UFC 287 DFS Preview and Predictions: The MMA Mashup

UFC 287 DFS Preview and Predictions: The MMA Mashup

This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.

The UFC 287 slate may be a bit light on compelling matchups outside of the main event, but the 13 fights on offer still provide opportunities for bettors and DFS players alike. We'll break down each bout across four different platforms, including a boxer with heavy hands and a veteran who will look to reestablish herself as a title contender. Our betting line this week comes from the RotoWire MMA betting page and is accurate from the post date of this article.

Plays to Consider on DraftKings

Jaqueline Amorim ($9,000)

Amorim's game is about as rough as you'd expect from someone with seven professional MMA fights, but she is relentless with her takedowns and slick when she brings an opponent to the mat. Sam Hughes will be unable to use her own physicality in such a matchup, and boxing skills alone are unlikely to compensate for a 47 percent takedown defense rate.

Raul Rosas ($9,100)

Rosas is being moved along appropriately as a top prospect in just his eighth professional MMA fight, which means he is being booked in fights he should win. Such is the case regarding Christian Rodriguez, who has been taken down 10 times in his three UFC fights. Rodriguez is a boxer who made quick work of Joshua Weems on the ground in October, but Rosas should prove to be too much when this one inevitably goes to the mat.

Karl Williams ($9,500)

Williams being close to a (-500) favorite as a short-notice replacement who was pushed fairly hard in a victory just last month tells us all we need to know about Chase Sherman. While he is a good boxer and has done well to incorporate leg kicks into his game, he has never shown any prowess on the ground, nor has he proven he can reliably get back to his feet. He also has a habit of gassing later in fights, which will be exacerbated by Williams' heavy wrestling attack. While the conditions I laid out above would generally be a reason to take a shot on an underdog (especially at heavyweight), Sherman doesn't carry one-punch knockout power, which severely limits his avenues to victory here. 

Cynthia Calvillo ($7,000)

Calvillo doesn't try to get the fight to the ground nearly enough for someone with her impressive jiujitsu skills, but Lupita Godinez has yet to notch a UFC win against someone she couldn't dominate on the mat, and the 35-year-old should finally have found a matchup where her improving boxing will pay dividends. I'm not sold on Godinez being able to thrive unless she gets the exact kind of fight she wants, and Calvillo's skills will likely make that an impossibility.

Steve Garcia ($7,300)

Before Shayilan Nuerdanbieke's fight with Darrick Minner, I commented that Minner's extreme pressuring style would be enough to take a shot on him as an underdog. As he may or may not be a person of interest in the subsequent scandal that ensued, I don't think it's fair to say whether that read was correct or not. Instead, I will transfer that analysis to Garcia, who not only can pressure relentlessly but has much more power in his hands than Minner. Nuerdanbieke's power will always be a threat, but he has continuously struggled when being put on the back foot, even in fights he has won.

Gilbert Burns ($9,600)

I hope this is the last high-level fight we see Jorge Masvidal get gifted in the Octagon. The UFC's "BMF" is a boxer with decent footwork and sharp kicks, but he has never been able to reliably beat strong wrestlers. There is no reason he would start with Burns, who is incredibly strong for the weight class and has cut through more accomplished grapplers than Masvidal. It may have been a fluke, but we can't forget that Kamaru Usman knocked "Gamebread" out cold in their second meeting, and "Durinho" has tremendous power in his punches.

Plays to Consider on Prize Picks

Joe Pyfer UNDER 7.0 Minutes of Fight Time, Kevin Holland OVER 12.5 Minutes of Fight Time, and Adrian Yanez OVER 12.5 Minutes of Fight Time.

Pfyer has been a force to be reckoned with in his UFC (and UFC-adjacent) appearances, as neither of his opponents has made it out of the first round. As a skilled grappler, Gerald Meerschaert will unquestionably be his biggest test to date, but we have seen "GM3" get stopped by powerful punchers in the past. In order to win this fight, the UFC veteran will likely have to weather a storm, and Pfyer hits too hard and is too slick on the feet to allow that to happen.

Santiago Ponzinibbio hasn't lost his toughness, despite not being as agile as when he was a top contender at welterweight. Holland is powerful and slick, but needs time to set up his shots, and has never been someone to stop a fight with one punch. We may get a few scares along the way, but the Argentine fighter likely sees the final bell here, regardless of the fight outcome.

Fights against Jose Aldo and Marlon Vera showed just how hurtable Rob Font can be, but the 35-year-old saw the final bell in both of those contests and has yet to be stopped by strikes in his 25-fight professional MMA career. Yanez is another fighter yet to taste defeat by strikes, so fans should be treated to a technical affair that should see the judges' scorecards, even if the two men get hurt along the way.

Plays to Consider on Super Draft

Michelle Waterson - 2.05 X Multiplier

Waterson tends to be overlooked due to her lack of size and time spent in the organization, but she remains incredibly agile and specializes in the head-and-arm throw that Luana Pinheiro has used so successfully in her first two UFC fights. Pinheiro swings wide as she attempts to close the distance and clinch, which should allow "The Karate Hottie" to pick her off from range.

Alex Pereira – 1.95 X Multiplier 

It seems odd that a man who has beaten his opponent three consecutive times (once in MMA) would have such a favorable multiplier, but oddsmakers are likely reacting to the fact that Israel Adesanya hurt the Brazilian fighter badly in the waning seconds of round one, and arguably could have put him away if the bell hadn't sounded. Still, Adesanya was running himself into the cage for the majority of the fight before "Poatan" found the finish in Round 5, and I can't trust that his footwork has gotten drastically better in the four months since they last fought.

Ignacio Bahamondes – 1.6 X Multiplier

Bahamondes puts a tremendous amount of volume on his opponents, as evidenced by the 8.33 (!) significant strikes he has landed per minute in his four UFC (and UFC-adjacent) fights. Trey Ogden can be a tricky grappler but simply isn't active enough to take over the fight before being overwhelmed, as he sports a takedown accuracy rate of just 15 percent in his two bouts with the organization.

Bets to Consider

Chris Curtis (+110)

These two men seem to be on different trajectories in their respective MMA careers, so I can only assume the close line reflects the fact that Kelvin Gastelum was a one-time title challenger. Since his fight with Israel Adesanya, however, Gastelum has gone 1-4 in the Octagon, while Curtis is 4-1 in his five UFC fights. Records aside, Curtis is a sharp boxer who mixes targets well, can work off of the counter, and throws with power. This should be too much for present-day Kelvin, who seems to have slowed a bit in recent years.

For more UFC betting picks, check out our UFC 287 Best Bets for this weekend. For the latest in UFC odds, head to the RotoWire MMA Betting section. 


Sports betting is officially live in the state of Massachusetts, just in time for March Madness. To get the most bang for your buck when selecting a sportsbook as a new customer, check out these Massachusetts Sports Betting Promos.

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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