This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
Ciryl Gane finds himself as the first heavyweight ever to be favored over Francis Ngannou at UFC 270, which also features the conclusion of a flyweight trilogy between Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo.
If you're hoping to turn the event into an opportunity to build your DFS bankroll, DraftKings.com has you covered with a full slate of contests, including a$25 UFC 270 Special with $100k to first place. Players get a $50,000 budget to select six fighters, and the scoring is distributed as follows:
Note: Scoring has been updated as of early-2021! Please review the scoring changes below.
Strikes: +0.2 PTS
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
Control Time: +0.03 PTS/SECOND
Takedown (TD): +5 PTS
Reversal/Sweep (REV): +5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +10 PTS
Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win (1rW+): +90 PTS
2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rW+): +45 PTS
4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 PTS
5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 PTS
Decision Win (WBD+): +30 PTS
Quick Win Bonus: +25 PTS
(fight is finished in 60 seconds or less)
- Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
- A Significant Strike will count as both a strike and a significant strike and will be worth a total of 0.4 Pts
- Control Time is the time spent in the dominant position on the ground or in the clinch. +0.03 points are awarded per second.
- A Knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider an appreciable amount of time.
- A Quick Win Bonus is awarded to the winning fighter if they win in the first round in 60 seconds or less.
Main Event - Heavyweight Championship
Outside of moving Jon Jones up a division, this is the biggest heavyweight fight the UFC can make at the moment.
The most terrifying man in the sport today, Ngannou won the UFC Heavyweight Championship with a knockout victory over Stipe Miocic this past March. Francis, who has had some problems in big spots before, looked calm and composed in winning the title. His power is the greatest different maker in all mixed martial arts. Overall, Ngannou has won five straight fights, all via knockout. There are open questions regarding his cardio, and his grappling will never be on par with his striking, but Ngannou is doing a better job of picking his spots than early in his career.
As I just mentioned, Ngannou fought last March, but that didn't stop the UFC from making an interim UFC Heavyweight Championship about four months later, a fight in which Gane torched Derrick Lewis from start to finish. Gane has just ten professional fights under his belt – seven of which have come with the UFC – but he looks like a 20-year veteran inside the Octagon. His fight IQ is extremely high for a fighter with such limited experience and he is hands down one of the best and smoothest athletes in the division today.
Not long ago, I didn't think there was anyone in the division who could touch Ngannou, but I'm starting to change my mind. Gane is exceptionally light on his fight and excels at putting together combinations. The volume is always there with Cyril, and he is mobile enough to get out of the way before Ngannou returns fire. To illustrate my point, Gane lands 5.37 significant strikes per minute. On the flip side, Francis lands just 2.54. Yes, Francis' are going to be harder and likely cause more damage, but Gane's chin has held up just fine to this point. Gane should also have a significant cardio advantage in the later rounds, if we get there.
Believe it or not, the technical breakdown of this fight is actually very straightforward. Gane is the better athlete with better cardio and much better footwork. If this fight sees the final bell, he almost certainly wins. On the flip side, a 25-minute fight gives Francis a ton of time to try to land one of his signature bombs. If Cyril can survive those he has to eat, he should be in good shape.
If you're a Ngannou believer, this is the fight for you. It could be many, many years until you find a fight in which he's a betting underdog and under $8K in DK salary. I'm taking Gane because I believe on betting on high-level athletes in this sport, but if you are the type to make multiple lineups – which he always advocated – Ngannou has to be in there somewhere. The value is simply too high regardless of whether or not he is your pick to win outright.
THE PICK: Gane
Co-Main Event - Flyweight Championship
As most everyone reading this is well aware, this will be the third fight between these two. The first one ended in a majority draw about 13 months ago, while the second, which took place last June, resulted in Moreno winning the belt from Figueiredo via third-round submission.
Moreno's rise to the top of the division has been remarkable. I've always appreciated his skills but never would have guessed he would have been able to consistently compete with the best flyweights in the world. Moreno is undefeated in his past seven fights (5-0-2) and has defeated some quality competition along the way (Figueiredo, Kai Kara-France, Brandon Royval, Jussier Formiga), so I think we can safely say this isn't a fluke.
Figueiredo looked the part of a potential long-time champion before dropping his belt to Moreno. He is the most physically gifted fighter in the division by a considerable margin. The Brazilian possesses legitimate fight-ending power, in addition to a quality submission game. He can also mix in a takedown if needed.
I am still having a difficult time getting past Figueiredo's performance in the second fight between the two. Moreno was in control the entire way and dominated Deiveson wherever the bout took place. The question at this point is whether or not this was simply an off night for Figueiredo or a sign of things to come. Remember, the only reason the first fight was a draw was because Moreno was able to survive a vicious beating, in addition to Figueiredo being docked a point in Round 3 for an illegal low blow.
Perhaps I'm just being stubborn, but I'm going back to the Figueiredo well once again. In making that pick, I am admittedly terrified how good Moreno looked in the second fight. He's clearly an exceptional fighter, but Moreno has just three career wins via knockout, and I think a good portion of his success is the result of heart and determination. That's a difficult thing to quantify on a fight-by-fight basis. The value also seems to be with the Brazilian here.
