DraftKings MMA: Previewing Saturday’s UFC Fight Night

 

Did last Saturday’s #MayPac bout leave you with a lot to be desired? If you’re searching for a bit more excitement, try turning your attention to the Octagon this Saturday for UFC Fight Night, live from Adelaide, Australia.

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 – Heavyweight

Stipe Miocic (12-2-0) v. Mark Hunt (10-9-1)

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Draft Kings Salaries: Miocic ($10,800), Hunt ($8,900)

Vegas Odds: Miocic (-200), Hunt (+175)

This should be a fun fight. Miocic is always active and loves to move forward, while Hunt is known for his all-world power and his ability to end a fight in an instant. Miocic is 3-1 in his last four fights, with his lone loss coming against Junior Dos Santos in a fight he was winning before tiring late and losing a unanimous decision. Despite the struggles late in the Dos Santos fight, Miocic should have the better cardio if this fight ends up in the later rounds. We all know about Hunt’s power, but we have to remember that this is a guy who at one point in his path had lost six fights in a row and is just one win over .500 for his entire career. Nearly every heavyweight fighter he faces is taller than he is, so I don’t think that’s the reason Hunt will struggle in this fight. He will have the home-field advantage, but I don’t see Hunt being able to continuously stop Miocic’s forward momentum, despite frequently throwing big power shots. I think Miocic’s current #4 ranking is legitimate, while Hunt’s #5 ranking, while he’s entertaining, is more the result of the lack of depth in the heavyweight division. I like Miocic in this fight and I don’t think it will be terribly close.

THE PICK: Miocic

 

Co-Main Event- Middleweight

Brad Tavares (13-4-0) v. Robert Whittaker (14-4-0)

Draft Kings Salaries: Tavares ($10,300), Whittaker ($9,100)

Vegas Odds: Tavares (-165), Whittaker (+140)

While both are still relatively young, I’ve always liked the potential of the 24-year-old Whittaker more than the 27-year-old Tavares. Tavares won a unanimous decision in his last fight against Nate Marquardt (who looks just about finished), but he lost his two previous bouts to Yoel Romero and Tim Boestch. He always seems to handle the fighters he’s supposed to beat, but struggles when he faces better competition. Granted, Whittaker isn’t on the level of Romero, but he’s younger and more athletic than both Marquardt and Boetsch. This will be Tavares’12th fight in the UFC. Whittaker has also been a bit inconsistent (2-2 in his last four fight), but it seems like he has more room for growth on a fight-to-fight basis than Tavares at this point. Whittaker, who is a native of New Zealand and fights out of Sydney, Australia, will also have the crowd behind him in this battle. Considering I’m going to pick him to win the fight outright, I think Whittaker is a value pick for both Draft Kings and the Vegas odds.

THE PICK: Whittaker

 

Light Heavyweight

Anthony Perosh (15-8-0) v. Sean O’Connell (16-6-0)

Draft Kings Salaries: Perosh ($9,900), O’Connell ($9,600)

Vegas Odds: Perosh (-170), O’Connell (+150)

To be brutally honest, this is not a very good fight. This fight is so late on the card because Perosh is a native of Australia. At 42-years-old, he has spent the last four years fighting terrible competition. The only two times he fought talented fighters (Ryan Bader, Ryan Jimmo) he got absolutely destroyed. O’Connell made his UFC debut in April of last year as a last-minute replacement against Jimmo. He lost via TKO at 0:46 of the first round, but didn’t look out of place. O’Connell then dropped a split-decision last June to Gian Villante in a fight that many people think he won. He didn’t look as good in his last fight in January against Matt Van Buren, but he managed to pull out a third-round TKO. Perosh is a third-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and he is known for his elite cardio, but I could see O’Connell giving him big time problems if this is a striking battle and remains on the feet. I think O’Connell is a better value than Perosh, given the numbers at this point.

THE PICK: O’Connell

 

Lightweight

Jake Matthews (9-0-0) v. James Vick (7-0-0)

Draft Kings Salaries: Matthews ($10,500), Vick ($9,000)

Vegas Odds: Matthews (-165), Vick (+145)

This has the potential to be the most exciting fight on the entire card. Matthews is just 20-years-old and has won both of his UFC fights by submission. He can wrestle, has solid takedown defense and has shown the ability to win fights on the ground. Vick is best known for his striking and is 3-0 in his UFC career. His best chance to win this fight is to use his six-inch height advantage and attempt to land punches and kicks from distance, much like former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones seems to do in all his fights. While Vick is taller, I’ll take the guy who is eight years younger, has a better all-around game and doesn’t have to travel halfway around the world to get to the arena.

THE PICK: Matthews

 

Featherweight

Hatsu Hioki (27-8-2) v. Dan Hooker (12-5-0)

Draft Kings Salaries: Hioki ($11,000), Hooker ($8,500)

Vegas Odds: Hioki (-275), Hooker (+230)

It’s not often that you see a guy who is 1-4 in his last five fights favored by as much as Hioki is in this one. He’s the second biggest favorite on the entire card and has the highest Draft Kings salary of all the available fighters. I don’t think he’s THAT much of a better fighter than Hooker is, but he has the ability to do one thing that Hooker hasn’t shown to be any good at, rack up takedowns. Hioki’s takedown defense isn’t terribly good (barely over 50%), but Hooker has yet to land a takedown in his UFC career. Hooker lands a lot of strikes (almost six-per-minute) but he eats even more (over seven-per-minute). MMA fans are aware that Hooker is going to come out throwing a ton, but it’s entirely possible that Hioki realizes that, wants nothing to do with it, and promptly tries to plant Hooker on his back. If there’s one fight on the entire card that I think will go the distance, this is it.

THE PICK: Hioki