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UFC Cheat Sheet: DraftKings MMA DFS Picks, Predictions for UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs. Muhammad

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

UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs. Muhammad is a solid card with a great replacement main event. As a matter of fact, in terms of relevance, this fight has legitimate title implications, thanks to Dana White’s announcement earlier in the week that Leon Edwards would get a title shot with a win here against Belal Muhammad. So, what once started out as the Number 3 guy facing an unranked guy, is now the Number 2 guy paired with the Number 13 guy. It’s a win for both athletes and the UFC. Not to mention what a great fight it has the potential to be, come Saturday night.

The rest of the bout sheet is what we’ve become used to seeing on these UFC Fight Night cards: a healthy mix of veteran names and fresh faces that we’ve not quite become overly familiar with yet. This is the kind of card that becomes a springboard for them. Dan Ige vs. Gavin Tucker as well as the contest between Matheus Nicolau and the return of Manel Kape is sneaky good and flying way under the radar. And let us not forget the co-main event, which has “TNT” written all over it.

We’ve put together a handy guide of facts and figures to help you when selecting your DraftKings fantasy lineups. Each category will feature the standout fighter for his/her achievements in said category. Let’s get started!


DraftKings is hosting a big UFC Fight Night fantasy MMA tournament that pays out $350K in guaranteed prizes, including $100,000 to first place. The fantasy MMA contest locks at 5:00 p.m. ET on Saturday. Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: MMA $350K Throwdown [$100K to 1st].


SUPER STRIKERS

Matthew Semelsberger, $8,400

Matthew Semelsberger is a volume striker who embraces the switch stance, which has shown dividends for him in past fights. He averages 7.87 strikes per minute based off 15 minutes of fight time. As is the case with most volume strikers, Matthew also eats a lot of shots, to the tune of 5.13 per minute. That doesn’t exactly make me want to write sonnets about his defensive prowess, to say the least. That said, Semelsberger has excellent footwork, power, and most importantly, he’s accurate with those big bombs and has four knockout wins to show for it. Jason Witt isn’t going to be an easy out, as his grappling/wrestling is leagues beyond Semelsberger’s, but I doubt Matthew will be itching to get the action on the ground.



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KNOCKOUT KINGS

Manel Kape, $8,700

Manel Kape might not have been successful in his debut, but there’s no denying that he has real pop in his punches. With nine knockouts to his credit, Manel is tied with Nasrat Haqparast for most knockouts on this card. I chose Kape because he has the more recent knockout on his resume, even if only by four months. Manel is a Southpaw who averages 3.27 strikes per minute, while absorbing 4.93 in that same time frame. He’s willing to get right in the pocket and trade shot for shot. And while he lost his debut last month, there’s no shame in losing to a top 5 fighter like Alexandre Pantoja. Factor in a possible case of octagon jitters and not having fought in a cage for several years, and you have the recipe for a healthy dose of humility. Now that’s out of the way, perhaps Kape can get to the business that we’ve come to know him for, separating men from their conscious selves.


GRAPPLING GODS

Rani Yahya, $9,200

Rani Yahya has been a staple on the competition grappling circuit for decades, and that depth of experience is also present in his MMA career, which spans a whopping 19 years and has been extremely fruitful, with 20 submission wins to date. An orthodox fighter with a low output, not much striking prowess, and a complete lack of power might make some take pause, but what he lacks in power and raw athleticism, he makes up for in positional grappling magic and tenacity. He was enjoying a three-fight win streak before losing a decision to Ricky Simon—no shame in that—and his last fight was a draw against the tough Enrique Barzola. Against Ray Rodriguez, who happens to have issues with aggressive submission artists, Rani should enjoy a significant advantage on the ground, even if “The Judge” has some solid submission wins on his own resume.


GAS GUZZLERS

Dan Ige, $8,600

Dan Ige is such a great striker with a solid kickboxing base, but something happens to him in the second round, and it’s not good. Almost like clockwork, Ige has fizzled out in round two of several of his fights, having to dig deep in some instances to get a come-from-behind win. He does seem to revive somewhat in the third round, but this has been a known issue for some time.

Eryk Anders, $7,300

Eryk Anders’ willingness to engage and sling hard leather has left him running on fumes in a couple of his fights. We’ll have to gauge more of his future performances to see if he’s well and truly shored up that hole in the battleship.

Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: MMA $350K Throwdown [$100K to 1st]


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