The MMA Mashup: UFC 268 Preview

The MMA Mashup: UFC 268 Preview

This article is part of our UFC Picks series.

Those still processing Glover Teixeira's monumental win won't have much time to recover, as the organization presents another stacked card for UFC 268 on Saturday at 6:00 PM ET. We'll cover every fight on the 14-bout slate across four platforms, including two championship fights and a lightweight scrap with major title implications.

Without further ado, let's get to it.

Plays to Consider on DraftKings

Kamaru Usman ($9,300)

It seems strange to wonder if a wrestler as strong as Usman will go for takedowns, but "The Nigerian Nightmare" didn't shoot for the legs of Colby Covington one time during their fight in 2019, which might make some wonder if DraftKings is the best place to play him. I will answer in the affirmative, as the bout in question was razor close heading into the final round, and I am betting that Usman won't want to work as hard this time. Covington is generally the one who uses his wrestling as a weapon, but it should be noted that he was taken down multiple times in fights against Rafael dos Anjos and Dong Hyun Kim, while Usman has never been put on his back in the Octagon.

Phil Hawes ($9,400)

Hawes has always been a committed wrestler with power in his hands, but he showed in his last bout with Chris Daukaus an improved gas tank that can withstand a swarming opponent. Chris Curtis will likely look to take the center of the cage and pour on volume, but Hawes' power and takedown ability should be more than enough to put up a big score here.

Nassourdine Imavov ($8,500)

Imavov has made his bones in the UFC as a slick striker with an expert command of range, but the blueprint is out on Edmen Shahbazyan, who has been taken down and ground out in each of his last two fights. While Imavov should be able to stay competitive in the striking department, the Dagestani fighter is no stranger to grappling, and will likely opt for the path of least resistance at some point.

Zhang Weili ($8,200)

You wouldn't know it by watching her last three fights, but Zhang came into the UFC as a lockdown grappler who would outmuscle her opponents and take them to the ground. I believe this version of Weili will make an appearance in the rematch against Rose Namajunas, who is a slick striker, but will carry just a 50 percent takedown defense rate into the bout. Rose was able to score a knockout in their first encounter by setting a trap on the feet, which makes me think the former champion will prioritize getting this one to the ground.

Frankie Edgar ($7,400)

Edgar may no longer have the chin that famously saw him fight through adversity against Gray Maynard, but Marlon Vera has never been a lethal one-shot striker and had his back taken and controlled for nearly the entire third round in his bout with Jose Aldo. I expect "The Answer" to have a good deal of early success pressuring Vera, which should lead to takedowns and advantageous positions on the mat.

Plays to Consider on SuperDraft

Billy Quarantillo – 2.2X Multiplier

It's impossible not to like Shane Burgos for the excitement he brings to the cage, but I'm struggling to understand why this line is so wide. One would have to go back a number of years to find a Burgos victory that didn't involve him overcoming significant adversity, and Quarantillo has shown himself to be an expert back-taker with ever-improving boxing skills. While his pressure striking style will always make him dangerous, Burgos took a tremendous amount of damage in losses against Josh Emmett and Edson Barboza, which makes me wonder when his chin will give out completely.

John Allan - 2.05X Multiplier

Allan has yet to win a fight in the UFC, but I think his combination of pressure striking and jiu-jitsu will be effective in the right matchup. Enter Dustin Jacoby, who is a fast and powerful kickboxer, but has been taken down by any opponent who has wanted the fight on the ground. While he has been good at returning to his feet, I would argue that Allan is the best pure submission grappler he's faced to this point. He will need to fade the big strikes, but Allan has never been knocked out in his 19-fight career, which should instill confidence that he will be able to weather the storm.

Chris Barnett – 1.95 X Multiplier

Barnett looked severely outmatched in his UFC debut against Ben Rothwell, but his athleticism should play well against a plodding former light heavyweight in Gian Villante. We have seen Villante run out of gas in both of his fights at heavyweight and Barnett should put enough volume on him to take over the bout late and potentially find a finish.

Plays to Consider on Prize Picks

Ian Garry OVER 7.5 Minutes of Fight Time and Alex Pereira UNDER 9.0 minutes of Fight Time.

Garry should be a nice addition to the weight class as a lengthy fighter who knows how to keep range, but there is nothing in his style that screams "finisher" to me. I expect him to land a few nice counter shots on Jordan Williams, but "Bomaye" will likely initiate grappling exchanges before too long, which should work to extend this fight beyond the second round.

A former GLORY kickboxing champion, Pereira has shown off his blinding-fast hands on the regional scene, collecting three KO/TKOs in as many wins. Andreas Michailidis has been a bull in a china shop during his UFC career, crashing the pocket with big, looping strikes as a way to put maximum pressure on his opponents. The resulting clashes should make for a short night for one participant, leaving us with time to spare on our "under" play.

Plays to Consider on Monkey Knife Fight

Ode Osbourne UNDER 66.5 Significant Strikes and C.J. Vergara UNDER 47.5 Significant Strikes

These totals seem to be forecasting a three-round fight, but I wouldn't be surprised if we have a stoppage in this one, as Osbourne hasn't seen a second round in his last eight fights, while Vergara has finished each of his last five wins. C.J. gained a reputation on the regional scene as a slow counter fighter but answered the opening bell like a house on fire on the Contender Series, stopping his opponent in less than a minute. These two will likely meet in the middle and throw from the outset, leading to a stoppage before a large number of significant strikes can be landed.

Bobby Green OVER 106.5 Significant strikes and Al Iaquinta OVER 67.6 Significant Strikes

Both of these men can grapple if the situation calls for it, but given their preferences for standing in the pocket and throwing shots, I'm betting that the significant strike total climbs to the moon. Those who bristle at the large totals here need only look at the statistics, as Green lands a whopping 5.45 significant strikes per minute, while Iaquinta comes in at a respectable 4.05. The fact that our combatants have been finished just seven times in a combined 62 fights lets us know that they will likely be throwing and absorbing strikes until we hear the final horn.

Melsik Baghdasaryan UNDER 74.5 Significant Strikes and Bruno Souza UNDER 48.5 Significant Strikes.

It will be interesting to see the styles clash in this matchup, as Baghdasaryan is a pressure fighter who uses speed and power to surprise opponents, while Souza is a counter-striking karate fighter in the style of Lyoto Machida. Whoever dictates the pace will be just fine for our purposes, as a typical Baghdasaryan fight ends with someone lying on their back, while Souza will look to angle off and counter with one strike at a time. Either style of fight should result in a depressed strike total, allowing us to collect on our play.

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. Christopher Olson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: Sommerset, FanDuel: Christop, Yahoo: Martins.
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Christopher Olson
Christopher Olson writes DFS articles and blogs for a variety of sports including MLB, NFL and MMA. Follow him on Twitter @RealChrisOlson
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