’t have crazy one punch KO power, he is more likely to wear down his opponent to get the KO, and that isn’t Dennis’ issue. We could see Dennis shoot for double digit takedowns in this fight and that is what I like to target on DK, even with his high salary. It is possible for Bermudez to get a KO or submission victory as well, but I will be leaning towards the decision win for my official prediction.
Winner– Dennis Bermudez via Unanimous Decision
Sage Northcutt $8,400 vs Zak Ottow $7,800
The only reason this fight is in the co-main event is because the hype train surrounding Sage Northcutt and that should tell you who the UFC wants to win this fight. Sage has a lot of fans, and haters, so I think this fight will gain more ownership than it should with both fighters. But with their mid-range prices that could pay off since they don’t need to score 100+ as much as one of the $9k fighters do to make the optimal LU.
Sage Northcutt (-130) has a record of 10-2 and a 5-2 UFC record. He is coming back to 170 lbs for this fight and I think that will allow him to be the much quicker fighter and he will still bring his power with him to that division. Sage is a physical freak and has a ton of potential being only 22 years old and being the athlete that he is. Northcutt is a karate style fighter who likes to throw a lot of flashy strikes on the feet. He throws with power and at 170 lbs a KO is a very possible outcome for this fight and future fights. He strikes at an OK pace of 3.66 landed sig strikes per minute, but he has out struck his opponent in every UFC fight, except one. He shoots for powerful double leg takedowns and has a solid wrestling game with submissions on his record to go with it. He averages 1.81 take downs per 15 minutes, and I could see him mixing in some takedowns in this fight as well. His weakness is being put on his back. He only has a 35% takedown defense accuracy, and once he is on his back he doesn’t have a lot to work with and tends to stay there way too long. He is also hittable on the feet and has been rocked in multiple fights, but seems to recover well. His game plan will likely be to stand and strike at range, and of course stay off his back.
Zak Ottow (+110) has a record of 16-5 and is 3-2 in the UFC. He is coming off of a KO win over a now retired, Mike Pyle. He is a decent athlete with a well-rounded MMA game. He seems to be decent everywhere but not great anywhere. On the feet, he lands at a pace of 3.42 landed sig strikes per minute, but with only a 39.95% accuracy rate. He has a good jab and has power on the feet, but I think his best shot on the feet will be to land that KO blow, or knock Sage down and follow him to the ground. On the ground, he has a solid top game and has 10 submission wins on his record. That will likely be where he wants to get this fight and keep Sage on his back where he is much less dangerous. Ottow only has a 33.33% takedown accuracy, so I don’t see him getting consistent take downs, but it could only take 1 for him to be able to get a submission.
On DraftKings, I think I will likely be underweight to the field since I think both guys will be more owned than they should be. I think this fight can be faded if you are making 10 or less LUs, but if you are confident in either guy then you should throw them in your lineups. I think I would need to make over 20 LUs for me to get exposure to both guys even though they are in that affordable mid-range pricing.
My preferred play here is going to be Sage, and if I do use either fighter in GPPs, that is the guy I would have exposure to. If I only stick with 12 LUs, I don’t see him making much more than 2 of them, but I do think he makes my player pool in hopes he can get the KO victory. I will be fading Ottow this week. I think Ottow will gain near 20% ownership and that is more than I am willing to invest in him. In his last KO win over Pyle, he scored 111 points. Before that, he hadn’t scored more than 67 DK points, and that includes both of his UFC wins. Even though his best shot to win this fight is with takedowns, I would rather just spend down so I can afford the expensive guys like Volkanovski. If you are making 150 LUs, I would want exposure to both guys, but I would be even or underweight to the field with both.
Winner– Sage Northcutt via unanimous decision.
Junior Dos Santos $8,700 vs Blagoy Ivanov $7,500
In the main event this weekend, we have two Heavyweights who like to try and knock their opponents out. One of these Heavyweights is a former UFC champion and the other is making their UFC debut. I do think it is a weird main event matchup, but it is one of my favorite fights on the card from a DraftKings perspective.
