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UFC Fight Night Cheat Sheet: DraftKings MMA DFS Predictions for Aug. 1

Stephie Haynes takes a look at the fights where she thinks the winner has a chance to score big DraftKings fantasy points and break the UFC slate, which gets underway at 7:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 1.

On Saturday, August 1, fight fans will be treated to fights in the small cage again. I’m not sure if it’s a real phenomenon or just wishful thinking, but fights seem better when they’re in closer quarters. While a slightly more modest card than last week’s 15-fight extravaganza, the event certainly has its perks, namely the Vicente Luque-Randy Brown fight, my personal main event. Let’s take a look at some factors that could be significant in your DraftKings lineups.


DraftKings is offering multiple ways for mixed martial arts fans to get in on the UFC action. DraftKings users can enter for their chance to win big prizes in Saturday’s fantasy MMA $400K Throwdown Special contest, which pays out a guaranteed $400,000, including $100K to first place. Set your DraftKings MMA lineups here: MMA $400K Throwdown Special [$100K to 1st].

DraftKings users can also get in on the UFC action by betting on DraftKings Sportsbook or by downloading the DK Sportsbook app.


VOLUME STRIKERS

Vicente Luque $8,800 (also a Knockout King)

Luque is a volume striker averaging 5.66 significant strikes per minute and he’s willing to take punishment in order to dish it out, absorbing 5.79 strikes per minute. He’s very active in the clinch, throwing elbows, knees and punches. He also has legitimate power, so he falls into the knockout kings category, as well. Luque has a durable chin, evidenced by him never having been stopped on the feet. Randy Brown is a good striker too, but I feel like Luque’s experience and durability sets him apart. I doubt this banger makes it to the scorecards.

Joanne Calderwood $8,700

Calderwood is another volume striker, landing 6.19 strikes per minute and she is also willing to trade in the pocket, absorbing 4.31 strikes per minute. Her teep kick is an excellent offensive tool and she uses it like a range-finding jab. Her body kicks are powerful and she uses them in concert with crispy, crunchy punching combinations that add up over 15 minutes and this contest most likely will end up going the to the final horn.

Edmen Shahbazyan $9,100 (also a Knockout King)

Shahbazyan is a knockout machine and a volume striker, making him a candidate for two categories. He has real power and wields it with precision, averaging 4.11 significant strikes per minute and absorbing very little damage in return. He’s deadly with both his kicks and his punches and has only been past the first round once in his career. He’s also a good wrestler but Brunson has 100% takedown defense efficiency, so it is highly doubtful this fight takes place on the ground and it’s even more doubtful it goes to a decision.

Lando Vannata $8,200

Vannata is a swarmer who comes out the gate hot. He came very close to beating Tony Ferguson with his fast start in the first round of that fight and he’s maintained that hyper aggressive style in the fights he’s had since then. Lando had an outstanding performance against Yancy Madeiros and it seems he’s finally turned the corner and become more technical. He averages 4.72 strikes per minute, but like so many other volume strikers, he absorbs a ton of damage, to the tune of 4.73 strikes per minute. Bobby Green isn’t especially powerful, but he is also a volume puncher (5.01 strikes per minute) and will be looking to return everything Vannata throws at him. This fight will almost assuredly go the distance.


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KNOCKOUT KINGS

Kevin Holland $8,900

Holland is a finisher. He’s got submissions, he’s got hands and he’s got plenty of bad intentions toward his opponents. Know what else he’s got? A TKO win over Geoff Neal. He’s also got more experience than Trevin Giles and may be the calmer of the two under pressure, which should aid him in this matchup since Giles is a very aggressive forward-mover with a wicked left. Giles struggled to get past an undersized James Krause, getting the split-decision in a very fun fight that he probably should have won more handily. Holland has the wins over higher-quality opposition and should be able to get a finish here.

Chris Gutierrez $9,200

Gutierrez has looked sensational inside the octagon. After a debut hiccup, Chris reeled off three consecutive wins with the latest one being a TKO due to leg kicks and believe it or not, that wasn’t the first leg kick TKO he’s administered. He has seven knockouts and a substantial output, averaging 4.17 significant strikes per minute. His real magic is in his leg kicks and he lands those at a staggering rate. In his last fight against Vincent Morales, he landed 36 of 45 leg kicks. The lines are pretty wide considering Cody Durden is also prone to lay a man out, but Gutierrez’ veteran savvy at a higher level should see him victorious, likely via finish.


TAKEDOWN KINGS

Editor’s note: Ray Borg has been taken off Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card.

Ray Borg, $9,000

Ray Borg has a well-developed wrestling base that he uses very efficiently. Averaging 3.89 takedowns per fifteen-minute fight, he often relies on his grappling to get the job done. While he does have submission skills, he hasn’t pulled one off since early 2015, so I’m expecting this one to go to a decision. Borg is frequently the smaller man in his fights, so Nathan Maness shouldn’t present an extra burden for Ray to get him to the ground. Taylor Lapilus proved that Maness’ size advantage didn’t mean much so long as forward momentum and pressure were maintained. Borg is a fairly aggressive fighter and should be able to handle the newcomer.

Gerald Meerschaert $8,300 (also a Submission Threat)

Meerschaert is a workhorse with a well-rounded skill set and plenty of grit to snag hard-fought wins. He’s got an excellent ground game with a whopping 23 submissions to his credit, making him a candidate for submission king. He’s not the most consistent athlete and he has a soft spot on his chin that a few opponents have found their way to exploit, but I like him in this contest against an aging Ed Herman. Gerald averages 2.34 takedowns per bout and actively looks to get the fight to the canvas where he can work his submission sorcery.


GAS GUZZLERS

Ed Herman $7,900

Ed Herman is 39 years old and has been in some real wars. He throws big punches and can find himself outworked fairly easily by his opponents. Part of his issues may stem from blowing up in between fights, especially since he’s moved up to 205 pounds after more than a decade as a middleweight. His fights with C.B. Dolloway and Gian Villante were real grinders and by the third round he looked like he was running on fumes. Even in his win over Khadis Ibragimov, the toll that all his wild, heavy elbows, punches and launched knees took on his stamina was visible and showed just how hard it was for him to maintain a hard pace like that. Gerald Meerschaert is not going to go easy on him and will be looking to lock a submission on him constantly.


CARDIO KINGS

Bobby Green $8,000

Bobby Green is one of the most well-rounded fighters you might not be paying attention to. He’s got a high-volume punch output (5.01 strikes per minute), polished, technical striking, exceptional takedown defense and a gas tank to rival a tanker. His foot movement is still on point and he matches it with solid head movement, which allows him to avoid significant damage. Despite his high output, Green manages his cardio very well and looks as fresh in the third round as he does in the first.


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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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