The MMA Mashup: UFC 267 Preview

The MMA Mashup: UFC 267 Preview

This article is part of our UFC Picks series.

The UFC greets us bright and early for UFC 267 with a 14-fight slate that begins at 10:30 ET on Saturday, October 30. We take a look at the entire card across four platforms this week, including a matchup between two of the best bantamweights in the world and the return of an instant legend.

Without further ado, let's get to it.

Plays to Consider on DraftKings

Tagir Ulanbekov ($9,400)

As a relentless grappler with smothering top control, Ulanbekov fits a familiar mold on this week's slate. While he leaves himself open to be hit as he pressures his opponents, I don't expect this to be much of an issue against Allan Nascimento, who counts just two KO/TKO victories among his 18 wins. Nascimento will likely look to compete in scrambles with Ulanbekov when this fight hits the mat, which will play into the strengths of the Dagestani fighter.

Lerone Murphy ($9,400)

Murphy's slow-paced fighting style isn't exactly ideal for this salary, but Makwan Amirkhani will likely push the pace himself by trying to wrestle. The problem is that he frequently gets tired due to his inability to hold opponents down, and Murphy has shown himself to be a strong and skilled grappler, as we saw in his fight with Ricardo Ramos. Amirkhani may find early success as the aggressor, but Murphy should be able to weather the storm and take control late.

Andre Petroski ($8,600)

Petroski made his way through The Ultimate Fighter house as a committed wrestler, but he showed why four of the six wins on his professional record have come by KO/TKO in his fight with Micheal Gillmore, as he rocked the 34-year-old with a quick combination of strikes. Hu Yaozong came into the UFC fighting at heavyweight, which could make takedowns more challenging, but he's shown so little fluidity in his striking that I expect Petrovski's speed to carry him through the bout if necessary.

Albert Duraev ($9,200)

Roman Kopylov showed lighting fast hands and power in his UFC debut against Karl Roberson, but the fact that he was taken down and submitted by a fellow kickboxer doesn't inspire confidence that he will be able to stay on his feet against a strong grappler like Duraev. Kopylov tends to lean heavily on his front leg to cover distance, which should make it that much easier for Duraev to get this fight where he wants it. He may need to eat a few hard shots early, but Duraev has shown durability in the cage, with his last KO/TKO loss coming over seven years ago.

Khamzat Chimaev ($9,500)

Chimaev made headlines (and likely broke a record or two) by winning three UFC fights in less than two months, including just a 10-day period between his first and second victory. He will take on his toughest test to date in Li Jingliang, but it's difficult to watch Neil Magny bully "The Leech" in the clinch as the bigger man and not come away thinking that Chimaev can replicate that success. Though he won't want to stand with Li for too long, Chimaev has shown that his jab is solid enough to keep distance until he gets his fighter to the ground.

Zubaira Tukhugov ($8,400)

I haven't always been a fan of Tukhugov's single-strike offense on the feet, but he is a ferocious grappler who is very heavy in top position, and we have seen Ricardo Ramos wilt when things aren't going his way on more than one occasion. He may not offer much standing, but I can at least trust that Tukhugov will fight hard for as long as he is in the cage, which is something I'm not sure I can say for Ramos. The fact that he was largely outgrappled and finished on the ground by Lerone Murphy only strengthens my resolve for the pick.

Islam Makhachev ($9,600)

Dan Hooker's stout 80 percent takedown defense rate inside the Octagon may have some looking toward the upset, but it strikes me that Hooker has never fought a committed wrestler in his UFC career. While "The Hangman" does well to keep his range and set traps for his opponents on the feet, I worry that he will yield the center of the cage to Makhachev, who has secured at least three takedowns in six of his 10 UFC fights. I expect Hooker to have some success early before Makachev gets a hold of him and makes the fight his own.

Plays to Consider on SuperDraft

Glover Teixeira – 2.35X multiplier

We've all seen how good Jan Blachowicz has become at defending takedowns, but my pick of Glover here depends primarily on him being the better boxer of the two. I think he will be faster, throw in combination, and outwork Jan over the course of three rounds. Teixeira was able to get inside on a longer fighter in his bout with Anthony Smith, and his striking in the pocket should yield similarly favorable results here. Of course, wrestling will always be there if he needs it, but his ability to throw hands could be the best path to victory.

Michal Oleksiejczuk – 2.2x Multiplier

Those who read this column on a weekly basis know that I'm a sucker for speed, and Oleksiejczuk has it in spades. Moreover, his ability to mix targets and pressure his opponents often leads to big damage. Submissions have been the bane of the Polish fighter's UFC career to this point, but Shamil Gamzatov showed little desire to wrestle in his debut against Klidson Abreu, opting instead to try to pull his opponent into counter shots. I doubt this strategy will be effective against someone like Oleksiejczuk, who should be able to strike and make his man miss with regularity.

Cory Sandhagen – 2.35x Multiplier

Petr Yan has used his boxing and pressure to methodically pick apart opponents inside the Octagon, but for as dominant as he has been, there are spots in every fight where he runs into trouble. This may be because he is a bit too willing to hang back and make reads in the early rounds, but whatever the case, it's hard to deny that he was struggling with the length of Aljamain Sterling before he gassed out. I think Sandhagen will be able to manage distance effectively while offering enough output to freeze Yan and take a decision over 25 minutes.

Plays to Consider on Prize Picks

Magomed Ankalaev UNDER 11 Minutes of Fight Time and Alexander Volkov OVER 12.5 Minutes of Fight Time

Volkan Oezdemir has been looking more and more fragile these days, wilting under the pressure in fights against Anthony Smith, Dominick Reyes, and Jiri Prochazka. I expect he won't get much of a reprieve from Ankalaev, who throws hard and can find the mark with a counter shot. Both men will likely swing big in the pocket, but unless "No Time" finds his grove early, Ankalaev should be able to close the show with time to spare. 

Volkov has enough power to knock out anyone on the roster, but the big man works so slowly that he often takes fights to decision based on pace alone (glass cannons like Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris notwithstanding). Tybura's gas tank and chin have looked much improved since his knockout loss to Augusto Sakai, so he should be able to withstand the big single shots thrown by Volkov.

Plays to Consider on Monkey Knife Fight

Amanda Ribas UNDER 84.5 Significant Strikes and Virna Jandiroba UNDER 46.5 Significant Strikes

Jandiroba was perfectly willing to stand and trade with another BJJ wizard in Mackenzie Dern, but it seems unlikely that game plan would work against someone like Ribas, who has shown herself to be a powerful, quick striker during her time in the Octagon. This should lead to a lot of grappling exchanges, which will lower the strike count for both parties. While not on the level of someone like Jandiroba, we have seen Ribas hold her own grappling with Dern and others, meaning she may not shy away from work on the ground.

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos UNDER 58.5 Strikes and Benoit Saint-Denis Under 45.5 Significant Strikes

This fight has a similar feel to the one we analyzed above, with the notable exception that dos Santos is live to win the fight by early knockout. This gives us all the more incentive to play for low totals, as Saint-Denis has a habit of sloppily crashing the pocket in order to get a hold of his opponent. If Dos Santos can't get it done by stoppage, it's likely that the newcomer stifles his offense on the ground, limiting the number of significant strikes landed in the process.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Christopher Olson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: Sommerset, FanDuel: Christop, Yahoo: Martins.
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Christopher Olson
Christopher Olson writes DFS articles and blogs for a variety of sports including MLB, NFL and MMA. Follow him on Twitter @RealChrisOlson
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