It’s been a while since the last UFC daily fantasy post here at Sports Betting Canadian, but they were popular in the past so I’m back with another long, in depth analysis of which fighters are the best value in the coming UFC fantasy contests at DraftKings.com. There’s a lot of great fights on this card and from what I’ve seen in my research so far there’s a few fighters that I love in terms of value on DK.
This card includes the Light Heavyweight title between Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson, as well as a couple of potential title contention fights in the Welterweight and Light Heavyweight division with Johny Hendricks vs Tyron Woodley and Ryan Bader vs Rashad Evans. It’s really a pretty decent card from top to bottom and there’s a full slate of 13 fights on this card, which means there’s a lot to choose from at DraftKings.
This week DraftKings.com is running a $125,000 prize pool contest with a $3 entry fee. It’s a little bit down from the $300,000 contest they ran for UFC 191, but that’s because the UFC 191 contest was during their $100K week.
I’m going to give every fighter on the card 0-3 stars based on how much value I see in them based on their DraftKings.com price tag and their ability to put up big points. If they have 0 stars they will not be in any of my lineups.
Cormier vs Gustafsson
- Daniel Cormier $11,000**
- Alexander Gustafsson $8,400*
In my opinion it’s never really a bad idea to take a fighter from the main event. My reasoning behind this is that even if there isn’t a finish the fighters have a couple more rounds to rack up points, which is a definite benefit. And let’s be honest, it’s more fun if you have a fighter in the main event with a chance at a big cash if they do something big.
That said, neither of these guys are getting 3 stars from me. I see this fight going Cormier’s way, but he doesn’t generally rack up fantasy points with his fighting style and I’m not sure he will be able to get a finish. Looking at Gus I really don’t think there’s a good chance of him finishing. In fact he is only being given a 16% chance to win inside distance by the oddsmakers. I prefer Cormier in this spot, but he’s the most expensive guy on the card so I’m personally going to have most of my entries without either of the guys from this fight.
Hendricks vs Woodley
- Johny Hendricks $10,800**
- Tyron Woodley
Hendricks is the third most expensive fighter on the card, but he’s the only guy I see much value in here as well. I just don’t think Hendricks will get caught by one of Woodley’s patented counter strikes. Hendricks has fought so safely over the past few years that I just don’t see him making a mistake against Woodley. I see Hendricks winning this fight for sure (he has a 78% chance according to the oddsmakers) and if you think he will go back to the Johny from 3 years ago and look for a KO to get that elusive next crack at the title with his old style that people actually liked to watch then I might take a crack with him. I think he might realize that he needs a knockout in this fight so I’m not completely against taking Big Rig here in a few lineups.
Bader vs Evans
- Ryan Bader $9,300
- Rashad Evans $10,100*
Wrestlers don’t generally put up many points on DK. Bader is completely out of the question. He’s put together a string of 4 wins in the UFC, but they’ve all been via decision. His four losses in the UFC have come by finish, so I think there is some hope for Evans to get a finish in this one. The oddsmakers have him with odds of 3.59 (28%) to finish, but I think that would be a stretch. This one is likely going to decision with neither fighter putting up too many points. I’d stay away.
Magomedov vs Jordan
- Ruslan Magomedov $9,900**
- Shawn Jordan $9,500**
This is a heavyweight fight, which usually means at least one of these guys is a must play. But Magomedov has won his last 5 fights (and 7 of last 8) by decision. That scares me when it comes to these guys. The oddsmakers still have Magomedov with a 39% chance to finish the fight. This must be because Jordan has had his last 7 fights finish by knockout (5 wins, 2 losses). Jordan is given 34% chance to finish, so overall the odds of finish in this fight look like 73%. Because of this I still think both of these guys are good options to get those finish points, but I really don’t have a good read on how this one will play out.
Eye vs Pena
- Jessica Eye $8,700
- Julianna Pena $10,700*
I think Pena has a great chance of finishing this fight. She is being given odds of 3.45 (29%) to get the finish, but she’s so explosive I think she has a better chance than that. Eye is a very tough chick though, so she might be able to tough it out like she did against Miesha. Pena is very pricey here, but I think she’s the value in this one still, but I probably won’t have her in too many lineups.
