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UFC Fight Night Cheat Sheet: DraftKings MMA DFS Predictions for September 12

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

On Saturday, the UFC is back at their APEX center in Las Vegas for another night of fights with their UFC Fight Night: Waterson vs. Hill event. The card is stacked from top to bottom with compelling fights, likely ensuring an action-filled show. Losing the original main event of Glover Teixeira vs. Thiago Santos really stung, but it’s always nice to see the ladies getting that headliner shine, and Angela Hill and Michelle Waterson are more than deserving of it. Strawweight is the most fleshed out of all the women’s divisions with the talent-rich weight class bringing fireworks routinely. I have no doubt that this contest will deliver the goods, as well.

We have a wealth of really competitive bouts, which can make selecting fighters for your DraftKings fantasy lineups a real chore. Let’s take a look at some facts and figures that may help ease the burden of tough choices.


DraftKings users can enter to win big prizes in Saturday’s fantasy MMA $200K Uppercut contest, which pays out a guaranteed $200,000, including $50K to first place. Set your DraftKings MMA lineups here: MMA $200K Uppercut [$50K to 1st].

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


STRIKERS

Angela Hill, $8,200

Hill is just getting better and better with every outing. Her striking has improved considerably, her ground game is still a little iffy, but her takedown defense is above average at 72%. More importantly, she uses her striking to keep herself out of harm’s way for the most part these days. She’s coming off a controversial loss to Claudia Gadelha, a fight many thought she won. Angie averages 5.76 strikes per minute, but also absorbs 5.17 per minute, illustrating her penchant for standing and banging. She’s best served keeping this contest upright as Waterson is definitely the better ground fighter with nine submission wins to her credit. She hasn’t scored a finish since late 2016, but that is not to say she isn’t still a very dangerous opponent. Hill definitely has her work cut out for her, but this is not an unachievable task, by any means.

Andrea Lee, $8,900

Lee is a volume kickboxer with a ton of potential. She’s coming off two split-decision losses, but those arguably should have gone her way. She is fast and accurate with her striking—specifically her kicks—averaging 5.40 per minute while only absorbing 3.80. Roxy’s striking has come a long way, but her ground game is where her bread is buttered, so as long as Andrea can keep the fight standing, the results should favor her when this contest ultimately ends in a decision, because Modafferi is a tough out and is pretty hard to finish. As a matter of fact, it’s been nine years since any opponent has managed that feat. Lee’s takedown defense has improved considerably, so she should be able to keep the action right where she wants it.

Bobby Green, $9,100

Green is one of the most well-rounded athletes in the UFC, despite his record not reflecting it. He’s got a high-volume punch output (5.22 strikes per minute), polished, technical striking, exceptional takedown defense and an enormous gas tank. 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. Alan Patrick hasn’t fought in almost two years and is a little long in the tooth at 37. His wins are largely predicated on explosive takedowns against opposition with less than stellar defense. That will not be the case with Green, who is defensively sound pretty much everywhere.

Billy Quarantillo, $9,300

Quarantillo is another well-rounded fighter that’s been fighting for more than a decade (if you include his amateur record) despite having just been picked up from the Contender Series last year. He’s a volume striker who averages a whopping 7.43 strikes per minute (79% accuracy!) while only absorbing 2.82. Those stats are not inflated either, as they encompass nearly five rounds of action across two fights. Billy uses constant pressure and has no problem establishing and dictating the pace. His top game is also very good, punctuated by excellent ground-and-pound. Billy owns 10 finishes in 14 fights with an even split of submissions and knockouts (five and five), making him a threat pretty much anywhere. Nelson is not a chump by any means, but he’ll certainly have his hands full with Quarantillo.

Sijara Eubanks, $6,800

Eubanks is a powerful, volume-heavy striker with a very good grappling game to round out her skillset. It’s unfortunate that she has had issues with weight cuts and cardio, but hopefully, she’s got those problems sorted out. That said, due to past problems with her stamina, she also lands on our gas guzzlers list. She lands 4.95 strikes per minute while absorbing 3.32 shots per minute for a defense rate of 60%. Sijara has heavy hands with a pair of knockouts to illustrate that point, and she’s been training with Mark Henry which has already proven to be a boon to her striking. Julia Avila is a solid prospect edging on contender status, but her biggest advantage will be her size. If Eubanks’ cardio and striking are on point, she should be able to snag the victory.

Bryan Barberena, $9,000

Barberena is a savvy veteran of 11 years with a well-rounded skillset. He pushes a breakneck pace with tons of volume, to the tune of 5.65 strikes per minute, but he also absorbs 5.00 per minute thanks to a propensity to stand in the pocket and trade hell for leather with whomever is in front of him. He’s not exactly a ground specialist, but he’s not lost in that regard either and even holds two submission wins. Bryan possesses a lethal left hook and has the unique distinction of beating both the Ellenberger brothers—and both tasted the sting of that left. Anthony Ivy is just too green for a fighter with the experience of Barberena, not to mention how fast another regional level fighter (Christian Aguilera) was able to put him away. Bryan has 10 knockouts of his 14 wins, making him a candidate for our knockout kings category.

Sabina Mazo, $9,200

Mazo is a very busy bee, setting and maintaining a relentless pace. Her volume comes in at 6.44 strikes per minute with a pretty solid level of defense, absorbing only 3.27 per minute. She uses a stinging jab and an array of low and high kicks to keep things interesting, and while she’s still very much a prospect, she’s doing very well for herself, with only one loss on her record. Justine Kish is a natural athlete but she hasn’t been able to record much improvement, despite notching wins over Nina Ansaroff and Randa Markos when she first joined the ranks of the UFC. She took back-to-back losses against Ji Yeon Kim and Felice Herrig before breaking the cycle with a win over Lucie Pudilova. Mazo is the more dynamic striker, with two violent head kick knockouts to her credit. She will also have a significant reach advantage (6-inches) as well as a two-inch height advantage. This is a close one, but there is clearly more upside with Mazo.


