This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
England's most popular fighter has not fought in the United Kingdom in almost five years. He heads to Scotland to take on a Brazilian sensation that is on a seven-fight winning streak.
(Note: DraftKings Salaries were added after original posting)
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. Players get a $50,000 budget to select five fighters, and the scoring is distributed as follows:
- Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
- Advance (ADVC): +1 PT
- Takedown (TD): +2 PTS
- Reversal/Sweep (REV): +2 PTS
- Knockdown (KD): +3 PTS
Fight Conclusion Bonuses:
- 1st Round Win (1rW+): +100 PTS
- 2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 PTS
- 3rd Round Win (3rW+): +50 PTS
- 4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 PTS
- 5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 PTS
- Decision Win (WBD+): +25 PTS
- Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
- Advances include: moving to half guard, side control, mount or back control.
Now, on to the fights...
Main Event – MiddleweightMichael Bisping (27-7-0) v. Thales Leites (25-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Bisping ($9800), Leites ($9800)
Vegas Odds: Bisping (-120), Leites (+100)
At 36 years old, Bisping isn't the fighter he once was, but he isn't totally washed up and is always entertaining. The UFC is smartly having him headline a card in Europe, where he's seemingly more popular. Bisping is going to struggle against legitimate top-10 fighters at his advanced age (he handily lost to Luke Rockhold and Tim Kennedy last year), but he has enough in the tank to handle lesser fighters. Leites is on a seven-fight winning streak, but he doesn't have any signature wins in that span. The two most impressive wins came against Tim Boetsch (who is in the twilight of his career) and Francis Carmont (who has since been released). This is a fairly close fight. If it remains on the feet, Bisping has a distinct advantage. He's the better striker and he's more aggressive. If it ends up on the mat, the edge goes to Leites, who is a Jiu-Jitsu black belt. UFC.com ranks Leites as a top-10 middleweight, but it's an awfully thin division once you get past the top seven or eight guys. I certainly wouldn't be shocked if Leites won, but I'm going to take Bisping, who should have a huge home field advantage.
THE PICK: Bisping
Co-Main Event – LightweightRoss Pearson (19-8-0, 1NC) v. Evan Dunham (15-6-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Pearson ($10,300), Dunham ($8,900)
Vegas Odds: Pearson (-190), Dunham (+165)
Pearson has long been seen as a guy who has a lot of potential, but has struggled with his consistency. He's already 30 years old, so he's running out of time to establish himself as a legitimate contender. He's one of the stronger guys in the lightweight division and a terrific striker, but eats far too many strikes. It's no easy task beating the better guys in the division like that. Dunham is a guy who is so aggressive that it ends up causing him harm. He is on the receiving end of 5.42 significant strikers per minute compared to 3.98 for Pearson. That will be a problem for Dunham, and it will be made even worse by the fact that he has nowhere near the power that Pearson does. I could see Dunham trying to implement his wrestling to get this fight to the ground and use his submission game. It would give him his best chance of winning. Getting in an extended boxing match with Pearson seems like a bad idea. Even though both men won their last bouts, neither has been all that impressive of late. Pearson is 2-2 in his last four fights while Dunham is 1-3.
THE PICK: Pearson
LightweightJoseph Duffy (13-1-0) v. Ivan Jorge (26-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Duffy ($11,200), Jorge ($8,000)
Vegas Odds: Duffy (-800), Jorge (+550)
Duffy's current claim to fame is that he is the last fighter to defeat current interim featherweight champion Conor McGregor. Of course, that happened way back in 2010. More recently, Duffy won his UFC debut via first-round TKO against Jake Lindsay in March. Duffy has also defeated the talented Norman Parke in his career, and has eight career wins by submission. Jorge is one of the most muscular guys in the division. He does his best work when he gets his opponent to the ground. He has 12 career wins by submission and he's won eight of his last nine overall. Jorge will be the stronger of the two fighters but Duffy certainly has the better-rounded game. His striking is crisper and he has more ways to win. Jorge's best chance of winning is to use his strength to force Duffy to the mat and then go for the submission. Duffy should have the crowd behind him and he's also seven years younger than Jorge. Although the Vegas odds are a bit ridiculous, I think Duffy is an easy pick here.
THE PICK: Duffy
WelterweightLeon Edwards (9-2-0) v. Pawel Pawlak (11-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Edwards ($10,600), Pawlak ($8,600)
Vegas Odds: Edwards (-230), Pawlak (+190)
There's a high probability that this one turns into a boxing match. Pawlak is a pure striker. Seven of his 11 career wins have come by knockout. Heck, his idol growing up was Mike Tyson. He started as a kickboxer and later transitioned into MMA. Pawlak has gone the distance in his first two UFC bouts. He lost his debut to Peter Sobotta and then rebounded to defeat Sheldon Westcott in April. Edwards picked up his first UFC win over Seth Baczynski on the same card as Pawlak. He's another fighter who thinks of striking first and everything else second. Neither of these guys are top-15 welterweights, but this has the potential to be an entertaining bout. Edwards is just 23 years old and I think he has more potential to grow on a fight-by-fight basis.
THE PICK: Edwards
Women's StrawweightJoanne Calderwood (9-1-0) v. Cortney Casey (4-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Calderwood ($10,800), Casey ($8,400)
Vegas Odds: Calderwood (-350), Casey (+290)
THE PICK: Calderwood
LightweightStevie Ray (17-5-0) v. Leonardo Mafra (12-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Ray ($10,300), Mafra ($8,900)
Vegas Odds: Ray (-200), Mafra (+170)
THE PICK: Ray
FlyweightPatrick Holohan (11-1-1) v. Vaughan Lee (14-10-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Holohan ($10,200), Lee ($9,000)
Vegas Odds: Holohan (-195), Lee (+155)
THE PICK: Holohan
Light HeavyweightIlir Latifi (10-4-0, 1NC) v. Hans Stringer (22-6-3)
DraftKings Salaries: Latifi ($10,500), Stringer ($8,700)
Vegas Odds: Latifi (-260), Stringer (+180)
THE PICK: Latifi
LightweightMickael Lebout (13-4-1, 1NC) v. Teemu Packalen (7-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Lebout ($9500), Packalen ($9,700)
Vegas Odds: Lebout (+100), Packalen (-140)
THE PICK: Packalen
FeatherweightRob Whiteford (11-2-0) v. Paul Redmond (10-5-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Whiteford ($10,000), Redmond ($9,200)
Vegas Odds: Whiteford (-160), Redmond (+120)
THE PICK: Whiteford
BantamweightMarcus Brimage (7-4-0) v. Jimmie Rivera (16-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Brimage ($9,400), Rivera ($9,800)
Vegas Odds: Brimage (+100), Rivera (-140)
THE PICK: Brimage
HeavyweightDaniel Omielanczuk (16-5-1, 1NC) v. Chris De La Rocha (3-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Omielanczuk ($9,900), De La Rocha ($9,300)
Vegas Odds: Omielanczuk (-155), De La Rocha (+115)
THE PICK: Omielanczuk