This article is part of our The MMA Mashup series.
There are no bets on this edition of The MMA Mashup, but we make up for that with plays from five different DFS platforms, including the second straight week of recommendations from Prize Picks. Among the plays are a fair number of underdogs, which results in three SuperDraft selections with a 2x multiplier or higher.
Without further ado, let's get to it.
Plays to consider on DraftKings
Movsar Evloev ($9,200)
Hakeem Dawodu will come into this matchup with an 83 percent takedown defense rate but hasn't fought a committed wrestler as strong as Evloev, who can seemingly try to get his opponent to the mat an unlimited number of times without draining his gas tank. While Dawodu has shown himself to be explosive and powerful, he has been vulnerable to counter shots in the past and Evloev is adept at transitioning from his striking to his wrestling game.
Matt Frevola ($8,900)
Frevola will be a popular play across the board this week due to the fact that Terrance McKinney is taking the fight on short notice. McKinney is an accelerated version of Frevola inside the cage: an absolute hurricane of offense from the opening bell, who is an accomplished wrestler in his own right. This one should be fun while it lasts, but we have seen Frevola use his wrestling to relieve the pressure of opponents bearing down on him in the past and I think "Steamrolla" will be able to get at least a few takedowns before bringing this one to a close.
Luigi Vendramini ($7,900)
It may seem odd to recommend a fighter in this format who has never scored a takedown in the UFC, but Vendramini relentlessly pursued the grappling against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, and Fares Ziam has been taken down eight times in his two UFC fights. He has been controlled for over 15 minutes of fight time over that span. Vendramini likely won't be too eager to stand with Ziam, which could lead to a lot of time spent on the mat.
Brad Riddell ($7,700)
Riddell is a striker above all else but does have a takedown in all three of his UFC fights. While I do think he can compete in the striking realm with Drew Dober, it wouldn't surprise me to see him take the path of least resistance, as Dober has been taken down at least twice in a fight seven times in his career with the organization. It is no longer a guarantee that Dober will lose if he gets taken to the floor, but Riddell has a solid overall skill set that should pay dividends here.
Plays to Consider on FanDuel
Belal Muhammad ($19)
Against most fighters, Demian Maia enters the cage with the single objective of getting the fight to the ground so that he can work his world-class BJJ game. Against fighters with solid takedown defense, this has been a FanDuel goldmine, with the veteran somehow going 0-for-59 combined in his fights with Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman. Muhammad might not be at the level of those competitors overall but will carry a stout 85 percent takedown defense rate into the bout over 13 UFC appearances. It may only take one successful attempt from Maia to close the show, but "Remember the Name" could be a slate-breaking option if he is able to stay on his feet.
Steven Peterson ($14)
Peterson has been relegated to the role of a fun, action fighter at this point in his career, but we can target him in a very specific fashion against Chase Hooper, a young BJJ ace who has yet to really grow into his body. This lack of strength has resulted in the 21-year-old at a loss for how to get the fight to the floor, as we can see from his seven (!) percent accuracy rate on 14 takedown attempts. He's unlikely to get relief from Peterson in this regard, as he has logged a 75 percent takedown defense rate in six fights in the Octagon.
Jamahal Hill ($21)
This one may be a bit contentious, as Hill defends takedowns at just a 53 percent rate, but it's worth noting that six of those takedowns came from Darko Stosic, an extremely strong fighter with a Judo background. The only other fighter to even attempt to get Hill to the ground during his UFC (or UFC-adjacent) run has been Alexander Poppeck, who failed on four attempts during their bout on the Contender Series. Craig has been successful on just 26 percent of his attempts thus far, which leads me to believe that "Sweet Dreams" will be able to keep his feet before landing the shots that put Craig to sleep.
Plays to Consider on SuperDraft
Brandon Moreno – 2.25x multiplier
As someone who picked Moreno the first time these two fought in December, it seems only natural that I go back to the well after a hard-fought draw. Granted, the result occurred due to a point deduction, but Moreno still had an incredible amount of success with his boxing combinations and wrestling, using his speed to really fluster Deiveson Figueiredo at various points in the fight. If he can just hit the gas a little harder in the later rounds, I think Moreno is tough enough to withstand the big shots of the champion and get his hand raised.
Jake Collier – 2.2x Multiplier
Collier may have been written off as a heavyweight contender after getting blitzed and finished by Tom Aspinall in July, but "The Prototype" really showed what he can do in his last bout with Gian Villante, throwing crisp combinations and using bodywork to solidly outwork his opponent. Carlos Felipe is a decent boxer but spends far too much time waiting in the cage, which saw him easily drop the first round to Justin Tafa before one big shot in the second changed the course of the fight. I'm not willing to bet on a fight-altering blow here, particularly since Felipe has yet to finish an opponent at this level.
Alexis Davis – 2.25x Multiplier
Davis is willing to eat a shot and push forward to work her clinch game, which is a big reason to like her against Pannie Kianzad. While she is a solid boxer, Kianzad doesn't have much power to speak of, which should give Davis the ability to walk into the pocket without much fear. From there, she will look to take down an opponent who has been heavily controlled throughout her UFC career. It should also be noted that Davis was incredibly effective with leg kicks against Sabina Mazo and Kianzad will likely need to lean on her front leg in order to consistently deliver her jab.
Plays to Consider on Prize Picks
Joanne Calderwood UNDER 1.0 Takedowns and Eryk Anders UNDER 2.0 Takedowns
When it comes to Prize Picks, I really like these takedown totals because they allow us to hone in on specific style matchups. In the case of Calderwood, she has no reason to pursue a takedown here, as her objective will be to work her Muay-Thai striking against the wrestler and grappler in Lauren Murphy. Eryk Anders may have gotten three takedowns in quick succession against Darren Stewart, but all of those occurred after Stewart was hurt with a big shot. I don't think Anders has the chops to get a strong fighter like Stewart down twice without having him severely compromised, which isn't something we can take for granted.
Plays to Consider on Monkey Knife Fight
Leon Edwards OVER 103.5 Significant Strikes and Nate Diaz UNDER 153.4 Significant Strikes
Diaz may be an offensive machine on the feet, but with the exception of his second fight with Conor McGregor, all performances that saw him notch 100 significant strikes or more came in fights that he dominated. This almost certainly won't be the case against Edwards, who should be able to use his speed and kicking game to frustrate Diaz in the same way Jorge Masvidal did. Edwards' total is a bit trickier, as I do expect him to use some offensive wrestling here, but five rounds should be enough to comfortably get over the hump, as he landed 92 significant strikes despite three takedowns in a three-round affair with Rafael dos Anjos in 2019.
Israel Adesanya UNDER 109.5 Significant Strikes and Marvin Vettori UNDER 89.5 Significant Strikes
Unlike the Edwards/Diaz fight, I don't think the wrestler here is on the winning side, which should mean that Vettori will be looking to force clinch situations throughout the course of the bout. This should work to slow the pace a great deal. I also think there is a better chance of this fight finishing, which gives us the incentive to opt for lower totals for both fighters.