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UFC Fight Night Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker (ESPN) Fight Card Picks: DraftKings Fantasy MMA Fights to Target, Betting Odds and Predictions

UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Hooker is taking place on Saturday night, and DraftKings is offering multiple ways for mixed martial arts fans to get in on the action. DraftKings users can enter for their chance to win big prizes in Saturday’s fantasy MMA $600k Throwdown Special contest, which pays out a guaranteed $600,000, including $150k…

UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Hooker is taking place on Saturday night, and DraftKings is offering multiple ways for mixed martial arts fans to get in on the action. DraftKings users can enter for their chance to win big prizes in Saturday’s fantasy MMA $600k Throwdown Special contest, which pays out a guaranteed $600,000, including $150k to first place. The slate locks at 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday. Set your lineups here: MMA $600K Throwdown Special [$150K to 1st].

DraftKings users can also get in on the UFC action by betting on DraftKings Sportsbook or by downloading the DK Sportsbook app.

In this article, I am looking at the fights that I think the winner has a chance to score big fantasy points and break the slate.

All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change. For the full list of available bets, download the DK Sportsbook app or check out the DraftKings Sportsbook website.


Mike Perry ($9,000; -315) vs. Mickey Gall ($7,200; +235)

This is one of the odder co-main events in recent memory and I certainly don’t think it will be Fight of the Year candidate like we got last week out of Josh Emmett and Shane Burgos. With that said, there is a decent amount of fantasy appeal in this matchup and it is interesting due to some of the odd storylines surrounding the fight.

Typically, I am not much for narratives. I think they are unpredictable and I like to project a fight with previous information from the data we can acquire from fighters that we learned during their previous fights. The thing is, the storyline from the Perry side of this fight is extremely bizarre. He fired his coaches, divorced his wife and got a new girlfriend. On the surface, this doesn’t seem too significant, but he says he’s going into the fight with his new girlfriend cornering him. She is not a fighter and doesn’t have any sort of professional experience as a trainer or working in a corner. It’s hard to think this is going to be great for the strategy of Perry, who isn’t exactly known for his fight IQ as is.

Mickey Gall made a name for himself in the UFC by beating CM Punk. In hindsight (and at the time) this is far from an impressive win. Overall, Gall has a 5-2 record in the UFC and has looked overmatched when stepping up in competition. All of his UFC wins are over fighters no longer on the roster. By far, Perry is the toughest test of Gall’s career and I am not sure he has enough striking or cardio to keep up with Perry.

I still have to favor Perry due to his significant advantages on the feet, but if Gall is able to get this to the mat, he’s going to have a chance to dominate positions and potentially sink in an RNC, especially since Perry won’t have anybody in his corner to coach him out of any bad positions. Due to the odd circumstances surrounding Perry, I am going to have some shares of Gall in GPP. Whoever wins this fight should score well since the fight is -360 to end inside the distance.

Prediction: Mike Perry by first round TKO


Could Dan Hooker upset Dustin Poirier this weekend?


Dustin Poirier ($8,700; -235) vs. Dan Hooker ($7,500; +185)

I usually don’t list the Main Event in my article since I figure most people are targeting it anyway. For this week, I am going to make an exception because this is a fight that we absolutely must target this week. This is not a fight that can not be faded in tournaments. Stack it in cash games, and for GPP, one side of this fight has to be every lineup. Two high-output fighters, Poirier has scored over 100 DKFP in his last six wins and Hooker has scored at least 95 DKFP in each of his last five wins.

Poirier is likely a bit better everywhere in this fight. He lands 5.51 significant strikes per minute compared to 4.76 for Hooker. Poirier also absorbs 3.97 significant strikes per minute whereas Hooker absorbs 4.67. In addition, I give Poirier the advantage in both the wrestling and grappling departments. As if this isn’t enough, there are some concerns with Hooker’s cardio. Even though he won his last fight against Paul Felder, Hooker was clearly tired in the championship rounds and his output fell off in a big way. By round, Hooker landed 24, 26, 39, 15 and 18 significant strikes. If this fight gets to the later rounds, I expect to see Poirier turn on the pressure and take over the fight similar to what we saw when he knocked out Justin Gaethje in 2018.

The reason that I don’t think of Poirier as an all-in play is because Hooker is live for a knockout in the early rounds. Poirier has been finished in four of his last five losses. He hasn’t had durability issues since moving to lightweight, but Hooker has landed one-shot knockouts in the past and I think it’s his most likely path to victory. From a game theory perspective, we also have to consider that Poirier is likely going to garner more of the ownership in the Main Event. I’ll be higher on Poirier in terms of my exposure and I’ll mix in some Hooker lineups for the leverage and his upside in a win.

Prediction: Dustin Poirier by fourth round TKO


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Jordan Griffin ($8,200; +107) vs. Youssef Zalal ($8,000; -134)

Zalal is an underdog that isn’t really an underdog. What I mean by this is that Griffin was favored at the time pricing came out, leading to him being the more expensive fighter on DraftKings. Since then, the line has flipped and Zalal is now favored despite being the cheaper fighter for fantasy purposes. For this reason, he stands out on a slate where it might be tough to find wins from cheaper fighters.

In a win, I think Zalal should score well. The reason is the weak takedown defense of Griffin combined with the aggressive wrestling of Zalal. Griffin only has a 35% takedown defense and has been taken down 11 times in his three UFC fights. As for Zalal, he landed six takedowns in his UFC debut. It was a unanimous decision win over Austin Lingo and Zalal also added a couple of advances and threatened submissions on the mat.

The only concern I have here is that Griffin was able to win via guillotine against T.J. Brown in his last fight despite giving up takedowns left and right. There is some risk that Zalal will get caught in a submission while taking down Griffin. For this reason, I might make a lineup or two with Griffin although I will be significantly higher on Zalal. I think he has more paths to victory in this fight and should be able to control the action for the majority of the fight due to the discrepancy in his takedown offense and Griffin’s takedown defense.

Prediction: Youssef Zalal by unanimous decision


Set your $600K Fantasy MMA lineups here: MMA $600K Throwdown Special [$150K to 1st].


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.


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