DraftKings MMA: UFC London Preview

DraftKings MMA: UFC London Preview

This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.

Mix in some fights with your hoops this weekend by checking out the following DraftKings breakdown for UFC London.

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 (23-7-1) v. Alexander Volkov (29-6-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Werdum ($8,600), Volkov ($7,600)
Vegas Odds: Werdum (-205), Volkov (+175)
Odds to Finish: -195

The UFC's decision to (correctly) book a fight between Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic and Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier leaves Werdum in immediate limbo. He is forced to accept fights (like this one) in which he has nothing to gain and the world to lose. The Brazilian is 9-2 in his last 11 fights dating back to February 2012, but he will need at least one more win to remain in the title picture. Now 40 years of age, Werdum has shown no signs of slowing down. He keeps himself in terrific shape and I see no reason he won't remain one of the best heavyweights in the world for at least a few more years.

Volkov has run off three straight victories since joining the company in November 2016. The former Bellator Heavyweight Champion is a solid fighter, albeit not one on the level of Werdum. The Russian stands 6-foot-7 and is at his best when he stands far away from his opponent and throws plenty of strikes from distance. Volkov fights the way than Stefan Struve should be fighting. Volkov is also competent on the ground, although he will want to avoid that area against Werdum. This is a real opportunity for a talented fighter.

The body of work of the two men makes this an easy pick, although I do acknowledge that Volkov is a considerably better fighter than either of the last two men (Marcin Tybura, Walt Harris) Werdum has faced. My guess is that this goes the distance and while Volkov will probably keep it relatively close, Werdum should win without too much issue.

THE PICK: Werdum

Co-Main Event - Light Heavyweight

Jimi Manuwa (17-3-0) v. Jan Blachowicz (21-7-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Manuwa ($9,000), Blachowicz ($7,200)
Vegas Odds: Manuwa (-200), Blachowicz (+170)
Odds to Finish: -135

On the verge of earning the first title shot of his career, Manuwa was promptly knocked out by Volkan Oezdemir in 42 seconds last July. He has been on the sidelines ever since and his path to redemption begins with Blachowicz on Saturday in a fight that he should win. The knock on Manuwa, and it's a valid one, is that he is a one-dimensional power puncher. He has the ability to finish any man in the world with strikes but he struggles if he isn't landing with regularity. His fights rarely last for any significant length of time and any opponent that can force him to defend as opposed to attacking stands a decent chance of defeating the 38-year-old. He's a solid fighter in a division that doesn't have many of them, but he isn't a star.

Blachowicz is an underwhelming 4-4 since making his UFC debut in October 2014. He goes long stretches in virtually every one of his fights where he gets nothing done, and he has trouble putting his opponents away. In any other division, Blachowicz would be closer to losing his job than fighting a top-five opponent. He should have a slight edge in terms of quickness, but since he is giving up so much power to Manuwa, I doubt it does him any good.

Not only does Blachowicz have to go into enemy territory and avoid Manuwa's combinations, he also has to generate enough offense to likely earn a judge's decision. It's not impossible, but as both the Vegas odds and DraftKings salaries indicate, it is unlikely to happen. There weren't many better options in the light heavyweight division at the moment, but this is an underwhelming fight.

THE PICK: Manuwa


Leon Edwards (14-3-0) v. Peter Sobotta (17-5-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Edwards ($8,800), Sobotta ($7,400)
Vegas Odds: Edwards (-210), Sobotta (+175)
Odds to Finish: Not Listed

Edwards is currently riding a four-fight winning streak and is 6-1 in his last seven overall, with his only loss in that span came against the dominant Kamaru Usman. He is just a solid all-around fighter with no discernible weaknesses. He survives on mixing up his attacks and throwing different looks at the opposition. I would like to see him finish more fights, but it's hard to argue with the recent success.

