This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
With a spot in the top-10 likely on the line, two exciting light heavyweights are set to throw down Saturday in Las Vegas.
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 MMA 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.
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)
- 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
Long on talent and short on production, Walker has lost three of his past four fights. He originally burst onto the scene in late 2018 with three straight first-round knockout victories to begin his UFC run, but Walker has been predictably exposed as the level of competition standing across from him has risen. Walker has exceptional size (6-foot-6) and legitimate power, but his secondary skills are lacking, and his chin in questionable. There is room for immediate advancement in a thin light heavyweight division, but I'm not optimistic the Brazilian will be able to take advantage of the opening. The UFC is still clearly confident in Walker, however, as the company recently handed him a new six-fight contract.
Hill suffered a shocking knockout defeat to mat specialist Paul Craig in June 2021, but rebounded with a brilliant knockout win of his own against Jimmy Crute in early December. The aforementioned TKO was really just a result of Hill getting his arm broken by Crute during a submission attempt. Hill has shown far more good than bad during his early run with the company, posting a 3-1 (1NC) record. The one no-contest was a knockout win over Klidson Abreu which was changed to a no contest after Hill was popped for marijuana in his post-fight drug test. Hill is heavy-handed and swings for the bleachers with every strike. He, too, lacks secondary offensive skills, but that seems unlikely to matter in this one.
So, if Walker was overrated from the very start and Hill's success is potentially the result of a small sample size, where does that leave us? Well, it leaves us with a fight that seems unlikely to last all that long. Walker's average bout is 7:50, while Hill's average fight time is just 6:17.
Hill looks overpriced here, but this is not a deep card. I ultimately can't get past Walker's durability issues. His weak chin and lack of secondary offensive skills leave him with zero margin for error against halfway decent opposition. I still think Walker can put together a nice run if matched up against fringe top-15 fighters, but Hill is a quality opponent, and that makes this an easy pick, albeit it one without a ton of confidence.
THE PICK: Hill
Co-Main Event - Catchweight (195 pounds)
This was originally scheduled to be a middleweight bout between Daukaus and Julian Marquez, but the latter was forced to withdraw, and the late opponent change resulted in this being a 195-pound catchweight fight.
Daukaus has fought better than his 1-2 (1NC) mark with the UFC would lead you to believe, but you are what your record says you are in this sport, and there's a non-zero chance Daukaus could be fighting for his job on Saturday. Daukaus is big for the middleweight division at 6-foot-3, but the lack of stopping power in his hands has been a real problem thus far. He doesn't have a single knockout victory in his professional career, and I don't expect a sudden turnaround in that department.
Pickett has picked up back-to-back unanimous decision victories over Joseph Holmes and Laureano Staropoli on the heels of back-to-back defeats to begin his run with the company. He's the exact opposite of Daukaus in the sense that eight of his 13 career victories have come via knockout. Pickett can mix in a takedown here and there (1.68 per 15 minutes), but rolling on the ground with Daukaus is a potential for disaster. I expect Pickett to keep try to keep this fight standing in hopes of winning it with his boxing.
These are two big dudes. Pickett will enter with a four-inch reach edge despite the fact Daukaus is an inch taller. It's imperative Daukaus limits Pickett's space on the feet, if for no other reason than it's another potential avenue to get this fight to the mat, where he should have a huge edge.
I was highly intrigued by the originally scheduled Marquez fight, but of the massive clash in styles, but this one doesn't do a ton for me. Daukaus should be fine as long as he doesn't get caught with one huge shot, and Pickett has struggled to land like that since arriving on the scene.
THE PICK: Daukaus
Porter has quietly won two straight unanimous decisions (Chase Sherman, Josh Parisian) on the heels of a first-round knockout defeat to Chris Daukaus in August 2020. Porter has a pretty well-rounded offensive game for a heavyweight. That's the good news. The bad news is that he's on the shorter side (6-foot) and there are questions regarding the durability of his chin. The latter is a huge issue considering most every guy in the division hits hard.
Baudot has been knocked out in each of his first two UFC fights, although the second was overturned and changed to a no-contest. He quickly gained a reputation as a heavy-handed knockout artist on the regional circuit. Yet to the surprise of absolutely no one, Baudot has quickly been exposed as the competition level he is facing has risen. He just turned 34 years of age and has no ground game to speak of, so it's nearly impossible to believe there is any sort of run forthcoming. In fact, I would wager the odds are far better than fifty/fifty that Baudot will be handed his walking papers if he comes up short on Saturday.
This is a really thin card, so it's a good idea to get a piece of this one in some form or fashion. It's certainly not going to be a technical masterpiece, but there is a good chance somebody will score an early knockout, and that makes both men worth a look from a DK perspective.
It's impossible to pick Baudot to win given what we have seen from him with the company, but he does have some power, and I highly, highly doubt there is a $1400 difference in salary between these two. It's not as if Porter is Francis Ngannou. I'm all for Baudot as a punt DK play in hopes he earns a surprising knockout. Stranger things seem to happen on a weekly basis in the UFC.
THE PICK: Porter
The very definition of an all-or-nothing fighter, Buckley is 3-2 in the UFC with all five of his bouts ending via knockout. It was the same story prior to his arrival in the company, and it's quite clear these fire fights and senseless brawls are what we will se from the 27-year-old moving forward. Buckley is very strong from a physical standpoint, and his power is legitimate but he is the type of fighter who is willing to eat a shot in order to land two of his own, and that strategy very rarely works when tasked with facing better competition.
Alhassan saved his job with a 17-second knockout victory over Alessio Di Chirico last August. He entered that fight having lost three in a row and would have certainly been released had he come up short. He should now have some cushion considering the dominant fashion in which he won that bout, but he still needs another victory here if he hopes to remain somewhat relevant in a loaded middleweight division.
This should easily be one of the more entertaining fights on the entire card. Both of these guys fight extremely aggressively, have power and like to slug it out. The defensive striking numbers are eerily similar, so expect it to come down to whatever man can land that one big shot to alter the course of the bout.
This is another bout that looks appealing from a DK perspective considering both men tend to ignore their own well being in striking exchanges. I advise getting a piece of both in some form or fashion as there is upside to be had both ways.
For my pick, I'm going with Alhassan. He provides some modest salary relief and has proven to be more durable than Buckley of late. That alone is reason enough to roll with the underdog in a fight which figures to be quite close.
THE PICK: Alhassan