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UFC Fight Night Cheat Sheet: DraftKings MMA DFS Picks, Predictions for November 14

Stephie Haynes preps you for Saturday’s UFC slate with key factors and winning trends for your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups.

UFC Fight Night: Felder v Hooker Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

On Saturday afternoon, UFC Fight Night: Felder vs. Dos Anjos will kick off live from the APEX Center in Las Vegas with a 12-bout card that might not be heavy on name power but will likely be heavy on the action if these last several cards are any indicator. The main event ended up getting a late replacement when Islam Makhachev pulled out with an injury last weekend, but his replacement, Paul Felder, is just the shot of adrenaline that this rather ho-hum show needed. There are some intriguing matchups on the card—I’m looking at you Sean Strickland and Brendan Allen—as well as some new faces in the strawweight division that we’ll be able to get acquainted with.

With a card like this that features more from the prospect side of the stable than the contender’s side, it can present a real challenge when it comes to selecting your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups, so we’ve created a cheat sheet to help out. Let’s take a brief look at which fighters could end up being a fantasy points windfall.

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].

Place your UFC bets at the DraftKings Sportsbook UFC page and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.


STRIKERS

Abdul Razak Alhassan, $9,100

Alhassan will wind up in three categories thanks to an active striking output and the massive power he wields. And make no mistake, it is crushing, devastating, one-punch knockout power—10 knockouts worth in 12 fights. While he is very active, he’s not as high volume as others that have made this list. Alhassan averages 4.54 strikes/minute, but his defense could use some work as he absorbs 5.05 strikes/minute. His aggressive style is very high paced in the opening round, but “Judo Thunder” has cardio issues that present from about the second minute of round two onward (making him a candidate for our third and most dreaded gas guzzlers list), so if the heavy-hitting “Khaos” Williams ($7,100) has hope to win this fight, he has a couple options: he can knock Alhassan out, which has never been done, or he can survive the first round and drag him into deep water, which has been done twice successfully. The power edge lies with Abdul, though, as well as pure athleticism and high-level fight experience. In short, it’s really hard to pick against Alhassan here.


Sean Strickland, $8,300

Strickland is a fairly well-rounded fighter with a beautiful technical striking base. While one of the most active strikers on the card (4.64 strikes/minute), Sean has added facets to his skill set, most noticeably, he went from being almost exclusively a counter striker to being an aggressive go-getter, easily manhandling Jack Marshman, earning a lopsided victory. Brendan Allen ($7,900) is a wonderful grappler but leaves plenty to be desired in the standup—mainly activity, as he only averages 2.67 strikes/minute. Allen has produced flashes of power (five KOs), so caution would be wise here. Strickland is also a heavy hitter, logging nine wins by knockout and another four by submission, so if the fight ends up on the ground, he’s not helpless there. This is probably the most evenly matched fight on the entire card, and it should be a treat to watch.


GROUND SPECIALISTS

Rafael dos Anjos, $8,800

Rafael dos Anjos has had a pretty amazing career. After getting off to a shaky 0-2 start in the UFC, RDA ended up going on a tear through the lightweight division (in 11 fights, he only lost once, to Khabib Nurmagomedov), lifting the title off Anthony Pettis and defending it once before injury would derail his plans to reign for years, forcing the Brazilian’s big fight with Conor McGregor to end up in the scrap heap. Instead, he would face and be beaten by Eddie Alvarez the following year. Another loss to Tony Ferguson in 2016 and dos Anjos would spend the next four years at welterweight where he just couldn’t make a dent in the division. Now, he returns to lightweight at 36-years-of-age. Rafa is an aggressive pressure fighter with outstanding jiu-jitsu and very underrated wrestling. He has a strong takedown game where he averages 1.82 takedowns per 15 minutes and is the owner of 10 submissions. His body kicks are nasty and his ground-and-pound is extremely effective.

