DraftKings MMA: UFC on FOX 18 Preview

DraftKings MMA: UFC on FOX 18 Preview

This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.

The next challenger for the light heavyweight title should emerge after all is said on done on Saturday in New Jersey.

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:

Moves Scoring
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

Scoring Notes
Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.

Advances include: To Half Guard, To Side Control, To Mount, To Back Control

Now, on to the fights...

Main Event – Light Heavyweight

Anthony Johnson (20-5-0) v. Ryan Bader (21-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Johnson ($10,900), Bader ($8,500)
Vegas Odds: Johnson (-325), Bader (+265)

Barring some unforeseen complication, the winner of this fight should get the next light heavyweight title shot against the winner of the Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones fight that has yet to be scheduled. Rumble has won four of his five fights since retuning to the UFC in April 2014, with that one loss coming to Cormier. Bader has won five fights in a row, although he hasn't faced the level of competition that Johnson has recently. This fight isn't very difficult to break down. Rumble will want to keep the fight on the feet. His all-world power and aggressive nature would make it virtually impossible for Bader to compete against him in a boxing match. Bader is going to have to use his wrestling skills to try to drag Johnson to the mat and keep him there. Johnson is a terrific wrestler, especially his takedown defense, but we never talk about it because he is always busy trying to knock people out. The fact this is a five-round fight would appear to benefit Bader, only because I think good athletes can wear Rumble down in the later rounds. Bader's only clear path to victory here appears to be a boring, grinding decision. It's not impossible, but it seems unlikely. It makes Bader a tough DraftKings play because even if he wins, it seems likely to happen later in the fight. Rumble's power allows him to end a fight at any moment.

THE PICK: Johnson

Co-Main Event – Heavyweight

Josh Barnett (34-7-0) v. Ben Rothwell (35-9-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Barnett ($10,100), Rothwell ($9,300)
Vegas Odds: Barnett (-150), Rothwell (+130)

This is a hard fight to predict. Rothwell is coming off back-to-back first-round stoppage wins over Alistair Overeem and Matt Mitrione, but he still isn't perceived to be much of a threat in the heavyweight division. Barnett returned in September for the first time in nearly two years to earn a unanimous-decision win over Roy Nelson. Although it seems like Barnett is constantly talking about stepping away from MMA for good, I believe he is a guy to remains truly committed to the sport. Even when he isn't fighting, he spends his time training other fighters. At this stage in their respective careers, there doesn't appear to be one clear advantage for either man. Heavyweight fights are notorious for potentially ending in an instant, but good luck guessing who is going to win this one or how. I trust Barnett's track record more than Rothwell's, but Big Ben provides the better payoff as the underdog. This might serve as one of those rare, high-profile fights that are better to avoid. Neither man appears to be good enough to dominate the other one, nor serve as a big enough underdog to serve as a real value play for a daily lineup.
THE PICK: Barnett


Iuri Alcantara (32-6-0, 1NC) v. Jimmie Rivera (18-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Alcantara ($9,200), Rivera ($10,100)
Vegas Odds: Alcantara (+150), Rivera (-170)

It's surprising that the UFC chose to put this fight on the main card. Alcantara has always been underrated, but he isn't a big name and the casual UFC fan probably knows next to nothing about him. Rivera is 2-0 in the UFC, but he hasn't fought anyone good and his placement on the card is almost certainly due to the fact that he is a native of New Jersey. On the feet, Rivera throws a ton and lands a ton. Alcantara throws little, gets hit rarely and is a decorated ground specialist. He's a BJJ black belt and has 12 career wins by submission. It's certainly his biggest advantage. Rivera is going to have an advantage in a kickboxing match, but Alcantara should have the edge everywhere else. Rivera is going to have to gain some energy from the hometown crowd if he hopes to pull this one out. This seems like a pick 'em fight to me. When that happens, always take the underdog.
THE PICK: Alcantara


Sage Northcutt (7-0-0) v. Bryan Barberena (10-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Northcutt ($11,000), Barbarena ($8,400)
Vegas Odds: Northcutt (-470), Barberena (+375)

Barberena will replace an injured Andrew Holbrook on less than two weeks notice. It's quite clear after just two UFC performances that the ceiling for the 19-year-old Northcutt is about as high as any fighter in the company. He's an explosive athlete, appears to have no obvious holes in his game and excels in multiple areas. Barberena prefers to keep his fights standing and continuously pressure his opponents. As great as Northcutt has looked in his first two UFC fights, it's important to keep in mind that they came against Francisco Trevino and Cody Pfister -- not exactly top-flight competition. That being said, it's hard to see how Barberena wins this fight. The updated DraftKings salaries were released on Monday, and it's a certainty that it will to cost a ton ($11,000) to put Northcutt in your lineup. He's probably going to win and there's a fairly decent chance that he will make it look easy, but I still wouldn't use him. It's impossible to know what to expect from a 19-year-old on what is clearly the biggest stage of his career.
THE PICK: Northcutt

Other Bouts


Tarec Saffiedine (15-4-0) v. Jake Ellenberger (30-10-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Saffiedine ($10,600), Ellenberger ($8,800)
Vegas Odds: Saffiedine (-245), Ellenberger (+205)
THE PICK: Saffiedine


Olivier Aubin-Mercier (8-1-0) v. Diego Ferreira (11-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Aubin-Mercier ($10,400), Ferreira ($9,000)
Vegas Odds: Aubin-Mercier (-290), Ferreira (+245)
THE PICK: Aubin-Mercier


Rafael Natal (20-6-1) v. Kevin Casey (9-3-0, 2NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Natal ($9,900), Casey ($9,500)
Vegas Odds: Natal (-165), Casey (+145)


Dustin Ortiz (15-4-0) v. Wilson Reis (19-6-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Ortiz ($10,300), Reis ($9,100)
Vegas Odds: Ortiz (-220), Reis (+180)


George Sullivan (17-4-0, 1NC) v. Alexander Yakovlev (22-6-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Sullivan ($9,600), Yakovlev ($9,800)
Vegas Odds: Sullivan (+110), Yakovlev (-130)
THE PICK: Yakovlev


Alex Caceres (10-8-0, 1NC) v. Masio Fullen (10-5-0)
DraftKings Salaries:Caceres ($10,800), Fullen ($8,600)
Vegas Odds: Caceres (-290), Fullen (+245)
THE PICK: Caceres


Matt Dwyer (8-3-0) v. Randy Brown (6-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Dwyer ($8,900), Brown ($10,500)
Vegas Odds: Dwyer (+170), Brown (-200)


Damon Jackson (9-2-0) v. Levan Makashvili (10-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Jackson ($8,700), Makashvili ($10,700)
Vegas Odds: Jackson (+255), Makashvili (-310)
THE PICK: Makashvili


Tony Martin (9-3-0) v. Felipe Olivieri (14-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Martin ($10,000), Olivieri ($9,400)
Vegas Odds: Martin (-175), Olivieri (+155)
THE PICK: Martin

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Jon Litterine plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: JLitterine.
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Jon Litterine
Jon Litterine is RotoWire's lead MMA Writer and MMA Editor. He has covered numerous MMA events live. He's also RW's NHL Prospect Analyst. Jon has been writing for RotoWire since 2005. He is a graduate of U Mass-Lowell.
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