If Moreno can blow past Figueiredo again, I'll be all-in. As of this moment, I'm not totally sold, and that makes me side with the underdog.
THE PICK: Figueiredo
Stamann has some decent wins on his resume (Alejandro Perez, Brian Kelleher, Bryan Caraway), but he's always come up short when tasked with facing better opponents, and his inability to stop his competition has always been an issue. He's coming off back-to-back unanimous decision defeats to Merab Dvalishvili and Jimmie Rivera and has just a single win in his past four fights. Stamann is an excellent wrestler and has a reasonable all-around offensive skill set, but it's difficult to string together victories when your average fight time with the company is 14:18.
Nurmagomedov is not related to former UFC Lightweight Champion and pound-for-pound king Khabib Nurmagomedov, but the fellow Dagestani has looked impressive early in his UFC run, sporting a 3-1 record with a pair of knockout victories on his resume. Stamann is a clear step up in competition despite his recent struggles and I'm interested in seeing how Nurmagomedov handles this test. Said is a big bantamweight. He's two inches taller than Stamann and enters with a whopping six-inch reach edge. The latter number could be a big problem for Cody given the edge Nurmagomedov should have in the striking department.
This isn't a very deep card, but this is an intriguing fight. Stamann needs a victory much more than Nurmagomedov does, and I expect we will see an improved Cody here. If that's enough to get him back in the win column remains to be seen.
I expect Cody to try to implement his wrestling game, which he is capable of considering he averages 2.8 takedowns per 15 minutes. If they don't land, he's at real risk of being overwhelmed by volume on the feet if this turns into a prolonged kickboxing match.
I'll take Nurmagomedov via decision, but I don't have a real strong lean either way.
THE PICK: Nurmagomedov
One of the most talented submission specialists in the history of the sport, Vieira will be seeking his fourth win in his first five UFC bouts. The Brazilian has just nine professional fights under his belt due to the fact he spent so long competing in the world of BJJ, but seven of those are submission victories. Vieira turned 32 years of age this past September, so he will have to fight frequently in order to reach his theoretical ceiling.
Turman joined the UFC in July 2019 with some hype behind him, but the early results have not been favorable. He's just 2-3 in his first five bouts with the company, with a split-decision victory and a split-decision defeat mixed in there. Turman has youth on his side at age 25, but he has no history of strong performances against better competition, and his offensive arsenal has appeared quite basic during his time with the UFC. I'm not all that optimistic there is a run forthcoming.
Vieira is so good on the mat that he has a chance to be a high-level fighter if he can just get his striking to an average level. It's not dissimilar to predicament Henry Cejudo faced early in his UFC run, and he was obviously able to figure everything out.
On the flip side, Turman just needs to continue to improve each and every time inside the Octagon. He'll have a fighting chance if he is able to keep this fight off the mat, but is almost certain to be overwhelmed immediately in a ground exchange between the two men.
Submissions are notoriously difficult to predict, and Turman has yet to tap out as a professional, but I'm willing to bet on what we have seen from Vieira thus far. I need to see Turman string together some solid efforts before hopping on board. I have little interest in him as an underdog DraftKings play.
THE PICK: Vieira
This fight was scheduled to be Topuria v. Movsar Evloev before the latter was forced to withdraw.
One of the best fighters on the UFC roster that no one seems to be talking about, Topuria will look to remain perfect both in the company and as a professional in his twelfth pro bout. His first three UFC fights have resulted in a unanimous decision win over Youssef Zalal and back-to-back knockout victories over Ryan Hall and Damon Jackson. Jourdain is a step up in competition from those three and a completely different type of opponent, but Topuria has looked great thus far.
Jourdain fought a little over a month ago, taking a unanimous decision from Andre Ewell. On the whole, the Canadian has fought considerably better than his 3-3-1 record with the UFC would lead you to believe. Jourdain is a big featherweight with legitimate power. He's also athletic and can mix in a submission here and there, although I doubt he'll be willing to engage Topuria in a ground battle.
My main concern regarding Jourdain is his tendency to get dragged into senseless brawls. I haven't been particularly impressed with his fight IQ and that becomes more and more of an issue when tasked with facing better competition, which is a category Topuria most certainly falls into.
This is a good fight and probably the one I am looking forward to the most after the two title fights. Topuria has to be the pick considering how dominant he has been thus far, but I wouldn't write Jourdain off completely. If "Air" is able to stay off of his back – which will be difficult since he defends the takedown at 45 percent – I do think he can remain competitive in the stand-up. It's easier said than done.
There were no DraftKings salaries for this fight at the time of publication, but they are typically in line with the Vegas odds and that means Topuria is likely to cost a ton, more than I would feel comfortable using him at.
THE PICK: Topuria
Silvana Gomez Juarez (10-3-0) v. Vanessa Demopoulos (6-4-0)
DK Salaries: Juarez ($7,900), Demopoulous ($8,300)
Vegas Odds: Juarez (+120), Demopoulous (-140)
Odds to Finish: +125
THE PICK: Juarez
Kay Hansen (7-4-0) v. Jasmine Jasudavicius (6-1-0)
DK Salaries: Hansen ($8,800), Jasudavicius ($7,400)
Vegas Odds: Hansen (-260), Jasudavicius (+210)
Odds to Finish: +175
THE PICK: Hansen