DraftKings MMA: UFC Long Island DFS Preview

DraftKings MMA: UFC Long Island DFS Preview

This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.

UFC Long Island takes place Saturday, and Jon Litterine is back to break down the top fights, plus offer his DFS picks and predictions for the key matchups on the card.

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 $500k UFC Throwdown with $100k 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): +0.2 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 - Featherweight

Brian Ortega (15-2-0, 1NC) v. Yair Rodriguez (14-3-0, 1NC)
DK Salaries: Ortega ($8,500), Rodriguez ($7,700)
Vegas Odds: Ortega (-165), Rodriguez (+140)
Odds to Finish: -140

Ortega's 1-2 record in his past three bouts appears ugly on the surface, but then you take a look and see that the defeats came at the hands of Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway, the two best featherweights on the planet, and it doesn't seem as bad. The fact Ortega wasn't competitive against either man bodes poorly for his chances of ever climbing to the top of the mountain at 145 pounds, but "T-City" is clearly right at the top of that next tier of fighters and has proven so time and time again.

Rodriguez lost his most recent fight, also to Holloway, last November. I like Yair and think he's a real talented fighter, particularly in the stand-up, but I also think the expectations here have gotten a bit out of hand. Rodriguez is 8-1 (1NC) in ten UFC bouts other than the Holloway fight. His two best victories in that stretch came against Dan Hooker way back in 2015, and a knockout win over The Korean Zombie in November 2018 in which he scored a miracle stoppage victory with a second left in regulation. His resume isn't as impressive as one would think at first glance.

Ortega is known for being one of the most talented mat specialists in the sport today, but his best moments have come as the result of him improving his striking skills the past couple years. Ortega's stand-up still isn't good enough for him to compete against guys like Volkanovski and Holloway, but his improvements are legitimate and have proven to be enough to defeat anyone on that next tier down, such as Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is the bigger man and it's imperative he use that to his advantage here. Yair enters with a three-inch edge in height and a two-inch edge in reach. I expect plenty of kicks and creative combinations in hopes of keeping Ortega off-balance and preventing him from getting into a groove. Ortega isn't much of a wrestler, averaging less than a takedown (0.87) per 15 minutes, so Yair won't have to worry about him constantly shooting in an attempt to get him to the mat. 

Everything here seems just about right. Ortega's stand-up game is much improved, as I mentioned earlier, but he's still absorbing a disturbing 6.69 significant strikes per minute. I think Yair can wear him down with volume, but I also think Ortega, who has been knocked out just once in his professional career, will be able to emerge victorious in what should be a close and competitive fight. 


Co-Main Event - Women's Strawweight

Michelle Waterson (18-9-0) v. Amanda Lemos (11-2-1)
DK Salaries: Waterson ($6,800), Lemos ($9,400)
Vegas Odds: Waterson (+260), Lemos (-315)
Odds to Finish: +150

Waterson continues to get meaningful fights despite the fact she has just one victory in four bouts dating back to October 2019. Waterson's most recent bout, a unanimous decision defeat to Marina Rodriguez in May 2021, came at flyweight. She'll be back at 115 pounds here, although I doubt it makes much of a difference. Waterson's biggest issue throughout her UFC run is that she's too undersized. She did her best work in Invicta at 105 pounds, a weight class that obviously doesn't exist in the UFC. I find it impossible to believe there is some sort of streak forthcoming for Waterson at age 36.

Lemos parlayed a five-fight winning streak from December 2019 to December 2021 into a main event fight against Jessica Andrade this past April, in which she was submitted in a little over three minutes. I didn't think Lemos would win, but I did expect a more competitive showing than what we got. 

Lemos raised her stock by beating up on lesser competition. In fact, she doesn't have a significant win during her entire UFC run. Her best victory was a split decision win over Angela Hill, and most everyone watching thought she lost that fight. Toss in the fact she turned 35 years of age this past May, and Lemos is in no better shape than Waterson in terms of making a significant run moving forward.

I am truly shocked that Lemos is the highest-priced fighter on the entire slate. For starters, Waterson's issues have come against bigger opponents. Lemos is only an inch taller. She also isn't much of a wrestler, averaging 1.22 takedowns per 15 minutes.

I understand that you cannot have much confidence in Waterson given everything we have seen from her the past couple years, but I don't think Lemos is particularly good. If she is able to remain upright, I could easily see Waterson outpointing Lemos in a kickboxing match. The payoff is so great that I'm all over Waterson as an underdog.



Li Jingliang (18-7-0) v. Muslim Salikhov (18-2-0)
DK Salaries: Li ($7,600), Salikhov ($8,600)
Vegas Odds: Li (+150), Salikhov (-175)
Odds to Finish: -105

Regular readers of this column know I am a big fan of Li. His power is legitimate, and he's underrated on the mat despite being submitted by Khamzat Chimaev in his most recent bout last October. Li's greatest issue is that he has had problems winning the "big" fight over the course of his career. He has knockout victories on his resume over solid fighters such as Santiago Ponzinibbio and Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, but that's about the extent of his quality victories. At age 34, time is running out for Li to make a run.

