UFC 286 features the rematch we’ve all been waiting for. Underdog Leon Edwards defends his title against former belt holder Kamaru Usman in his native London. In our co-main event, Justin Gaethje looks to prove that he’s still a championship contender against rising star Rafael Fiziev. This card also features five other ranked contenders, including Marvin Vettori, Roman Dolidze, Jennifer Maia, Casey O’Neill and Jack Shore.
The pricing on Reignmakers this week is strange. While there’s always correlation between DraftKings Sportsbook odds and each fighter’s price in Reignmakers, it seems there is some rare value that breaks that trend on this slate. Let’s talk about the top plays for UFC 286.
As always, our Reignmakers plays will be highlighted by the highest floor/ceiling combo fighters on the slate.
Jack Shore, RARE Floor: $17
I’m very confused by this price. Jack Shore is a 16-1 pro currently favored at -500 on DraftKings Sportsbook. He’s cheaper than Kamaru Usman ($22), Gunnar Nelson ($21) and Juliana Miller ($18), all of whom are less heavily favored than Shore, and have fewer paths to getting an early finish in their fights.
Shore is coming off the first loss of his career and is going up against Makwan Amirkhani, who’s most notable career accomplishment is a split decision lost to No. 4 Featherweight Arnold Allen. Both men are strong grapplers, but we’ve seen Amirkhani struggle recently, with five losses in his past seven fights, three of which came by finish. I’m not sure Shore finishes this fight in the first round, but he could definitely find his way to an ITD win and the optimal RM lineup on Saturday.
Jake Hadley, RARE Floor: $20
Missed weight alert! Hadley’s opponent Malcom Gordon missed weight badly, which sets up very well for Hadley in this spot. For those who think this is an insignificant stat, we’re 3/3 on picks against fighters who missed weight, most recently with Shavkat Rakhmonov against Geoff Neal at UFC 285 (Third Round Sub).
Hadley is a talented prospect who split his two fights in 2022. While it isn’t shown in his DFS box score, Hadley is a talented grappler with a balanced approach on his feet. Similar to Amirkhani above, Gordon is fading recently with three losses in his last five matches, all by finish! Hadley is certainly one of the more expensive options on this slate, but is another screaming value considering his price in the Rare tier on DraftKings Reignmakers.
Name Brand Pick
There are two fighters on this card with very similar names, Christian Duncan and Chris Duncan. I like them both to win here!
Christian Leroy Duncan, RARE Floor: $14
Christian Duncan (CLD) is an undefeated prospect making his UFC debut after finishing six of his seven professional wins inside the distance. He has a very unique striking style, with finishes by spinning heel kick, flying knee and spinning back elbows. This fight is -230 to not go the distance, so expect some lightning from CLD who faces off against Dusko “Thunder” Todorovic.
Todorovic is the more experienced fighter in this matchup, but surrenders a five inch reach advantage and has lost three of his last four against fighters who profile similarly to Duncan. In fact, he was almost put out by now former UFC fighter Jordan Wright, who finished 2-5 in his career. Christian Duncan should have the striking and wrestling advantages in this fight, and I’m taking him to win inside the distance here.
Chris Duncan, RARE Floor: $5
The other Chris Duncan has a similar story. A 29-year-old UFC rookie, “The Problem” enters this fight as a 9-1 professional with finishes in eight of his wins. He faces 37-year-old veteran Omar Morales, who is 2-3 in his last five fights. In another classic matchup of rising prospect versus declining veteran, I’m leaning on the younger Duncan to win this one inside the distance.
Believe it or not, this line actually opened in favor of Morales. The line is still very tight with Morales a slight underdog at -105, but Duncan is now the favorite at -115. However, the Reignmakers market has not yet caught up to this fact, and Chris Duncan’s price is still at $5! Whether or not you believe in “The Problem” to get it done against Morales, I’m projecting him as a BUY for your Reignmakers franchise. If you choose to play him at $5, he should be a great value as a favorite. If you simply buy low at $5, his price should increase before the slate locks tomorrow, earning you a small profit just for paying attention!
Main Event: Kamaru Usman ($25) vs Leon Edwards ($6)
HEADSHOT DEAD! While Usman has dominated the vast majority of the 39 minutes these two have shared in a UFC Octagon, Leon Edwards shocked the world at UFC 278, coming back from a sure 49-46 loss to KO Kamura Usman in the fifth and final round.
The story on these guys has been told, and now it comes down to which narrative you choose for your DraftKings Reignmakers lineup.
Are you backing the former champ and current challenger Usman? If it weren’t for one kick to the head, Usman would likely be a -500 favorite going into this matchup. However, there are certainly concerns with Usman as an older fighter coming off a KO loss, with apparent knee issues and already hinting at retirement.
Or, are you backing the underdog champion Leon “Rocky” Edwards? He’s currently on a 10-fight win streak since first losing to Usman. He came back from the brink of defeat in his last fight, being the first man to ever take down Usman and defeat him in UFC competition. He should be fighting with renewed confidence and energy at home with the crowd at his back at the O2 in London.
Personally, I’m backing Usman and his sample size, and actually predict him to win inside the distance. However, I wouldn’t be mad at you if you purchased and played Rocky as an underdog and chased the Cinderella story this Saturday.
Let me know what you think! I’ll be watching live on Saturday, feel free to hit me up on Twitter with questions/comments/reactions — @JeffGailius.
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