This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
The UFC heads north of the border to Calgary for a Saturday card on FOX, and there's $100,000 up for grabs in this week's $10 MMA Uppercut on DraftKings.
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.)
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
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 - LightweightEddie Alvarez (29-5-0, 1NC) v. Dustin Poirier (23-5-0, 1NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Alvarez ($7,400), Poirier ($8,800)
Vegas Odds: Alvarez (+140), Poirier (-160)
Odds to Finish: -350
Despite some serious posturing from both side, Alvarez and Poirier were able to work through their contractual differences and sign off on the rematch of a May 2017 bout. Their first go-around was determined to be a no-contest after Alvarez nailed a downed Poirier with a pair of illegal knees.
Since that first fight, both men have gone on to knock out Justin Gaethje. Poirier also has a TKO win over Anthony Pettis on his record in the meantime. It's difficult to break down a bout in which the two fighters employ exactly the same style. Both Alvarez and Poirier are hard-hitting strikers with little regard for their own well being. They aren't reckless in terms of their standup defense to the point of someone like Gaethje, but both are more than willing to take a shot in order to land two of their own. That should bode well for the significant strike totals of both men in a five-round fight.
Considering all the wars they have been in over the years, it's difficult to believe that these two men have been finished by strikes just four times - twice each - over the course of their respective careers. Alvarez and Poirier are both respectable grapplers, but I would be shocked if this is anything other than a brutal kickboxing match. I think that favors Poirier, but not by much. The truth of the matter is that the winner of this thing will be the man that can absorb his punishment the best, because they are both going to be hit... a lot. The odds of this one seeing the final bell appear to be slim. For those needing salary relief, Alvarez is a terrific DraftKings value play in what figures to be an all-out brawl.
THE PICK: Poirier
Co-Main Event - FeatherweightJose Aldo (26-4-0) v. Jeremy Stephens (28-14-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Aldo ($8,200), Stephens ($8,000)
Vegas Odds: Aldo (-130), Stephens (+100)
Odds to Finish: +125
There are a lot of elite fighters that have one opponent that they just can't figure out. For Aldo, that appears to be UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway. Facing the longer Holloway, Aldo appeared befuddled and confused in both of their bouts. Until proven otherwise, I'm going to assume that Holloway is nothing more than a bad matchup for Aldo and that he will rebound moving forward. Aldo will turn 32 years old in December, so there's no reason to believe his physical gifts have suddenly evaporated.
Stephens has won three fights in a row, most recently a knockout over Josh Emmett in a main event spot in February that earned him a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus. In fact, Stephens has earned a post-fight bonus in each of his last three contests. Stephens is a constant threat because he has as much power as any man in the division and can end any fight in an instant. Stephens isn't the most technical fighter in the world and he sometimes chases his opponents around, but he's next-level tough and the thunder in his hands is legitimate.
I think this is a good matchup for Aldo. The Holloway fights aside, Aldo excels at throwing a lot of kicks and picking his opponents apart on the feet. He's a technical, precise striker, and that's the type of fighter that can give Stephens problems. The fact this is a three-round fight should also favor Aldo as he can empty the gas tank early. Stephens is always a decent play as a DraftKings underdog given his power, but I think Aldo takes a decision.
THE PICK: Aldo
Women's StrawweightJoanna Jedrzejczyk (14-2-0) v. Tecia Torres (10-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Jedrzejczyk ($9,200), Torres ($7,000)
Vegas Odds: Jedrzejczyk (-300), Torres (+240)
Odds to Finish: +240
Much like Aldo's issues with Holloway, we are going to find out in this fight if Joanna's issues with Rose Namajunas were nothing more than a bad matchup for the former UFC Women's Strawweight Champion, or a sign of future issues. Joanna's performance in the second Namajunas fight in April was particularly concerning. In what was a 25-minute kickboxing match, Jedrzejczyk was beaten to the punch early and often. She looked slow and hesitant. For the life of me I can't figure out why a 30-year-old, world-class fighter would have suddenly gone down the tubes, and thus I'm willing to give Joanna the benefit of the doubt. If she struggles in this one, it's a different story.
Torres is coming off a loss to Jessica Andrade in February. Torres allowed Andrade to land 10 successful takedowns and spent north of seven minutes on her back. Tecia is most comfortable in a striking battle and since that's what Joanna prefers as well, expect both women to be content with this fight staying on the feet.