The 31-year-old Sobotta on the other hand, clearly leans on his ground game. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Dean Lister, 10 of Sobotta's 17 career wins have come via submission. He has proven to be a solid enough striker and grappler that he can keep his opponents off balance as he looks for a chance to take the fight to the mat. He is another fighter with a limited ceilings whose UFC run has already gone far better than I ever expected. The same could be said of Edwards.

If this fight takes place on the feet it clearly favors Edwards. If the two men end up on the mat, Sobotta has a clear advantage. In a battle in which neither man lands a whole heck of a lot, we could be in for a snoozer. Fighting in his adopted home country of England may just be enough to put Edwards over the top. I expect a close fight. Sobotta makes sense as a DraftKings value play despite the fact I'm not picking him to win.

THE PICK: Edwards


Stevie Ray (21-7-0) v. Kajan Johnson (22-12-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Ray ($8,400), Johnson ($7,800)
Vegas Odds: Not Listed
Odds to Finish: Not Listed

Trying to bounce back from a first-round KO loss at the hands of Paul Felder last July, Ray accepted this fight on short notice after Rustam Khabilov was forced to withdraw. Now seven fights (5-2) into his UFC career, the only thing holding Ray back from a run at the top ten of the division is consistency issues. He moves well and is a competent all-around fighter.

Johnson spent nearly two years on the sidelines before returning to knock out Adriano Martins last September. He has officially won three fights in a row, although we are closing in on three years since that streak began. Johnson is the bigger of the two men and he will have to use that to his advantage. He is the better wrestler, although Ray does have eight career wins by submission and Kajan needs to be aware of that if the fight ends up on the mat.

I think Ray is the slightly better fighter and he is going to have the crowd on his side, but it's anyone's guess how he will respond to the bad loss to Felder. As impressive as Johnson's knockout of Martins was, I'm not entirely convinced it wasn't a fluke. Beating a solid, durable opponent such as Ray would go a long way for Johnson in the long run. I'll believe he's capable of it when I see it.


Other Bouts


Tom Duquesnoy (15-2-0, 1NC) v. Terrion Ware (17-6-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Duquesnoy ($9,300), Ware ($6,900)
Vegas Odds: Duquesnoy (-280), Ware (+240)
Odds to Finish: Not Listed
THE PICK: Duquesnoy


John Phillips (21-6-0, 1NC) v. Charles Byrd (9-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Phillips ($8,900), Byrd ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: Phillips (-125), Byrd (-115)
Odds to Finish: Not Listed
THE PICK: Phillips


Danny Roberts (14-3-0) v. Oliver Enkamp (7-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Roberts ($8,500), Enkamp ($7,700)
Vegas Odds: Roberts (-195), Enkamp (+155)
Odds to Finish: Not Listed
THE PICK: Enkamp


Jack Marshman (22-7-0) v. Bradley Scott (12-5-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Marshman ($9,100), Scott ($7,100)
Vegas Odds: Marshman (-285), Scott (+205)
Odds to Finish: Not Listed
THE PICK: Marshman


Danny Henry (11-2-0) v. Hakeem Dawodu (7-0-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Henry ($6,800), Dawodu ($9,400)
Vegas Odds: Henry (+240), Dawodu (-320)
Odds to Finish: Not Listed
THE PICK: Dawodu

Light Heavyweight

Paul Craig (9-2-0) v. Magomed Ankalaev (9-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Craig ($7,000), Ankalaev ($9,200)
Vegas Odds: Not Listed
Odds to Finish: Not Listed
THE PICK: Ankalaev


Mark Godbeer (13-3-0) v. Dmitry Sosnovskiy (10-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Godbeer ($7,500), Sosnovskiy ($8,700)
Vegas Odds: Not Listed
Odds to Finish: Not Listed
THE PICK: Sosnovskiy


Nasrat Haqparast (8-2-0) v. Nad Narimani (10-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Haqparast ($8,300), Narimani ($7,900)
Vegas Odds: Not Listed
Odds to Finish: Not Listed
THE PICK: Narimani

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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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