This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
It's the final pay-per-view of 2022, and the UFC has served up 13 bouts for us to sink our teeth into. All eyes may be on the light heavyweight title fight, but I'm here to take prospective bettors and DFS players on a tour of all 13 fights across five platforms. This includes one of the biggest underdogs on the slate and a heavyweight clash that may take longer than expected. Our betting lines this week come from William Hill and are accurate as to the post date of this article.
Plays to Consider on DraftKings
Paddy Pimblett (9,100)
A lack of striking defense has many in the gambling and DFS worlds waiting for the right time to fade Paddy as a big favorite, but I don't think that time is now. Jared Gordon's style of breaking down opponents with volume and pace has become increasingly less effective as his own cardio has begun to abandon him, which hasn't allowed him to swarm as he once did. Pimblett may not be the same caliber of grappler as Grant Dawson, but I expect a similar result as his fight with Gordon, as the stronger fighter should have plenty of opportunities to tie up and bring the bout to the floor.
Bryce Mitchell ($7,800)
Powerful hands and an ability to grapple have drawn eyes to Ilia Topuria, but we shouldn't forget how tired "El Matador" got in the third round of his fight against Youssef Zalal, which resulted in sloppy shot-taking and even a takedown from his kickboxing opponent. Cardio has never been an issue for Mitchell, who has gone to decision in all but one of his four UFC bouts, averaging 3.4 takedowns per 15 minutes of fight time. He will need to be wary of the heavy hands of Topuria, but we've seen Mitchell score reactive takedowns against the likes of Edson Barboza, which could be the answer to the relentless pressure of his opponent.
Billy Quarantillo ($8,600)
To my mind, Quarantillo represents the best value for a favorite on the entire slate. Alexander Hernandez can be an absolute nightmare for opponents when he is able to impose his will, but we have seen his confidence wilt more than once when an opponent pushed the pace on him. This is an integral part of the game of Quarantillo, who averages 7.74 strikes landed per minute inside the Octagon. Once he is able to establish control, Quarantillo will likely pick up the grappling game that has helped him notch over 100 DraftKings points in three of his four UFC victories.
TJ Brown ($7,900)
Erik Silva is a powerful young fighter who can do a bit of everything, but "The King" has left the first round just three times in his 11-fight career, losing one of those bouts by submission. Brown's entire game is focused on dragging his opponent into deep water with a relentless grappling attack, and I don't see Silva being athletic enough to keep up with "Downtown" in scrambles. If he is able to fade the power early, Brown could take home a truckload of points as an underdog in this spot.
Dalcha Lungiambula ($6,800)
The athletic and powerful Dalcha "Champion" has just two wins in the Octagon in six attempts, but he seems to be showing steady improvement, working leg kicks into his game and relying more on wrestling and Judo. We've seen the fight quite literally beaten out of Edmen Shahbazyan in each of his last three contests, as opponents wore on the promising young fighter with pressure and grappling. At this price, it's at least worth seeing if "The Golden Boy" will succumb to the same type of attack, particularly since Dalcha has lost by KO/TKO just twice in 11 career fights.
Jay Perrin ($7,200)
At 18 years old, Raul Rosas became the youngest fighter ever to win a contract on the Contender Series. While he does show promise, I think it may be a bit too soon for the young man to compete at this level. Rosas got reversed several times when trying to rush through positions in his contract-winning bout, and I have general concerns about someone this young being able to sustain success with a game centered around strength and grappling. This is a particular worry when it comes to Perrin, who is a strong wrestler and will look to push the pace. Rosas is aggressive enough to score big with a win, but I can't trust that aggression to be as controlled as it should be at this point.
Plays to Consider on SuperDraft
Dricus Du Plessis – 2.25X Multiplier
The SuperDraft lobby may look a little strange this week, as it seems they've handed out 2.25X multipliers (and beyond) to both sides of a number of fights, regardless of the betting line. Du Plessis is one such recipient who has been given a juicy multiplier, despite sitting as high as a (-190) favorite. Under normal conditions, I might take the Scouser to land powerful counters on the erratic Du Plessis, but Darren Till has been away from the cage for more than a year, which gives me real concerns that he won't be able to adapt to the speed of this fight. "StillKnocks" has also shown the ability to grapple, and Till has struggled with strong wrestlers in the past.
Alex Morono – 2.45X Multiplier
It's not often that a fighter becomes a favorite after accepting a late-replacement spot during fight week, but it seems the public has soured on Santiago Ponzinibbio, who has developed a nasty habit of falling behind and having to claw his way back into bouts. It will be difficult to do this against Morono, who will stay in his opponent's face from the opening bell throwing big shots. The Argentinian fighter is still fast enough to land a precise countershot, but if he can't meaningfully change the fight with one, there seems to be little keeping Morono from taking this fight over.
Plays to Consider on Prize Picks
Magomed Ankalaev UNDER 65.5 Significant Strikes and Cameron Saaiman OVER 39.5 Significant Strikes
Ankalaev has a knack for slowing fights down, but even if that were less of a concern over five rounds, I expect Jan Blachowicz to do quite a bit of wrestling in order to compensate for the accuracy of the fighter from Dagestan. That means the majority of this fight will see these two either waiting to counter at range or tied up in a clinch situation, both of which will curtail the number of significant strikes thrown and landed.
Saaiman's reputation as a finisher is a likely reason for the low total here, but it's not as though he is a stranger to long bouts, having gone to a five-round decision before finding a third-round stoppage during his fight on the Contender Series. Saaiman can do a bit of everything in the cage, but I expect he will look to keep his feet here, as Steven Koslow attempts to take the fight to the ground. This should result in a bout contested mostly at range, allowing us to hit our number fairly comfortably.
Plays to Consider on Monkey Knife Fight
Chris Curtis OVER 55.5 strikes and Joaquin Buckley OVER 53.5 Strikes
I'd be more tempted to play the under on Buckley if we were talking significant strikes, as I expect the crisper boxer in Curtis to frustrate "New Mansa" into throwing looping power shots. At some point, however, this frustration should lead to takedown attempts, which will help pad the totals of each fighter. It should also be noted that both men are incredibly durable, having been stopped just five times in a collective 58 fights.
Bets to Consider
Daniel Da Silva wins in Round 1 (+450)
This is one of those picks where the price is simply too good to pass on. Either Da Silva or Vinicius Salvador can end this fight at any time, and while the former has lost three consecutive fights in the Octagon, I'm not sure I see a massive skill difference here. Salvador should have the speed advantage, but his insistence on keeping his hands low invites an active power puncher like Da Silva to do damage. It seems to be universally accepted that this fight will end quickly and I am more than happy to put my chips on the veteran who has had success dropping and hurting opponents in the Octagon.
Jair Rozenstruik and Chris Daukaus over 1.5 Rounds (+135)
Rozenstruik fights at such a slow pace that I am constantly tempted to bet on his fights going over, and I think we have the right dance partner in Daukaus. While he has some fast finishes (and defeats) to his credit, we saw in his fight against Shamil Abdurakhimov how patient he can be in the right matchup, as he spent most of the first round waiting to walk his opponent into a trap. This fight could materialize with both waiting to counter, which would allow time to bleed off the clock. While both will flurry when they have the opportunity, I wouldn't describe either man as a brawler, as both can be quite risk-averse if their opponent allows it.