DraftKings MMA: UFC Sunrise Preview

DraftKings MMA: UFC Sunrise Preview

This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.

The UFC returns to prime time for a Saturday night card in Sunrise, Florida, with a $25,000 top prize up for grabs in this week's MMA Throwdown.

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 - Middleweight

Ronaldo Souza (26-6-0) v. Jack Hermansson (19-4-0)
DK Salaries: Souza ($8,900), Hermansson ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: Souza (-185), Hermansson (+160)
Odds to Finish: -615

In for an ill Yoel Romero, Hermansson will be fighting for the second time in less than four weeks. Hermansson is coming off a shocking 49-second submission victory over David Branch on March 30 in Philadelphia. A virtual unknown when he entered the company in September 2016, Jack has suddenly thrust himself into the title picture at 185 pounds. Hermansson has displayed a decent amount of power and an educated ground game. It's probably at least 50/50 that we have already seen the best Hermansson has to offer, but he has earned this opportunity and we are going to find out very quickly how legitimate a contender he truly is.

Coming off a beautiful knockout victory over Chris Weidman in November, this is another no-win situation for Jacare. It's a fight in which he is supposed to emerge victorious and he will be sent tumbling down the rankings if Hermansson pulls the upset. Considering how badly he has been jerked around over the last couple years, Jacare would be well within his rights to hold out for a title shot if he easily dispatches Hermansson. The top of the UFC's 185-pound division is extremely crowded, and Souza has seemingly been the man who has always been left without a legitimate dance partner.

Hermansson's takedown defense is a more-than-respectable 73 percent. That number is going to have to hold up, or else his three-fight win streak will almost certainly be coming to an end. Jacare is in brilliant shape for a man who will turn 40 years old this coming December, and he has always been durable. I respect Hermansson's willingness to get into the Octagon with a killer on such short notice, but this is a massive ask. I need to see him pull it off before I believe it. His salary is low enough that he is playable for DraftKings owners who make several lineups, but Jacare is the pick.

THE PICK: Souza 



Alex Oliveira (19-6-1) v. Mike Perry (12-4-0)
DK Salaries: Oliveira ($8,800), Perry ($7,400)
Vegas Odds: Oliveira (-175), Perry (+155)
Odds to Finish: -335

This was originally scheduled to be Oliveira v. Li Jingliang, but Li was forced to withdraw in late-March, and Perry quickly stepped in to replace him. Both men (Oliveira v. Gunnar Nelson, Perry v. Donald Cerrone) are coming off submission losses.

It took a while, but Oliveira has won me over. He has an underrated skill set, can fight in multiple divisions, and remains extremely active. Oliveira fights physically and is durable on the feet, His submission defense is highly concerning, but he isn't going to have to worry about that against Perry. A lot of the things the Brazilian does in the Octagon look awkward, but he generally gets the job done.

Perry entered the UFC in August of 2016 with the reputation of being a reckless brawler. About three years later, nothing has changed. He is probably a better wrestler than most people think, but he is seemingly never in position to use those skills. Perry's biggest assets are his power and durability. He has never been knocked out despite being in some violent brawls, and 11 of his 12 wins have come via KO. One-dimensional brawlers, Perry included, tend to beat up on fringe fighters and then struggle when the competition rises.

Perry has legitimate talent, and I would love to see how effective he could be if he game planned for specific opponents and sat back and let the fights come to him, but it's quite clear that isn't going to happen. As a result, I'm forced to pick Oliveira. Perry is always a decent DraftKings play because he can take a beating ($7,400 is awful cheap), and that allows him to get off plenty of offense of his own. However, Oliveira is no slouch on the feet himself, and he is tough to finish off. This has "Fight of the Night" written all over it.

THE PICK: Oliveira


Light Heavyweight

Glover Teixeira (28-7-0) v. Ion Cutelaba (14-3-0)
DK Salaries: Teixeira ($7,900), Cutelaba ($8,300)
Vegas Odds: Teixeira (-115), Cutelaba (-105)
Odds to Finish: -320

This fight was scheduled to take place in January in Brooklyn before Cutelaba was forced to withdraw due to injury.

Set to turn 40 years old in October and having alternated wins and losses in his last seven bouts, this is last call for Teixeira. Glover is coming off an extremely impressive first-round submission victory over Karl Roberson (who stepped in for Cutelaba in Brooklyn), but he hasn't won back-to-back fights in more than 3.5 years. Teixeira is in good shape despite his advanced age and still has power. The issue is that his footwork has all but evaporated, and thus he is having trouble getting his head off the center line and is getting hit more than ever. I don't think he's done, but I would wager the days of him impacting the title picture at 205 pounds are over.

