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UFC Fight Night Cheat Sheet: DraftKings MMA DFS Picks, Predictions for November 28

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

UFC 252: Kamaka v Kelley Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Editor’s Note: Saturday’s UFC fight between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis has been canceled after Blaydes tested positive for COVID-19, per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.

On Saturday night, UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Lewis takes center stage at the UFC APEX Center in Las Vegas. Once again, we get back to the comfort and familiarity of a modest card with very little marquee name value, but likely to be packed with action as there are some very interesting prospects in the mix that are essentially on the cusp of becoming bona fide contenders—I’m looking at you Kai Kamaka and Miguel Baeza! Perched atop the card in the headliner spot is a terrific top contender’s battle between heavyweight titans Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis that pits Lewis’ brawling style against Blaydes’ more technical wrestling. Anthony Smith faces off against Devin Clark in what is no doubt a must-win confidence builder. The other noteworthy fight is Spike Carlyle vs. Bill Algeo in what is bound to be a fun, grapple-heavy scrap.

Let’s check out some facts and figures about some of the standout fighters on this event, and why they could end up making the difference in your DraftKings fantasy MMA 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.


SUPER STRIKERS

Josh Parisian, $9,000

Parisian is an orthodox volume striker with heavy hands, evidenced by 10 knockouts in 13 wins, as well as a pair of submissions for good measure. Parisian averages 7.07 strikes per minute, but this figure is still a bit cloudy as we only have 2:37 of actual fight time to gauge his output, and all of that took place on the Contender Series. His absorption rate is a troubling at nearly 5.0 strikes per minute. He’ll make his promotional debut after two Contender Series wins, a failed stint on The Ultimate Fighter, and lots of time on the regional scene. Parisian is pretty nimble for a heavyweight and paired with his tremendous power (he also lands on our Knockout Kings list) and high output, he’s looking like his UFC career could be a successful one.


Jonathan Pearce, $7,000

Pearce is our highest volume striker on the card, and one of the highest on the roster. A switch stance fighter, he manages an incredible 11.21 strikes per minute with an average fight time of 6:42. Unfortunately, that high rate is balanced by defensive cracks in the armor to the tune of 7.85 strikes absorbed per minute. He’s incredibly active on the ground, too, averaging 4.48 takedowns per 15-minute contest. He defends them pretty well too, with an 80% defense rate. This will be an absolutely critical tool against his opponent, Kai Kamaka ($9,200), a very capable wrestler with an excellent takedown game. Pearce will enjoy a 5-inch height and 2-inch reach advantage over Kamaka.

Notable: Pearce will be moving down to 145 for the first time since 2016, knocked out in 93 seconds by an aged Joe Lauzon in his last fight.


Kai Kamaka, $9,200

Kamaka is an orthodox volume striker who has the unusual distinction of landing and absorbing at the exact same rate: 7.6 strikes per minute, and those numbers come from 15 minutes of fight time. That speaks volumes to his defense, which could use some work, but Kamaka is a prospect with a pretty high ceiling. His fight with Tony Kelley was a fantastic battle that saw him execute five takedowns off five attempts, winning the grappling exchanges and showing off an iron chin in the midst of several “stand and bang” trades where the two went hell for leather.

Notable: Excellent cardio, 6-fight win streak


Bill Algeo, $7,300

Algeo is a switch stance volume striker who will be facing another switch stance fighter in Spike Carlyle ($8,900). Algeo lands a whopping 7.87 strikes per minute, a valid number resulting from an average fight time of 15 minutes. Bill absorbs almost as many strikes as he lands—7.20 per minute—a defensive gap that will need to be shored up if he plans on logging a win against the hyper aggressive Carlyle. Algeo is a very good grappler, as is Carlyle, so if/when this fight hits the canvas, expect some wild scrambles and slick transitions. Carlyle is all instinct and reaction, a constant blur of motion. He’s either looking to take your head off or power you down to the canvas to start submission hunting. Algeo’s clinch work is impressive, and his stamina is much better, but he’ll have to really mind his defense, otherwise, Spike will end his night early.


KNOCKOUT KINGS

Derrick Lewis, $6,900

Editor’s Note: Saturday’s UFC fight between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis has been canceled after Blaydes tested positive for COVID-19, per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.

