This article is part of our UFC Picks series.
The UFC will give fans and bettors all they can handle Saturday with a 15-bout slate featuring two title fights, which begins at 6:00 PM EST. We'll cover every fight across five different platforms, including a legend looking to add to his trophy case, and a wrestler in a spot to potentially reward owners with a massive return on salary.
Without further ado, let's get to it.
Plays to Consider on DraftKings
Charles Oliveira ($8,500)
There's an obvious read here that I am choosing to overlook: "Do Bronx" takes too much damage, and few in the division can crack like Justin Gaethje. While I won't be surprised if the power of "The Highlight" results in a new champion, the ease with which Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted the 33-year-old makes me think it will be a short night if Oliveira is able to take top position. The lightweight champion will need to be careful about letting Gaethje fight at boxing range, but he should have enough on the feet to hold serve until this hits the ground.
Lupita Godinez ($9,000)
Godinez struggled to get takedowns against the naturally bigger Luana Carolina, but looked right at home in her last bout against Loma Lookboonmee, grounding her opponent three times en route to a decisive victory. The takedowns will likely come even easier against Ariane Carnelossi, who looks to plant her feet and throw hammers. "Sorriso" played the role of mat rat in her bout against the lanky Istela Nunes, but she will be looking to stay upright against Godinez, who has shot for an exhausting 42 takedowns in four UFC fights.
Tracy Cortez ($8,700)
Melissa Gatto's jiu-jitsu acumen will likely be her worst enemy against Cortez, as she is far too comfortable playing off of her back looking for a submission. This led to a poor first round against Sijara Eubanks, and Cortez is unlikely to give the fight away by getting tired in the later stages. Gatto can keep range and is always live to snatch a limb, but Cortez has always been diligent against submission grapplers, with her one loss via tapout coming in her first professional fight.
Fernie Garcia ($8,600)
Until Journey Newson rounds out his skillset, he will be vulnerable to wrestlers like Fernie Garcia, even if their boxing skills can't match the 33-year-old's. Garcia will likely be able to out-hustle Newson as well, who uses decent footwork but is on the wrong side of the speed advantage against most competitors in this division. Garcia isn't the most defensively-responsible fighter, which will leave Newson avenues to land a big shot, but I haven't seen anything from Journey that suggests he can beat fighters who can fight in different phases.
Carla Esparza ($7,300)
It's not often that I recommend a fighter who I don't necessarily see winning their fight, but Esparza's price should make her highly-owned, as she has logged at least 66 points in nine of her 13 UFC fights. That kind of floor makes her enticing for cash games, while wrestling and control time give her a tremendous amount of upside for GPP tournaments. Rose Namajunas has always been active on the ground, which may make it difficult for "Cookie Monster" to maximize her opportunities, but she will be so active in pursuit of the takedown that she is worth a strong look as an option that can really free up some salary.
Plays to Consider on SuperDraft
Mauricio Rua – 2.25x Multiplier
You have to go back a long way to find an Ovince Saint Preux win that doesn't look like an accident. "OSP" is tremendously athletic and has a tricky ground game, but none of that matters if you don't engage your opponent. The 39-year-old has thrown just 2.65 significant strikes per minute in his UFC career and has gotten more gun-shy with age, often allowing aggressive opponents to back him up with strikes. "Shogun" hasn't lost his aggressiveness at the end of his historic career and will still march his adversaries down looking to throw power shots. The one-shot knockout power Of Saint Preux can't be overlooked, and while I don't entirely trust the 40-year-old Rua, I think he will at least keep his foot on the gas. Against this version of "OSP," that might be enough.
Joe Lauzon – 2.2 x Multiplier
The dynamic is similar in the matchup between Lauzon and Donald Cerrone, with Lauzon likely to be the one coming forward, while Cerrone hangs back looking for counter shots. The problem is that "Cowboy" doesn't move his head, and the damage has begun to mount in recent years, with the 39-year-old having lost by KO/TKO in four of his last six fights. Lauzon has been known to empty the gas tank early, but he should be able to set his own pace here, which should help him keep his cardio.
