For those that have not read this before, I used to write up a very long Twitter thread where I broke down every fight matchup on the card that probably annoyed the 90% of my followers that don’t play MMA DFS. In an effort to spare them and to organize my thoughts a bit better, I decided to post it here instead. Along with breaking down each fight, I will list my official prediction and at the end I will give what will likely be my DraftKings core and favorite bets for the card. I think UFC Minneapolis is going to be a really fun card so let’s get into it.
Maurice Greene $8.2K vs Junior Albini $8K
To kick off this week’s card, we have what should be an action packed heavyweight matchup. This fight is (-215) to end inside the distance so it is one that you should have exposure to in the mid range. Junior Albini is coming off a knockout loss and is currently on a three fight losing streak. Greene on the other hand, is currently 2-0 in the UFC and coming off a big decision win over Jeff Hughes. While I think this is a close matchup as most heavyweights are, I have to favor Greene in this matchup for multiple reasons. He is the quicker and much bigger fighter as he will have an eight inch reach advantage. Additionally, he is the more aggressive fighter and the better grappler so I think he will win exchanges on the mat if Albini tries to take it there which I believe he will. Both fighters have good ITD odds with Albini having a slight advantage at (+168) but I’m going with the Crochet Boss in this one. Give me Greene by submission but I will look to target both fighters on DraftKings because of the cheap prices and high upside.
Emily Whitmire $8.5K vs Amanda Ribas $7.7K
This could be the fight that I’m most excited for which may seem surprising to some as it is a Women’s Strawweight fight. Make no mistake about it though as this is going to be a good one. Emily Whitmire is coming off a very impressive first round submission over Albu back in February and she will look to keep her fight win streak in tact as she takes on Amanda Ribas in her highly anticipated UFC debut. For those that don’t know, Ribas served a lengthy suspension from the UFC as she tested positive for Ostarine but claimed to not even know what the substance was and that it had to be a tainted supplement. Regardless the UFC didn’t care and she served her two year suspension and is now ready to make her debut. I’ll be completely honest here but I don’t understand the odds on this fight. Whitmire opened as nearly a three to one favorite but money has come in on Ribas who is now sitting at (+150). Whitmire is certainly no joke but she is only a Whitebelt in Brasilian Jiu Jitsu and Ribas is a Blackbelt in BJJ and Judo but somehow Whitmire has better odds to win by submission according to Vegas? I think this fight goes one of two ways. The first one being Whitmire focuses on takedowns and spends the majority of time in control on top and wins a low scoring decision. The other being Ribas piecing her up on the feet as she has some legitimate power in her hands as well or gets a submission after Whitmire takes her down. Either way, I have to like the price on Ribas for DraftKings on a slate where there are not many live dogs that I want to invest in. For that reason, even though I think Whitmire by decision is probably the more likely outcome, I’m picking Ribas by submission here and that will be one of my favorite bets at (+725).
Dalcha Lungiambula $8.7K vs Dequan Townsend $7.5K
This was originally supposed to be Justin Ladet but he pulled out at the last minute so Townsend finds his way to the UFC as both fighters make their debut. From what I’ve gathered Townsend is a regional grinder and essentially has no business being in the UFC but they needed someone semi local to take this fight on short notice instead of scrapping it. Not that his opponent Dalcha is some type of high level fighter but I do expect him to get the win here and by knockout. He has a great inside the distance line for his price at (-150) and this fight as a whole is (-385) not to go to decision. A lot of times these ugly fights with low level fighters tend to be underowned on DraftKings and they usually end up scoring very well. My official pick is Lungiambula by knockout and I’ll be targeting him pretty heavily for 8.7K.
Jared Gordon $9.2K vs Dan Moret $7K
This fight is pretty simple to breakdown. Dan Moret is just not that good. He is yet to win in the UFC and eats a ton of damage. Jared Gordon is legit but he is coming off two straight knockout losses so that is the only thing that worries me is that his chin could be coming into question here. That being said, I think it’s more likely that Gordon will shoot for takedowns and rack up points there along with advancing on the mat. This fight is likely to go to decision (-215) but Gordon should be able to do enough to pay off his expensive price tag. I have no interest in Moret here outside of a couple YOLO lineups if you’re mass multi-entering. My official pick is Gordon by decision and I’ll have moderate exposure to him overall.
Jordan Griffin $9.3K vs Vince Murdock $6.9K
Similar to Townsend getting the call on short notice, Murdock steps in here to fight Jordan Griffin despite the fact that he really has no business being in the UFC either. Jordan Griffin is coming off a decision loss against Dan Ige who just looked great on last week’s card and has legitimate grappling skills. I expect him to showcase those skills against a guy like Murdock who just wants to stand and bang. I want no part of Murdock here and I think Griffin runs through him fairly easily. My pick is Griffin by submission. My only problem with targeting him on DraftKings is that there are so many options above the 9K range and Lungiambola has better ITD odds at a $600 savings in price.
Eryk Anders $9.4K vs Vinicius Moreira $6.8K
Despite this fight being (-260) to end inside the distance, I really can’t see myself targeting either fighter here and I actually like taking the plus money on this going all three rounds. Anders is coming into this fight on a three fight losing streak and it seems like the UFC is throwing him the lob and trying to get him an easy KO win against Moreira who just got sparked by Alonzo Menifield. The problem is that Anders has yet to prove we can trust him. He has legitimate power but he has had a few fights where he could have finished and just didn’t put his foot to the gas pedal for whatever reason. He doesn’t throw in high volume so unless he gets a clean knockout with a big left hand, I don’t see him paying off his high salary. Even if he gets the KO, I could realistically see multiple other 9K and above fighters outscoring him. My pick is Anders by Decision but honestly who knows? Either way this is a stay away for me from a DraftKings perspective.
