DraftKings MMA: UFC Fight Night 87 Preview
DraftKings MMA: UFC Fight Night 87 Preview

This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.

The heavyweight division gets top billing as the UFC invades the Netherlands on Sunday.

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

Alistair Overeem (40-14-0, 1NC) v. Andre Arlovski (25-11-0, 1NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Overeem ($10,300), Arlovski ($9,100)
Vegas Odds: Overeem (-230), Arlovski (+190)

Overeem has turned his career around over the last year and a half to the point that it's insulting that he is forced to face a fading Arlovski, but the depth at the top of the UFC's heavyweight division is thin to say the least, and all other potential dance partners were currently booked. Overeem is coming off impressive back-to-back-to-back win over Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson and Junior Dos Santos. He briefly flirted with free agency after his win over Dos Santos in December, but he never seriously considered leaving the UFC and signed a new contract with the company shortly thereafter. Arlovski's career was revived after he returned to the company in June 2014, winning four straight fights before getting hammered by Stipe Miocic in January. Despite his nice run, Arlovski's success never passed the eye test. At age 37, his trademark power has diminished and his chin is fading. Overeem's chin has been vulnerable as well over the last couple of years, but the odds of The Reem landing a one-punch knockout shot these days are far better than Arlovski landing one. I strongly believe that Overeem will never become UFC Heavyweight Champion, but he is a legitimate top-five heavyweight. Despite his fairly high ranking, I view Arlovski as more roster depth at this point. He might be a top-10 guy, but it's the back half of the top-10. All of his success since returning to the company seems like a fluke to me. As soon as the competition improves, Arlovski starts to fade. The most likely scenario here is Overeem easily handling Arlovski and then challenging for the title later this year. In a division that lacks options for the casual fan, The Reem is a well-known name that draws well. I think this could go down as the last title-implicating fight of Arlovski's career. I see a guy who brings little to the table other than his power, and I think he is going to have problems getting to that at his advanced age.

THE PICK: Overeem

Co-Main Event – Heavyweight

Bigfoot Silva (19-8-0, 1NC) v. Stefan Struve (30-8-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Silva ($9,500), Struve ($9,900)
Vegas Odds: Silva (+165), Struve (-190)

Admittedly, there weren't many other options, but it's totally insane that Silva ever challenged for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Take out a pair of fluke back-to-back KO wins over Overeem and Travis Browne during a four-month span in late 2012 and early 2013, and Bigfoot is 1-6-1 dating back to September 2011. Those two fluke wins have literally kept Silva employed for more than five years. One can certainly argue that Struve's career has been a far bigger disappointment. Besieged by injuries and marred by inconsistency, Struve has just one win in the last three and a half years. He has lost three of his last four fights and hasn't been particularly competitive in any of them. One would think that Struve's reach and length advantage should give him a considerable advantage in this fight, but the big man has proved on multiple occasions that he really has no idea how to use his biggest asset to his advantage. Bigfoot is so fragile at this point that if Struve just stands at distance and peppers him with shots, I think he would win an easy decision. A fight between two men whose names are far bigger than their games at this point, I expect this bout to be boring. Bigfoot is out of gas while Struve never really shows any interest in pushing the pace. Struve is young enough (28) that if you squint really hard, perhaps you can envision improvements in his game. Silva, I believe, is completely toast. If Struve loses, that will be four losses in his last five fights, but I'd still give him one more opportunity. He was setback by his heart condition and there would be no harm in giving him one last chance. If Bigfoot loses, I would release him immediately. He brings nothing to the table as a fighter anymore, has a big contract and has tested positive twice in his career for PEDs. It may be a good idea to completely avoid this fight from a DraftKings perspective. No one realistically has any idea what to expect from either of these two guys these days. Struve should win, but he has let us down before.
THE PICK: Struve

Welterweight

Albert Tumenov (17-2-0) v. Gunnar Nelson (14-2-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Tumenov ($10,500), Nelson ($8,900)
Vegas Odds: Tumenov (-170), Nelson (+150)

This is hands down one of the best potential matchups the UFC could have made in the welterweight division. The contrast in styles between the two combatants make this the best fight on the entire card. One can make a real case that Tumenov is the most gifted 170-pound striker in the UFC. He has earned both a National Master of Sport in boxing and a Masters of Sports in hand-to-hand combat in his native Russia. In layman terms, he excels at beating people up. Tumenov lost his UFC debut to Ildemar Alcantara via split decision in February 2014, but he has since ran off five-straight wins, including back-to-back impressive efforts against Lorenz Larkin and Alan Jouban. One of the more decorated ground specialists in any division, Nelson 5-2 in the UFC, although he is coming off a very lousy performance against Demian Maia in December. Nelson looked very uncomfortable on the mat in that fight for some reason. Tumenov is a different kind of opponent, but Nelson's effort in the Maia fight makes you wonder if he will be hesitant to try and get Tumenov to the ground. He better not be, because standing and trading with the Russian is a recipe for disaster. I am of the belief that Tumenov has a considerably higher ceiling than Nelson. Nelson's passive style of fighting combined with his limited striking skills mean he will struggle against better competition. Sure, Nelson can win a ground exchange with any 170-pounder in the world, but it's hard to see him winning any kickboxing match against a fighter with the striking skills of Tumenov. If Nelson can get this fight to the mat, all bets are off. But I like Tumenov to win by a considerable margin here.
THE PICK: Tumenov

