The APEX Center in Las Vegas will be home to UFC Fight Night: Felder vs. Dos Anjos this Saturday. After an unfortunate injury sidelined Islam Makhachev last weekend, Paul Felder stepping in to save the main event (and the card, according to Rafael dos Anjos) has taken a fairly mediocre card and made it stellar. The clash of styles that Felder and RDA will bring to the octagon will undoubtedly make for an exciting thrill ride that any fan can appreciate. And while the card isn’t loaded with name value, there are some hidden gems flying under the radar (Brendan Allen vs. Sean Strickland) and some brand new strawweights will be making their debuts—one on the prelims and one on the main card.
We’ve put together a list of fighters that illustrate the best values in our DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups, as well as the ones that are worth their hefty DraftKings price tags. Let’s take a look at some facts and figures that helped us arrive at these choices.
Editor’s note: Julian Marquez vs. Saparbeg Safarov has been cancelled due to weight cutting issues for Safarov. The Louis Smolka vs. Jose Alberto Quinonez fight and Eryk Anders vs. Antonio Arroyo fights have also been canceled. These fighters will NOT accrue fantasy points. Please be sure to double check your lineups.
DraftKings users can enter to win big prizes in Saturday’s fantasy MMA $350K Throwdown contest, which pays out a guaranteed $350,000, including $100K to first place. Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: MMA $350K Throwdown [$100K to 1st].
Abdul Razak Alhassan, $9,100
Alhassan is a power hitter with a right that can stop a freight train. Khaos Williams ($7,100) also possesses a jawbreaker, but I’d be hard-pressed to take Williams in this contest. “Judo Thunder” has been fighting at a high level for awhile now, but Williams only has 27 seconds to show for his ability at the UFC level. That’s exactly how long his debut lasted against Alex Morono (also on this card) before he knocked Morono out. Abdul is aggressive and pushes a good pace, averaging a respectable 4.54 strikes per minute and though he absorbs quite a bit, he has a super sturdy chin that has never been tested to date. Alhassan does have issues though, and it begins and ends with his stamina, of which there are not limitless reserves. Williams is the deserved underdog, but anything can happen when you have a cannon at your disposal.
Julian Marquez, $9,400
Editor’s note: Julian Marquez vs. Saparbeg Safarov has been cancelled due to weight cutting issues for Safarov. These two fighters will NOT accrue fantasy points. Please be sure to double check your lineups.
Julian Marquez is returning to action after more than 2.5 years away due to the dreaded injury bug. He makes his 2020 appearance against Saparbeg Safarov ($6,800), a Russian fighter who hasn’t been very impressive in his UFC run. With only one win in four, this is likely a do-or-die situation that could see him out of the UFC with another loss, so expect him to really turn this fight into a grinder if he doesn’t get starched in the opening moments of the fight. Marquez isn’t a ground specialist and doesn’t have the best takedown defense, but he did notch his first submission over Darren Stewart, so maybe he’s continued working on his grappling/wrestling during his time away. Marquez will have a one-inch height advantage, but he is cursed with short arms and will be at a six-inch reach disadvantage. If he gets in the pocket and keeps the fight in the center of the cage, he should find purchase with one of those big haymakers.
Don’Tale Mayes, $9,000
Mayes should be able to make easy work of Roque Martinez ($7,200) based almost solely on the physical advantages he possesses. With an eight-inch height and nine-inch reach advantage, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t be able to clean Roque’s clock with one of those massive rights. Martinez is also a power puncher, but I daresay the international regional circuit he’s been fighting on before the UFC isn’t quite comparable to Mayes’ schedule of opponents. Now Mayes has been winless in the UFC, but he got hit with Cyril Gane and Rodrigo Nascimento back-to-back. His boxing isn’t the most technical, but it’s clear he’s been working on it as well as his wrestling. Martinez is the better grappler, but again, his competition wasn’t exactly stellar, so that’s sort of up in the air. Don’Tale might still be a raw talent, but his power and physical gifts just make it too hard to pick against him.
Paul Felder, $7,400
At $7,400, how could you not pick Felder? He’s got the upside of being great in the clinch where he does his best work, he’s got power, great knees and kicks, outstanding cardio and hasn’t been fighting for 18+ years. He’s not an active ground gamer, but he has respectable takedown defense. Paul is a dynamic striker who throws spinning attacks as well as more traditional, technical striking. In the years since 2011 when he made his pro debut, we’ve watched Paul settle into a great pressure fighter with good instincts and the intestinal fortitude of a cast iron skillet. He’ll have his hands full with former champion Rafael dos Anjos ($8,800), who is also a pressure fighter but has an outstanding ground game to match. RDA has had flashes of power but is not a prolific knockout artist. Felder, on the other hand, has 10 knockouts and almost always ends up in rock-em-sock-em battles. He has a sturdy chin, but his grappling isn’t anywhere near as effective or dangerous as dos Anjos’. It’s a really bold pick, but I think Felder has more left in the tank than RDA.
Brendan Allen, $7,900
Allen will be in perhaps the most competitive fight on the entire card when he faces off with Sean Strickland ($8,300). Allen has the grappling chops to make it a rough night for anyone, but he will be facing a big challenge in Strickland who is not only a great technical striker, he’s also a pretty good grappler himself. Allen has flaws, the most glaring of which is his extremely porous defense, so he’ll need to keep those hands up when he throws, or he’ll need to get this fight on the mat where it will favor him more. Strickland just fought a couple weeks ago against Jack Marshman where he took the Welshman to a lopsided decision. I’ve become quite wary of picking fighters when they’ve recently just fought thanks to a few quick turnarounds ending up in losses. With Allen having nearly five months to rest and recuperate from his last fight, and the fact that he is on a seven-fight win streak over some very impressive names including Kevin Holland, it’s not a hard choice to find more upside with him than Strickland.
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