This article is part of our The MMA Mashup series.
This edition of "The MMA Mashup" has us looking at plays across five different DFS and gambling platforms to show prospective players where they can get the most bang for their buck. These include a jiujitsu expert looking to rebound from his first UFC loss and a large favorite turned into a large underdog through the magic of props. One final note before we begin: all betting lines were taken from the William Hill online sportsbook.
Without further ado, let's get to it.
Plays to consider on DraftKings
Jack Hermansson ($8,900)
Hermansson was bested by Marvin Vettori in his last outing but gave a decent account of himself, logging 122 significant strikes and two takedowns in a five-round affair. Edmen Shahbazyan works the body well and hits like a truck, but we saw him get taken down and exhausted by a strong wrestler in Derek Brunson. Hermansson is every bit as physical as the former title challenger while being the far more accomplished submission grappler. He may need to eat a big shot or two before getting this fight where he wants it, but "The Joker" should be up to the task, having only been stopped by strikes twice in 27 professional fights.
Carla Esparza ($7,600)
Esparza has always been a relentless pursuer of takedowns but has recently developed a functional boxing game to compliment her skills on the ground. We saw Yan Xiaonan get taken down at will against Claudia Gadelha early in their fight, and Esparza is unlikely to experience the gas tank issues that regularly trouble "Claudinha." While the height of Xiaonan may be an issue for the veteran, I expect her to push a high pace as she overwhelms Xiaonan with activity.
Josh Culibao ($9,100)
Culibao failed on all seven of his takedown attempts against Charles Jourdain but figures to have a much higher success rate against Yilan Sha, who has been taken down and controlled over the course of numerous fights on the Chinese regional scene. If this bout stays on the feet, Culibao should be able to use his four-inch reach advantage to control range and sting the debutante with hard shots.
Ricardo Ramos ($7,700)
Bill Algeo is a rangy, awkward striker with power, but he relies far too much on his scrambling ability when the fight hits the floor, which should play right into the hands of the BJJ black belt. Some may be a bit hesitant to pull the trigger on Ramos after he was finished with strikes on the ground by Lerone Murphy, but I am going to trust the high-level ground fighter to capitalize when Algaeo makes a mistake.
Plays to consider on FanDuel
Bruno Silva ($22)
Silva faced stiff competition from the onset of his UFC run, resulting in three consecutive losses. Once he was able to show his skills, however, we saw fast hands mixed with a wrestling threat and considerable power. Victor Rodriguez came in on short notice against Adrian Yanez but still gave us a good idea of the wrestle-boxing style he used on the regional scene. While he should be a bit stronger at flyweight, the way in which Rodriguez looked for takedowns against Yanez didn't inspire confidence that he could land them at any weight class.
Claudio Silva ($14)
Silva has gotten nine of his 14 professional MMA wins by submission, so it may seem odd to suggest that a fighter will be trying to take him down. I don't think Court McGee will have much of a choice, however, as the alternative will be for the flat-footed 36-year-old to stand in the firing line of the powerful, looping shots of "Hannibal." It's also worth noting that McGee has never been submitted in the Octagon, but the 1.6 submission average he holds per 15 minutes of cage time tells us that won't stop Silva from trying, which should yield some extra points.
Justin Tafa ($20)
A punch to the eye in the second round of Tafa's fight with Carlos Felipe turned the bout on a dime, as the 27-year-old wasn't able to get his feet underneath him after the big shot. Still, Tafa has shown a powerful kickboxing game as well as serviceable wrestling defense during his time in the Octagon. This should serve him well against Jared Vanderaa, who was able to use his size to break his opponent on the Contender Series but looked positively outmatched in his UFC debut against Sergey Spivac. As long as Tafa keeps this fight on the feet, he should be able to finish with a knockout.
Plays to Consider on SuperDraft
Rob Font – 2.05x Multiplier
A new, more patient Cody Garbrandt seemed to show up in his last bout with Raphael Assuncao. While it was a commendable performance, it must be said that the veteran never did much to push Garbrandt in any meaningful way, allowing him to use his speed and fight on his own terms. He will need to be wary of the leg kicks, but Font should be able to use his jab to frustrate and sting the former bantamweight champion, which could lead to Font picking him off in exchanges.
Norma Dumont – 2.2x Multiplier
Felicia Spencer may be a wizard on the ground, but she is often put in perilous situations until she is able to get there. This was true of her fight with Zarah Fairn, who was able to use her length to rock Spencer with hard shots on the way in. While Dumont may not have the reach advantage here, she was strong enough to stuff both takedown attempts from Ashlee Evans-Smith and I think that strength will allow her to stay upright long enough to hurt her opponent with counter shots as she looks to close the distance.
Yancy Medeiros - 2.1x Multiplier
Medeiros' inability to move his head off the centerline has led to knockout losses in two of his last three fights, but the Hawaiian fighter has the size and athleticism to cover distance quickly and will hold a five-inch reach advantage over his opponent. Damir Hadzovic is known for his unassailable logic (famously having told Renato Moicano that if he wanted to fight longer he shouldn't have submitted him), but aside from notable power, there isn't much that makes him a threat in the Octagon. While he doesn't use it much, Meidiros could also turn to a wrestling game as the path of least resistance.
Plays to Consider on Monkey Knife Fight
David Dvorak UNDER 73.5 Significant Strikes and Raulian Paiva OVER 51.5 Significant Strikes
I generally like to be uniform with my under/over predictions, but Dvorak has shown himself to be a pressuring counter striker in fights with Bruno Silva and Jordan Espinosa, which should work to depress his totals going forward. Paiva can be deliberate in his own right but is far more comfortable leading with body kicks and jabs, which should see him clear his total.
Bets to Consider
Ben Rothwell via KO/TKO: +110
Ben Rothwell came into the UFC as a big man who moved very well for his size. That agility may be gone now, but what remains is aggressiveness and willingness to let his hands go that produces plenty of action fights. Chris Barnett almost can't help but end fights inside the distance, charging at his opponents and trying to impose his will before throwing big shots in the pocket. Rothwell may not be the fighter he once was, but I have to imagine he has enough poise to deal with a few wild flurries before trapping "Beast Boy" up against the cage and raining down shots for the TKO victory.
Damir Ismagulov via KO/TKO: +275
Ismagulov is a slick combination striker who can lean on a wrestling attack if need be, but he hasn't been much of an action fighter to this point, having ended just 10 of his 19 wins inside the distance. That may change in his bout with Rafael Alves due to the fact that the Brazillian allows himself to get backed up to the cage and leaves himself open to counters while throwing one shot at a time. I think Ismagulov should look every bit as dominant as his line suggests, which is why I recommend taking plus money where we can get it.