DraftKings MMA: UFC 275 DFS Preview

DraftKings MMA: UFC 275 DFS Preview

This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.

UFC 275 takes place Saturday at Singapore Indoor Stadium, and Jon Litterine is back to break down the key fights and offer his DFS picks for a card featuring two title fights.

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, including a $700k UFC 275 Special with $150k to first place. Players get a $50,000 budget to select six fighters, and the scoring is distributed as follows:

Note: Scoring has been updated as of early-2021! Please review the scoring changes below.

Moves Scoring
Strikes: +0.2 PTS
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
Control Time: +0.03 PTS/SECOND
Takedown (TD): +5 PTS
Reversal/Sweep (REV): +5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +10 PTS

Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win (1rW+): +90 PTS
2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rW+): +45 PTS
4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 PTS
5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 PTS
Decision Win (WBD+): +30 PTS
Quick Win Bonus: +25 PTS
(fight is finished in 60 seconds or less)

Scoring Notes

  • Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
  • A Significant Strike will count as both a strike and a significant strike and will be worth a total of 0.4 Pts
  • Control Time is the time spent in the dominant position on the ground or in the clinch. +0.03 points are awarded per second.
  • A Knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider an appreciable amount of time.
  • A Quick Win Bonus is awarded to the winning fighter if they win in the first round in 60 seconds or less.

Main Event - Light Heavyweight Championship

(C) Glover Teixeira (33-7-0) v. Jiri Prochazka (28-3-1)
DK Salaries: Teixeira ($7,300), Prochazka ($8,900)
Vegas Odds: Teixeira (+170), Prochazka (-200)
Odds to Finish: -500

Teixeira submitted Jan Blachowicz to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship last October, two days after his 42nd birthday. In the process, Glover became the oldest first-time champion in company history. This was Teixeira's second chance at UFC gold. He dropped a lopsided unanimous decision to Jon Jones at UFC 172 in April 2014, and I would have bet everything I owned that he never ever would have gotten another title shot, let alone emerged victorious. Overall, Glover has won six-straight fights dating back to January 2019. Included in that stretch are four submission victories, a knockout win and a split decision victory over Nikita Krylov

A former Rizin Light Heavyweight Champion, Prochazka has been unstoppable since arriving on the scene in July 2020, scoring back-to-back knockout wins over Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes. The sample size in the UFC is obviously small, but everything in Jiri's background says he is a top-flight light heavyweight. This is a guy who has won a dozen fights in a row, with 11 of them, including ten-straight, coming via knockout. Prochazka has lost once since June 2013, that being a knockout defeat at the hands of "King" Mo Lawal on New Year's Eve 2015. I understand why those who haven't seen Jiri compete on a regular basis are hesitant to fully invest here, but I am completely on board. 

As you would imagine, Teixeira is a poor bet to hold on to the title for any real length of time, mostly due to his advanced age. He keeps himself in terrific shape, is an excellent wrestler and still has real power in his hands, but Prochazka is almost exactly 13 years' younger than Glover, and that must be talked about. Teixiera could be knocked out in 10 seconds here and it wouldn't diminish his accomplishment in the least. The fact of the matter is that he is an older fighter, and it's a near certainty his next half-dozen fights will not go anywhere near as well as the prior six.

All the numbers regarding Prochazka get tossed out the window because the sample size is so small. His power is clearly overwhelming, and he is most comfortable in a brawl. While that can prove worrisome at times, Jiri has proven plenty durable over the years. 

Glover is going to have to do whatever is necessary to ensure this doesn't develop into a stand-up affair. In addition to his power edge, Prochazka enters with a four-inch edge in reach. Teixeira is at real risk of being overwhelmed in short order in a kickboxing match.

There's enough value in Glover's discounted DK price that I'm interested. He's made a career of winning fights that he shouldn't, and while I don't think he'll emerge victorious here, his salary is cheap enough that it's worth a sprinkle to see if he is able to survive the early portion of the fight. 

The more likely scenario is that Prochazka survives any flurry Teixeira throws his way and eventually gets a stoppage of his own. The power and age difference just figures to be too much for Glover to overcome.

UFC 275 PICK: Prochazka
 

Co-Main Event - Women's Flyweight Championship

(C) Valentina Shevchenko (22-3-0) v. Taila Santos (19-1-0)
DK Salaries: Shevchenko ($9,600), Santos ($6,600)
Vegas Odds: Shevchenko (-630), Santos (+450)
Odds to Finish: -110

Shevchenko continues to do her thing, making a mockery of everyone put in her way at 125 pounds and showing zero signs of slowing down. This was be Valentina's seventh title defense, with the first six resulting in four knockout wins and two unanimous decision victories. It appeared for the longest time that every women's fight at both flyweight and bantamweight would simply serve as an appetizer for the third bout between Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes, but then Nunes went out and shockingly lost to Julianna Pena last December. I would be equally shocked if Valentina is upset in this one.

Everyone is well aware there are no challengers for Shevchenko at flyweight, and thus Santos gets the call here. At least Santos enters having won four in a row. That said, I fail to see how unanimous decision victories over Roxanne Modafferi, Gillian Robertson and Molly McCann, in addition to a submission win over Joanne Wood qualify you for a shot at Valentina, but that's where we are at in this division, and it won't be changing anytime soon.

