DraftKings MMA: UFC Rotterdam Preview
DraftKings MMA: UFC Rotterdam Preview

This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.

A pair of towering heavyweights get the headline spot in the Netherlands on Saturday. On a card that doesn't have a ton of star power, setting multiple lineups to potentially capitalize on the performance of lesser-known names will be an important strategy for the afternoon event.

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:

(Please note that DraftKings has altered their scoring system. The new point values are listed below and the rosters will now expand from 5 to 6 fighters).

Moves Scoring
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
Advance (ADVC): +3 PT
Takedown (TD): +5 PTS
Reversal/Sweep (REV): +5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +10 PTS

Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win (1rW+): +90 PTS
2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rW+): +45 PTS
4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 PTS
5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 PTS
Decision Win (WBD+): +30 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

Stefan Struve (32-8-0) v. Alexander Volkov (28-6-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Struve ($7,800), Volkov ($8,400)
Vegas Odds: Struve (+110), Volkov (-130)
Odds to Finish: -285

There is room for immediate advancement in the UFC's heavyweight division, and the winner of this fight will be in good shape moving forward. The loser, not so much.

Part of it has been due to injuries and illness, but Struve's career has been a disappointment. Sure, he has a win over current UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic and 12 career victories under the UFC banner, but Struve has struggled to win big fights throughout the course of his career. Despite standing seven feet tall and having a black belt in kickboxing, Struve has little idea how to use his length to his advantage. He is at his best when he stands way away from his opponents and fires plenty of kicks. Unfortunately he doesn't seem to understand how to fight that way on a regular basis.

Volkov, the former Bellator Heavyweight champion, is 2-0 since entering the UFC last November. He has taken a pair of decisions from Roy Nelson and Tim Johnson. In Volkov's 28 career wins, 18 have come via KO. He stands 6-foot-7, so this will be the rare fight where he is giving up both height and reach to his opponent. The challenge for Volkov here will be getting inside against Struve to connect with regularity. Volkov has more power than Struve, and he does a better job of using his length to his advantage.

There isn't much separating the two fighters, especially when you take into account that they tend to fight in a similar style. Struve is the one fighting in his native Netherlands, but I don't think that is enough to get him over the hump here. Heavyweight fights rarely go the distance, but I think this one easily might. My pick of Volkov is nothing more than a severe lack of confidence in Struve to win a big fight.

THE PICK: Volkov


Leon Edwards (13-3-0) v. Bryan Barberena (13-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Edwards ($9,000), Barberena ($7,200)
Vegas Odds: Edwards (-280), Barberena (+240)
Odds to Finish: +165

A winner in three of his last four fights including upsets of Sage Northcutt and Warlley Alves, Barberena gets a fairly quick turnaround here after a first-round KO win over Joe Proctor in late April. "Bam Bam" is an aggressive fighter that has earned stoppages in 11 of his 13 career wins. He lands at a very high clip (5.31 significant strikes per minute) and is willing to absorb punishment in order dish it out.

Edwards is also on a nice run, having won five of six. His only setback in that stretch came against the red-hot Kamaru Usman. Edwards tends to fight more methodically than Barberena. He is comfortable in a slow-paced bout where not a whole lot is happening. "Rocky" has a solid all-around game and he relies on his grappling more than Barberena does.

This is an underrated fight. The man who is able to control the pace figures to be the winner. An up-tempo brawl is going to favor Barberena. A chess match should be to Edwards' advantage. I'm shocked Barberena's salary is so low. Barberena is a live underdog and the better value play of the two from a DraftKings perspective, but I like Edwards to get the job done.

THE PICK: Edwards


Rustam Khabilov (21-3-0) v. Desmond Green (20-5-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Khabilov ($9,100), Green ($7,100)
Vegas Odds: Khabilov (-330), Green (+270)
Odds to Finish: +250

This is a curious bit of matchmaking from UFC head honcho Sean Shelby. Khabilov has won four fights in a row and he hasn't lost in more than two and a half years. A powerful wrestler that has averaged well over four takedowns per fight during his time with the company, the only complaint surrounding Khabilov has been his inability to rack up finishes. He seemingly always sees the final bell and it isn't always enjoyable to watch. Khabilov is a talented, underrated fighter that deserves a bit more recognition than he's getting. For that reason alone, this fight against Green is an odd matchup.

Green, a longtime Bellator competitor, made his UFC debut in April and was able to eek out a split decision over Josh Emmett. He is a former high school state wrestling champion who went on to wrestle at the University of Buffalo. Much like Khabilov, Green is a fighter that has problems finishing fights. Of his 20 victories, 14 have come via decision. Green's background in wrestling should theoretically give him a chance in this fight, but he hasn't faced anyone in his entire MMA career that is in the same talent bracket as Khabilov.

Both fighters have ugly striking stats (throw little, get hit little) because they spend most of their time grappling on the mat. Khabilov gets the edge because he has a longer track record of performance against better competition, but I'm not convinced either man is a strong daily fantasy play. The wrestling skills of both could very easily cancel each other out.

THE PICK: Khabilov

Other Bouts


Siyar Bahadurzada (22-6-1) v. Rob Wilkinson (11-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Bahadurzada ($8,300), Wilkinson ($7,900)
Vegas Odds: Bahadurzada (-145), Wilkinson (+125)
Odds to Finish: -280
THE PICK: Wilkinson

Women's Bantamweight

Marion Reneau (7-3-1) v. Talita Bernardo (5-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Reneau ($9,100), Bernardo ($7,100)
Vegas Odds: Reneau (-380), Bernado (+260)
Odds to Finish: -125
THE PICK: Reneau


Darren Till (14-0-1) v. Bojan Velickovic (15-4-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Till ($8,900), Velickovic ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: Till (-205), Velickovic (+165)
Odds to Finish: +110


Mairbek Taisumov (25-5-0) v. Felipe Silva (8-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Taisumov ($9,200), Silva ($7,000)
Vegas Odds: Taisumov (-270), Silva (+210)
Odds to Finish: -165
THE PICK: Taisumov


Michel Prazeres (22-2-0) v. Mads Burnell (8-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Prazeres ($9,400), Burnell ($6,800)
Vegas Odds: Prazeres (-390), Burnell (+290)
Odds to Finish: +110
THE PICK: Prazeres

Light Heavyweight

Francimar Barroso (19-5-0, 1NC) v. Aleksandar Rakic (8-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Barroso ($7,700), Rakic ($8,500)
Vegas Odds: Barroso (+105), Rakic (-135)
Odds to Finish: -210


Mike Santiago (21-9-0) v. Zabit Magomedsharipov (12-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Santiago ($6,900), Magomedsharipov ($9,300)
Vegas Odds: Santiago (+330), Magomedsharipov (-410)
Odds to Finish: TBD
THE PICK: Magomedsharipov

Light Heavyweight

Bojan Mihaljovic (10-5-0) v. Abdul-Kerim Edilov (16-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Milhaljovic ($6,700), Edilov ($9,500)
Vegas Odds: Mihaljovic (+450), Edilov (-650)
Odds to Finish: -750
THE PICK: Edilov


Thibault Gouti (11-3-0) v. Andrew Holbrook (12-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Gouti ($7,400), Holbrook ($8,800)
Vegas Odds: Gouti (+140), Holbrook (-170)
Odds to Finish: -165
THE PICK: Holbrook

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.
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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.
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