Macy Chiasson – 2.25x Multiplier
Norma Dumont is a solid boxer who possesses physicality, but I don't think that will be enough against Chiasson, who will come into this fight with a five-inch reach advantage. We saw how thoroughly Aspen Ladd controlled the fight on the ground when she committed to wrestling in the later rounds against Dumont, and "The Immortal" doesn't really feature a standout skill she can employ to take this fight over.
Marcos Rogerio de Lima – 2.1 x Multiplier
Speed kills in the heavyweight division. Ben Rothwell found this out the hard way, as one of the first strikes "Pezao" threw connected hard enough to allow him to close the show. Blagoy Ivanov is a solid grappler who finds his counter shots, but "Baga" moves at a glacially slow pace inside the Octagon and hasn't had a KO/TKO victory since 2017. While he has been known to quit when in bottom position, De Lima showed more urgency in his loss to Alexandr Romanov, and successfully defended three of the five takedown attempts.
Andre Fialho - 1.8 X Multiplier
Fialho came armed with some new tricks after his loss to Michel Pereira, showing better head movement and more emphasis on footwork in his fight with Miguel Baeza, which ultimately led to a stoppage victory. Cameron VanCamp will look to bully his opponents and force grappling exchanges, but he is far too hittable to trust in a matchup against Fialho, who is a sniper with power in the pocket. While the sample size is small, we should note that the 28-year-old stuffed three of four takedown attempts against Pereira, who is one of the strongest fighters in the division.
Plays to Consider on FanDuel
Brandon Royval ($TBD)
The removal of certain scoring categories from the FanDuel game makes it difficult to find solid advantages, but Royval has that covered thanks to the 2.2 submission attempts he has logged per 15 minutes of cage time in his five UFC fights. "Raw Dawg" generally spends too much time trying to strike with opponents, but Matt Schnell is such a slick boxer that it won't be surprising to see him work this fight to the ground earlier than usual. Once there, we should see entertaining scrambles from both fighters, as "Danger" has locked up two triangle choke submissions in the organization.
Plays to Consider on Prize Picks
Michael Chandler OVER 1.5 Takedowns, Kleydson Rodrigues UNDER 2.0 Takedowns
Chandler must see the writing on the wall in his upcoming bout with Tony Ferguson, as "El Cucuy" spent almost 24:00 on the mat combined in fights against Beneil Dariush and Charles Oliveira. Some may wonder if Chandler is the caliber of BJJ black belt as the fighters mentioned above, but he was able to survive and return to his feet after Oliveira took his back in Round 1 of their title fight. This gives me confidence that "Iron Mike" can handle himself on the ground against anyone. Ferguson's opponents are 7-for-7 in takedown attempts across his last three fights, and Chandler has been one of the most powerful wrestlers in the sport for more than a decade.
The line seems high for Rodriguez, who generally likes to use his athleticism and speed to throw big, powerful strikes at his opponents. That's not to say he can't hit some nice trips, but they generally occur when the man across from him clinches to try and stop the onslaught. C.J. Vergara is a solid range kickboxer who may look to force some grappling exchanges, but I expect Rodrigues to feel comfortable as the crisper. more agile striker.
Plays to Consider on Monkey Knife Fight
Francisco Trinaldo UNDER 63.5 Strikes and Danny Roberts OVER 43.5 Strikes
When Roberts misses totals, it's generally due to his fight finishing early. That's not something we should have to worry about against Trinaldo, who has gone to a decision in five of his last six fights. "Massaranduba" has worked slowly in the latter half of his career, causing his strike total to fall short of this line in eight consecutive fights. Trinaldo will almost certainly try to wrestle "Hot Chocolate," but Roberts did well scrambling on the ground with Claudio Silva, and should be able to return to his feet without spending much time in bottom position.
Khaos Williams UNDER 65.5 Strikes and Randy Brown OVER 55.5 Strikes
Williams' opponents generally aren't around long enough for him to hit strike totals, but his counter-punching style has seen him go under this mark in one of his two UFC decisions. Brown has cleared his number quite a bit thanks to taking on action fighters, but I think he will look to get in close against the powerful Williams, which could see him run numbers up in the clinch.