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UFC Fight Night Cheat Sheet: DraftKings MMA DFS Predictions for September 5

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

UFC Fight Night: Overeem v Harris Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

On Saturday night, the UFC will host their latest event at the UFC APEX Center in Las Vegas, which will feature a strong heavyweight battle between Alistair Overeem and Augusto Sakai in the headlining role. The card is filled out with both recognizable names and some fresh faces hailing from regional promotions, with the most interesting one being a welterweight bout between Michel Pereira and Zelim Imadaev. It’s not the strongest offering on paper, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t get an action-packed show. If history has taught us anything, it’s that cards like these often tend to be sleeper hits.

The bout sheet for UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Sakai is quite well appointed with excellent matchmaking, which can make selecting fighters for your DraftKings fantasy lineups somewhat of a chore. Let’s look into some key elements that could make your selection process a little less daunting.


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 MMA lineups here: MMA $350K Throwdown [$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.


STRIKERS

Augusto Sakai ($7,400)

Sakai is an orthodox workhorse with a fairly high output rate. He lands 5.45 strikes per minute while only absorbing 3.89 shots per minute. He has a persistent jab and decent combos, but lacks that collar starching, one-punch knockout power, so volume and aggression are a great way to compensate. Sakai does have 11 knockouts to his credit, but most are the result of punching barrages or knees. He also has shown an inclination to take breaks during rounds and it was during one of those restful contests that we saw him outstruck by Andrei Arlovski in a fight where Sakai controversially took away the split-decision win. Against a heavy hitter like Alistair Overeem ($8,800), you can expect Augusto to try to put a pace on the 40-year-old former Strikeforce and K-1 champion.

Karol Rosa ($8,500)

Rosa is a Muay Thai striking machine with massive volume output. She averages 9.70 strikes per minute, but gives up quite a bit defensively, absorbing 7.0 shots per minute. Her stats aren’t artificially inflated, as they are the measure of two fights that went the distance. Against Vanessa Melo in July, Rosa outstruck her opponent 120-45 in significant strikes, and in her fight with Lara Procopio, she landed 177 of 358 strikes in a three-round contest. That kind of work rate is an optimal way to deal with Sijara Eubanks’ ($7,700) excellent grappling — tie her up in rapid-fire boxing exchanges and push a relentless pace — because history has shown Sijara to have a very questionable gas tank.

Sijara Eubanks ($7,700)

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.

Eubanks lands 4.95 strikes per minute while absorbing 3.32 shots per minute for a defense rate of 60%. She has heavy hands with a pair of knockouts to illustrate that point, and she’s been training with Mark Henry lately, which should prove to be a boon to her striking. The task for Eubanks is to get through the gauntlet of never-ending fists that Rosa is going to be launching in her direction. Age and cardio may not be on her side, but power and athleticism could end up being her saving grace in this contest.

Jalin Turner ($7,200)

Turner is a southpaw volume striker who does his best work at range, pot-shotting from the outside with a stiff jab and crispy combos. When you have a 77-inch reach — a seven-inch advantage over Thiago Moises ($9,000) — it stands to reason that controlling the distance is an excellent weapon to keep opportunistic grapplers at bay. Turner lands 5.95 strikes per minute while absorbing 3.91 shots per minute — not the best defense, but not the worst, either. The “Tarantula” is proficient with sharp kicks that have quite a bit of snap to them, and he is the owner of eight knockouts from his nine wins, making him a candidate for our knockout kings category, as well.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thiago Moises is out for his fight tonight vs. Jalin Turner after testing positive for COVID-19.


Knockout Kings

Alistair Overeem ($8,800)

Overeem is an extremely well-rounded veteran. He’s famous for his kickboxing, his grappling and his very heavy hands, all of which have netted him 46 wins over his 21-year career. Even though age and fight wear have taken a bit of his speed and his chin seems to have begun the inevitable softening, he can still deliver a good beatdown over top level competition. If Jairzinho Rozenstruik hadn’t opened up his lip Predator-style in the last 15 seconds of their fight, Alistair would have won, as all three judges had him ahead on the scorecards. I know we shouldn’t judge a fighter by a loss, but in this instance, it showcases his resilience (he took some big shots in that battle) and his years of experience.