Junior Dos Santos (-175) is a former UFC Heavyweight champion with record of 18-5 and a UFC record of 12-4. He is coming off a loss to Stipe Miocic via TKO in his last fight which was a rematch from 2014 where JDS came out on top with a decision win. Pre-USADA, JDS was one of the best Heavyweights of all-time in my eyes. The two losses from Cain I do think took a lot out of him as well as maybe his supplement change. However, he is still one of the best guys in the HW division today, and he should be better than his opponent everywhere. JDS has great boxing and I think he will cause some problems for Blagoy since he likes to walk forward with his hands down trying to throw bombs. JDS has been much more patient his last few fights and he will likely try to keep distance in this fight and pick his spots with his boxing and kicks. He has a mean overhand right and uppercut, and it could only take 1 of those to take out Blagoy. It is unlikely JDS will look for takedowns in this fight but we have seen it from him before so I wouldn’t be shocked if he tried an early takedown to confuse his opponent and keep him guessing. He does have great takedown defense though at 80.49% so I don’t see him being put on his back in this fight either.
Blagoy Ivanov (+155) has a record of 16-1-1 and is making his UFC debut in this fight. His loss came against Alexander Volkov who is a top contender in the UFC now, and his NC was against Ilir Latifi where the ring broke 55 seconds into the fight and it could not be continued. He has 6 (T)KO’s and 6 submissions on his record, but against much lower level competition compared to JDS. From what I saw, there really isn’t anything special about this guy and I don’t see why he is in the main event for his UFC debut, unless it is to try and get JDS a highlight reel KO to put him back in the mix with the top title contenders. Blagoy’s main game plan seems to be to walk forward and KO his opponent and I am sure that is exactly what he will be looking to do here against JDS, who was just KO’d in his last fight. Blagoy has decent power but it is more from landing multiple punches once his opponent is stunned than it is 1-punch KO power. He does move forward and puts the pressure on his opponents but he is mostly head hunting and not mixing in any body shots or kicks.
What I think we will see here is probably a slow start with both guys feeling the other out. JDS will have a 5-inch height advantage so he will want to keep the fight more at range, where Blagoy will be looking to get on the inside and land lots of heavy shots. We could see Blagoy holding JDS against the fence a lot in this fight but JDS will look to get some space and pick his shots. My prediction is that we will see a right uppercut in round 2 from JDS that will knock Blagoy down and he will follow up with punches to get the (T)KO finish. I think the only shot Blagoy has in this match is to get the knockout win, which could even happen in the 1st round. JDS has shown to have a much weaker chin these past few fights so I am worried about him getting caught again here. If he doesn’t get the KO in the first few rounds, I think JDS should have no problem winning the later rounds and cruising to a decision win, if he can’t get the KO himself.
On DraftKings, I have a good amount of interest in this fight, but I won’t be all-in. With these guys being Heavyweights with power, we could easily see a 100+ point, 1st round win from either guy. If either guy can get a 1st round finish, they will easily pay off their price tag and likely finish on the winning lineup. For that reason, I will have exposure to both guys in GPPS. This fight can also be stacked in cash unless you are sure it will go to a decision, then it may not get the 100+ points we are looking for.
My preferred play is obviously JDS, since I think he will be the winner of this fight. I think I would want this fight in 75-80% of my LUs, and I am leaning towards at least 50% JDS. If you are making 1 LU, I think this should be a fight you target since I think we will see a KO, and the line for Fight Doesn’t Go To Decision is currently -215. The winner of their fight should pay off their salary with a win, and they have 5-rounds to work with. If you think JDS is finished and are picking him to get KO’d here, then you should go heavier on Ivanov but consider a few hedge LUs with JDS thrown in along with your core players.
Winner- Junior Dos Santos via 2nd round (T)KO
Thanks again for purchasing this article and be sure to hit me up on Twitter if you have any questions. I hope this write-up helps with your lineup building and I hope if I don’t take down a GPP that somebody reading this does. Good luck this weekend and enjoy the fights!