DraftKings MMA: UFC Sydney Preview
DraftKings MMA: UFC Sydney Preview

This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.

Despite some main event shuffling, the UFC will move forward with a match between two heavyweight contenders Saturday in 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 six fighters, and the scoring is distributed as follows:

(Please note that DraftKings altered their scoring system in December 2016 to add a new fighter to the lineup and adjust scoring. The most recent point values are listed below.)

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

Fabricio Werdum (21-7-1) v. Marcin Tybura (16-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Werdum ($9,300), Tybura ($6,900)
Vegas Odds: Werdum (-335), Tybura (+275)
Odds to Finish: -180

Originally scheduled to be Tybura v. Mark Hunt, the UFC decided to pull Hunt in October after deeming him unfit to fight. Hunt admitted via the Australian version of "The Player's Tribune" that he continues to suffer long-term symptoms of head trauma, leaving the UFC with no choice but to keep him on the shelf until he gets further medical evaluation. Luckily for fight fans, Werdum was willing to step in and scrap for the second time in just over five weeks.

Werdum was scheduled to go up against Derrick Lewis at UFC 216, but Lewis was forced out on the day of the fight with a back injury. Walt Harris stepped in and Werdum proceeded to tap him out in 65 seconds. It was risky to accept the Harris fight since Werdum had nothing to gain from taking it, and he's honestly is in a similar spot here. The former UFC Heavyweight Champion obviously wants to remain active and is supremely confident he can earn another victory against Tybura. He's probably right, but it is still a risky move.

Tybura has won three in a row since dropping his UFC debut. He has a well-rounded game and moves well for a man his size. Although he has six career victories by submission, Tybura needs to do everything he can to keep this fight on the feet. He's going up against perhaps the best submission specialist in UFC heavyweight history, and I would certainly hope Tybura realizes that getting into a grappling contest with Werdrum is a recipe for disaster. Much like Harris before him, Tybura has to be thrilled with the opportunity that has suddenly materialized in front of his eyes.

There is a reason that Harris was a massive underdog and Tybura is a massive underdog: Werdum is good. He may just be another win or two away from a potential title shot. I like Tybura and he has been an extremely consistent DraftKings performer of his last three fights – averaging 85.3 fantasy points per bout – but he has never gone up against anyone remotely close to the caliber of the former champion.

THE PICK: Werdum

Co-Main Event - Women's Flyweight

Bec Rawlings (7-6-0) v. Jessica-Rose Clark (7-4-0, 1NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Rawlings ($8,600), Clark ($7,600)
Vegas Odds: Rawlings (-145), Clark (+120)
Odds to Finish: +175

Originally scheduled to be Rawlings v. Joanna Calderwood, Clark accepted the fight as a late-notice injury replacement just a couple of weeks ago. She will be making her UFC debut.

Rawlings, who missed weight her last time out, enters on a two-fight losing streak, although she has faced tough opposition in Tecia Torres and Paige VanZant. Bec has traditionally performed well against weaker opponents and struggled mightily against quality competition. She has a distinct lack of power in her hands and it's unlikely that the extra ten pounds on her frame will make any difference in that regard. Bec is quirky and marketable, but she just doesn't have the skill set to turn into an impact fighter in any weight class.

Clark has been bouncing between organizations over the past few years including a pair of fights in Invicta. My admittedly brief viewings of her have never led me to believe that she had much potential. Honestly, Clark likely got this fight because the UFC needed a native Australian for logistical reasons in order to keep Rawlings on the card.

I was going to pick Calderwood over Bec, but she gets the nod against Clark. My advice would be to avoid this fight from a fantasy perspective. Neither woman is very technical and that opens up a wide range of possibilities in terms of outcome. A bet on Clark would be a high-risk wager on the unknown.

THE PICK: Rawlings

Welterweight

Tim Means (27-8-1, 1NC) v. Belal Muhammad (12-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Means ($9,100), Muhammad ($7,100)
Vegas Odds: Means (-230), Muhammad (+180)
Odds to Finish: -110

Means will be replacing TUF: Redemption winner Jesse Taylor, who was flagged by the USADA for a potential doping violation. The Dirty Bird has been on a roll of late, having won seven of his last 10 fights (1NC). Means is a pure striker and does a terrific job of using his 6-foot-2 height to his advantage. He is three inches taller than Muhammad and will enter with a three-inch reach advantage. Although Means excels in brawls, he does a nice job of defending himself on the feet, having absorbed just 2.7 significant strikes per minute over the course of his long UFC career. That kind of number will win you a lot of fights.

