This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
While fight fans will be missing out on a top light heavyweight contender matchup between Glover Teixeira and Thiago Santos due to Teixeira's positive COVID-19 test, they're still getting treated to a 12-fight card, headlined by a pair of fast-paced, high-volume strawweight contenders.
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, including a $200k MMA Uppercut with $50,000 to first place. Players get a $50,000 budget to select six fighters, and the scoring is distributed as follows:
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 - Women's Strawweight
Hill's three-fight winning streak was snapped in May when she dropped a split decision to Claudia Gadelha. The vast majority of those watching thought Hill won the bout. It was a crushing result for "Overkill" and one that set her back considerably in the 115-pound women's division. Hill is one of the more valuable members of the roster. She'll fight anyone at any time, and she's legitimately talented. Much more talented than her 5-5 record in her past 10 bouts would lead you to believe. Hill has no ground game to speak of (she doesn't have a single career win via submission), but she excels on the feet and is brilliant at stringing together combinations. She fights physically and is durable, having never been knocked out. I've long been a believer despite inconsistent results.
Waterson is still viewed as a notable and popular fighter despite middling results since joining the company back in July 2015. Her record with the UFC is barely over .500 (5-4) and she is coming off back-to-back decisions losses to Claudia Gadelha (split) and Joanna Jedrzejczyk (unanimous). As strange as it sounds, I have long believed that Waterson is simply too small for the strawweight division. She did her best work in Invicta at atomweight (105 pounds), a weight class that obviously doesn't exist in the UFC. "The Karate Hottie" has enough pure talent to win fights, but it's difficult to see Waterson going on any sort of legitimate run at age 34.
Hill and Waterson both check in at 5-foot-3, but Hill has a two-inch reach edge, something that could very easily come into play given the fact Hill does virtually all her offensive damage on the feet.
There's a lack of physicality to Waterson's style of fighting, and I believe that is largely related to the fact she is fighting up a division from her natural weight class. She's talented enough to pull an upset here, but Hill is the much better striker and will have a significant advantage for as long as this remains on the feet. It's going to take a mistake from Hill in order for Waterson to win this fight, and it's difficult to bank on that.
THE PICK: Hill
This is a rematch of a December 2014 fight which Modafferi won via split decision.
Speaking of split decisions, this is a must-win fight for Lee, as she is coming off back-to-back split decision losses. Her setback against Joanne Calderwood last September was entirely valid, but her "loss" to Lauren Murphy this past February was a horrendous blunder by the judges.
Lee is tough to figure out. She's athletic, has an excellent frame (5-foot-7) for the division and is known her strong cardio, but she has very little power (two career knockouts) in her hands and has been putting on inconsistent performances for quite a while. Even in some of the fights in which Lee emerged victorious, she looked subpar.
Modafferi stunned the masses with a shocking unanimous decision win over top prospect Maycee Barber in January, before going right back to her inconsistent ways in a clear decision loss to Murphy in June. Modafferi has alternated wins and losses in her past eight fights. That streak include her final bout with Invicta, in addition to all seven of her fights with the UFC. Modafferi is a true pioneer of women's MMA. She also turns 38 years of age later this month and has never been known for explosion or athleticism. Roxi is plenty durable and will never be overwhelmed inside the Octagon, but she is clearly on a downward trend.
This seems pretty straightforward. In a fight in which neither woman has one single dominant trait, Lee is the better athlete and nearly seven years younger. That alone makes her the pick, but I can't say that with any confidence given the inconsistencies we have seem from both women. Lee doesn't interest me given her massive price tag, and Modafferi makes for a reasonable underdog play. I still don't think she wins.
THE PICK: Lee
A professional for nearly 15 years, Nam finally picked up his first UFC win his last time out with an impressive 32-second knockout victory over Zarrukh Adashev. Prior to that, Nam had dropped unanimous decisions to the since-departed Sergio Pettis, along with Kai Kara-France. Nam's calling card is his striking. He has far more power in his hands than your average smaller fighter. Nam has 11 career knockout wins, compared to just one via submission. I'm worried about his apparent one-dimensional offensive game in addition to his age (37 next month), but the power is legitimate.
Schnell is looking to rebound from a knockout loss at the hands of Alexandre Pantoja last December. The setback snapped a four-fight winning streak for Schnell. Pantoja is underrated, and Schnell had to fly halfway around the world to South Korea for the fight, so I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. The exact opposite of Nam, virtually all of Schnell's offense is generated on the mat, with eight of his 14 career wins coming via submission. Schnell is athletic and big for the division (5-foot-8), although he will enter with just a one-inch height edge on Nam.
I went back and forth here before settling on Nam, and I did so for one main reason – each of Schnell's last three losses have come via knockout. I have questions about his chin, and you know Nam brings the thunder on the feet. Nam has also never been submitted.
There is also the fact that Nam seems extremely undervalued in a fight that is essentially a pick 'em. I can't explain why he is $1,000 cheaper than Schnell.
THE PICK: Nam
Seemingly left for dead not all that long ago, Green was rallied to score back-to-back unanimous decisions over both Lando Vannata and Clay Guida. Prior to that, Green had dropped five of his previous six, with one no-contest thrown in. Green somehow has more submission wins in his career (nine) than knockout victories (eight). I say that because Green has developed into a one-dimensional brawler. He still has plenty of hand speed, but his striking defense leaves much to be desired. Green has been plenty durable (two career losses via knockout) considering the brawls he has been involved in over the years. I'm not overly optimistic moving forward given the fact he turns 34 years of age during fight week.
Patrick returns to the Octagon on Saturday for the first time in nearly two years. His most recent fight – October 2018 – was a knockout loss at the hands of Scott Holtzman. Patrick was scheduled to face numerous different opponents earlier this year before both injuries and the COVID pandemic forced the cancellation of those bouts. Patrick has fought just seven times with the UFC despite being with the company for nearly seven years. The Brazilian is a BJJ black belt but has struggled to stop his opposition on both the feet (four career knockouts) and the ground (two wins via submission) over the course of his career.
The big story here is Patrick's long layoff. Green has fought four times since the Patrick's last fight, and I think that could have an impact given the fact Patrick doesn't bring any elite attributes to the table. Green still looks massively overpriced given his brawling ways and inconsistencies, but he deserves to be favored considering how little Patrick has fought.
THE PICK: Green
Ed Herman (26-14-0, 1NC) v. Mike Rodriguez (11-4-0, 1NC)
DK Salaries: Herman ($7,400), Rodriguez ($8,800)
Vegas Odds: Herman (+215), Rodriguez (-255)
Odds to Finish: -210
THE PICK: Rodriguez