As exciting as it was predictable, UFC 285 has come and gone. Despite getting two new champions and PFP King last weekend, we’re all left wanting more MMA. Luckily, our friends at the UFC are delivering. Next week is Edwards vs. Usman 3 at UFC 286, and this week boasts a Fight Night card that is a title bout away from being a stacked PPV card. There are TONS of close fights for UFC Las Vegas Yan vs. Dvalishvili. I’m here to break down the card and give my top picks for DraftKings Reignmakers.
The Studs: As always, our Reignmakers plays will be highlighted by the highest floor/ceiling combo fighters on the slate.
Mario Bautista, RARE Floor: $21
I’m expecting an ageism lawsuit any day now. We’ve had significant success picking against aging fighters, and that trend is going to continue today. Mario Bautista is a -950 betting favorite and -350 to finish the 43-year-old Guido Cannetti in this fight. Bautista went 3-0 in 2022 with two submission finishes in the very first round. He has the same fantasy upside as Bo Nickal did last week, and his price was $44. I’d plant Bautista in as many lineups as possible this Saturday.
Carlston Harris, RARE Floor: $11
Carlston Harris is a -300 favorite against late replacement and former UFC roster cut Jared Gooden. As a late replacement, Gooden may be underprepared for this fight, as evidenced by him missing weight for this welterweight matchup. Jared has proved that he can swing, earning a stoppage in each of his last four wins. However, he has a negative striking differential and is far more one-dimensional than the grappling Harris. I envision this fight ending via second round submission in favor of Carlston Harris.
The Dog: This Fight Night card is very tough to call, and I feel more confident in the fantasy upside of some underdogs than I do the safety of some favorites here. I have a spicy underdog play that could boom or bust for this UFC card.
Jonathan Martinez, RARE Floor: $2
I completely missed on Martinez in his last fight against Cub Swanson. He demonstrated poise, patience and power while completely dismantling Cub and forcing a stoppage win.
We all see the last name of the guy he’s fighting, and it should send shivers down your spine. However, this isn’t a typical Nurmagomedov and as both fighters are famous for their leg attacks, I see this one playing out as a kickboxing match in the octagon. Both guys are dangerous, but the differentiator for me in this one is the leg kicks for Martinez. Powerful, strong and accurate, an underdog win here would vault him into the top 15 of the division, an honor that is well within his grasp in this matchup.
Main Event: Petr Yan ($9) vs Merab Dvalishvili ($5)
Death, taxes and Yan split decisions. At least, that’s been the story of his last few fights. Yan is one of the grittiest fighters in the bantamweight division and has had a tough go of it in his last two split decision losses against Sean O’Malley and Aljamain Sterling. Arguably the winner of both of those matchups, Yan could be in for another decision against the offensive wrestler Dvalishvili.
Merab enters this matchup on a tear, on an eight fight win streak dating back to 2018, albeit against less than elite competition. He has insane fantasy upside, earning 10-plus takedowns in three fights and averaging 6.5 per fight.
In a fight that I’m expecting to be a close decision, the winner will be determined by time on the feet. If Yan keeps the fight standing for three rounds, he’ll be able to piece up Merab and win a decision. If Dvalishvili takes Yan down, we could be in for a long wrestling match. I usually regret picking against the wrestler in these kinds of matchups, but I’m taking Yan by Decision and for him to be one of the best plays on this Reignmakers slate.
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