Salikhov has earned this opportunity on the strength of five-straight wins dating back to November 2017, but he turned 38 years of age in early June and has even less margin for error moving forward than Li. Salikhov is a former professional kickboxer and multi-time world Sanda champion, which is also known as Chinese kickboxing. 

Both of these men can mix in a takedown here and there, but the strength of each is their striking, and I'm fascinated to see where this goes if it turns into the stand-up battle many expect.

Both men are virtually the same exact size. Li tends to be a bit more active in terms of volume, although I think the power edge is about even. Neither has been stopped via strikes in their respective professional careers. If these two come out throwing bombs and do so the entire bout, I'll be extremely impressed if this fight sees the final bell.

Simply put, this is smart matchmaking. Li and Salikhov are both getting up there in age. The winner here will be back on track, while the loser will find himself in an extremely difficult spot moving forward. 

I'll take Salikhov outright, but Li is most certainly a live underdog.


Women's Featherweight

Lauren Murphy (15-5-0) v. Miesha Tate (19-8-0)
DK Salaries: Murphy ($7,400), Tate ($8,800)
Vegas Odds: Murphy (+175), Tate (-205)
Odds to Finish: +200

Tate returned from her 3.5-year layoff last July, scoring a knockout win over the since-retired Marion Reneau. Things got predictably more difficult last November, as she dropped a unanimous decision to Ketlen Vieira in a main event spot. Both of those fights went about as I expected. Tate has enough talent and experience to defeat fringe-roster fighters such as Reneau, but I have an awfully difficult time believing a fighter who is due to turn 36 years of age this coming August and has competed just twice dating back to November 2016 is primed to go on any sort of legitimate run.

Murphy began her UFC run with four losses in her first six bouts. She followed up that streak with five straight wins which earned her a shot at Valentina Shevchenko's UFC Flyweight Championship last September. That fight went as expected, as Valentina eventually won via fourth-round knockout. Murphy could retire tomorrow and her time with the company would have to be considered an overwhelming success. Murphy, who turns 39 years of age in late-July, lacks both athleticism and any semblance of a ground game. She has eight career wins via knockout, but six of them came in his first eight professional bouts. Murphy possesses a skill set which tends to age particularly poorly.

Both women are reckless on the feet, and I would have a difficult time picking a winner in a stand-up battle, but Tate should have a clear edge in terms of grappling. That said, Murphy is deceptively strong and is more difficult to get to to the mat than her poor 65-percent takedown defense would lead you to believe. 

This should be a tightly-contested, grinding fight. I like Murphy as a punt DraftKings play here simply because I think she'll be in very good shape if she can remain upright. I'm ultimately worried about Tate's grappling advantage too much to pick Murphy outright, but Lauren definitely has a clear path to victory, and her price tag is awfully low.


Other Bouts

Matt Schnell (15-6-0, 1NC) v. Su Mudaerji (16-4-0)
DK Salaries: Schnell ($7,100), Su ($9,100)
Vegas Odds: Schnell (+220), Su (-260)
Odds to Finish: -140

Shane Burgos (14-3-0) v. Charles Jourdain (13-4-1)
DK Salaries: Burgos ($9,000), Jourdain ($7,200)
Vegas Odds: Burgos (-175), Jourdain (+150)
Odds to Finish: +110

Puna Soriano (8-2-0) v. Dalcha Lungiambula (11-4-0)
DK Salaries: Soriano ($9,200), Lungiambula ($7,000)
Vegas Odds: Soriano (-240), Lungiambula (+200)
Odds to Finish: -185

Ricky Simon (19-3-0) v. Jack Shore (16-0-0)
DK Salaries: Simon ($7,800), Shore ($8,400)
Vegas Odds: Simon (+140), Shore (-160)
Odds to Finish: +150

Bill Algeo (15-6-0) v. Herbert Burns (11-3-0)
DK Salaries: Algeo ($8,700), Burns ($7,500)
Vegas Odds: Algeo (-180), Burns (+155)
Odds to Finish: -130

Light Heavyweight
Dustin Jacoby (17-5-1) v. Da Un Jung (15-2-1)
DK Salaries: Jacoby ($8,300), Jung ($7,900)
Vegas Odds; Jacoby (-130), Jung (+110)
Odds to Finish: -120

Dwight Grant (11-5-0) v. Dustin Stoltzfus (13-4-0)
DK Salaries: Grant ($8,900), Stoltzfus ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: Grant (-145), Stoltzfus (+125)
Odds to Finish: -175

Women's Strawweight
Jessica Penne (14-6-0) v. Emily Ducote (11-6-0)
DK Salaries: Penne ($8,000), Ducote ($8,200)
Vegas Odds: Penne (+120), Ducote (-140)
Odds to Finish: +130

Note: All odds accurate as of time of posting, and taken from the DraftKings Sportsbook, if available. Check out the RotoWire MMA Betting section for the most up-to-date odds on all fighters.

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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