Drake's Takes: UFC 291 Poirier vs. Gaethje

Drake's Takes: UFC 291 Poirier vs. Gaethje

This article is part of our Drake's Takes series.

The top MMA betting and DFS plays for this weekend's UFC 291 card are up and courtesy of Drake Burden, who breaks down betting and lineup strategy, as well as offers predictions for the entire event.

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Miranda Maverick (11-5-0) v. Priscila Cachoeira (12-4-0)

Miranda Maverick - Height: 5'3" - Reach: 65" - Southpaw
~ Moderate volume 
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 7 finishes in 11 wins

Priscila Cachoeira - Height: 5'7" - Reach: 66" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 7 finishes in 12 wins

DFS Perspective: I expect this fight to be tight until one takes over with their game plan. Maverick should be looking for takedowns and to keep this on the mat. Cachoeria will look to strike and use her power to knock Maverick out. Maverick has never been finished, so I will look for her to get this down early and control on the mat. 

UFC 291 Pick: Maverick

Matthew Semelsberger (11-5-0) v. Uros Medic (8-1-0)

Matthew Semelsberger - Height: 6'1" - Reach: 75" - Switch
~ Moderate volume 
~ Plus wrestling
~ 7 finishes in 11 wins

Uros Medic - Height: 6'1" - Reach: 71" – Southpaw
~ High volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 8 finishes in 8 wins

DFS Perspective: I expect this to be a fast-paced striking match with both guys having moments. Either could knock out the other at any time. Semelsberger will have the edge in technical striking, while Medic will have the edge in power and volume. Semelsberger has also faced better competition, but I like Medic to apply continuous forward pressure and finish this one early. 

UFC 291 Pick: Medic

C.J. Vergara (11-4-1) v. Vinicius Salvador (14-5-0)

C.J. Vergara - Height: 5'6" - Reach: 68" - Orthodox
~ High volume 
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 7 finishes in 11 wins

Vinicius Salvador - Height: 5'7" - Reach: 70" – Southpaw
~ High volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 14 finishes in 14 wins

DFS Perspective: This fight should be a slugfest, with one getting knocked out early. Vergara has shown better defense and accuracy but has the tendency to be wild at times. Salvador has only had one fight in the UFC and lost a tough decision, but he has recorded a finish in all of his wins and is dangerous. This is a solid fight to target for GPP contests, as someone is likely getting knocked out. 

UFC 291 Pick: Salvador

Jake Matthews (18-6-0) v. Darrius Flowers (12-5-1)

Jake Matthews - Height: 5'11" - Reach: 73" - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume 
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 12 finishes in 18 wins

Darrius Flowers - Height: 5'9" - Reach: 71" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 9 finishes in 12 wins

DFS Perspective: Flowers, primarily a striker, will make his UFC debut in what should be his toughest test to date. In a striking match, this would be a much closer fight. If Matthews takes this to the mat, he likely easily wins. I expect Matthews to be too much for the debuting Flowers and take this one.  

UFC 291 Pick: Matthews

Roman Kopylov (10-2-0) v. Claudio Ribeiro (11-3-0)

Roman Kopylov - Height: 6'0" - Reach: 75" - Southpaw
~ Moderate volume 
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 9 finishes in 10 wins

Claudio Ribeiro - Height: 6'1" - Reach: 77" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 11 finishes in 11 wins

DFS Perspective: Another potential slugfest with both fighters preferring to throw heavy hands rather than take it to the mat. Ribeiro throws caution to the wind, constantly looking for the knockout. Kopylov is a little more tactical, waiting for his shots, and sits on an excellent counter. This should be a popular fight for DFS, as a quick win bonus is possible.

UFC 291 Pick: Kopylov

Derrick Lewis (26-11-0) v. Marcos Rogerio de Lima (21-8-1)

Derrick Lewis - Height: 6'3" - Reach: 79" - Orthodox
~ Low volume 
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 22 finishes in 26 wins

Marcos Rogerio de Lima - Height: 6'1" - Reach: 75" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 17 finishes in 21 wins

DFS Perspective: Lewis will always be a threat to end a fight early with his insane power. However, having lost four of five and struggling to get even a single significant strike in his last fight leads me to continue going against him. De Lima will have a massive edge on the mat if he can take it there, and given Lewis's struggles on the mat, it would be wise to do so. De Lima will also have a significant edge in volume, and barring a knockout, he should win this easily.

UFC 291 Pick: De Lima

Trevin Giles (16-4-0) v. Gabriel Bonfim (14-0-0)

Gabriel Bonfim - Height: 6'1" - Reach: 72" - Orthodox
~ High volume 
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 14 finishes in 14 wins

Trevin Giles - Height: 6'0" - Reach: 74" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 11 finishes in 16 wins

DFS Perspective: While Giles has had some success in his UFC tenure, he has lost four times and been finished in all four. I expect him to be finished for the fifth time in this one. Gabriel Bonfim is a rising star and absolutely showed out in his debut. This fight should be similar, with him setting the tempo and eventually getting this to the mat. Another win by submission is likely, though a knockout is impossible for him. 

