UFC 269 features a nice card headlined by a lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier. This is Oliveira’s first title defense after beating Michael Chandler by KO/TKO in May to win the vacant lightweight title. Poirier is coming off two consecutive wins over Conor McGregor and previously held the interim lightweight title.
Amanda Nunes is also defending the women’s bantamweight title against Julianna Peña in the co-main event. This fight was originally scheduled for UFC 265 in August, but had to be postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. Nunes is the most dominant women’s champion in UFC history and is a big favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Other notable names on this card include rising contender Sean O’Malley along with former bantamweight champions Cody Garbrandt and Dominick Cruz.
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- Charles Oliveira (+140) vs. Dustin Poirier (-160)
- Amanda Nunes (-1000) vs. Julianna Peña (+650)
- Sean O’Malley (-305) vs. Raulian Paiva (+240)
- Kai Kara-France (+115) vs. Cody Garbrandt (-135)
- Santiago Ponzinibbio (-120) vs. Geoff Neal (+100)
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Kai Kara-France ($7,500)
Kara-France is facing former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, who is dropping down a weight class after losing three of his last four fights at bantamweight. Since this is Garbrandt’s first fight at flyweight, there is some uncertainty as to how he will look. Cutting another 10 pounds is not always a great thing, especially when it comes to absorbing punches. Sometimes, fighters are not able to shake off strikes as well with less water weight supporting their brain and become more prone to getting knocked out. This famously happened to Garbrandt’s rival, TJ Dillashaw, in his flyweight fight against Henry Cejudo. Dillashaw cited his weight cut as the reason he quickly lost by KO/TKO—dehydration can make the brain more susceptible to a knockout. Garbrandt lost three consecutive fights by TKO at bantamweight during his losing streak, and dropping down a weight class could further diminish his ability to eat strikes.
Kara-France has better striking metrics than Garbrandt, posting a better strikes landed to absorbed ratio and landing a solid five significant strikes per minute. Garbrandt has absorbed more strikes than he has landed, which is a red flag. Kara-France also has a longer reach despite being the shorter fighter, holding a four-inch reach advantage over Garbrandt. Kara-France is in a good position to provide value at this price tag given his better striking metrics, reach advantage and the uncertainty regarding Garbrandt’s new weight cut.
Charles Oliveira ($7,600)
Oliveira has not lost a fight in four years, going a perfect 9-0 with eight finishes over that stretch. The only fight Oliveira failed to finish over that span was against Tony Ferguson, but Oliveira thoroughly dominated Ferguson and had him in positions that would have finished most other opponents, including a fully-extended armbar that Ferguson amazingly refused to tap to. Ferguson ended up getting bailed out by the round ending, and more time on the clock could have resulted in a finish given how deep the hold was locked in.
Oliveira holds the record for most finishes in UFC history with 17. Oliveira has gone to decision just three times in 28 total UFC fights and has finished roughly 90% of his UFC wins. Oliveira also holds the record for most wins via submission in UFC history with 14. Oliveira is a BJJ black belt and uses his jiu jitsu for potent offense, actively hunting submissions during his fights, even when he has his opponent hurt from strikes.
Oliveira is also a good striker and has pop. Oliveira has showcased this pop recently, finishing three of his last five fights by KO/TKO. All of Oliveira’s UFC wins by KO/TKO have come within his last five fights, which shows that his striking has developed. Oliveira largely won his most recent fight with a beautiful left hook that stunned Michael Chandler and set up the finishing combination to win the title:
As far as this matchup goes, Dustin Poirier ($8,600) is an excellent fighter who has fought elite competition recently, and his only loss since 2016 was to the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov. Poirier had several impressive wins during that span over top fighters like Conor McGregor, Max Holloway and Justin Gaethje. Poirier is a BJJ black belt with good striking, so he is very well-rounded and does not have any major weaknesses. Poirier also has strong cardio, so the longer the fight goes, the more of an advantage Poirier may have. Oliveira has never fought past three rounds in the UFC due to booking and quick finishes, which adds an element of uncertainty if this fight goes into the championship rounds. Oliveira has also been criticized in the past for folding when things get difficult, but he seemed to put that behind him in his last fight—Oliveira was hurt and on the verge of being finished by Michael Chandler, but survived and ended up winning the fight:
Despite the tough matchup against Poirier, Oliveira carries fantasy appeal due to the pricing. Oliveira is $1,000 cheaper than Poirier at $7,600, which is in the bottom third of pricing on this slate. This matchup is probably closer than the salaries indicate, which may create value for Oliveira. Poirier has been finished four times in the UFC, so there is an avenue for a finish, especially given how aggressively Oliveira hunts finishes. Getting exposure to the main event in DraftKings DFS contests is also a good idea because this fight is five rounds, which potentially creates 10 extra minutes to generate fantasy scoring if Oliveira is unable to finish the fight early.
DraftKings Sportsbook Favorite to Build Around: Amanda Nunes ($9,500)
Nunes is widely considered to be the greatest women’s fighter in UFC history and is a titanic favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook, carrying a moneyline of about -1000. As a near automatic lock to win, Nunes is ridiculously safe and carries fantasy upside. Julianna Peña has very poor takedown defense on a rate basis, stopping just 23% of opponent takedown attempts, giving Nunes an avenue for takedowns and control time should she choose to grapple. Nunes is averaging a solid 2.5 takedowns per 15 minutes and has recorded as many as eight takedowns in a single fight. Nunes also hits like a truck and will have a significant advantage on the feet. Like the Poirier-Oliveira fight, this fight is also five rounds, which potentially creates 10 extra minutes to generate fantasy scoring if Nunes is unable to finish the fight in the early rounds.
DraftKings Sportsbook bet to consider: Amanda Nunes to win by finish: Yes (-350)
Sean O’Malley ($9,100)
O’Malley is a budding star who has elite striking metrics. O’Malley has landed over eight significant strikes per minute, which is massive striking volume. O’Malley’s strikes landed to absorbed ratio is also elite at better than 2-to-1. O’Malley’s opponent, Raulian Paiva, has a negative strikes landed to absorbed ratio, which is always a red flag.
O’Malley will have the length advantage, carrying about a three-inch advantage in both reach and height, and O’Malley will be well-positioned to outpoint Paiva with striking volume from distance. At -305, O’Malley is also one of the safer favorites to win on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Paiva has been difficult to knock out—his only career loss via TKO was by doctor stoppage due to a nasty cut—so taking O’Malley to win by decision based on striking volume from distance is a bet to consider on DraftKings Sportsbook.
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