This article is part of our UFC Picks series.
Jon Litterine provides his best bets, top DFS picks across multiple sites and predictions for this weekend's UFC Vegas 57 card.
Plays to Consider on DraftKings
Neil Magny ($6,900)
Magny is in for his toughest battle in several years as he gets set to take on Shavkat Rakhmonov. That said, I'm still shocked his salary is so low. Magny has excelled throughout his career in winning fights in which no one gave him a chance. His price tag here indicates that is the thinking of many in this one. Magny is one of the best fighters in the sport at making adjustments on a fight-by-fight basis. He tailors his style to whomever he is going up against. I don't think he wins outright, but I'm all over him on DK at such a discount.
Mateusz Gamrot ($7,100)
My thinking on Gamrot is nearly identical to the explanation of my Magny pick. Like Neil, Gamrot is going up against a top-tier rising opponent, in this case, Arman Tsarukyan in the main event. Gamrot has been excellent in his last three bouts, sporting two knockout wins and a submission victory. Again, I wouldn't pick Gamrot outright, but he's shown more than enough during his brief UFC run to believe he can remain competitive here, even against such talented opposition.
Plays to Consider on Prize Picks
The Frey pick is probably the easiest of the three. Both she and opponent Vanessa Demopoulous have little stopping power in their hands and both are pretty poor in terms of stand-up defense. That leads to lots of volume. Frey landed 88 significant strikes in her last bout, a unanimous decision win over Ashley Yoder last July, and Yoder is five inches taller than Demopoulous.
Baudot and Josh Parisian are both essentially a pick 'em in terms of the Vegas odds. I have little feel for picking an outright winner, but I'm envisioning an all-out brawl which doesn't last particularly long. I could easily see this fight being completed in under three minutes, and that's going to make it difficult for either man to rack up a ton of strikes on the feet.
Rakhmonov's significant strike total of 32.5 is a crazy low number. In fact, it's almost suspiciously low. That said, Shavkat seems to be one of the few fighters these days who fires off plenty of strikes which aren't deemed "significant." Take his second UFC bout against Michel Prazeres for example. The fight ended at 2:10 of Round 2. Rakhmonov was credited with 64 total strikes landed, although only 21 were deemed of the significant variety. In this instance, he's going up against a much better opponent in Magny.
Bets to Consider
Cody Durden wins outright (+100)
I think there's real value on Durden here from a betting standpoint, even if I don't love him as a fighter. He's just 1-2-1 in his first four UFC bouts, but he's averaging 4.38 takedowns per 15 minutes, and his opponent, JP Buys, is defending the takedown at just a 25-percent clip. At roughly even-money, I think it's worth a shot simply to see if Durden can pin Buys to the mat for the better part of the fight and take a grinding, boring decision.
I touched on Frey earlier. She's a legitimately talented fighter who has had trouble in the UFC because she's undersized. She is a former Invicta Atomweight (105 pounds) Champion. She's an inch taller than Demopoulous and enters with a massive six-inch edge in reach.
It's impossible to bet Nurmagomedov outright because of his price tag, but he fits in well in a parlay with Frey. Umar is a perfect 2-0 in the UFC with both of his wins coming via submission. Maness is a perfect 3-0 with the company, but fighters who are such an overwhelming betting favorite almost always come through. Nurmagomedov is legit.
Raulian Paiva wins outright (+120)
I don't get this one at all. Paiva is coming off a loss to Sean O'Malley in December, but he won three straight prior to that. His three UFC defeats have come against O'Malley, Kai Kara-France and Rogerio Bontorin. The KKF loss came via split decision. I think Paiva is a solid fighter who should handle most guys who aren't high-end competition. Morozov just turned 33 years of age earlier this month and has alternated losses and wins in his first three UFC bouts. He hasn't faced the same level of competition as Paiva, who still has theoretical upside at age 26. The plus-money line is just a bonus.
For more UFC betting picks, check out our UFC Vegas 57 best bets for this weekend.
Plays to Consider on Monkey Knife Fight
Tafon Nchukwi OVER 75.5 strikes
Nchukwi and his opponent Carlos Ulberg are two guys who swing for the bleachers with every single shot they throw. Three of Nchukwi's four UFC bouts have seen the final bell. In those fights, his total strike landed totals were as follows: 145, 64, and 159. This prop seems extremely likely to hit as long as this lasts roughly eight minutes or so. For comparison's sake, Ulberg's MKF prop is over/under 92.5 strikes, which I feel less good about.
Neil Magny OVER 46.5 strikes
Magny is 5-2 in his last seven fights dating back to November 2018. He's failed to reach this prop just once in that span, and that was a five-round fight against Michael Chiesa in which he gave up four takedowns and spent 15:21 of the 25-minute bout planted on his back. He would have to be totally blown out of the water by Rakhmonov in order not to hit here.