DraftKings MMA: UFC 199 Preview

DraftKings MMA: UFC 199 Preview

This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.

Two title fights are on the docket as the UFC heads to The Forum in Inglewood for the first time.

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 – Middleweight Championship

Luke Rockhold (C) (15-2-0) v. Michael Bisping (29-7-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Rockhold ($11,400), Bisping ($8,000)
Vegas Odds: Rockhold (-800), Bisping (+550)

This fight seems unlikely to be anywhere near as competitive as the originally scheduled rematch between Rockhold and Chris Weidman, but Jacare Souza was unavailable on short notice due to a knee injury, and Bisping deserves a title shot after being a good soldier for the company for nearly a decade. Rockhold and Bisping fought in November 2014, a fight that Rockhold dominated before earning a submission win 57 seconds into Round 2. It wasn't close, and I don't think this one will be either. Rockhold's win over Weidman was impressive. The tide of the fight turned when Weidman went for a dumb takedown in Round 3, but Rockhold clearly had more power than Weidman, and he was the far crisper striker. Rockhold was brutally knocked out by Vitor Belfort (back when Vitor had power) in his UFC debut back in May 2013, but that is his only loss in nearly eight years. He has continuously improved in every fight since the Belfort loss and there is seemingly little doubt that he is the best middleweight in the world these days.

Bisping has won three fights in a row since the Rockhold loss, most recently over Anderson Silva in London in February. Bisping's style of fighting hasn't changed at all, and he has definitely lost a step during striking exchanges at age 37. However, his cardio remains as strong as ever, and he has plenty of experience in big fights. The problem for Bisping in this fight, other than the fact that Rockhold is a better fighter, is that Rockhold is a brutal matchup for him. Bisping's style consists of him constantly moving forward and pressuring his opponents, something that is a poor idea against the younger, taller, more talented Rockhold. If Bisping tries to mix up the game plan and get Rockhold to the ground, the champ will have an even bigger advantage than he would on his feet. With the way the cards fell, I have zero problem with the UFC giving Bisping a title shot here, but I don't think he has a realistic chance of winning. He also seems like a poor DK value play because even if he pulls off the massive upset, I think it would have to be via decision. Rockhold's all-around game makes him one of the last men in the world that any fighter should want to face on short notice.

THE PICK: Rockhold

Co-Main Event – Bantamweight Championship

Dominick Cruz (C) (21-1-0) v. Urijah Faber (33-8-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Cruz ($11,300), Faber ($8,100)
Vegas Odds: Cruz (-500), Faber (+400)

Like the Rockhold v. Bisping fight, this fight features two big names and two fighters who genuinely don't like each other, but once again, I expect this to be a lopsided affair. Cruz's only career loss came against Faber in a WEC fight in 2007. Cruz got his revenge when the two fought for a second time in July 2011. Cruz has only fought three times in the near five years since their second fight, but those three fights have resulted in wins over Demetrious Johnson, Takeya Mizugaki, and most recently, his win over T.J. Dillashaw that won him the UFC Bantamweight Championship back in January. Cruz's footwork is right there with Mighty Mouse's as the best in all of MMA. To put it simply, Cruz is really good -- I'm talking a top-five, pound-for-pound fighter as long as he can manage to stay healthy.

Since his last loss to Cruz, Faber is 8-3, although each time he was tasked with facing an elite fighter (Frankie Edgar, Renan Barao twice), he was dominated. Faber has the rare ability to match the pace that Cruz can set, something that virtually no one else in the world can do. However, I think he is going to really struggle in striking exchanges between the two men. Faber may be naturally stronger, but Cruz is quicker. If Cruz was able to easily slide out of the way of the majority of Dillashaw's punches, I see no way that Faber will be able to touch him. If I had any confidence in Faber's ability to get Cruz to the ground, perhaps I could see this fight playing out differently, but much like Bisping, I don't think Faber has any clear path to victory in this fight. This is a rare case where I see no value in using the underdog in either the main event or co-main event. Outside of Johnson and Jon Jones (assuming he beats Daniel Cormier at UFC 200), I think Cruz has the best chance of holding onto his title longer than any other champion in the UFC, assuming he is able to stay healthy. Which is far from a given. Still, there is no reason he shouldn't be able to easily get past Faber in the rubber match of their trilogy.



Max Holloway (15-3-0) v. Ricardo Lamas (15-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Holloway ($10,800), Lamas ($8,600)
Vegas Odds: Holloway (-325), Lamas (+265)

Holloway turned his career around following back-to-back losses to Dennis Bermudez and Conor McGregor in mid-2013. He has won eight fights in a row, and based on merit alone, he would seemingly be deserving of a title shot if he can defeat Lamas. That being said, it is hard to see how he fits in the title picture with McGregor the current featherweight champion and with Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar fighting for the interim title at UFC 200.

Lamas is another fighter who is right near the top of the division, but apparently miles away from another title shot. Lamas did get his chance at gold in February 2014. He managed to last the entire 25 minutes, but Aldo dominated him in a fight that I personally attended. To say the fight was totally one-sided would be an understatement. It will be interesting to see the game plan that Lamas attempts to implement in this fight. Holloway is a striker. He's tall for the featherweight division and he throws a ton of kicks. Lamas is the better wrestler of the two and while it may not be sexy, he would be smart to try and grind out a decision win here.

