This article is part of our The MMA Mashup series.
This week's 12-fight card features plenty of potentially high-scoring bouts, and we cover all of it in this week's installment of the MMA Mashup. Recommendations across four DFS platforms include a surging underdog in a long-awaited rematch and a low-output striker who is likely to be drawn into a war.
Without further ado, let's get to it.
Plays to Consider on DraftKings
Casey O'Neill ($7,800)
Both O'Neil and Lara Procopio will likely use wrestling to get this fight where they want it, but O'Neill should carry a significant strength advantage here as the fighter with the larger frame. While we saw Procopio use impressive jiujitsu skills in her fight with Molly McCann, she has just two submission finishes in her seven wins, which makes me think that O'Neill should be able to impose her top game without having to worry about submissions thrown up from underneath.
Virna Jandiroba ($8,400)
Unlike Procopio, Jandiroba is a prolific submission artist, with all but three of her 16 wins coming via tapout. Kanako Murata is the more accomplished wrestler of the two but will come in undersized, which should allow "Carcara" to impose her will on the mat. Murata may boast an impressive 12-1 record in professional MMA, but it's worth noting that her loss came via submission at the hands of Rin Nakai, which may be an indication of what happens when Murata takes on tough competition.
Wellington Turman ($7,400)
Turman has failed to impress during his UFC tenure but did show off his skill set in a split-decision loss to Karl Roberson, registering four takedowns and two submission attempts. That ground game may be all that is needed against Bruno Silva, who has been submitted five times in six professional losses. Silva does well to mix his targets and pressure his opponents, but we have seen stars from M-1 Global come to the organization and underperform, and nothing in Silva's game tells me he will be the fighter that has notched 16 KO/TKOs in 19 wins.
Seungwoo Choi ($8,400)
Julian Erosa's pressuring, all-action style makes him easy to root for. Unfortunately, his lack of head movement ensures that he is generally on the wrong side of the highlight reel. This is particularly true if he runs into someone he can't outwrestle, which should be the case when it comes to Choi. Though we have seen him get stuck in submissions over the course of his UFC career, Choi is a heavy top-control wrestler and has the length and power to really trouble someone as defensively open as Erosa.
Davey Grant ($7,100)
Generally, a three-fight win streak will earn a fighter more than a rematch against someone they already beat, but Grant and Marlon Vera have had very different career trajectories since their bout in 2016, as evidenced by the fact that he comes in as a sizeable underdog here. While he has improved in this regard, Vera can still be shut down by opponents who relentlessly pressure him. We also saw "Chito" frozen by the bodywork of Jose Aldo in December, and Grant has used body-head combinations to score his last two knockouts. He will need to be careful, as a wide-open chin has led to Grant being knocked down in his last two fights, but "Dangerous" should be able to use his wrestling to keep safe when necessary.
Plays to Consider on FanDuel
Chan Sung Jung ($18)
Jung's stock may be at an all-time low after he was handily outstruck by BJJ specialist Brian Ortega in his last fight, but this dip in the eyes of the public may be premature, as the improvements "T-City" has made in his kickboxing are undeniable. In reality, Jung is still a slick boxer with power in his hands and strong takedown defense. MMA math may not work as a general rule, but it must be said that we just saw Ige get beaten rather handily by a boxer in Calvin Kattar, and "50K" shouldn't be able to lean on his wrestling here, as "Zombie" carries a 75 percent takedown defense rate.
Dhiego Lima ($20)
"Wrestler" isn't the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of Matt Brown, but the knockout artist has been working overtime to ground opponents of late, having gone one-for-six on attempts against Carlos Condit in January. Lima has made tremendous strides with his boxing of late and should be able to force a few bad shots out of Brown before taking over the fight completely.
Plays to Consider on SuperDraft
Aleksei Oleinik - 2.2x multiplier
Those of you who have read my articles before likely saw this coming. For those who haven't, allow me to introduce "The Boa Constrictor." A 74-fight veteran with 46 wins by submission, Oleinik is known for action fights that finish quickly. He has been on the wrong side of KO/TKOs in his last two fights, but all of Oleinik 's stoppage losses in the UFC have come against big punchers. Sergey Spivac is far from a powerful heavyweight, with his only stoppage win in the promotion coming via ground-and-pound. It goes without saying that Oleinik will have the advantage on the ground here, and the veteran should be able to walk through the shots of Spivac in order to get the fight into his realm.
Matthew Semelsberger – 2.2x multiplier
I went back and forth with this one, as Semelsberger's lack of head movement could mean open season for a Khaos Williams counter shot, but I try not to pick fights on narrow margins. Instead, I'm betting that the constant activity will be enough to overwhelm Williams, who is always content to let his opponent lead and wait for one perfect strike. Semelsberger goes to the body well and mixes his punches and kicks, so as long as he can avoid the knockout blow, he should be well worth the multiplier here.
Plays to Consider on Monkey Knife Fight
Josh Parisian UNDER 96.5 Significant Strikes and Roque Martinez UNDER 46.5 Significant strikes
Martinez will face a familiar problem in this matchup, entering at a significant disadvantage in both height (six inches) and reach (seven inches). This leads me to believe the fight may end quickly, as Martinez will need to take chances to get on the inside. Even if we are in for an extended battle, though, it seems incredibly unlikely that Parisian will be able to match his output from his UFC debut, when he landed over 100 significant strikes. As the much bigger fighter, Perisian could choose to wrestle, which would also keep the strike total down.
Joaquim Silva OVER 81.5 Significant Strikes and Rick Glenn OVER 59.5 Significant Strikes
Silva's past significant strike numbers may not seem high enough to justify this play, but the last time he faced a fighter who was willing to stand in the pocket and throw (as Glenn will) Silva landed 95 significant strikes in a victory. There is a slight worry that Silva will try to use his wrestling to stem the tide of pressure, but Glenn's takedown defense is serviceable enough (66 percent) that this bout should result in two men swinging to the closing bell.
Aleksa Camur UNDER 69.5 Significant Strikes and Nicolae Negumereanu UNDER 36.5 Significant Strikes.
Camur almost certainly would have lost his UFC debut against Justin Ledet had it not be for his work inside the clinch, and he lost the William Knight fight based on his insistence that he take down the stronger man. A tale of two bouts that tell us Camur feels most comfortable imposing his size at this level. Meanwhile, Negumeranu was controlled by Saparbek Safarov for the better part of 15 minutes (fence grabs notwithstanding) in his UFC debut in 2018.