Tecia, who is one of the smallest fighters on the entire roster, is giving up five inches in both height and reach to Joanna, and that could be a massive factor in a bout that projects as a kickboxing match. If Torres is unable to get inside with regularity, she isn't going to win. I'm not in a full-blown panic yet regarding Joanna, but I'm certainly worried. A poor performance against someone other than Namajunas would put me over the edge. I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt one more time. This is a fight that appears to be tailor-made for the former champ. If you think Joanna's issues are the beginning of an ongoing problem, it makes sense to roster Torres.
THE PICK: Jedrzejczyk
LightweightAlexander Hernandez (9-1-0) v. Olivier Aubin-Mercier (12-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Hernandez ($7,900), Aubin-Mercier ($8,300)
Vegas Odds: Hernandez (+110), Aubin-Mercier (-135)
Odds to Finish: +105
Making his UFC debut in March on three weeks' notice, Hernandez stepped in and dusted the underrated Beneil Dariush with one punch in just 42 seconds. Unknown no longer and now $50,000 richer due to the Performance of the Night bonus he earned for the Dariush fight, the 25-year-old returns on Saturday to face another tough customer in Aubin-Mercier. Hernandez's power is legit. He has five career first-round finishes and he moves well. It was just one fight, but he appears to have a bright future.
OAM is also coming off the most impressive performance of his UFC career – a 53-second KO of the uber-tough Evan Dunham in April. Known as one of the better submission specialists in the division (eight career wins), it was somehow the first knockout win of Aubin-Mercier's seven-year pro run. As is the case with most TriStar products, OAM tends to fight at a deliberate pace. He lets his opponents lead the dance and then capitalizes on their mistakes.
His limited experience aside, I imagine Hernandez is well aware that getting into a grappling match with OAM is a potential recipe for disaster. This is a difficult fight to pick given that we have seen the youngster for less than a minute. I would wager Hernandez has the athleticism advantage, but Aubin-Mercier is extremely strong and he's going to try to drag his opponent to the mat. In what is a pick 'em for me, I'm taking OAM due to his experience edge and the slight boost he might get from fighting in his home country. This one could go either way.
THE PICK: Aubin-Mercier
WelterweightJordan Mein (30-12-0) v. Alex Morono (14-4-0, 1NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Mein ($8,100), Morono ($8,100)
Vegas Odds: Mein (-105), Morono (-125)
Odds to Finish: +140
THE PICK: Morono
FeatherweightHakeem Dawodu (7-0-1) v. Austin Arnett (15-5-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Dawodu ($9,400), Arnett ($6,800)
Vegas Odds: Dawodu (-350), Arnett (+260)
Odds to Finish: -185
THE PICK: Dawodu
LightweightKajan Johnson (22-12-1) v. Islam Makachev (15-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Johnson ($6,600), Makhachev ($9,600)
Vegas Odds: Johnson (+480), Makhachev (-730)
Odds to Finish: +135
THE PICK: Makhachev
Light HeavyweightGadzhimurad Antigulov (20-4-0) v. Ion Cutelaba (13-3-0, 1NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Antigulov ($8,600), Cutelaba ($7,600)
Vegas Odds: Antigulov (-155), Cutelaba (+125)
Odds to Finish: -315
THE PICK: Antigulov
LightweightJohn Makdessi (15-6-0) v. Ross Pearson (22-14-0, 1NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Makdessi ($8,900), Pearson ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: Makdessi (-170), Pearson (+140)
Odds to Finish: +180
THE PICK: Makdessi
Women's FlyweightAlexis Davis (19-7-0) v. Katlyn Chookagian (10-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Davis ($7,500), Chookagian ($8,700)
Vegas Odds: Davis (+130), Chookagian (-160)
Odds to Finish: +250
THE PICK: Davis
FlyweightDustin Ortiz (18-7-0) v. Matheus Nicolau (13-2-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Ortiz ($7,200), Nicolau ($9,000)
Vegas Odds: Ortiz (+210), Nicolau (-270)
Odds to Finish: +200
THE PICK: Nicolau
Women's StrawweightRanda Markos (8-6-0) v. Nina Ansaroff (8-5-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Markos ($7,700), Ansaroff ($8,500)
Vegas Odds: Markos (+130), Ansaroff (-160)
Odds to Finish: +255
THE PICK: Markos
LightweightDevin Powell (8-3-0) v. Alvaro Herrera (9-5-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Powell ($8,400), Herrera ($7,800)
Vegas Odds: Powell (-135), Herrera (+105)
Odds to Finish: -180
THE PICK: Herrera