The downside, though, is not just his chronological age, it’s that he’s been in a lot of wars and has already accrued 42 fights since going pro 18+ years ago. His title loss to Alvarez came after a terrible weight cut that saw him pass out in the locker room just moments before coming out to fight. His durability is a big question mark and makes him a prime candidate for our gas guzzlers list. It would be such an incredible Cinderella story if dos Anjos managed to make another run at the title, but he’s got to get through the “Irish Dragon” first, and that’s no easy task.


Kay Hansen, $9,200

Kay Hansen is a 21-year-old prospect with a strong wrestling base and and a very good submission game (four submission wins). She’s not much of a striker yet, but she’s young and has plenty of time to get better. She’s quick and explosive, averaging 2.41 takedowns/15 minutes, and has a penchant for taking arms. Her UFC debut against the highly touted prospect Jinh Yu Frey was an excellent showing and ended with the favorite in—you guessed it—an armbar. She’ll be running the welcome wagon for newcomer Cory McKenna, who is better in the standup, but will have to fend off Hansen’s takedowns. This is a good pairing, and McKenna has potential, but this is Hansen’s fight to lose.


Brendan Allen, $7,900

Brendan Allen is going to have his hands full with Sean Strickland, full stop. The best matched fight on the entire card is this one, and the term “styles make fights” is so applicable here. Where Strickland has the advanced, more technical standup, Allen has the better ground game and is a real threat on the ground, holding eight submission wins. Brendan is big on takedown pressure and he averages at least 1.42 takedowns/15 minutes and attempts 1.4 submissions per three-round fight. He has shown flashes of power, as well, and holds five knockouts on his record. Strickland is no slouch on the ground and has proven himself quite capable there. This is a real coin-toss fight where both men have an equal chance of walking out of the octagon with the victory.


KNOCKOUT KINGS

Paul Felder, $7,400

Paul Felder is a gritty, durable fighter with solid standup, very good takedown defense, endless cardio and an iron will. With only five days’ notice, Felder came into this week already in great shape thanks to a triathlon he was preparing for. Paul is a busy puncher, but not enough to be considered a volume striker. He is active and constantly looking to crowd his opponent where he can pepper stinging shots and bring hard knees up the middle. He’s got a great kicking game too, but he’ll be outgunned there, as RDA’s body kicks can leave mortal men on Valhalla’s doorstep. Paul has 10 wins by knockout with the most recent being an elbow TKO of Charles Oliveira three years ago.

For the majority of this year, it was questionable if Paul was even going to return to the cage after taking a controversial split-decision loss to Dan Hooker back in February, but according to him, it was eating away at him that he wasn’t retiring on a win. And so we fans get an amazing gift in this fight where two action fighters with skillsets to really bring out the best in the other will do battle. With a win over dos Anjos, Felder could find himself back in the top contender’s herd.


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 has one of the best nicknames in the UFC. The “Cuban Missile Crisis” is a big power puncher with skull-jangling abilities. Of his seven wins, six are by knockout. Marquez is an orthodox fighter, who, despite being the taller athlete, will be at a 6-inch reach deficit in this contest, so he’ll need to keep it in a phone booth to be effective. Saparbeg Safarov ($6,800) is an active striker, but primarily uses his striking to make fights ugly. His grindy style is the polar opposite of Marquez’s in-your-face antics that while exciting, have left him with the needle on E, which makes him a candidate for our gas guzzlers list. Marquez will have to get this fight finished pretty quickly, otherwise, he’ll have the pressure of a more than capable wrestler all over him, and historically, Marquez hasn’t got the best takedown defense. A couple of things to note: Safarov only has one win in four UFC fights and Marquez is coming back from an injury layoff that lasted more than two-and-a-half years.

Abdul Razak Alhassan, $9,100


GAS GUZZLERS

Rafael dos Anjos, $8,800

Abdul Razak Alhassan, $9,100

Julian Marquez, $9,400

Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: MMA $350K Throwdown [$100K to 1st].

Place your UFC bets at the DraftKings Sportsbook UFC page and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is crooklyn949) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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