DraftKings MMA: Previewing Saturday’s UFC 188

The undisputed heavyweight championship of the world is on the line Saturday as the UFC heads back to Mexico City.

If you’re hoping to turn the event into an opportunity to build your DFS bankroll, DraftKings.com has you covered with a full slate of contests. Players get a $50,000 budget to select five fighters, and the scoring is distributed as follows:

 

Moves Scoring

Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS

Advance (ADVC): +1 PT

Takedown (TD): +2 PTS

Reversal/Sweep (REV): +2 PTS

Knockdown (KD): +3 PTS

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Fight Conclusion Bonuses

1st Round Win (1rW+): +100 PTS

2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 PTS

3rd Round Win (3rW+): +50 PTS

4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 PTS

5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 PTS

Decision Win (WBD+): +25 PTS

 

Scoring Notes

Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered “Power Strikes” by official scorers.

Advances include:

To Half Guard

To Side Control

To Mount

To Back Control

 

Now, on to the fights…

Main Event – Heavyweight Championship

(C) Cain Velasquez (13-1-0) v. (Interim C) Fabricio Werdum (19-5-1)

DraftKings Salaries: Velasquez ($11,900), Werdum ($7,500)

Vegas Odds: Velasquez (-450), Werdum (+360)

Due to various injuries, Velasquez hasn’t competed since October 2013 when he beat Junior dos Santos for a second straight time. This led to Werdum winning the interim title over Mark Hunt at UFC 180 in November of last year. Finally, the two fighters will meet this Saturday. Werdum is on a roll, having won five straight bouts. Also, as a three-time Brazilian jiu jitsu world champion, he will be the most talented mat fighter that Velasquez has faced. Unfortunately for Werdum, Velasquez is just a freak of nature. He has arguably the best cardio in all the UFC, major one-punch knockout power and he smothers you at all times. In simple terms, he hits you and takes you down and doesn’t allow you to do either. Some people thing Werdum has a shot to pull the upset, but I’m just not seeing it. I think Cain is too smart to get into a ground battle with Werdum and I know that Werdum can’t keep up with Velasquez’s pace over a five-round fight, nobody can. When you add in the fact that Werdum is already 37 years old, I just don’t think he has enough to pull it off.

The Pick: Velasquez

 

Co-Main Event – Lightweight

Gilbert Melendez (22-4-0) v. Eddie Alvarez (25-4-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Melendez ($10,300), Alvarez ($9,100)

Vegas Odds: Melendez (-170), Alvarez (+140)

 Even without a title on the line, the co-main event is certainly not expected to disappoint. Alvarez signed with the UFC in August 2014 after a successful stint as Bellator’s lightweight champion, and a little over a month later he was standing across the cage from Donald Cerrone. He looked to be a bit in awe during a fight in which he lost by unanimous decision. I expect a better effort this time around. Melendez has had two title fights in the last two-plus years and he lost them both, first to Benson Henderson and then to Anthony Pettis. The former Strikeforce and WEC champion seems to frequently get overlooked. He’s been fighting to competition for over a decade and he almost never puts forth a poor effort, even in the fights that he loses. The UFC lightweight division is easily the deepest in the promotion. Every single guy currently in the top-15 is a legitimate threat. The guy who loses this fight is going to have a very long road to get back to the top. I’ll take Melendez to win, but believe Alvarez is worth a look as a salary relief option on DraftKings.

The Pick: Melendez

 

Middleweight

Kelvin Gastelum (11-1-0) v. Nate Marquardt (36-14-2)

DraftKings Salaries: Gastelum ($11,700), Marquardt ($7,700)

Vegas Odds: Gastelum (-450), Marquardt (+330)

The only advantage that Marquardt would seem to have in this bout would be experience. He is 13 years older than Gastelum and he has competed in 40 more professional bouts. That’s the good news for Marquardt. The bad news is that he has lost four of his last five fights and it clearly looks like he’s reaching the end of the line. He’s won just one fight since July 2012. Gastelum’s main problem has always been that he’s struggled to make weight. One would think and hope that wouldn’t be a problem in this bout, considering he’s moving up from welterweight to middleweight. His only professional loss came in his last fight against Tyron Woodley, and even that was a split decision that could have gone either way. Unless Gastelum has some unforeseen struggles at the higher weight class, it’s hard to see how Marquardt wins this one. Both fighters are well rounded, but the younger and fresher Gastelum should have the edge, pretty much everywhere.

