This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
In an action-packed weekend for the UFC, the promotion heads to Adelaide, where two of Australia's own will be featured on the main card.
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 - HeavyweightJunior Dos Santos (19-5-0) v. Tai Tuivasa (10-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Dos Santos ($8,300), Tuivasa ($7,900)
Vegas Odds: Dos Santos (-155), Tuivasa (+135)
Odds to Finish: -300
Credit the UFC for some quality, smart matchmaking here. Dos Santos has been up and down over the past several years, but he looked strong in a hard fought unanimous decision win over the debuting Blagoy Ivanov in July. Overall, "Cigano" has now alternated wins and losses in his last nine fights dating back to May 2012. JDS's movements have slowed at age 34 and he's getting hit more than ever, but he still retains his trademark power, and he did a nice job in the Ivanov fight of putting together combinations. He took his time and patiently piled up points with the judges, but most importantly, his chin held up. I think there's easily a half-dozen guys ahead of Dos Santos in the heavyweight pecking order these days, but I acknowledge there's room for immediate advancement if he can figure out a way to get by Tuivasa.
Competing in a division that is in massive need of a influx of young, talented prospects, Tuivasa is arguably the brightest hope for the future. The 25-year-old remains undefeated as a professional, with three of his 10 wins coming in the UFC. Tuivasa had knocked out every single opponent put in front of him before taking a unanimous decision from Andrei Arlovski in his most recent fight in June. Tuivasa wasn't sharp against the washed-up Arlovski, but it was still a fight he won easily.
In what figures to be a standup affair, Tuivasa is the younger man, and he's also the fighter that displays the better footwork. The question here is how his chin will hold up under an attempted onslaught from JDS. We have never seen Tuivasa in any sort of trouble, so we don't know how he will handle those type of situations. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise, but Tuivasa has to remain on his toes. If he just stand there and let's JDS unload, he's going to lose.
THE PICK: Tuivasa
Co-Main Event - HeavyweightMark Hunt (13-13-1, 1NC) v. Justin Willis (7-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Hunt ($8,000), Willis ($8,200)
Vegas Odds: Hunt (+100), Willis (-120)
Odds to Finish: -215
Sporting a 1-3 record (1NC) dating back to July 2016, this will almost certainly be Hunt's swan song with the company. It's the last fight of his contract, at least. He has always drawn well in New Zealand and Australia, and it was nice gesture by the UFC to give him one more opportunity. One of the toughest men walking planet earth today, Hunt's iron chin is beginning to betray him, and that's totally understandable given how much damage he has absorbed over the years. The fact Hunt retains power in his hands is negated by the fact he displays no footwork and provides a stationary target for his opposition.
Riding a seven-fight winning streak and undefeated in the UFC (2-0), Willis will be walking into a hostile environment on Sunday. "Big Pretty" (great nickname) played collegiate football at San Jose State, and is a better athlete than his physique would lead you to believe. He has some pop in his hands and trains in San Jose, California with American Kickboxing Academy. It doesn't take much to put a beating on Hunt these days, and Willis should be in decent shape if he is smart enough to not get dragged into an all-out brawl.
Hunt seems to know that his time is up and he deserves credit for that. Sure, he could have hung up his gloves a while ago (he'll be 45 years old next March), but the UFC kept offering him headliners and that's hard to turn down. Any Hunt victory will almost certainly come via knockout. Assuming this is the end, I'm almost certain he will empty the gas tank to try to put on a show in front of family and friends. My guess is that it ends up not being quite enough, but he certainly has a chance.
THE PICK: Willis
Light HeavyweightTyson Pedro (7-1-0) v. Mauricio Rua (25-11-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Pedro ($9,400), Rua ($6,800)
Vegas Odds: Pedro (-460), Rua (+365)
Odds to Finish: -365
The wasteland that is the UFC's light heavyweight division continues to spin its wheels. Sure, the upcoming return of pound-for-pound king Jon Jones and a healthy Alexander Gustafsson will provide high-end talent to the division, but depth remains a real issue. With a chance to make a surge up the rankings, Pedro and Shogun both suffered first-round stoppage loses in their last bouts.
Pedro was submitted by Ovince Saint Preux in June. The 27-year-old Aussie was able to turn a 2-1 start to his UFC career into a new six-fight contract with the company in August. It's a deal that makes little sense on the surface, but Pedro is young, marketable, and has theoretical long-term upside. Now he just has to deliver on the promise. Pedro has a long, lean frame and is an excellent mat wrestler. If he can get a fading Rua to the mat, Pedro will be in good shape.
