This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
A card chock full of finishers promises big point totals and payouts for whoever can pick the right sides. We'll cover every angle across five platforms on the 12-fight slate, including a heavyweight searching for his first UFC win, and a debutante tasked with toppling an MMA legend. All lines are taken from the William Hill online sportsbook and are accurate as of the post date of this article.
Without further ado, let's get to it.
Plays to Consider on DraftKings
Mario Bautista ($9,200)
Khalid Taha's withdrawal leaves Bautista with a less interesting challenge in Jay Perrin, who can grapple effectively, but frequently lands out of position when throwing shots. We have seen Bautista scramble with some of the best fighters in the division and his ability to keep range should allow him to step back and counter his opponent when he swings wildly in the pocket.
Jonathan Pearce ($9,300)
A knockout loss to Joe Lauzon in his UFC debut underscores just how hittable Pearce can be at times, but "JSP" has used his size and wrestling ability to dominate in subsequent bouts with Kai Kamaka and Omar Morales. While he will need to mind the heavy hands of Christian Rodriguez, the 24-year-old frequently threw himself into clinch situations by overextending on his punches during his bout on the Contender Series. This inability to control distance should allow Pearce to use his strength and chain wrestling to ground the debutante and secure valuable control time in the clinch.
Jessica-Rose Clark ($8,600)
Clark has been leaning on her wrestling heavily of late, having scored five takedowns and racked up a whopping 12:40 of control time in her last fight against Joselyne Edwards. Stephanie Egger's Judo background didn't stop Tracy Cortez from landing three takedowns in five attempts during their fight in 2020, and the upright stance of the 33-year-old should encourage Clark to continue looking for clinch situations. It should also be noted that Egger will come into this fight with a four-inch reach advantage, giving Clark another reason to want to close the distance.
Chas Skelly ($8,900)
Mark Striegl is such a powerful wrestler that I will probably have a few shares of him as the underdog, but "Mugen" has been outscrambled and caught in submissions on the regional scene. These are red flags in a matchup against Skelly, who loves to extend exchanges and make his opponent try and keep up with him on the ground. Skelly is unlikely to make Striegl pay for keeping his hands low and chin up while he is in the pocket, but it's not enough for me to fully endorse him here, as I believe Skelly will beat the 33-year-old at what he does best.
Jamie Pickett ($7,400)
Kyle Daukaus set out to use his pace and pressure to break Phil Hawes, but the 28-year-old soon found that he was the one having trouble keeping up the activity, which resulted in a loss by unanimous decision. Pickett has had trouble with slow starts in the past but is able to use his length and grappling ability to wear on opponents. While his jiu-jitsu would be a problem for any opponent, Daukaus holds just a 27 percent takedown accuracy rate. Daukaus came into the organization as an all-action fighter, but his record currently sits at just 1-2 with a no-contest, making it worthwhile to see if he can hang against a tough opponent.
Plays to Consider on Prize Picks
Chad Anheliger UNDER Nine Minutes of Fight Time and Joaquin Buckley UNDER 7.5 Minutes of Fight Time
Both Anheliger and Jesse Strader are known for getting work done inside the distance, as only three of the pair's 23 combined fights have seen the final bell. Though these bouts don't always end within the first two rounds, it's rare to have such dedicated finishers squaring off in the lighter weight classes. Both of these men carry tremendous power and neither seems all that interested in going to the ground, which sounds like a recipe for an early night.
Buckley and Abdul Razak Alhassan are responsible for some of the scariest and most authoritative knockouts we've seen in the Octagon in recent years, and unlike the previous bout, these men have largely gotten the job done in Round 1. Both competitors have shown the ability to wrestle in the past, but those moments have been few and far between, meaning we can expect these two to swing from the fences from the opening bell.
Plays to Consider on Super Draft
Gloria de Paula -1.95X Multiplier
De Paula has lost both of her UFC fights after an impressive showing on the Contender Series, but the Muay Thai striker has looked slick on her feet, featuring power and an appropriately savage clinch game. Diana Belbita is a champion kickboxer in her native Romania but took a bit too much damage against an upright, mechanical striker in Hannah Goldy for me to trust her here. While Belbita could attempt to wrestle, she's already lost once in the Octagon via armbar from the guard, and de Paula is very active off of her back.
Bets to Consider
Alan Baudot wins via KO/TKO/DQ (+333)
There is no doubt that Baudout is raw as a fighter, but the French kickboxer showed some slick, heavy striking before slowing down a bit in the second round against Rodrigo Nascimento. Parker Porter could also look to grind Baudout out, but we saw the 36-year-old take big shots from Chase Sherman before getting quite tired himself, and "Black Samouri" will be the far more athletic fighter in the cage. As far as I'm concerned, this line is far too wide against a fighter like Porter, who has taken half of his professional losses (3) by KO/TKO.
David Onama via KO/TKO/DQ (+150)
Gabriel Benitez is a better technical striker than Onama, but that didn't seem to matter against Sodiq Yusuff or Billy Quarantillo, the latter of which knocked him down early in the fight before brutalizing him on the ground. In each case, these fighters were able to get in the UFC veteran's face and force a brawl, and Onama has far too much power for Benitez to survive in repeated exchanges. I actually expect the 33-year-old to have a decent start as he uses his footwork to move around Onama and snipe him with counter shots, but that should last about as long as it takes for "The Silent Assassin" to land a few clean blows.
Nikolas Motta via KO/TKO/DQ (+175)
Although he is a solid wrestler and BJJ black belt, Jim Miller still opts to kickbox for the majority of his fights. This almost got him into real trouble against newcomer Erick Gonzalez, who knocked "A-10" down before he was able to find a takedown in the ensuing scramble. Motta hits exceptionally hard, and a third-round win over Joe Solecki in 2018 has me confident that he will be able to survive the grappling exchanges. This would leave Miller on an island having to deal with a combination striker who has finished eight of his 12 victories by knockout.
Plays to Consider on Monkey Knife Fight
Jamahal Hill UNDER 62.5 Strikes and Johnny Walker UNDER 40.5 Significant Strikes
Lines on this fight carry too much juice to play inside the distance, but MKF offers us very manageable figures for a fight we expect to end with big shots early. While it's true that Walker looked incredibly tentative in his first fight under the tutelage of SBG Ireland, I doubt he will be able to slow the pace of Hill, who has seen three of his five UFC fights end in the first round. I expect Hill to be far more willing to engage than Thiago Santos, as he will only be giving up two inches of height to Walker.