KNOCKOUT KINGS

Ottman Azaitar, $7,700

Azaitar is an undefeated star on the rise with very heavy hands. He possesses legitimate, one-punch knockout power and has only made it into the third round twice. Of his 12 wins, 11 are finishes, nine of them by way of knockout. He’s mostly fought on the regional circuit with the bulk of his wins coming from the Brave CF or Fair FC promotions. The thing that is common amon all his fights is that he throws everything with deadly intent. His knockout of Teemu Packalen was perfect and scary. He will look to land that haymaker early on Worthy because if he doesn’t, he’s going to get dragged into deep water and I’m not sure how he’ll fare against a seasoned veteran who’s faced and beaten much better competition. This fight is very much a coin flip that will come down to who lands first and hardest.

Khama Worthy, $8,500

Worthy is a legitimate threat on the feet with 9 knockouts of his own, and he’s actually the more experienced fighter here. When he fought Devonte Smith, he feinted and faked leg kicks to gauge Smith’s timing, but when his kicks were landing, they were with quite a bit of authority. He’s got good instincts and reacts well under pressure, as he was very calm under the barrage of kicks Smith attacked him with in the early goings of their short fight. He possesses nasty power and if one of his rockets finds its mark, Ottman Azaitar may find himself planted. That said, Azaitar has very heavy hands himself, and Khama for sure has a button on his chin that’s been found on more than one occasion—five times to be exact—so he’ll want to make sure his footwork and head movement are on point in this contest.

Mike Rodriguez, $8,800

Rodriguez is a big hitter coming off his ninth knockout victory just three weeks ago. “Slow” is also a low-end volume striker notching around 4.59 strikes per minute while only absorbing 3.58 per minute. Mike is a big, strong light heavyweight and has youth on his side, but he’s a bit of a mixed bag, dropping losses to Da Un Jung and Devin Clark over the course of his last five fights. There was another loss (to John Allan Arte) that was overturned to a no contest interspersed in that time frame as well, bringing his wins to exactly two in that five-fight span. His biggest win is over Adam Milstead, so when you compare him to a highly seasoned veteran like Ed Herman, who’s faced and defeated a who’s who of high profile names in the sport, the results don’t seem quite so crystal clear, even if he does pack serious heat. He has the element of surprise thanks to explosive flying knees and punches that seem like they were launched from outer space, but he’ll need to get that bomb in place as fast as possible because the longer this fight goes, the more it favors Herman.

Tyson Nam, $7,600

Editor’s note: Saturday’s UFC fight between Tyson Nam and Matt Schnell has been pulled from the card due to weight cutting issues for Schnell, per Damon Martin of MMA Fighting.

Nam is a longtime veteran with real power, evidenced by 11 knockout wins. A regional player until last year when he was finally picked up by the UFC, he has a record that doesn’t really tell the story of what a good fighter he actually is. He possesses a long, lean frame and prefers to potshot rather than pressure with volume. Fortunately, Matt Schnell isn’t big on volume either, so this match is pretty even in that regard. Where the scales start tipping is the power edge that Nam has and the fact that Schnell has a soft chin (Alexandre Pantoja lit him up in his last fight). Schnell, to his credit, has an excellent submission game, so the scales start leveling out again. This is another coin flip fight, but if Schnell doesn’t keep his hands up, he’s going to end up taking a nap.


SUBMISSION THREATS

Ed Herman, $7,400

Herman is 39 years old and has been in some real wars. His bread and butter is his excellent grappling, but he seems to have really strayed away from that in lieu of locking up the clinch where he can dirty box and land big knees up the middle. That said, Ed is still a threat on the ground and hold 13 submission wins. Then we get to the things that are starting to fade, and that would be his cardio. 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. Mike Rodriguez may not be as experienced, but he’s got real power and that could end up finding its way to Ed’s chin. 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. Because of this unfortunate factor, Herman also makes our gas guzzlers list.

Matt Schnell, $8,600

Editor’s note: Saturday’s UFC fight between Tyson Nam and Matt Schnell has been pulled from the card due to weight cutting issues for Schnell, per Damon Martin of MMA Fighting.

Schnell is a gifted grappler with great submission chops—8 of his 14 wins are via submission—and an ever-improving striking game. Before Alexandre Pantoja destroyed his 4-fight win streak, he was submitting the likes of Louis Smolka and Jordan Espinosa. He’s got a very busy jab, and serviceable combinations to complement it, although there isn’t much power in them. He has improved his striking defense, despite the loss to Pantoja (no shame in losing to one of the best flys in the sport) and is a prospect worth keeping an eye on, especially if he comes out the winner of this bout.

Michelle Waterson, $8,000

Waterson is a ground specialist with great wrestling and the submissions to match—9 of them, to be exact. She’s always been a good kickboxer/karate specialist, but I daresay Angela Hill is the better standup artist. Michelle is active with her takedowns at a rate of 1.68 per 15-minute fight and she attempts 1.1 submissions in that same time frame. She has very good cardio and tons of heart and grit. Her durable chin has seen her weather many storms, suffering only one knockout finish in her career. Her best path to victory is to get Hill to the ground as fast as possible and keep the fight there. If it stays on the feet, Angie might not knock her out, but she’ll definitely outwork her and likely get the decision based on volume. This is another well-matched fight that could go in either direction.


GAS GUZZLERS

Ed Herman, $7,400

Sijara Eubanks, $6,800

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