Shevchenko is easily a top-five pound-for-pound fighter at this point. She does everything exceptionally well. She has power, fires off plenty of volume on the feet, is an exceptional grappler and seemingly twice as strong as any woman in the division. 

Santos' numbers actually stack up pretty well, but I imagine that's largely due to the competition level she has faced. All 10 of the Brazilian's knockout victories came prior to her UFC arrival, which leads me to believe she was simply beating up on lesser opponents. She has averaged 2.44 takedowns per 15 minutes during her time with the UFC, but Valentina defends the takedown at a 77-percent clip and figures to have a significant edge in terms of upper-body strength.

Much as the case with Nunes for the longest time, the UFC will continue to have problems promoting and selling Shevchenko fights because nobody believes any opponent can give her a competitive bout. In Valentina's six title defenses, she fought in just one main event, and that was a Fight Night card against Liz Carmouche. Assuming Valentina wins this fight, I don't know where else the UFC can turn, because Nunes is going to be tied up for a while as she tries to regain her bantamweight crown. 

Shevchenko's is ONLY a -630 favorite, which means Vegas believes Santos will show better than the vast majority of Valentina's recent opposition. That could potentially be the case, but Valentina is going to have such an edge in terms of technique that I think Santos is at risk of spending a good portion of this fight on her back despite the fact her takedown defense has been exceptional (88 percent) to date.

As is always the case in a Valentina fight, you gave to use her in some of your lineups because of her slate-breaking abilities. As one would guess, I have little interest in Santos as a "punt" play, even on a thin card.

UFC 275 PICK: Shevchenko
 

Women's Strawweight

Zhang Weili (21-3-0) v. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-4-0)
DK Salaries: Zhang ($8,800), Jedrzejczyk ($7,400)
Vegas Odds: Zhang (-160), Jedrzejczyk (+140)
Odds to Finish: +165

This will be a rematch of a March 2020 fight which Zhang -- then champion -- won via split decision. It was voted by countless publications as Fight of the Year. 

Zhang has fought twice since the first fight between the two, both of which came against Rose Namajunas. She lost the first one -- and her title -- via knockout in 78 seconds, and dropped a split decision in the rematch last November. Zhang has for more power than most women her size. She's a very talented striker and is typically exceedingly durable. I'm viewing the first Namajunas loss -- or at least how it occurred -- as a fluke. Zhang absorbed 196 total strikes against Joanna the first time around. This is not a woman with durability issues.

Joanna hasn't fought since the first fight, which means she is looking at more than 27 months on the sidelines by the time she steps into the Octagon. Jedrzejczyk turns 35 years of age this coming August, so while the rest likely will have done her some good, she's going to have to fight frequently moving forward if she hopes of many another push towards the title picture. "Octagon rust" is real, regardless of what Dominick Cruz says, and it's fair to wonder how much it will impact Joanna.

Most felt Zhang deserved the first fight, but it was close. Neither woman scored a knockdown, while Zhang attempted the only eight takedowns of the bout, landing just one of them. It was essentially a back-and-forth kickboxing match in which both competitors were able to handle everything the other threw their way.

Zhang should have the power edge. She's also the better grappler. Joanna is far more technical on the feet, but doesn't have a single stoppage win dating back to June 2015. A Jedrzejczyk victory will likely come via decision, which means we have to talk about what her cardio will look like after the long layoff. It will probably be fine in a fight scheduled for three rounds, but it's something to keep an eye on.

The sequel is never as good as the original, and it's virtually impossible this fight will come close to matching the first one, so I think we'd all be better off recognizing that going in. 

I'd be wary of a stack here despite the fact it would have worked fine the first time around. Joanna's long layoff concerns me. If it takes her the better part of two rounds to find the range, she is going to have to be virtually flawless the rest of the way to take a decision, which is probably the only way she wins to begin with. I'll pass.

UFC 275 PICK: Zhang

Flyweight

Rogerio Bontorin (16-4-0, 1NC) v. Manel Kape (17-6-0)
DK Salaries: Bontorin ($7,000), Kape ($9,200)
Vegas Odds: Bontorin (+180), Kape (-220)
Odds to Finish: -180

Bontorin has really, really struggled over the course of his last four fights, posting a 0-3 (1NC) mark. While the record is horrendous on the surface, a deeper dive provides some hope moving forward. The first two losses in that stretch came against the two men set to fight in the upcoming interim UFC Flyweight Championship bout, Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France. The third fight was a unanimous decision win for Bontorin over Matt Schnell before it was changed to a no-contest due to Rogerio failing an out-of-competition drug test. The last loss was a split decision defeat to Brandon Royval this past January. Bontorin still needs to emerge with a victory here, but it would be foolish to completely give up on him just because of his poor record.

Kape began his UFC run with back-to-back decisions defeats to Alexandre Pantoja and Matheus Nicolau, and has since responded with back-to-back knockout wins over Ode Osbourne and Zhalgas Zhumagulov. Kape had plenty of success in Rizin prior to his UFC arrival, and he has easy top-ten physical traits, if not better, but he's had issues winning the "big" fight over the course of his career. This is a real opportunity for Kape to make a statement on the main card of a pay-per-view.

