UFC 260 has turned out to be a snakebitten card, but the main event, a heavyweight title rematch between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou, is still intact and much anticipated by fans around the world. The first encounter between these two titans was a little over three years ago and saw Miocic dominate Big Francis on the ground, establishing and maintaining control for more than half the fight. Since then, Miocic has gone 2-1 (all three of those fights were against Daniel Cormier) and Ngannou has gone 4-1. Will Stipe be able to repeat those same results or will “The Predator” take the gold home?
The rest of the card has suffered from bout cancelations or late replacement opponents, but a couple fights to pay attention to are Sean O’Malley vs. Thomas Almeida and Miranda Maverick’s sophomore appearance against submission specialist Gillian Robertson. Special notice to the opening bout, a middleweight scrap between Marc-Andre Barriault and Abu Azaitar, a stupidly fun bit of matchmaking that should have been on the main card.
We’ve selected four fighters from the event that will illustrate why they are worthy of their lofty or budget-conscious price tags in an effort to help you select your DraftKings fantasy lineups. Let’s get started.
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Vicente Luque, $9,100
Vicente Luque keeps an insane pace, way more active than Tyron Woodley, and this, in and of itself, is a deadly weapon to have in his arsenal. Woodley is getting pretty long in the tooth and has long exhibited problems with stamina, and more recently with durability. Woodley’s three-fight losing skid has likely not been a solid bolster of confidence for him, adding to the mounting list of issues plaguing him over the last couple years.
Luque has been on an absolute tear, going 8-1 over the last four years, finishing seven of his opponents, including the last two. He faltered against Stephen Thompson, but there’s no shame in that loss. “The Silent Assassin” has a very capable ground game to add to his power and frenetic pace, so the list of reasons to choose him here just keeps growing. The pricing would normally tempt me, but Woodley’s decline has been so stark, it’s hard to even consider picking him against such a well-rounded threat like Luque.
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Khama Worthy, $8,600
Khama Worthy was on a seven-fight win streak when he ran into Ottman Azaitar and succumbed to a barrage of punches in the first round. That’s largely due to Azaitar being a phenomenal, undefeated athlete well on his way to great things. It could have happened to anyone, but on that night, it happened to “The Death Star.”
Enter Jamie Mullarkey, Worthy’s opponent for Saturday night. He’s no Ottman Azaitar, not by a long shot. Mullarkey has struggled mightily since joining the UFC in 2019, losing both his fights inside the octagon thus far, and against much lower level competition than Worthy has been facing. It’s not that Mullarkey isn’t good, because he is, he’s just not on the level that Worthy is at, even with such studly training partners as he has available to him at City Kickboxing and Magnus Martial Arts. He’s also a very low output fighter, landing only 1.87 significant strikes per minute while absorbing more than double that in the same time frame. This is not to say he has no chance to win, he certainly does, but Khama is the better, more talented athlete in this instance, and the pricing is indicative of that. I’d be hard-pressed not to choose Worthy here.
Stipe Miocic, $7,800
If you watch the first fight between Stipe and Francis, you will be hard pressed to pick Ngannou in this fight, especially considering how “The Predator” lost his very next fight to Derrick Lewis in what had to be the stinker of the year. Not only was Miocic able to take Francis’ punches, he owned him on the ground in a way we’ve not seen anyone accomplish. For more than 15 minutes, Stipe kept Francis on the ground in a position of control. Six takedowns were completed off 14 attempts. Ngannou was taken apart, mauled, then reassembled just in time to see Miocic have his hand raised after issuing him a demoralizing beating.
So, what’s changed since then? Francis got beat in his very next fight, then rattled off four wins in a row, averaging a whole 2 minutes of fight time. I cannot imagine that his wild, aggressive, swing-and-charge mode of fighting will have a different outcome. Miocic is a very intelligent fighter who knows how to adapt. It’s this adaptability that has seen him through to victory 20 times. I have very little doubt it will be any different this time. Bold? I don’t think so.
Abu Azaitar, $8,000
Abu Azaitar is a wildly aggressive fighter. Not just on the feet, but on the ground, too. He’s sloppy, but quite powerful, showing natural athletic gifts that have seen him to 14 wins. His opponent, Marc-Andre Barriault, is a tough brawler who also suffers from high levels of aggression that lead to him eating lots of punches, but he seems to have a barrel of fun, so who am I to complain about a pair of fighters that might not be brimming with fight IQ but are certainly overflowing with confidence and a willingness to trade all out in the pocket.
The difference in the two is that Azaitar seems to have more natural ability. He hits hard, he’s fast, and he’s a powerful wrestler. On the flip side, it should also be noted that Barriault has a very sturdy chin and has never been stopped, so Azaitar may find it difficult to put the Canadian away. The pricing on this one is just perfect.
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