DraftKings MMA: Previewing Saturday’s UFC Fight Night

The UFC is set to take the Philippines by storm. Headlined by two of the biggest names in the sport, Manila will be the focus of the MMA world this coming Saturday.

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

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 Strikesare any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered “Power Strikes” by official scorers.
    • Advancesinclude:
      • To Half Guard
      • To Side Control
      • To Mount
      • To Back Control

 

Now, on to the fights…

Main Event – Featherweight

Frankie Edgar (17-4-1) v. Urijah Faber (32-7-0)

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DraftKings Salaries: Edgar ($11,200), Faber ($8,300)

Vegas Odds: Edgar (-380), Faber (+315)

 

This is an absolutely terrific fight. In a way, I’m a bit upset that it’s going to take place at roughly noon EST, but the UFC has turned into a global organization and they are committed to bringing top fights to different cities around the world. Given Faber’s pedigree, I’m a bit surprised that the odds are so heavily in Edgar’s favor, but when you think about it, it’s difficult to see how Faber wins this fight. Faber may have the edge in the submission game if the fight ends up on the ground, but Edgar is the more polished striker, the better wrestler and he should win the cardio battle if this fight goes the entire five rounds. That’s not a knock on Faber’s cardio. It’s just that Edgar may have the best cardio of any fighter in the UFC. The guy just simply doesn’t get tired. The fighters have combined to win six fights in a row, although Edgar looked far more impressive in his last bout against Cub Swanson than Faber did in his last fight against Francisco Rivera. I like Edgar by decision in this fight but I think Faber is a value play for DraftKings. It’s awfully rare to see a fighter with Faber’s ability with such a low salary.

THE PICK: Edgar

 

Co-Main Event – Middleweight

Gegard Mousasi (36-5-2) v. Costas Philippou (13-4-0, 1NC)

DraftKings Salaries: Mousasi ($11,700), Philippou ($7,700)

Vegas Odds: Mousasi (-505), Philippou (+365)

 

This is another quality bout. The only two fights that Mousasi has lost in the last five years have been to Jacare Souza and Lyoto Machida. Not only has he won all eight of his other bouts, he’s looked extremely impressive in just about all of them. He is a former kickboxer and also has a black belt in Judo. Philippou looked like one of the real up and comers in the middleweight division just 18 months ago, but he has since lost two of his last three fights. Mousasi should have a massive advantage on the ground (Philippou has never won a UFC bout by submission) and he’s also seven years younger than the Cyprus native. If the fight remains on the feet, Mousasi lands far more significant strikes per minute on average (3.41-2.43) while Philippou tends to eat far more significant strikes on a per minute basis (2.58-1.17). Mousasi often gets a bad rap because he is extremely laid back and comes across as almost looking bored when he’s fighting, but even though he’s spent much of his career at light heavyweight, he’s a legitimate top ten middleweight at the moment. I don’t expect him to ever be a UFC champion like he was back in his Strikeforce days, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t handle Philippou rather easily in this fight.

THE PICK: Mousasi

 

Middleweight

Mark Munoz (13-6-0) v. Luke Barnatt (8-2-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Munoz ($9,100), Barnatt ($10,300)

Vegas Odds: Munoz (+135), Barnatt (-165)

 

It’s the end of an era. Munoz has announced that this will be his last professional MMA fight no matter what the outcome. Munoz has also sold his gym in Southern California, The Reign Training Center, forcing many other professional MMA fighters to scramble to look for new places to train. He has lost three fights in a row (four of his last five) and has looked legitimately finished inside the octagon. In his most recent bout he was submitted by Roan Carneiro in the first round and didn’t land any strikes at all. Barnatt has also lost two in a row, both by split decision. Munoz is a former two time All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State, but he’s now 37 years old and has looked like a shell of himself for the better part of two years. Adding in the fact that Barnatt is 10 years younger and six inches taller, I don’t see this going well for Munoz. It would be a great story if Munoz could go out on a high note, and if it happens it will almost certainly be due to his wrestling ability, but I just don’t see it coming to pass. Not because Barnatt is all that great, but because I think Munoz should have retired over a year ago. I wouldn’t use Munoz in a DraftKings lineup despite the low salary.

THE PICK: Barnatt

 

Welterweight

Hyun Gyu Lim (13-4-1) v. Neil Magny (14-4-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Lim ($9,600), Magny ($9,800)

Vegas Odds: Lim (-105), Magny (-125)

 

Quick, which UFC welterweight has won six fights in a row including five in 2014 alone? That would be Magny. And it’s strange because Magny isn’t a great athlete, which is almost always a requirement to run off that many wins in a row. He’s just a hard worker who is extremely coachable and little by little continues to improve each time he enters the octagon. Lim has won three of his four UFC bouts, all by KO and his only loss came against the very talented Tarec Saffiedine in a fight where he actually landed more total strikes (122-120) than Saffiedine. This truly is a pick em fight. Lim is probably the better athlete and definitely the better striker while Magny is the better of the two defensively and should be the much better wrestler. Because he has less of a distance to travel and because Magny’s run is going to end sooner rather than later (it’s awfully difficult to win seven straight fights in the UFC), I’m going to go with Lim here.

THE PICK: Lim

 

Featherweight

Phillipe Nover (6-3-1) v. Yui Chul Nam (18-4-1)

DraftKings Salaries: Nover ($8,900), Chul Nam ($10,500)

Vegas Odds: Nover (+160), Chul Nam (-185)

 

The first four fights on this card are intriguing but it kind of drops off the table pretty quickly after that. Nover hasn’t fought in the UFC since UFC 109 back in February 2010. He’s 0-3 in his UFC career. Chul Nam won his promotional debut back in March in Macao, a split decision win over Kazuki Tokudome. Nover may have the advantage on the ground but I think he’ll have a hard time getting the fight there. There’s a reason he hasn’t fought in the UFC in over five years: he’s not very good. I’ll take Chul Nam here. He’ll have the crowd behind him and he doesn’t have to travel 20+ hours from New York to Manila.

THE PICK: Chul Nam

 

Lightweight

Tae Hyun Bang (17-8-0) v. Jon Tuck (8-2-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Bang ($9,200), Tuck ($10,200)

Vegas Odds: Bang (+135), Tuck (-155)

 

Bang’s ability, or lack thereof, to stop the takedown could be the difference in this fight. Bang has two UFC fights under his belt and he has been taken down a total of nine times in those two bouts. Combined with the fact that Bang is yet to score a takedown, it’s definitely a concern for the Korean. Tuck would probably prefer to turn this into a standup battle but he has proven he has the ability to be a threat if the fight ends up on the ground. Taking into account Bang’s poor takedown defense, this could very well end up the case. Bang has the experience edge (he’s been a pro since 2004), but I think Tuck has the talent edge.

THE PICK: Tuck