There is going to be a significant power and speed edge on the feet for Kape. He's lands nearly twice as many significant strikes per minute (4.69) than Bontorin (2.63), although Kape can get lazy with his stand-up defense at times. I don't think Bontorin is fluid enough in the striking game to take advantage of those holes, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on if Kape wins here and faces a more talented boxer his next time out. 

Bontorin is going to have the edge on the mat, and he is a good enough wrestler (2.90) to get this fight to the ground on multiple occasions, although he will have to overcome Kape's excellent 80 percent takedown defense in order to implement that plan. It's worth noting that Kape has never been knocked out in his pro career, although he has been submitted twice. 

I like Bontorin more than both his DraftKings salary and the odds would lead you to believe, but like Glover in the main event, he's at real risk of being overwhelmed on the feet in a prolonged kickboxing match. I'd like to see him beat a halfway decent opponent before fully investing.

UFC 275 PICK: Kape
 

Welterweight

Jack Della Maddalena (11-2-0) v. Ramazan Emeev (20-5-0)
DK Salaries: Maddalena ($8,200), Emeev ($8,000)
Vegas Odds: Maddalena (-155), Emeev (+135)
Odds to Finish: +145

Maddalena began his professional career with back-to-back stoppage defeats in a two-month span back in 2016, but he's won 11 fights in a row since, including 10 via stoppage. A product of Dana White's Contender Series, Maddalena has had one official UFC bout, a 2:59 knockout of Pete Rodriguez this past January. The obvious concern at this point is the lack of quality competition Maddalena has faced thus far. He's spent nearly his entire professional career on the Australian regional circuit and has never gone up against an opponent even the most avid fans of MMA would have heard of. Maddalena might be really good, but the sample size is far too small to accurately pinpoint his future potential right now.

Emeev has quietly amassed a 5-2 mark in his first seven UFC bouts, although all seven of the fights have seen the final bell. His most recent bout was a split decision loss to Danny Roberts last October, although Emeev deserved to win that one. A former M-1 Global Middleweight Champion, Emeev made his welterweight debut prior to his second UFC bout in September 2018 and has competed exclusively at 170 pounds since. Emeev is only 5-foot-10, so there was never any chance of him having prolonged success at 185 pounds once he arrived in the UFC.

Emeev is a solid all-around fighter with the ability to be competitive wherever the fight takes place, but he lacks high-end athleticism, and he's obviously struggled to finish his competition. His durability has been impressive, though.

Maddalena remains a relative unknown in the grand scheme of things, but I'd much rather bet on the explosiveness and finishing ability he has shown thus far, even if it has come on the regional circuit against sub-par competition. He seems like a legitimate value play despite being favored. You're going to struggle to find quality options the further down the card you go, making both of these guys reasonable picks.

UFC 275 PICK: Maddalena

Other Bouts

Middleweight
Brendan Allen (18-5-0) v. Jacob Malkoun (6-1-0)
DK Salaries: Allen ($9,000), Malkoun ($7,200)
Vegas Odds: Allen (-280), Malkoun (+225)
Odds to Finish: -200
UFC 275 PICK: Allen

Featherweight
Seungwoo Choi (10-4-0) v. Josh Culibao (9-1-1)
DK Salaries: Choi ($9,100), Culibao ($7,100)
Vegas Odds: Choi (-225), Culibao (+185)
Odds to Finish: -120
UFC 275 PICK: Choi

Lightweight
Steve Garcia (12-4-0) v. Hayisaer Maheshate (6-1-0)
DK Salaries: Garcia ($8,400), Maheshate ($7,800)
Vegas Odds: Garcia (-170), Maheshate (+150)
Odds to Finish: -225
UFC 275 PICK: Garcia

Welterweight
Andre Fialho (16-4-0, 1NC) v. Jake Matthews (17-5-0)
DK Salaries: Fialho ($8,500), Matthews ($7,700)
Vegas Odds: Fialho (-140), Matthews (+120)
Odds to Finish: -160
UFC 275 PICK: Matthews

Bantamweight
Kyung Ho Kang (17-9-0, 1NC) v. Danaa Batgerel (12-3-0)
DK Salaries: Kang ($7,900), Batgerel ($8,300)
Vegas Odds: Kang (+130), Batgerel (-150)
Odds to Finish: TBD
UFC 275 PICK: Batgerel

Women's Strawweight
Na Liang (19-5-0) v. Silvana Gomez Juarez (10-4-0)
DK Salaries: Na ($7,600), Juarez ($8,600)
Vegas Odds: Na (+130), Juarez (-150)
Odds to Finish: -260
UFC 275 PICK: Na

Women's Featherweight
Ramona Pascual (6-3-0) v. Joselyne Edwards (10-4-0)
DK Salaries: Pascual ($7,500), Edwards ($8,700)
Vegas Odds: Pascual (+150), Edwards (-170)
Odds to Finish: +150
UFC 275 PICK: Edwards

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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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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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