Saturday night, the UFC offers eager fans a smorgasbord of great fights with their 265th numbered event. Even with the loss of its major title fight (Amanda Nunes vs. Juliana Pena), it still features an incredibly solid bout sheet with several important fights within the Top 15 rankings. And of course, we still have an interim title bout at the heavyweight limit as the headliner. It’s a great way to take us into next week’s break (No UFC card August 14th).
There is one fight in particular that has title implications outside the main event, though. No. 5 ranked Michael Chiesa takes on No. 6 ranked Vicente Luque in what will undoubtedly be an exciting contest. Both men are outstanding grapplers, but Luque has the added benefit of being a very capable striker with a titanium chin.
We also get No. 5 Jose Aldo facing No. 9 Pedro Munhoz in the co-main event. This fight might have title implications down the road, but for right now, it’s more about setting up the second tier of contenders. Will Munhoz’s technical striking and grittiness be enough to snag a win from the former kingpin of the featherweight division? That’s another question we’ll get an answer to when it’s all said and done.
There are plenty of prospect matches on this show, as well. The most important of which is Manel Kape vs. Ode Osbourne. Kape came into the UFC off a tremendous amount of hype from his Rizin days, but has yet to translate that hype into a win inside the octagon. One gets the feeling that if he doesn’t deliver Saturday, he might find a pink slip waiting for him.
We’ve put together a handy guide of facts and figures to help you when selecting your DraftKings fantasy MMA 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 265 fantasy MMA tournament that pays out $750K in total prizes, including $200,000 to first place. Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: MMA $750K 265 Special [$200K to 1st].
Angela Hill $7,500
Angela Hill is a scrappy go-getter who has always been a striker, first and foremost. Of all the athletes on the card, she lands at the highest volume with a SLPM (strikes landed per minute) rate of 5.66. With an absorption rate of 4.98, she could definitely use a little shoring up of her defenses, but the exponential growth she’s shown in the sport over the last few years has been noticeable. She faces a tough challenge in the rematch with Tecia Torres, a fight she lost back in 2015, but one that is much more winnable for her this time around. Torres also throws with consistent volume, although not as much as Hill. Where Torres has the one-up card is in her wrestling. She’s also all forward movement and pressure, where she crowds her opponent. Hill typically doesn’t thrive in these circumstances, but she’s also a much-improved fighter since their first fight. This is a pick ‘em bout in every sense of the term.
Derrick Lewis $6,800
Derrick Lewis and his 20 knockout wins, seven of which are in the first round, bears a shockingly low price tag in this fight for a reason. That reason is Cyril Gane’s well-rounded game. The French kickboxer has done very well for himself in MMA, notching a 9-0 record and propelling himself to this moment where he’ll compete against Lewis for the heavyweight interim belt. Lewis has insane power in his overhand and uppercuts, but he’s a crafty striker that mixes in high kicks and knees that quite often find their mark. Lewis has had some cardio issues in the past, and he visibly slows down a good bit past the second round but has pulled out a few late stoppages after taking a shellacking (see Alexander Volkov fight). Taking him down isn’t always a good bet either, as he’s shown us all that he’s quite capable of just standing up and like Taylor Swift sang, shaking it off. Yes, Lewis has the means and opportunity to snatch the victory from Gane, but he’s got a big task ahead of him. Gane has power, grappling, fights well in the clinch and a much sturdier gas tank. Be cautious on this one because despite all those technical gifts, Lewis has the great equalizer.
Anderson dos Santos $7,300
Anderson dos Santos just barely edges out Michael Chiesa by a single submission in this category. He comes in at 12 while Chiesa clocked in with 11. Dos Santos is a longtime veteran with a hard-nosed, aggressive approach, a granite chin and durability. He faces a tough challenge in Miles Johns, a solid wrestler with a stinger of a jab that neutralizes opponents pretty efficiently, and with Anderson’s propensity to plod forward with his chin high, that could spell disaster. His slick grappling is dangerous, but his anti-wrestling, specifically his takedown defense might be just another crack in the armor that sees Johns to a victory. This isn’t an unwinnable fight for dos Santos, however, the odds are definitely against him.
Vicente Luque $8,500
Vicente Luque is the spotlight fighter in this new category. Luque is a dangerous striker, of that there is no question. He’s ready and willing to engage in a standup war, and the main reason he does that is because he has one of the most granite, rock-solid chins in the business. He has seven professional defeats and none of them are by way of knockout. That’s a pretty big achievement considering he’s had 27 fights against some very tough customers. With Chiesa, he won’t really need to worry about a knockout, as Maverick’s striking is still a work in progress. The ground is where things will get interesting, as both men are supremely capable submission specialists. Chiesa will have to get the fight there, and in the past, he has been a big risk-taker to get fights to the mat, and there have been some serious consequences for that. Jorge Masvidal, Kevin Lee and Anthony Pettis all share the distinction of having submitted Chiesa after lighting him up on the feet. Maverick is a live dog here, though, and one should never count him out. That said, he still has a tall order to fill with Luque.
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