Alistair has 24 knockouts, most recently a round-two TKO of Walt Harris. Much has been made of his “glass chin,” but this is the heavyweight division and these big boys aren’t swinging pillows. His knockouts have come at the hands of some of the biggest hitters in the sport, a distinction that cannot be easily attributed to Sakai, as he hasn’t really displayed true one-punch knockout power. Overeem is also a seasoned grappler with 17 of his wins coming via submission, making him a candidate for our submission threats list, as well.

Overeem’s best work gets done in the clinch where he can grab the back of the head and launch knees straight up the middle. He’s not lost an ounce of power, so Sakai will need to be on his toes. Can Augusto win here? Absolutely, but this is “The Demolition Man’s” fight to lose.

Alonzo Menifield ($8,300)

Alonzo Menifield is a vaunted striker with eight of his nine wins coming via knockout. He lands 3.75 strikes per minute at a 47% accuracy rate while absorbing the same exact same amount. Alonzo is an orthodox fighter with a stiff jab and good takedown defense against lesser competition. He has clear cardio issues, though, and this was made clear in his last fight with Devin Clark where he lost a unanimous decision. He was doing great in the first round, then ended up gassed by round two. It was his first fight to go longer than the 5:32 mark. This also places him in the gas guzzler category where his opponent, Ovince Saint Preux ($7,900) also resides.

Michel Pereira ($8,200)

Michel Pereira is a stout, fireplug of a man with bricks for fists and tree trunk legs. He has plenty of power in both, evidenced by 10 knockout wins. He likes to work from the clinch where he can rough up his opponent with elbows, knees and hooks. He’s an exciting athlete and if you’re lucky, you might get to see some wild back flip. Imadaev pushes an insane pace and is super aggressive, so Pereira will need to keep his cardio firing on all cylinders, which has been a problematic area for him in some fights. Because he cuts a ton of weight and doesn’t have the best gas tank, he makes an appearance on the gas guzzlers list, too.

Ovince Saint Preux ($7,900)


Submission Threats

Ovince Saint Preux ($7,900)

Ovince Saint Preux is a powerful striker with a very good submission game. He’s made the Von Flue choke his own personal weapon of choice in the octagon, prompting many to rename it the Von Preux choke. “OSP” is a multi-dimensional fighter who has legitimate power, with 11 of his 24 wins coming via knockout in addition to another eight of them being submissions, so he holds the distinction of being in the knockout kings category, as well. While not smothering opponents with volume (2.60 strikes per minute at a 46% accuracy rate), he is a very capable wrestler and manages 1.27 takedowns per fight and defends them at a 65% rate. As Ovince has gotten older, especially with the wear-and-tear of his immense fight schedule, his cardio has suffered, and we’ve seen him huffing and puffing in his contests lately. This makes him a stamina risk and puts him in yet another category, the dreaded gas guzzlers, where his opponent, Alonzo Menifield ($8,300) also resides.

Montana De La Rosa ($7,300)

Montana De La Rosa is a talented submission artist with 8 of her 11 wins coming by way of submission—all by either armbar or rear-naked choke. Since joining the UFC, Montana has gone 4-1, taking wins over Mara Romero Borella, Nadia Kassem, Rachael Ostovich and Christina Marks. De La Rosa has a very strong wrestling base, which should prove helpful against Viviane Araujo ($8,900), who has a highly touted submission game herself. She is also deceptively quick, snagging takedowns in an instant (fiv landed on Andrea Lee) and doing very well in scrambles. This is one of the most well-matched bouts on the card, pitting two ground specialists against each other.

Alexandr Romanov ($8,400)

Romanov is a Moldovan southpaw steamroller who has a perfect 11-0 record, all by finish. Now, it should be noted that he’s fought almost exclusively for the Eagles FC regional promotion based in Moldova, so Marcos Rogerio de Lima ($7,800) is going to be his first recognizable name, and a good Litmus test to see where he will end up in the heavyweight pecking order. Romanov has four knockouts to his credit, but his seven submissions (most by neck crank or forearm chokes) are the reason he landed here on this list. Romanov is quick and surprisingly fluid in his transitions despite his hulking size, so if this fight hits the ground at some point, we will get a good accounting of how good his submission game is against a seasoned veteran.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Marcos Rogerio de Lima has tested positive for COVID-19 and his fight vs. Romanov is canceled.

Alistair Overeem ($8,800)


Gas Guzzlers

Sijara Eubanks ($7,700)

Michel Pereira ($8,200)

Alonzo Menifield ($8,300)

Ovince Saint Preux ($7,900)

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