Ricardo Ramos $9.1K vs Journey Newson $7.1K
This fight is another easy one to break down. Ramos is the much better fighter in every area here. He was supposed to fight Sergio Pettis but Newson has stepped in after Pettis pulled out and will make his UFC debut. I expect Ramos to be better in all areas in this fight. He is the better fighter on the feet, the better wrestler and better submission grappler. Vegas has this likely to end in decision at (-155) and if that’s the case then I see it difficult for Ramos to pay off his salary. When you factor in the multiple plays around him, this fight becomes an easy fade on DraftKings. Official pick is Ramos by decision.
Alonzo Menifield $9K vs Paul Craig $7.2K
Expect an action packed one as we kick off the main card here. This fight has the biggest odds to end inside the distance at (-410) outside of the main event. We have a stylistic matchup between a power striker and submission grappler. I expect Menifield to put a pace on Paul Craig and try to knock him out early. On the other hand, Craig’s gameplan will likely be to outlast the early storm and let Menifield gas so he can get a late submission just like his last fight against Nzechukwu. The only problem with that is that Menifield is a much better striker than Nzechukwu. I was on Paul Craig in that fight because I did see holes in Nzechukwu’s game as he was very green. I could understand people having concerns with Menifield here as he is very green as well and a questionable gas tank. That being said, I think Menifield gets the job done here and finishes Craig early in round one by knockout. Also his ITD odds (-168) are better than his knockout odds (-172) which I thought was pretty funny.
Drew Dober $9.5K vs Marco Polo Reyes $6.7K
This fight is interesting to me for a few reasons. For starters, I’ve always like watching Drew Dober fight. He’s an Elevation Fight Team guy which is one of my favorite camps (Cory Sandhagen and Justin Gaethje). But let’s be honest, he is way too priced up here at 9.5K. He is the most expensive fighter on the slate and only has ITD odds of (+135). I think he is the rightful heavy favorite here but ignoring the fact that Marco Reyes has knockout power would be foolish in my opinion. Reyes has been knockout or get knocked out in almost all of his fights and I think we are going to see these guys stand and bang which is awesome for the fans. However, every one of Drew Dober’s losses in the UFC have come by submission and he has a good chin on him. My official pick is Dober by decision in an action packed fight where both guys land a bunch of significant strikes but I’ll be looking to get a few shares of Reyes considering the super cheap price and big knockout upside.
Roosevelt Roberts $8.9K vs Vinc Pichel $7.3K
This is a tough card in terms of pricing so we have to pick our spots when looking for underdogs. This could be a potential choice in Pichel as I expect this fight to be close. Both fighters are pretty evenly matched and if Pichel can land some takedowns and win the striking exchanges then he could pay off big at a cheap price. That being said, Roberts is no slouch. He is currently undefeated and while I think this fight is pretty even on the feet, Roberts appears to be the better submission grappler. This is my concern if you’re backing Pichel here. If Pichel does go for takedowns then he could be in danger of Roberts guillotine. I think his best gameplan would be to keep it standing and trade. My official pick is Roberts by decision but I understand it if you want to back Pichel here especially considering the lack of good underdogs this week.
Damian Maia $8.6K vs Anthony Rocco Martin $7.6K
Maia is the favorite here and rightfully so. He is getting old now but I still consider his grappling skills elite and if he has any opportunity of taking the back of Martin then this is nighty night. His only losses are coming from the best of the division and I think he can still handle playing the gatekeeper role for the up and comers. The thing with Martin is that even if he can defend takedowns and avoid getting choked out here, he never scores well on DraftKings so for that reason this fight is Maia or pass for me. My official pick is Maia by submission and I’ll have some exposure on DraftKings.
Jussier Formiga $7.8K vs Joseph Benavidez $8.4K
I’ll be honest with you. I don’t have a strong lean on this fight and am curious to see how it plays out. Benavidez is a small favorite here but with this fight likely to end in a decision, it could truly go either way. Both fighters are excellent grapplers so it has the potential to score well or they will neutralize each other and this fight could be a total flop since both guys don’t throw high volume. Because I don’t have a good feel for this fight as a whole, I will most likely be hedging it and am okay with either fighter being the last man in your lineups. My official pick is Benavidez by decision but am not confident in it.
Junior Dos Santos $7.4K vs Francis Ngannou $8.8K
Make no mistake about it. Someone is getting knocked out here. That is of course unless both fighters gas and we have a low scoring decision. I don’t see that being the case though as JDS has a decent gas tank so if it goes to at least round three then I think he has a significant advantage. I will be targeting both fighters in this one as it is (-510) to end inside the distance and both guys have legitimate fight finishing power. Don’t blink during this one! Official pick is Frankie Murder by KO.
My DraftKings core:
My favorite bets for this card:
Ribas by submission (+725)
Lungiambula ITD (-150)
Anders vs Moreira goes to decision (+200)
Menifield ITD (-168)
Maia ITD (+155)
I will post any vegas line updates or changes in anyting on Twitter @JonKelly22 so feel free to follow me there. Best of luck to everyone playing and enjoy UFC Minneapolis!