This article is part of our The MMA Mashup series.
We may be down to 10 fights, but there are still a number of intriguing plays for us to cover in the UFC 260 edition of The MMA Mashup. This week we target a heavy underdog against a blessed MMA lineage, and figure out just what to do with another Tyron Woodley fight.
Without further ado, let's get to it.
Plays to consider on DraftKings
Stipe Miocic ($7,800)
Don't look now, but the man who would have scored 141 points against Francis Ngannou if the new scoring system had been in effect during their first fight in 2018 is the underdog in their rematch. As you may have guessed, takedowns and control time will be the ultimate paths to victory, but it should also be noted that Stipe is far more technical and evasive, making Ngannou miss on a whopping 47 of the 62 significant strikes he threw in Round 1 of the first bout. Any one shot "The Predator" lands can spell the end of the night, but Stipe just has too many advantages to pick this fight any other way.
Miranda Maverick ($8,800)
Gillian Robertson has made a career in MMA by overwhelming lesser grapplers. The problem is that she has no standup game to speak of, so when she encounters grapplers who are better than she is (Mayra Bueno Silva, Taila Santos) it can lead to some pretty one-sided losses. I believe Maverick can basically do what Santos did to her for three rounds: execute takedowns and stay in top control while hunting for submissions. If this plan fails, we know from her last bout with Liana Jojua that she will have no problem letting her hands go and trying to get a quick TKO.
Marc-Andre Barriault ($8,200)
For someone who swings as hard as he does, it seems strange that Abu Azaitar has secured just one KO/TKO finish in his last five wins. This may be because when someone swings as wide as Azaitar, they have a harder time finishing opponents at the highest level, as fighters are more likely to see the shots coming (think former UFC light heavyweight Khadis Ibragimov). Moreover, Azaitar was taken down and mounted twice by Vitor Miranda in his UFC debut, and Barriault is big and physical enough to not simply allow the Moroccan fighter to power his way out of bad positions.
Plays to consider on FanDuel
Khama Worthy ($17)
Jamie Mullarkey's commitment to getting the takedown has been boundless during his stint in the UFC, with the Australian fighter having shot a whopping 26 times in two fights. The good news for us is that he's completed less than a third of those takedowns (8), which should give Worthy a lot of room to rack up points. While he may be something of a counter fighter, Worthy has shown his power in the Octagon and should be able to sting Mullarkey for as long as this fight stays on the feet, as he is armed with little more than a pawing jab and a low kick.
Sean O'Malley ($23)
This could be a bit of a sneaky play for the platform, as Thomas Almeida had never even shot for a takedown prior to his last fight against Jonathan Martinez. It seems as though the former prospect wanted to show off some new tools in that bout, however, as he attempted to get the fight to the ground five times, none of which were successful. Almeida will likely take more bad shots once he gets caught trying to close the distance, which happened quite a few times against a fighter in Martinez who is considerably shorter and less rangy than "Sugar."
Plays to consider on SuperDraft
Jared Gooden – 2.25x Multiplier
The surname "Nurmagomedov" confers instant credibility upon a fighter in the MMA world, but there's reason to believe Abubakar is more than a step behind his cousin Khabib. Not only was he submitted by David Zawada in his UFC debut, but his last loss before entering the UFC to Pavel Kusch in 2018 was the result of a club-and-sub, as the Dagestani fighter ducked straight into an uppercut before being choked. Gooden likes to walk down his opponents and throw in combination until they break, and while he will need to be mindful of the takedowns, Abubakar may simply not be comfortable with submission attempts, as he was forced to give up position to escape a Kimura in his win over Jonatan Westin.
Michal Oleksiejczuk – 1.8x multiplier
Oleksiejczuk is a lightning-fast light heavyweight with power who mixes in devastating shots to the body. There's only one little problem: takedowns have led to submission losses in each of his last two fights. Thankfully, this shouldn't be an issue against Modestas Bukauskas, who spent most of his career on the regional scene being taken down before returning to his feet and scoring a KO/TKO. The Lithuanian fighter prospered in promotions like Cage Warriors by being awkward, rangy, and throwing crisp two-punch combinations, but it's going to take more than that to best a hard-hitting athlete like Oleksiejczuk.
Alonzo Menifield – 1.9x Multiplier
Menifield was scheduled to fight William Knight before Knight was removed from the card due to illness, but it's looking like the multiplier will remain the same for his fight against replacement Fabio Cherant. "The Water Buffalo" throws powerful combinations, but is far too willing to back himself into the cage and wait on his opponents. This allows Cherant to fight at a controlled and measured pace, but he will now have to deal with a fighter in Menifield who will frantically attack him looking for a knockout.
Shane Young – 2.1x Multiplier
As of the writing of this article, Young is still listed as "out" in the SuperDraft lobby, but the New Zealand fighter said in an interview on Wednesday that the fight is still on, so we will proceed as such. I am a big fan of Young's pace, pressure, and bodywork. It's no secret that his defense leaves a lot to be desired, but so does Omar Morales,' and I can't pass on a multiplier this big when dealing with a fighter as skilled as Young. To be clear, it wouldn't surprise me if Morales found a head-kick knockout here, but Young should be able to use that forward pressure to keep himself inside the range and landing in the pocket.
Plays to consider on Monkey Knife Fight
Vicente Luque OVER 55.5 significant strikes and Tyron Woodley OVER 34.5 significant strikes.
To my mind, half of this play selects itself, as Luque has bested 55 significant strikes in five of his last six fights, all of which were only scheduled for three rounds. But what to do about Woodley? The former welterweight champion has always been a low-output fighter, but his unwillingness to pull the trigger has soared to new heights in his last three bouts. It must be remembered, however, that all of those fights included tremendous amounts of wrestling from Woodley's opponents. Not only is it incredibly unlikely that Luque tries to ground this fight, but he stands in the pocket and swings for as long as he is on his feet, which should force action out of "The Chosen One."