This week, DraftKings Reignmakers is offering up $250,000 in total prizes between its five tiers of contests: CORE, RARE, ELITE, LEGENDARY and REIGNMAKER.
All players from DraftKings’ Heatwave, UFC 281, UFC 282, UFC 283, UFC 284, Genesis and UFC Fight Night sets are eligible to compete in these contests.
In the third international card of the year, UFC travels to Australia to crown champions of the Featherweight and Lightweight divisions.
The No. 1 PFP Featherweight Champion Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski is moving up a weight class to force Islam Makhachev into his first Lightweight Title defense. By moving up, Volk creates a vacancy in the Featherweight division, and No. 2 Yair Rodriguez and No. 5 Josh Emmett will battle for the interim title on Saturday night in Perth. Further down the card, we have a few other fighters to be excited about, especially -305 favorite Jack Della Maddalena and +195 underdog Alonzo Menifield.
Let’s break down this card from a Reignmakers perspective to see some of the best plays for UFC 284.
Jack Della Maddalena, Rare Floor: $31
I don’t think JDM tries to finish each fight in the first round, but he has yet to find an opponent who can stand and strike with him in his UFC career. On a 3-0 win streak, Jack has three first round KO/TKO finishes and has scored at least 107 points in each of those fights. He’s the most expensive card this weekend, and also the most likely to finish his fight early. While his opponent Randy Brown has significant advantages in height and reach, he is primarily a decision fighter and has fallen victim to KO in two of his last three losses. I see Brown as another seemingly straightforward opponent for JDM, and recommend Jack Della Maddalena in DFS/Reignmakers contests.
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Islam Makhachev, Rare Floor: $29
I’m as big a Volkanovski fan as they come. He’s dedicated, tough, and you don’t get to be the No. 1 PFP fighter in the UFC without being “him.” He also does a pretty good rendition of “I Want It That Way”... definitely worth a quick Google search.
However, this is simply a horrible matchup for him, and I see Islam Makhachev winning this fight on the ground relatively easily. Volk may be a tough out, given his stocky frame and ability to survive submissions, but Islam is bigger, stronger, and more talented on the ground than any fighter Volk has faced.
I believe Makhachev wins, and feel that he is a safe play in Reignmakers at $29 in Rare. Islam will either win early like he did against Oliveria, or sit on Alex and earn a ton of control time. Both are friendly outcomes for Reignmakers scoring!
If you believe that Volk avoids a KO/TKO, he may be a good buy right now at an $8 floor. If he wins against Islam, his price will skyrocket as a two division belt holder. If he loses and avoids a ton of damage, Volkanovski will be the favorite in a title fight against the winner of Emmett/Rodriguez later on this year.
Kleydson Rodrigues, Rare Floor $20
I’m not typically a fan of rostering fighters coming off a loss or giving up advantages in height and reach to their next opponent. However, Kleydson Rodrigues looked awesome in his last fight against CJ Vergara, combining a versatile set of strikes with an impressive determination on the ground. He enters this matchup against Shannon Ross, who despite losing his contender series debut, is making his UFC debut on Saturday. Ross deals 7.15 strikes per minute while absorbing 8.43. Rodrigues hits 5.73, and only takes 3.07, a much more positive differential than Ross. As the better fighter in this matchup, Kleydson Rodrigues should find his way to a voluminous win, one that may end by finish.
I strongly dislike playing underdogs in Reignmakers. There are no salary restrictions in this game format, and playing the optimal lineup each week is the most logical, albeit most expensive, way to get to the top. However, my manager has asked me to pick someone “who’s not chalky”... so here we go!
Melsik Baghdasaryan, Rare Floor: $8
This the the closest, toss-up fight on the card. At -115, Baghdasaryan is 5-0 in his last five fights with three finishes during that time. The slight -105 underdog Josh Culibao is 3-1-1 in his last five, with a split decision win in his last fight in June and his loss coming by TKO against Jalin Turner.
I’m giving the nod to Baghdasaryan in this one, noting that a finish is unlikely with Under 2.5 Rounds set at +140. However, Melsik has a +3 advantage in strikes per minute, hits 20% more strikes as significant, and possesses a strong striking karate style that has given Culibao trouble in the past. If he hits six strikes per minute on his way to a decision win, he could flirt with 90-100 points, and you could do a lot worse in your DraftKings Reignmakers lineups.
Let me know your thoughts on this UFC 284 PPV card, and make sure to follow me over at @JeffGailius for more MMA and DraftKings content.
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