Shogun's three-fight win streak ended when he was blitzed by a surging Anthony Smith in 89 seconds in July. One of the game's preeminent power punchers in his prime, Rua's skill set is not one that ages well. Having turned 37 years old last week, Shogun is clearly nearing the end of the line. Matching him up against young, mobile fighters is a recipe for disaster. Like Hunt, Rua is most comfortable standing and trading. Any opponent that forces him out of his comfort zone will likely emerge victorious.
Pedro has youth, athleticism, and the hometown crowd on his side. I don't see him making much of a long-term impact, but it doesn't take a whole heck of a lot to upend Shogun these days. Rua's durability has been trending the wrong way for several years, but Pedro isn't known for his knockout power. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Shogun sees the final bell. I still don't expect him to win.
THE PICK: Pedro
FlyweightWilson Reis (22-9-0) v. Ben Nguyen (17-7-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Reis ($7,700), Nguyen ($8,500)
Vegas Odds: Reis (+120), Nguyen (-140)
Odds to Finish: +120
While no one will be talking about it, this is a nice little fight. It's made all the more interesting by the fact that Reis could hypothetically be fighting for his job on the heels of a three-fight losing streak.
After losing just twice in a span of nearly five years, Reis lost three times in a span of 364 days. Reis dropped a unanimous decision to former UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson in April 2017 before being knocked out by current UFC Flyweight Champion Henry Cejudo five months later. He followed that up with a decision loss to John Moraga this past April. Reis is 33 years old, in terrific shape, and as physically strong as any fighter in the division, so I see no logical reason that it would all suddenly fall apart for him. The UFC's 125-pound division is far from deep but no fighter can afford four losses in a row.
Sporting a 2-2 record in his last four bouts, Nguyen's biggest issue has been a lack of consistency. He will look like a world beater here and there before following up a strong performance with another dud. Nguyen is young enough (30) that it's reasonable to expect significant improvement in his all-around game moving forward, but the South Dakota native trains with a small camp in Australia, and he might be better served getting some new training partners.
Nguyen will have the crowd behind him and will also have the advantage of not having to travel halfway around the world to get to the arena. Once you get past those two perks, I think Reis is in full control. He has the upper-body strength to power Nguyen to the mat and the submission skills to put away any fighter on the roster. Nguyen has a hefty edge in the striking department, so it's imperative for Reis to stick with the takedown even if he fails on his early attempts.
THE PICK: Reis
WelterweightJake Matthews (14-3-0) v. Tony Martin (14-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Matthews ($8,400), Martin ($7,800)
Vegas Odds: Matthews (-130), Martin (+110)
Odds to Finish: +150
THE PICK: Matthews
Light HeavyweightJim Crute (8-0-0) v. Paul Craig (10-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Crute ($8,700), Craig ($7,500)
Vegas Odds: Crute (-235), Craig (+195)
Odds to Finish: -275
THE PICK: Crute
BantamweightSuman Mokhtarian (8-0-0) v. Sodiq Yusuff (7-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Mokhtarian ($6,900), Yusuff ($9,300)
Vegas Odds: Mokhtarian (+425), Yusuff (-550))
Odds to Finish: -280
THE PICK: Yusuff
WelterweightYushin Okami (35-11-0) v. Aleksei Kunchenko (19-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Okami ($7,000), Kunchenko ($9,200)
Vegas Odds: Okami (+280), Kunchenko (-340)
Odds to Finish: +120
THE PICK: Kunchenko
LightweightMizuto Hirota (18-9-2) v. Christos Giagos (15-7-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Hirota ($7,200), Giagos ($9,000)
Vegas Odds: Hirota (+285), Giagos (-345)
Odds to Finish: +225
THE PICK: Giagos
WelterweightKeita Nakamura (33-9-2, 1NC) v. Salim Touahri (10-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Nakamura ($8,800), Touahri ($7,400)
Vegas Odds: Nakamura (-190), Touahri (+160)
Odds to Finish: -285
THE PICK: Touahri
FlyweightElias Garcia (6-1-0) v. Kai Kara-France (17-7-0, 1NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Garcia ($7,100), Kara-France ($9,100)
Vegas Odds: Garcia (+275), Kara-France (-335)
Odds to Finish: -170
THE PICK: Kara-France
LightweightDamir Ismagulov (16-2-0) v. Alex Gorgees (6-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Ismagulov ($9,500), Gorgees ($6,700)
Vegas Odds: Ismagulov (-460), Gorgees (+365)
Vegas Odds: Okami (+280), Kunchenko (-340)
Odds to Finish: -150
THE PICK: Ismagulov