Light Heavyweight

Nikita Krylov (19-4-0) v. Francimar Barroso (18-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Krylov ($10,100), Barroso ($9,300)
Vegas Odds:Krylov (-155), Barroso (+135)

Krylov looked overmatched at times early in his UFC career when he was fighting at heavyweight, but he has been far more effective since dropping down to 205 pounds. Krylov dropped his light heavyweight debut to recent title challenger Ovince Saint-Preux in March 2014, but he has since ran off three-straight first-round stoppage victories.  Krylov has used his quickness to succeed against smaller fighters, and his submission skills have played very well in the lower weight class. Krylov already has 12 career wins by submission and at age 24, he is young enough that the other aspects of his game could still potentially take significant strides forward. Barroso is 3-1 in the UFC, putting together four competent performances, but not exhibiting any skills that would lead even the casual UFC fan to believe that he is an elite fighter. A pro for more than a decade, the 36-year-old Barroso has spent his entire career fighting nobodies. It's extremely doubtful that there's any more to Barroso's game than we have already seen, but Krylov at least has some potential in an embarrassingly thin light heavyweight division. I think there's a better than even chance that Krylov finds himself ranked in the top-10 sometime within the next 12 months. This isn't a great fight, but at least Krylov is someone to keep a close eye on moving forward.
THE PICK: Krylov

Other Bouts


Women's Bantamweight

Germaine de Randamie (5-3-0) v. Anna Elmose (3-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries:de Randamie ($10,000), Elmose ($9,400)
Vegas Odds: de Randamie (-325), Elmose (+265)
THE PICK: de Randamie

Women's Strawweight

Karolina Kowalkiewicz (8-0-0) v. Heather Jo Clark (7-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Kowalkiewicz ($11,200), Clark ($8,200)
Vegas Odds: Kowalkiewicz (-250), Clark (+210)
THE PICK: Kowalkiewicz

Lightweight

Rustam Khabilov (18-3-0) v. Chris Wade (11-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Khabilov ($10,400), Wade ($9,000)
Vegas Odds: Khabilov (-200), Wade (+170)
THE PICK: Wade

Middleweight

Magnus Cedenblad (13-4-0) v. Garreth McLellan (13-3-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Cedenblad ($10,600), McLellan ($8,800)
Vegas Odds: Cedenblad (-285), McLellan (+225)
THE PICK: Cedenblad

Lightweight

Nick Hein (13-2-0, 1NC) v. Jon Tuck (9-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries:Hein ($10,800), Tuck ($8,600)
Vegas Odds: Hein (-220), Tuck (+180)
THE PICK: Hein

Lightweight

Yan Cabral (12-2-0) v. Reza Madadi (13-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Cabral ($10,200), Madadi ($9,200)
Vegas Odds: Cabral (-185), Madadi (+155)
THE PICK: Madadi

Flyweight

Kyoji Horiguchi (16-2-0) v. Neil Seery (16-11-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Horiguchi ($10,700), Seery ($8,700)
Vegas Odds: Horiguchi (-505), Seery (+365)
THE PICK: Horiguchi

Welterweight

Leon Edwards (10-3-0) v. Dominic Waters (9-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Edwards ($10,900), Waters ($8,300)
Vegas Odds: Edwards (-250), Waters (+190)
THE PICK: Edwards

Flyweight

Ulka Sasaki (18-3-2) v. Willie Gates (12-6-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Sasaki ($9,100), Gates ($9,600)
Vegas Odds: Sasaki (+135), Gates (-165)
THE PICK: Gates

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only MMA Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire MMA fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jon Litterine
Jon Litterine is RotoWire's lead MMA Writer and MMA Editor. He has covered numerous MMA events live. He's also RW's NHL Prospect Analyst. Jon has been writing for RotoWire since 2005. He is a graduate of U Mass-Lowell.
Fight IQ: UFC Phoenix
Fight IQ: UFC Phoenix
DraftKings MMA: UFC Phoenix
DraftKings MMA: UFC Phoenix
Fight Stat Wrap: UFC 234
Fight Stat Wrap: UFC 234
Fight IQ: UFC 234
Fight IQ: UFC 234
RotoWire Staff Picks: UFC 234
RotoWire Staff Picks: UFC 234
MMA DFS Podcast: UFC 234
MMA DFS Podcast: UFC 234