DraftKings MMA: Previewing Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 68

One of the greatest of all time is nearing the end. Dan Henderson hopes to make one more statement in the main event of an overall solid card from New Orleans.

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 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 – Middleweight

Tim Boetsch (18-8-0) v. Dan Henderson (30-13-0)

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DraftKings Salaries: Boetsch ($10, 400), Henderson ($9,000)

Vegas Odds: Boetsch (-190), Henderson (+165)

I’m a firm believer that if an older fighter is showing clear signs of slipping in multiple fights, he should hang it up. The sport is just too dangerous and poses too many long-term health risks. Henderson definitely falls into that category. He has lost five of his last six fights dating back to February 2013, and his lone win in that span came in a fight in which he was getting killed and managed to land one of his signature monster right hands to pick up a KO. The bottom line is that at 44 years old, Henderson looks to be nearing the end of his career. I know he doesn’t want to, but I expect him to retire if he loses. On the other hand, it’s not like Boetsch has looked all that much better lately. He’s lost four of his last six and is getting up there at 34 years old. I’m not a big Boestch fan, but Henderson literally looks finished. I expect Boestch’s all-around game to give him major problems. Hendo will always have that monster right hand that can end the fight in one shot, but the rest of his game is so weak at the moment that he’s having problems getting power shots off. There’s more than a handful of fighters I would pick against Boetsch these days, but Henderson isn’t one of them.

THE PICK: Boetsch

Co-Main Event – Heavyweight

Ben Rothwell (34-9-0) v. Matt Mitrione (9-3-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Rothwell ($9,100), Mitrione ($10,500)

Vegas Odds: Rothwell (+158), Mitrione (-180)

This is an underrated bout. Rothwell and Mitrione have combined to win their last five fights, all by knockout. Both fighters are coming off the most impressive wins of their respective careers (Rothwell’s coming against Alistair Overeem and Mitrione against Gabriel Gonzaga.) Both fighters love to stand and bang, so I doubt that this fight will go the distance. Rothwell is the more well-rounded fighter but Mitrione is the better athlete (which is not surprising considering he played in the NFL). It’s a tough fight to try to pick a winner. When both guys throw as hard as these two do, the fight can end at any moment and either guy can win. I’m going to pick the more athletic Mitrione to win, but I like Rothwell’s DraftKings salary. I’m surprised it’s so low.

THE PICK: Mitrione

Lightweight

Dustin Poirier (17-4-0) v. Yancy Medeiros (11-2-0, 1NC)

DraftKings Salaries: Poirier ($10,400), Medeiros ($9,000)

Vegas Odds: Poirier (-185), Medeiros (+160)

Poirier has lost just three times since August 2010 and they have all come against top competition (Conor McGregor, Cub Swanson, Chan Sung Jung). He dropped down to featherweight in September to take on McGregor, got obliterated and returned to lightweight in April to pick up a first-round TKO win over Diego Ferreira. Medeiros is yet to beat anyone of note and he’s struggled when he’s gone against better competition. Both guys throw a ton of strikes, land a ton of strikes and eat a ton of strikes, so I’d be surprised if this wasn’t one of the more entertaining bouts on the card. Poirier is the better fighter but Medeiros is the one with more to gain in this fight. I wouldn’t be totally shocked if Medeiros pulled the upset, but I don’t see it happening.

THE PICK: Poirier

Featherweight

Thiago Tavares (23-5-1) v. Brian Ortega (9-0-0, 1NC)

DraftKings Salaries: Tavares ($10,700), Ortega ($8,700)

Vegas Odds: Tavares (-175), Ortega (+155)

If you’re looking for a ground battle between two elite submission specialists, this is the fight for you. Ortega made his UFC debut last July and finished Mike de la Torre in the first round. Yet Ortega failed his post-fight drug test, was suspended for nine months and his win was changed to a no contest. For his part, Ortega openly admitted what he did and took full responsibility. Tavares is coming off back-to-back first-round submission wins over Robbie Peralta and Justin Salas. He’s 4-1 in his last five bouts and his only loss during that period was to top ranked Khabib Nurmagomedov. This seems like a fairly even contest to me so I don’t understand why Ortega’s DraftKings salary is so low. He represents an excellent value pick.

THE PICK: Ortega

Bantamweight

Joe Soto (15-3-0) v. Anthony Birchak (11-2-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Soto ($10,200), Birchak ($9,200)

Vegas Odds: Soto (-170), Birchak (+150)

Soto earned a lot of fans and gained a ton of respect when he agreed to step up on 24 hours notice in his UFC debut to fight T.J. Dillashaw for the bantamweight championship last August. He lost the fight in convincing fashion, but he lasted until the fifth round, showed a huge heart and immediately became a favorite of UFC president Dana White. Birchak will also be making his second appearance for the promotion. He lost his debut, a first-round submission setback to Ian Entwhistle in December. Both fighters obviously have spent very little time in the octagon, but a strong wrestling base is the strength of both fighters. I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if this fight was more of a ground battle that ended up going the distance.

THE PICK: Soto

Bantamweight

Francisco Rivera (10-4-0, 1NC) v. Alex Caceres (10-7-0, 1NC)

DraftKings Salaries: Rivera ($9,600), Caceres ($9,800)

Vegas Odds: Rivera (+100), Caceres (-120)

For all the potential that he seems to bring to the table, Caceres has lost his last two fights (Urijah Faber, Masanori Kanehara) and he doesn’t have a very good record. People were expecting big things from Caceres after he picked up a submission win over Sergio Pettis in January 2014, but he’s gone backwards since. Rivera is coming off two straight losses in his own right (Faber, Takeya Mizugaki). Both fighters do their best work on the feet and neither is a huge threat on the mat. This will be a battle between Caceres’ unorthodox striking style and Rivera’s constant pressure. Every time I pick Caceres he seems to disappoint.

THE PICK: Rivera

Heavyweight

Shawn Jordan (17-6-0) v. Derrick Lewis (12-3-0, 1NC)

DraftKings Salaries: Jordan ($9,700), Lewis ($9,700)

Vegas Odds: Jordan (+100), Lewis (-120)

THE PICK: Lewis

Welterweight

Brian Ebersole (51-16-1, 1NC) v. Omari Akhmedov (14-2-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Ebersole ($9,300), Akhmedov ($10,100)

Vegas Odds: Ebersole (+115), Akhmedov (-135)

THE PICK: Akhmedov

Lightweight

Chris Wade (9-1-0) v. Christos Giagos (11-3-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Wade ($10,200), Giagos ($9,200)

Vegas Odds: Wade (-170), Giagos (+150)

THE PICK: Wade

Lightweight

Joe Proctor (10-3-0) v. Justin Edwards (9-4-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Proctor ($10,300), Edwards ($9,100)

Vegas Odds: Proctor (-190), Edwards (+165)

THE PICK: Proctor

Middleweight

Ricardo Abreu (5-1-0) v. Jake Collier (8-2-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Abreu ($10,500), Collier ($8,900)

Vegas Odds: Abreu (-200), Collier (+170)

THE PICK: Collier

Bantamweight

Jose Quinonez (4-2-0) v. Leonardo Morales (5-0-0)

DraftKings Salaries: Quinonez ($8,800), Morales ($10,600)

Vegas Odds: Quinonez (+160), Morales (-185)

THE PICK: Morales