Lewis has a rocket launcher of a right hand that has seen its fair share of crushed chins—19 of them, to be exact, and while his widely known weak spot is his ground game, his power and aggression have seen him through to 24 victories in his professional career. When he is taken down, he uses sheer power and strength and basically just shrugs his opponent off and stands up. Curtis Blaydes ($9,300) isn’t most heavyweights though, and his top game is pretty extraordinary. The way he absolutely smothered Alexander Volkov was impressive, even if it wasn’t action-packed. This will be Lewis’ third fight this year but active schedules are routine, with yearly yields averaging around four fights per year. “The Black Beast” will have to pull off a big knockout because it’s unlikely he wins a decision against Blaydes, especially considering his cardio has always been threadbare.


Anthony Smith, $8,500

Smith is just 32 years old but he’s already had 49 fights in the 12 years he’s been a pro. That’s a lot of wear and tear, and over the last four fights, we’ve seen him log just one win, a submission over Alexander Gustafsson. Losses to Aleksandar Rakic, a particularly brutal loss to Glover Teixeira and the demoralizing beating Jon Jones put on him all took their toll and one has to wonder if he’ll be able to crack the Top 5 again. In this fight with Devin Clark ($7,700), “Lionheart” should have the physical advantages as well as the edge in experience and technique. Anthony has power, with 18 knockouts gracing his record, but he is also a very underrated grappler, with good submission chops, evidenced by 12 submission wins, making him a candidate for our Ground Gods category. Smith isn’t a pressure fighter, but he keeps up a steady work rate.

A glaring issue with him, though, is defensive shielding, of which there isn’t much. He has an absorption rate of 4.43 strikes per minute, but lands less than 3.0 per minute. His opponent, Devin Clark, isn’t exactly what you’d term a big finisher, as eight of his 12 wins are by decision, but he’s aggressive and willing to engage in grappling exchanges. This is clearly a confidence-builder for Smith, and it’s his fight to lose, but my own confidence in Smith is quite shaky at this point.


Miguel Baeza, $8,700

Baeza is a very well-rounded prospect with a ceiling where the sky is the limit. He’s got the legitimate hot hand, with seven of his nine wins coming by blazing knockout. Baeza is a low-end volume striker fighting out of the orthodox stance. He averages 4.78 strike per minute and absorbs nearly as much at a rate of 4.67 absorbed per minute. His opponent, Takashi Sato ($7,500), is also a heavy-handed grenade slinger, but both men are sometimes willing to be overly cautious in an effort to exercise patience and project a measured approach. Baeza has a sturdy, durable chin, excellent cardio and also enjoys a 4-inch height and 1-inch reach advantage. Even with the chance for this fight to end up without a finish, it’s still intriguing to see how they will be advanced in the division.


Takashi Sato, $7,500

Takashi Sato is a Southpaw counter striker with big power but a lack of aggression that often finds him in lifeless exchanges that see him being the perennial opportunist waiting for his opponent to give him the opening he needs. Baeza is too dangerous to try and play the patience game and he seems to be the more aggressive of the two, willing to take chances a little more. Baeza will have four inches in height over Sato, allowing him to pick apart the Japanese native from range. With both men having a similar style, this fight is could go either way.

Josh Parisian, $9,000


GROUND GODS

Curtis Blaydes, $9,300

Editor’s Note: Saturday’s UFC fight between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis has been canceled after Blaydes tested positive for COVID-19, per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.

Blaydes is a brute force on the ground with outstanding, smothering wrestling. His top game is truly impressive, and according to an interview he gave earlier in the week, he believes his it’s the result of the way he positions his hips. Blaydes also has heavy hands and is quite adept with his elbows, notching several wins by TKO off elbows or combinations with elbows. For a big man, he moves very fast, covering the distance across the cage quickly. Curtis averages 6.98 takedowns per 15 minutes with a 55% accuracy rate. He normally has a pretty decent gas tank, but in the fight with Volkov, he actually ended up losing the last round because he was positively gassed (automatic candidate for our Gas Guzzlers category). Derrick Lewis isn’t exactly a cardio giant, but what he’s known for is being able to pull off massive knockouts late in fights. “Razor” has the tools to win this fight, but he’ll need to avoid that big right of Lewis’ at all costs.

Anthony Smith, $8500


GAS GUZZLERS

Derrick Lewis, $6,900

Curtis Blaydes, $9,300

Spike Carlyle, $8,900

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


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