The Pick: Gastelum

 

Featherweight

Yair Rodriguez (4-1-0) v. Charles Rosa (10-1-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Rodriguez ($8,600), Rosa ($10,800)

Vegas Odds: Rodriguez (+180), Rosa (-240)

 Rodriguez gets the call on the main card of a pay-per-view because he won The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, and he’s a native of Mexico. Rosa was dominated by Denis Siver in his UFC debut last October, but he rebounded with an impressive submission victory over Sean Soriano in January. It’s quite a step up in competition for Rodriguez. This projects as a fairly even battle when both are on their feet, but Rosa figures to have the advantage on the mat. Even though Rodriguez and Rosa may not be big names, this should be a fun, exciting, fast-paced bout between two talented young fighters. It will be interesting to see how the 22-year-old Rodriguez will fare on the bigger stage. I’m going to take Rosa, but I like Rodriguez’s DraftKings salary.

The Pick: Rosa

 

Women’s Strawweight

Tecia Torres (5-0-0) v. Angela Hill (2-0-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Torres ($11,400), Hill ($8,000)

Vegas Odds: Torres (-325), Hill (+250)

Both of these young ladies won their UFC debuts in impressive fashion at the Ultimate Fighter Finale back in December. Torres is currently ranked as the No. 5 strawweight by UFC.com, while Hill is ranked No. 15. The separation in rankings doesn’t mean much, however, because after the top two or three women in the division, everyone is fairly evenly matched. Torres is the more explosive athlete, but I don’t think she’s all that much better than Hill in any one particular area. Certainly not as much as the ranking, Vegas odds or DraftKings salaries would seem to indicate. I think Torres will win but I don’t think Hill is a bad flier to fill out your roster given her low salary.

The Pick: Torres

 

Flyweight

Henry Cejudo (8-0-0) v. Chico Camus (15-5-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Cejudo ($11,900), Camus ($7,500)

Vegas Odds: Cejudo (-800), Camus (+500)

Cejudo is getting a lot of love from the MMA community at the moment. The former 2008 Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling absolutely tore through the always-game Chris Cariaso in his last fight in March. Camus is also coming off an impressive victory, a split decision win over Brad Pickett in November. As great as Cejudo has looked in his two UFC bouts, he only has eight professional fights under his belt, and he has a history of missing weight in the past. The flyweight division is one of the thinnest in all the UFC. It is entirely possible Cejudo will get a title shot if he wins impressively on Saturday. Camus has more power in his hands than Cejudo, but there is no chance he can handle Cejudo’s wrestling (no surprise). I definitely think Cejudo will win, but I think it is ridiculous Vegas has him down as such a huge favorite.

The Pick: Cejudo

 

OTHER BOUTS

Lightweight

Efrain Escudero (24-9-0) v. Drew Dober (15-6-0, 1NC)

DraftKings Salaries: Escudero ($9,000), Dober ($10,400)

Vegas Odds: Escudero (+125), Dober (-155)

The Pick: Escudero

 

Bantamweight

Alejandro Perez (16-5-0) v. Patrick Williams (7-4-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Perez ($10,200), Williams ($9,200)

Vegas Odds: Perez (-165), Williams (+135)

The Pick: Perez

 

Lightweight

Francisco Trevino (12-0-0) v. Johnny Case (20-4-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Trevino ($8,100), Case ($11,300)

Vegas Odds: Trevino (+260), Case (-350)

The Pick: Case

 

Welterweight

Augusto Montano (14-1-0) v. Cathal Pendred (16-3-1)

DraftKings Salaries: Montano ($10,400), Pendred ($9,000)

Vegas Odds: Montano (-150), Pendred (+120)

THE PICK: Pendred

 

Featherweight

Gabriel Benitez (17-5-0) v. Clay Collard (14-5-0, 1NC)

DraftKings Salaries: Benitez ($8,200), Collard ($11,200)

Vegas Odds: Benitez (+180), Collard (-240)

THE PICK: Collard

 

Welterweight

Albert Tumenov (15-2-0) v. Andrew Todhunter (7-0-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Tumenov ($11,700), Todhunter ($7,700)

Vegas Odds: Tumenov (-425), Todhunter (+320)

THE PICK: Tumenov