MMA ON DRAFTKINGS – UFC ON ESPN 12: POIRIER VS HOOKER (June 27, 2020)

The UFC Heads Back to Vegas for Poirier vs Hooker (6/27/20)


In it’s last event at The Apex before heading to Fight Island, the UFC returns to Vegas for fight action on Saturday. I have picked three of my favorite plays based on their value in DFS contests on DraftKings.

YOUSSEF ZALAL (DK $8,000) – Zalal comes into Saturday with a below average salary and as a small favorite. He has just one UFC fight to his credit. In that fight he defeated Austin Lingo by unamimous decision, scoring 81.5 fantasy points. It was his first win in a decision, having lost twice previously by decision. Overall, he is 8-2 with seven early finishes, including five by submission and two by KO/TKO. This fight is narrowly handicapped, and Zalal’s opponent, Jordan Griffin, is coming off of his first UFC win in three tries inside the octagon. Griffin is also brings high level grappling to this fight with nine of his eighteen career wins coming by submission. This fight is currently a -145 favorite to reach a decision.

Caveman’s advice: This fight pits two submission artists against one another. If these fighters choose to go to the mat, both have a chance to finish this fight. For this reason, I would play both sides of this fight, but will give Zalal more lineups as both the cheaper fighter and the favorite. It is possible that this fight might drag on to a low scoring decision, so use caution, but the upside of this matchup presents good potential for DFS contests. Although he isn’t my favorite cash play, I would give Zalal 25-40% exposure in multi-entry contests.

(At the time of this writing, Youssef Zalal is -127 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 59.64 on Fantasy Cruncher.)

KHAMA WORTHY (DK $7,300) – In his first trip to the octagon, veteran fighter Khama Worthy went in as a +632 underdog against red hot Devonte Smith. He came out with a first round TKO against a top notch striker who had been on a four fight win streak by first round KO/TKO. In fifteen professional victories, Worthy has won nine by KO/TKO and is +340 to win by KO/TKO while being a +600 dog to win by decision. He is a big dog in this one, with Luis Peña being the -249 favorite, but if he wins, it figures to be attached to an early conclusion bonus. He give up four inches in height to Peña and two inches in reach, but Worthy is the quicker and stronger striker in this matchup.

Caveman’s advice: This is a boom or bust opportunity at a bargain price. Worthy may not be a favorite, but if he wins his ceiling is high. He will be at a disadvantage if this fight goes to the mat, but he should hold his own on his feet despite his shorter reach. If he can avoid the Peña’s clinch, he has a very good chance at finding a KO/TKO on Saturday. At his low price he has big upside value especially in multi-entry contests. This seems to be a poor matchup for Peña and I make Worthy a candidate for an upset here. Consider giving him anywhere from 30-60% exposure.

(At the time of this writing, Khama Worthy is +198 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 42.88 on Fantasy Cruncher.)

TAKASHI SATO (DK $8,400) – When a cornerman for Ramiz Brahimaj tested positive for COVID-19, Jason Witt became the next man up and will face Sato on Saturday. Fighting on short notice, Witt will make his debut as a significant underdog. Sato will enter the octagon for the third time and is currently 1-1 in the UFC. Over his last eight fights, Sato is 6-2 with each win coming by TKO. Both losses came by submission, and he figures to try to keep this fight upright. When on his feet, Sato is dangerous. In his last eight fights, he has four TKO victories in the first round and two TKO victories in the second. Current odds make him a significant favorite for this fight and he is a -125 favorite to win inside the distance.

Caveman’s advice: Sato’s salary was based on fighting a completely different fighter on full notice. Now he will fight Witt who took the fight one day prior to the event. Sato is an even bigger favorite against Witt and is favored to finish this fight for an early conclusion bonus. Sato is a top value at this price and DFS players who roster him will be looking for a quick finish to this one. He must keep from grappling with Witt, however, who has seven wins by submission to date. Give Sato 30-50% exposure in multi-entry contests. He is also a top cash play on Saturday as well.

(At the time of his writing, Takashi Sato is -136 with the oddsmakers and has a projected score of 61.14 on Fantasy Cruncher.)

That’s all for this week. Good luck with your lineups!

About Rob

Since getting out of the casino business, Rob has been playing DFS regularly with a focus on MMA and ESPORTS. He now lives in Denver, CO.

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