Benavidez vs Bagautinov
- Joseph Benavidez $10,900
- Ali Bagautinov $8,500*
This fight is only being given a 41% chance of us seeing a finish. Benavidez is too expensive to use in my lineups with just a 27% shot at a finish. I’m going to be staying away from this fight, like I do with a lot of the smaller guys who lack the finishing ability.
**If you do need someone very cheap to get more of the pricey guys, Bagautinov isn’t a horrible option. I’d likely take Gus just because he might have a few more rounds to get points, but Bagautinov isn’t a horrible option.
Rodriguez vs Hooker
- Yair Rodriguez $10,400*
- Daniel Hooker $9,00
Rodriguez has odds of 2.95 (34%) to get the finish in this fight. He’s a young up and coming fighter coming out of Mexico who has a couple decision wins in the UFC. He continues to improve in each fight and I personally like these young guys because I generally find the UFC tries to match them up with fighters who they should be able to beat. The UFC loves their young fighters who they can build up over their careers. For this reason I’m leaning towards Rodriguez in this fight, but I still don’t think it’s a great spot for DK.
Tumenov vs Jouban
- Albert Tumenov $10,300***
- Alan Jouban $9,100
Tumenov is my favourite pick on this entire card. He’s a 23 year old out of Russia who is on a 3 fight winning streak in the UFC with a couple of knockout wins. He’s up against a much older 32 year old Jouban who seems to be more of a journeyman in the UFC. This is another example of a fight where I think the UFC is trying to build up Tumenov to become a star in Russia. He has odds of 2.04 to finish this fight (49%) and I expect him to get a quick first round finish and to really anchor a DraftKings lineup. At $10,300 I think he’s almost a must have in your lineups.
Namajunas vs Hill
- Rose Namajunas $10,600**
- Angela Hill $8,800
Namajunas was an absolute beast in The Ultimate Fighter, but I’m a little bit hesitant to pick her here. She looked outmatched in her TUF Finals fight against Carla Esparza, but Hill is a much better match up for her. Both of these girls are strikers, but Rose is much more dangerous with her submission game. I don’t see any value on Hill, while Namajunas definitely has a good shot at a finish. Her odds are 2.35 to finish (43%) so I think she is definitely in play on DraftKings. She’s another fighter that the UFC has shown interest in building up.
Makhachev vs Martins
- Islam Makhachev $9,700*
- Adriano Martins $9,700*
While making lineups these guys seem to fit into that fifth roster spot quite often. The fight is about as even as it can get with each fighter having about a 25% chance at a finish. I know quite a few of my lineups will have these guys because the prices fit in well with my other top picks. I’ll likely have a bit more of Makhachev because of his submission ability and his younger age.
Trevino vs Northcutt
- Francisco Trevino $8,900
- Sage Northcutt $10,500***
Northcutt is my second favourite pick from this card. Here’s another young kid that the UFC has shown interest in building up. He’s a karate type fighter who goes for the finish. The oddsmakers have him with odds of 2.35 (43%) to finish this fight and I think the UFC is hoping for this outcome. Trevino is no pushover though, but I will likely have Northcutt on every one of my lineups with Tumenov. If those two go off for finishes I’ll be alright.
Taking Northcutt does scare me a bit because this is a massive step up in competition for him, but the way he’s dummied his past opponents and his apparent skill set I think he has much more value in taking him than fading.
Pettis vs Cariaso
- Sergio Pettis $10,200
- Chris Cariaso $9,200
Here’s another fight I’m staying clear of. I don’t see a finish happening in this fight (odds of 40% to see a finish) so there’s just not enough value here to try to win a big contest.
Lewis vs Pesta
- Derrick Lewis $9,400***
- Viktor Pesta $10,000***
Now this fight is the exact opposite of the one above. This fight will almost surely have a finish. Pesta has odds of 1.935 (52%) to finish, while lewis has odds of 2.74 (36%). That’s a total of 88% that we’re going to see a finish in this fight. I will be splitting these two among my lineups. If I can fit in Pesta I will, but if the discount on Lewis allows me to roster some other top fighters I’ll go that route.
So you’ve got a pretty good idea of what my lineup is going to look like. Tumenov and Northcutt will be the anchors, with Lewis/Pesta and Jordan/Magomedov on a lot of these lineups.
If you’re interested in betting on any of these fights straight up I suggest checking out the odds at Bet365.com.