Holloway is younger, he has a higher ceiling and he enters this fight on a roll, but I truly don't see much separating these two men. This is a very good fight that should push the winner into the upper echelon of the 145-pound division, but even the victor will seemingly need at least one more big win to earn a title shot.  Holloway is a deserved favorite, but Lamas is the better value play. There is no good reason for Lamas to be such a massive underdog.

THE PICK: Holloway


Dan Henderson (31-14-0) v. Hector Lombard (34-5-1, 2NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Henderson ($8,400), Lombard ($11,000)
Vegas Odds: Henderson (+325), Lombard (-400)

The only three things that are guaranteed in life are death, taxes and Dan Henderson not hanging up his gloves when he should. At 45 years old, Hendo is 2-6 in his last eight fights, and those two victories have come against washed up fighters in Tim Boestch and Shogun Rua. I am frankly surprised that UFC President Dana White has allowed Henderson to hang on this long. White has notoriously forced fighters out when he felt they were finished and unable to compete at a high level anymore, and there has never been a clearer example of that then Hendo.

Lombard is a freak athlete who has won countless world championships in Judo. At age 38, he is no spring chicken either, but he has fought only once in the last 16 months due to a PED suspension, something that I actually think may help him moving forward (the time off, not the suspension). Lombard's biggest problem, and it's a huge one, is the fact that he gasses out like few others in the history of the sport. For the first six or seven minutes of a fight, Lombard looks like a world-beater. He legitimately looks like a future champion early on in his fights. From roughly the mid-way point of his fights on, he starts to look borderline incompetent. You just can't beat the best fighters in the world when you only compete half the time.

Henderson was one of the best in the world at one point, but he sure isn't anymore. Hendo's only prayer here is to land one of his trademark "H-Bombs" early on, but I don't see how that can happen with Lombard on top of him from the opening bell. I almost universally stay away from fighters who have a history of gassing out as badly as Lombard does, but I think the odds are quite high that he totally overwhelms Henderson in Round 1 and earns a stoppage victory.

THE PICK: Lombard


Dustin Poirier (19-4-0) v. Bobby Green (23-6-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Poirier ($10,600), Green ($8,800)
Vegas Odds:Poirier (-220), Green (+180)

Poirier's career had stalled a bit at featherweight, but he has been unstoppable since moving up to lightweight in April 2015. He has racked up three straight impressive wins, including two Performance of the Night bonuses. Poirier easily took a unanimous decision from top prospect Joe Duffy in his last fight in January.

Due to several injuries, it will be more than 18 months in between fights for Green by the time he steps into the octagon on Saturday. His last fight was a unanimous decision loss to Edson Barboza in November 2014, a loss that snapped an eight-fight winning streak for Green. This is an interesting matchup in the sense that both men are known for doing their best work on the feet, but both guys also have very underrated ground games. I think Green has a bit more power, but Poirier has a more diverse striking style.

This fight ultimately comes down to how concerned you are of Green's inactivity of late. If both fighters are on their game, this projects to be a pretty even fight. Poirier and Green are both top-ten lightweights and it wouldn't be a shock to see either of them push for a spot in the top-five at some point. It was a long time ago, but Green looked confused in the Barboza fight. Facing a guy who throws a ton of kicks from awkward angles, Green didn't have any clue how to defend them. Poirier doesn't have the same power in his legs that Barboza does, but he does have the ability to land a lot of shots that his opposition doesn't see coming. Combine that with Green's time on the sidelines and Poirier is my pick to win, although I would be all ears if you want to make the argument that Green is the better DK value play given the two fighters' salaries.

THE PICK: Poirier

Other Bouts


Brian Ortega (10-0-0, 1NC) v. Clay Guida (32-13-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Ortega ($10,900), Guida ($8,500)
Vegas Odds: Ortega (-275), Guida (+235)
THE PICK: Ortega


Beneil Dariush (12-2-0) v. James Vick (9-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Dariush ($10,000), Vick ($9,400)
Vegas Odds: Dariush (-185), Vick (+160)


Cole Miller (21-9-0, 1NC) v. Alex Caceres (11-8-0, 1NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Miller ($10,400), Cacaeres ($9,000)
Vegas Odds: Miller (-190), Caceres (+165)
THE PICK: Caceres

Women's Strawweight

Jessica Penne (12-4-0) v. Jessica Andrade (13-5-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Penne ($10,200), Andrade ($9,200)
Vegas Odds: Penne (-150), Andrade (+130)


Sean Strickland (17-1-0) v. Tom Breese (10-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries:Strickland ($9,100), Breese ($10,300)
Vegas Odds: Strickland (+120), Breese (-140)
THE PICK: Breese


Jonathan Wilson (7-0-0) v. Luiz Henrique da Silva (10-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Wilson ($10,700), Henrique da Silva ($8,700)
Vegas Odds: Wilson (-230), Henrique da Silva (+190)
THE PICK: Wilson


Kevin Casey (9-4-0, 2NC) v. Elvis Mutapcic (15-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Casey ($9,800), Mutapcic ($9,600)
Vegas Odds: Casey (+110), Mutapcic (-130)


Polo Reyes (6-3-0) v. Dong Hyun Kim (13-7-3)
DraftKings Salaries: Reyes ($10,100), Kim ($9,300)
Vegas Odds: Reyes (-110), Kim (-110)

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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