Muhammad has been up and down over the course of his UFC career, but he enters this fight on the heels of back-to-back wins over a pair of tough customers in Randy Brown and Jordan Mein. Muhammad has proven to be a competent wrestler and it would be smart for him to attempt to implement those skills in this fight. Means is a threat on the ground because of his long limbs, but Muhammad would probably take his chances in a grinding mat battle. Muhammad has finished just one of his three UFC wins and thus his value as an underdog DraftKings play is limited.

Means' career has turned out far better than I would have guessed a few years ago. He is by no means a title threat at 170 pounds, but he has had a nice run over the past three-plus years. Muhammad's ultimate ceiling would appear to be where Means is right now. That makes this an easy pick for me.

THE PICK: Means

Middleweight

Elias Theodorou (14-2-0) v. Daniel Kelly (13-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Theodorou ($9,000), Kelly ($7,200)
Vegas Odds: Theodorou (-255), Kelly (+210)
Odds to Finish: +225

There is zero doubt who the crowd will be behind, as Kelly gets set to fight in his native Australia for the sixth time under the UFC banner. On the heels of a four-fight winning streak, Kelly was smashed in 76 seconds by Derek Brunson in June. A high-level, explosive athlete, I feared that Brunson would be the exact type of opponent that would give Kelly a ton of trouble, and that was exactly the case. He should fare better against Theodorou. Kelly was a four-time member of the Australian Olympic judo team and he is a better athlete then he gets credit for, but he turned 40 years of age on Halloween and his movements have understandably slowed.

After beginning his professional career with 12 straight wins, Theodorou is just 2-2 in his last four fights dating back to December 2015. He is gritty and generally displays strong cardio, but I see little reason to be excited moving forward. Theodorou doesn't land with regularity on the feet (38.6 percent) and although he has averaged more than two takedowns per fight, he struggles to get his opponents to the mat (30.9 percent takedown accuracy) on a consistent basis.
Theodorou has earned a decent reputation in the UFC's 185-pound division, but I don't see what the fascination surrounding him is. Sure, he is a competent fighter and represents solid roster depth, but I don't see him defeating any top-10 fighters anytime soon.

Picking this fight is entirely dependent on if you think Kelly has anything left in the tank. Was his loss to Brunson just the case of a tough matchup or is it a sign of things to come? My first instinct is the later, but this is a card in which there are very few underdogs that I like and you have to make a stand somewhere, so I'm taking Kelly for the upset.

THE PICK: Kelly

Other Bouts

Welterweight

Jake Matthews (11-3-0) v. Bojan Velickovic (15-5-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Matthews ($8,500), Velickovic ($7,700)
Vegas Odds: Matthews (-145), Velickovic (+115)
Odds to Finish: +155
THE PICK: Matthews

Featherweight

Alexander Volkanovski (15-1-0) v. Shane Young (11-3-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Volkanovski ($9,500), Young ($6,700)
Vegas Odds: Volkanovski (-650), Young (+475)
Odds to Finish: -195
THE PICK: Volkanovski

Flyweight

Ryan Benoit (9-5-0) v. Ashkan Mokhtarian (13-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Benoit ($8,900), Mokhtarian ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: Benoit (-275), Mokhtarian (+215)
Odds to Finish: -120
THE PICK: Benoit

Lightweight

Nik Lentz (29-8-2, 1NC) v. Will Brooks (18-3-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Lentz ($6,800), Brooks ($9,400)
Vegas Odds: Lentz (+380), Brooks (-525)
Odds to Finish: +175
THE PICK: Brooks

Heavyweight

Anthony Hamilton (15-8-0) v. Adam Wieczorek (8-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Hamilton ($7,500), Wieczorek ($8,700)
Vegas Odds: Hamilton (+135), Wieczorek (-165)
Odds to Finish: -485
THE PICK: Wieczorek

Lightweight

Damien Brown (17-10-0) v. Frank Camacho (20-5-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Brown ($7,800), Camacho ($8,400)
Vegas Odds: Brown (+115), Camacho (-135)
Odds to Finish: -195
THE PICK: Brown

Women's Strawweight

Alex Chambers (5-2-0) v. Nadia Kassem (4-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Chambers ($7,900), Kassem ($8,300)
Vegas Odds: Chambers (+135), Kassem (-165)
Odds to Finish: -165
THE PICK: Kaseem

Flyweight

Jenel Lausa (7-3-0) v. Eric Shelton (10-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Lausa ($7,000), Shelton ($9,200)
Vegas Odds: Lausa (+290), Shelton (-365)
Odds to Finish: +145
THE PICK: Shelton

Heavyweight

Rashad Coulter (8-2-0) v. Tai Tuivasa (5-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Coulter ($7,400), Tuivasa ($8,800)
Vegas Odds: Coulter (+140), Tuivasa (-170)
Odds to Finish: -515
THE PICK: Tuivasa

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. Jon Litterine plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: JLitterine.
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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.
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