UFC 267 takes place on Saturday, and the event will be held at Etihad Arena on Yas Island. The card has an earlier start time than normal, with a listed start time of 2:00 p.m. ET for the main card. Yas Island is more commonly known as “Fight Island”, and several events were held there during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Due to the earlier start time, DraftKings fantasy MMA contests will lock at 10:30 a.m. ET, so be aware of the early lock.
Jan Blachowicz is defending the UFC light heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira in the main event. Blachowicz is coming off a successful title defense against UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in a “Champion vs. Champion” bout. Teixeira has title fight experience and previously fought for the title back in 2014.
The co-main event has had some shuffling. Aljamain Sterling was originally set to defend the UFC bantamweight title against Petr Yan. Sterling and Yan fought for the title in March 2021, but the fight ended in controversy after Yan was disqualified due to an illegal strike. However, Sterling was forced to withdraw from UFC 267, and the UFC has booked an interim bantamweight title fight between Yan and Cory Sandhagen instead.
- Jan Blachowicz (-300) vs. Glover Teixeira (+235)
- Petr Yan (-235) vs. Cory Sandhagen (+190)
- Islam Makhachev (-650) vs. Dan Hooker (+460)
- Alexander Volkov (-300) vs. Marcin Tybura (+235)
- Khamzat Chimaev (-590) vs. Li Jingliang (+425)
DraftKings is hosting a big UFC 267 fantasy MMA tournament that pays out $500K in total prizes, including $100,000 to first place. Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: $500K UFC 267 Special [$100K to 1st].
Amanda Ribas ($8,200)
Ribas was on the fast track to stardom before hitting a speed bump in her most recent fight, losing via TKO to Marina Rodriguez. At the time of that fight, Ribas’ loss was considered a big upset, but Rodriguez has continued to impress since with quality wins over Michelle Waterson and Mackenzie Dern.
Ribas has the skills and charisma to rebound from her loss and eventually turn into a star for the UFC. Ribas is very well-rounded—she is a BJJ black belt, a judo black belt and has mostly showcased good striking. In her striking, Ribas has a good jab, the ability to put together combinations and has good distance management, attacking and exiting before most of her opponents can land cleanly. The exception was Rodriguez, who has dangerous kickboxing and caught Ribas.
Despite the TKO loss to Rodriguez, Ribas’ striking metrics are strong. An outstanding 71% of Ribas’ opponents’ significant strike attempts have not landed, which is excellent defense on a rate basis. Ribas also barely absorbs total strikes, absorbing about 1.8 significant strikes per minute, a very low number. Ribas’ offensive striking output has far outweighed the strikes she has absorbed, as she has landed about four significant strikes per minute, a quality number. The fact that Ribas has landed far more significant strikes than she has absorbed reflects very well on her striking skills.
Ribas also has excellent grappling. Her black belt in BJJ gives her the ability to finish fights with submissions, and her judo black belt helps her offensive grappling game. Below is a video of Ribas tossing BJJ wizard Mackenzie Dern with a judo throw in their fight in October 2019 to score a takedown:
Ribas has also displayed good defensive grappling and been difficult to take down, stopping 85% of opponent takedown attempts in her UFC fights, an excellent rate.
Ribas’ opponent this time around is Virna Jandiroba, who is not nearly as dangerous of a striker as Marina Rodriguez. Jandiroba is primarily a grappler, and 13 of her 17 wins are by submission. Given Ribas’ strong grappling skills and how she was able to stay out of harm’s way against Mackenzie Dern, Ribas is in a good position to rebound from her loss to Rodriguez and win this fight.
DraftKings Sportsbook Favorite to Build Around: Khamzat Chimaev ($9,500)
Chimaev has taken the UFC by storm, recording three fast finishes in his first three fights. Chimaev’s fantasy scoring has been elite on the back of extremely high volume. Chimaev has landed about nine significant strikes per minute and has converted about 4.5 takedowns per 15 minutes in his three UFC fights, which has resulted in him averaging a slate-high 124 DraftKings fantasy points (DKFP) per fight.
This type of high activity makes Chimaev an elite fantasy play to build around, and given he’s a heavy -590 favorite on the moneyline, he’s also incredibly safe. Chimaev is facing Li Jingliang, who has stopped only 59% of opponent takedown attempts, and Chimaev should have no issues getting this fight to the ground where he can throw elevated striking volume from top position and hunt a finish. Chimaev actively seeks to finish the fight and is not content to ride out a decision win, so taking him via finish on DraftKings Sportsbook at -175 can be a way to get the moneyline down from a heavy -590.
Islam Makhachev ($9,600)
Makhachev is the biggest favorite on the card with a heavy moneyline of -650. Makhachev is a rising star in the lightweight division and has been compared to his training partner Khabib Nurmagomedov due to a similar fighting style. Makhachev is an excellent wrestler with an elite top game that allows him to drag opponents into the deep end and either control them for a decision win or drown them with a finish. Makhachev has recorded at least eight minutes of control time in each of his last two fights and has finished both of those fights with submissions. Makhachev has strong takedown volume, averaging over three takedowns per 15 minutes, and his takedown volume plus control time has contributed to him cracking the 100 DraftKings fantasy point (DKFP) mark in five of his last seven fights.
Because Makhachev is so good at smothering his opponents, he barely absorbs any strikes, absorbing under one significant strike per minute, which is amazing.
Makhachev is facing Dan Hooker, who is taking this fight on short notice after fighting one month ago at UFC 266. Hooker is a lengthy kickboxer and has a puncher’s chance—Makhachev has been knocked out before—but it is unlikely Hooker has the defensive wrestling to stave off Makhachev for 15 minutes. Four of Hooker’s six UFC losses are by decision, and Makhachev will be in good position to win this fight via takedowns and control time.
Petr Yan ($8,800) vs. Cory Sandhagen ($7,400)
Yan is the rightful favorite in this title fight, carrying a moneyline of -235. Yan’s striking defense is excellent, his offense is potent, and his only UFC loss was due to an illegal knee strike in the fourth round of a fight that he was winning. That said, Sandhagen is very tall for the division at 5’11 and will have a substantial edge in length, which could create issues. Despite losing a close decision in his last fight, Sandhagen out-landed former champion TJ Dillashaw and many observers thought he should have been given the win.
Something noteworthy for DraftKings DFS contests is that this is a five-round fight, which potentially creates 10 extra minutes to generate fantasy scoring. Both Yan and Sandhagen are also high-volume fighters, so whoever wins this fight could accumulate a lot of fantasy points. Both Yan and Sandhagen are landing about six significant strikes per minute, which is strong striking volume. Yan also mixes in takedowns frequently, averaging about two takedowns per 15 minutes, which further boosts his fantasy upside. Sandhagen’s takedown defense on a rate basis is not great, stopping 65% of opponent takedown attempts. Yan has peaked at 154 DKFP, which is the type of upside he carries into this fight.
If Yan fights to his potential, he could end up on the end of a high-volume decision win with heavy fantasy points accumulated over five rounds. Sandhagen has been difficult to finish and has only been finished once in his career—a submission loss to Aljamain Sterling. Sandhagen being difficult to finish helps the chances that this fight goes the distance, which can be a good thing for high-volume fighters in a five-round fight.
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