Cutelaba's biggest advantage in this fight are his youth and his athleticism. He won't turn 26 years old until December, and he moves well for a big man. The injury that forced him to withdraw from the first scheduled bout between the two was by all indications, minor, and he should be ready to rock on Saturday. Cutelaba have been flagged by the USADA in the past and he's barely over .500 for his UFC career (3-2), so it's not as if he has killed it since joining the company a little less than three years ago.

If Cutelaba makes Glover work for his offense, I think he'll be OK. His takedown defense (69 percent) is solid, and he's durable. If Cutelaba gets lazy and engages Glover in the brawl he is certainly seeking, Teixeira has a legitimate chance to win. I don't think either man has a particularly bright future, but Cutelaba at least has theoretical upside given his age. That being said, I'm taking Glover in a very mild upset. There are very few underdogs on this card that I like and Glover seems like one of the better bets.

THE PICK: Teixeira



John Lineker (31-8-0) v. Cory Sandhagen (10-1-0)
DK Salaries: Lineker ($8,500), Sandhagen ($7,700)
Vegas Odds: Lineker (-140), Sandhagen (+120)
Odds to Finish: -155

This is another bout that had been originally scheduled for Brooklyn before a rib injury suffered by Lineker forced the proceedings to be cancelled.

He doesn't get as much attention as he should, but Lineker remains one of the very best 135 pounders on the planet. He has lost just once in his last nine fights (TJ Dillashaw) and is coming off a first-round KO win over Brian Kelleher last May. Despite standing just 5-foot-3, Lineker hits like a tank. He peppers the body with consistency and has never been knocked out. The Brazilian has had problems making weight in the past (mostly during his flyweight run), but he has been all but pristine when stepping into the cage.

Sandhagen is a perfect 3-0 in the UFC with all three wins coming via stoppage, but this is a massive step up in competition for the Elevation Fight Team product. He has an eight-inch height advantage on Lineker and he will have to use all of it to keep "Hands of Stone" on the outside and limit his space. If Lineker gets inside and can connect with regularity, Sandhagen is probably done.

Sandhagen has looked exceptional thus far and he has a ton of potential, but this is a tough, tough challenge for a relatively inexperienced fighter. Lineker has rolled through some of the best the division has to offer for years and he deserves the benefit of the doubt until further notice. Betting on Sandhagen's athleticism isn't the worst idea in the world given his salary, but it's easy to see why he's an underdog.

THE PICK: Lineker


Other Fights

Greg Hardy (3-1-0) v. Dmitry Smoliakov (9-2-0)
DK Salaries: Hardy ($9,300), Smoliakov ($6,900)
Vegas Odds: Hardy (-330), Smoliakov (+270)
Odds to Finish: -600

Roosevelt Roberts (7-0-0) v. Thomas Gifford (14-7-0)
DK Salaries: Roberts ($9,500), Gifford ($6,700)
Vegas Odds: Roberts (-360), Gifford (+300)
Odds to Finish: -245
THE PICK: Roberts

Ben Saunders (22-11-2) v. Takashi Sato (14-2-0)
DK Salaries: Saunders ($7,200), Sato ($9,000)
Vegas Odds: Saunders (+165), Sato (-190)
Odds to Finish: -315

Andrei Arlovski (27-17-0) v. Augusto Sakai (12-1-1)
DK Salaries: Arlovski ($7,800), Sakai ($8,400)
Vegas Odds: Arlovski (+130), Sakai (-150)
Odds to Finish: +110

Women's Strawweight
Carla Esparza (13-6-0) v. Virna Jandiroba (14-0-0)
DK Salaries: Esparza ($8,200), Jandiroba ($8,000)
Vegas Odds: Esparza (+100), Jandiroba (-120)
Odds to Finish: +200
THE PICK: Jandiroba

Jim Miller (29-13-0) v. Jason Gonzalez (11-4-0)
DK Salaries: Miller ($8,600), Gonzalez ($7,600)
Vegas Odds: Miller (-145), Gonzalez (+125)
Odds to Finish: -260
THE PICK: Gonzalez

Women's Strawweight
Angela Hill (8-6-0) v. Jodie Esquibel (6-4-0)
DK Salaries: Hill ($9,400), Esquibel ($6,800)
Vegas Odds: Hill (-495), Esquibel (+395)
Odds to Finish: +290

Court McGee (19-7-0) v. Dhiego Lima (13-7-0)
DK Salaries: McGee ($8,700), Lima ($7,500)
Vegas Odds: McGee (-160), Lima (+140)
Odds to Finish: +110

Gilbert Burns (14-3-0) v. Mike Davis (6-1-0)
DK Salaries: Burns ($9,100), Davis ($7,100)
Vegas Odds: Burns (-250), Davis (+210)
Odds to Finish: -265

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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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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