UFC 291 Pick: Bonfim

Michael Chiesa (16-6-0) v. Kevin Holland (24-9-0)

Michael Chiesa - Height: 6'1" - Reach: 75" - Southpaw
~ Low volume 
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 10 finishes in 16 wins

Kevin Holland - Height: 6'3" - Reach: 81" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 20 finishes in 24 wins

DFS Perspective: This fight largely depends on Holland's takedown and wrestling defense. If it has improved, he can keep this on the feet and coast to a victory. If not, Chiesa could have a field day with takedowns, control and submission attempts. Chiesa has taken the needed time off to get his head straight. I like him to get back into the win column in a big way. Any win for Chiesa would yield a substantial value for DFS.

UFC 291 Pick: Chiesa

Tony Ferguson (25-8-0) v. Bobby Green (29-14-1)

Tony Ferguson - Height: 5'11" - Reach: 76" - Orthodox
~ High volume 
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 20 finishes in 25 wins

Bobby Green - Height: 5'10" - Reach: 71" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 18 finishes in 29 wins

DFS Perspective: Green is a middling fighter with some impressive wins and a solid overall game. Ferguson was a top fighter for the majority of his UFC career, but finds himself in a steep decline highlighted by a five-fight losing streak. He had his moments in his last two and showed he might still have some left in the tank. If this is his retirement fight like some think it is, I expect him to go out with a bang and win. 

UFC 291 Pick: Ferguson

Stephen Thompson (17-6-1) v. Michel Pereira (28-11-0)

Stephen Thompson - Height: 6'0" - Reach: 75" - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume 
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 9 finishes in 17 wins

Michel Pereira - Height: 6'1" - Reach: 73" – Orthodox
~ High volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 17 finishes in 28 wins

DFS Perspective: In a striking match, Thompson has beaten some of the best in the division. He struggles when he goes up against a strong wrestler/grappler. Pereira has not used much of either since entering the UFC but will have it in his back pocket if he goes to it. I expect this to be a striking match for most of the fight, and while it's on the feet, Thompson should take at least two rounds. Without a finish, I would not expect a high score to come out of this fight. 

UFC 291 Pick: Thompson

Jan Blachowicz (29-9-1) v. Alex Pereira (7-2-0)

Jan Blachowicz - Height: 6'2" - Reach: 78" - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume 
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 18 finishes in 29 wins

Alex Pereira - Height: 6'4" - Reach: 79" – Orthodox
~ High volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 6 finishes in 7 wins

DFS Perspective: In a pure striking match, I would favor Pereira in power and speed. In MMA, I would favor Blachowicz. If Blachowicz wrestles, this should be a cakewalk for him, as he will have a considerable edge on the mat. If he chooses to strike with Pereira, he likely gets knocked out. He does have power himself, but Pereira is a world-class striker. I like Blachowicz to find some takedowns and win this on the mat. 

UFC 291 Pick: Blachowicz

Dustin Poirier (29-7-0) v. Justin Gaethje (24-4-0)

Dustin Poirier - Height: 5'9" - Reach: 72" - Southpaw
~ High volume 
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 22 finishes in 29 wins

Justin Gaethje - Height: 5'11" - Reach: 70" – Orthodox
~ High volume
~ Plus wrestling
~ 20 finishes in 24 wins

DFS Perspective: Here we have a rematch between two studs of the division. Poirier took their first match in a striking clinic, but we see a much more even matchup now. Poirier has the better overall game; however, I expect this to remain on the feet for as long as it lasts. I expect this to be a close, fast-paced fight ending by knockout somewhere along the way. Gaethje's improvements in technical striking should be the difference.

UFC 291 Pick: Gaethje

 

For more MMA DFS-specific content, check out our UFC 291 DraftKings preview, or test your favorite combinations of fighters on our DFS MMA Lineup Optimizer.

FANDUEL MMA SCORING

Moves Scoring
Significant Strikes = 0.6 pts
Takedown = 6 pts
Takedown Defense = 3 pts
Knockdown = 12 pts
Submission Attempt = 5 pts

Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win = 100 pts
2nd Round Win = 75 pts
3rd Round Win = 50 pts
4th Round Win = 35 pts
5th Round Win = 25 pts
Decision Win = 20 pts

Scoring Notes

  • Significant Strikes are distance strikes or clinch/ground strikes that are considered "power strikes" by official scorers.
  • A knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider a substantial time.

DRAFTKINGS MMA SCORING

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 strikes 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 time.
  • A Quick Win Bonus is awarded to the winning fighter if they win in the first round in 60 seconds or less.

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. Drake Burden plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Dburdz, DraftKings: Dburdz.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Drake Burden
Drake is a proven DFS winner with multiple four-figure paydays under his belt. He took an interest to writing MMA during the pandemic and is active in various Discords and other social media communities.
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