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.
REMINDER: If you hold a Talia Santos 2.18 Fight Night Card, you should have received a Jessica Andrade via airdrop.
The road to UFC 285 begins now. With so many fights moved to the stacked March card headlined by Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane, we have two FN cards that are relatively middle tier in terms of overall talent and name recognition. However, DraftKings Reignmakers isn’t going anywhere! Let’s break down the value of this slate to try and win some contests on DK Reignmakers.
The Studs: As always, our Reignmakers plays will be highlighted by the highest floor/ceiling combo fighters on the slate.
Clayton Carpenter, Rare Floor: $16
Clayton Carpenter is making his UFC debut after earning a 6-0 record in his professional MMA career. He’s earned two wins by each method of victory (Dec/Sub/KO/TKO), with his most recent win coming by decision in the DWCS last August. A slick grappler, Carpenter earned three takedowns in that fight and hits 5.27 strikes per minute, while only absorbing 3.4 strikes per minute.
Juancamilo Ronderos lost his first ever fight in his UFC debut against David Dvorak in 2021. Since then, he hasn’t returned to the octagon due to injury and has finally made his way back to MMA to face Carpenter at UFC Vegas 69. Ronderos has a much smaller striking differential than his opponent, and his lack of power is demonstrated by a 0% KO rate. I believe Carpenter handles this one relatively easily with a stoppage in either of the first two rounds. A cheaper option at $16, Carpenter should be one of the optimal plays for your DK Reignmakers lineup.
Zac Pauga, Rare Floor: $18
This isn’t so much of a pick for Zac Pauga as it is a pick against Jordan Wright. Wright (12-4) is moving up in weight class after losing to Dusko Todorovic. He established pressure and dominant position early in that fight, but gassed quickly and was an easy TKO target for Todorovic in the 2nd. Wright has never cared what the judges think of him, as each of his 16 MMA fights have finished inside the distance.
Zac Pauga is a different beast than Jordan has seen before. A natural Light Heavyweight, he’s a KO/TKO or Decision winner with strong enough wrestling to get the job done on the feet or on the ground. Given that Wright has been finished in each of his losses, I’ll predict the trend to continue with Pauga having his hand raised in fewer than two rounds.
Mayra Bueno Silva, Rare Floor: $17
I’ve had a lot of success recently picking against fighters nearing the end of their careers. Frankie Edgar, Shogun Rua, and Glover Teixeira are all examples of older fighters who simply couldn’t pull it together in their final fights. I feel the same way about Lina Lansberg, who is 40 years old entering this matchup as an underdog against the younger and faster Mayra Bueno Silva.
This matchup is fairly interesting for Silva. She boasts a 67% submission rate, but has never earned a takedown in the UFC. Silva instead relies on either her striking to force a clinch or lets her opponent take her down in order to get to that submission. Lina is a versatile Muay Thai striker who can definitely close the distance, but certainly has struggles on the ground. I see Silva getting into a clinch situation, forcing this one to the ground, and pulling off her classic armbar submission in the second or third round.
Main Event: Andrade ($31) vs Blanchfield ($15)
This is a fascinating main event. The favorite Andrade is entering this fight on short notice after mauling Lauren Murphy just a few weeks ago. She’s a top contender in multiple divisions and has an enormous experience edge both in terms of octagon time and level of competition vs her opponent. Andrade’s striking and power are obvious, but she also has impressive Ju-jitsu and is as comfortable wrestling as she is striking.
Erin Blanchfield last fought in November, when she dismantled “Meatball” Molly McCann via first round submission. She’s undefeated in four UFC fights, with two consecutive submission wins. This is a massive step up in competition for her, as she takes on the veteran Andrade in this five-round matchup.
It’s hard not to like Blanchfield as the up and comer, but I’m going with the vet Andrade in this matchup. She’s simply stronger and I envision her imposing her will on Blanchfield on her way to a potential stoppage victory. She’s available for a pricy $31 in Rare, but should pay off handsomely for this contest!
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