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Alexander Volkanovski
Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Daily Games

UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega

by Louis Cangiano
Updated On: September 25, 2021, 2:36 pm ET

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Welcome to the JaguarDFS MMA Breakdown for this Saturday’s UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega. Every week, Louis will be going over his top UFC DFS selections. The analysis and research done for this article is specifically geared towards daily fantasy success, not conventional gambling. For example, a fighter could be heavily favored but may not be in a position to reach daily fantasy point value. This Saturday (9/25) we have a 13-fight card. DraftKings has a $150,000 first-place prize for their $500,000 “MMA Throwdown” while FanDuel has $10,000 going to first place in their “UFC Octagon” GPP tournament. There’s no time to waste, let’s get started.

Jonathan Pearce DK: $7,800 FD: $13 (+128) vs. Omar Morales DK: $8,400 FD: $17 (-160)

Jonathon Pearce is a solid fighter with a variety of weapons. His advantages in this matchup are his length and agility. His takedowns are crisp and his kicking game is impressive as well. His fight against Kai Kamaka was very impressive. Here’s the problem, Morales is extremely skilled in chokes and knees (especially on takedown entries). These two attacks could be a major problem for Pearce. When tagged, Pearce’s first move will be a takedown. Morales' path to victory is clear. Tag him once and on the takedown attempt, grab the neck or throw the knee. This will be a close bout. Invest in both sides for GPP purposes. A slight edge goes to Morales at a salary of $8,500 on Draftkings.

My Pick

Omar Morales

Matthew Semelsberger DK: $9,400 FD: $22 (-550) vs. Martin Sano DK: $6,800 FD: $8 (+380)

Semelsberger will be looking for the knockout early in the first round. Oddsmakers have the ITD line at -300. Sano is not ready for this level of striking. Someone is going down, and quickly at that. - most likely Sano. Semelsberger is +140 to win by 1st round TKO/KO. This is my top bet. Lock it in. 

My Pick

Matthew Semelsberger

Uros Medic DK: $8,400 FD: $15 (-130) vs. Jalin Turner DK: $7,800 FD: $15 (+105)

Jalin Turner is typically the faster, stronger fighter in most of his matchups but I don’t think that’s the case here. Medic is currently -120 on PointsBet.com but in my opinion, he should be upwards of -170. His UFC debut against Aalon Cruz was an absolute beating. He was quick and packed a punch. This is a fight that you will want a piece of for your daily fantasy lineups. Start the slate off right by locking in Morales and Medic for your GPP lineups. Medic has a salary of $8,400 on Draftkings and totaled 122 DK FP in his UFC debut against Aalon Cruz. 

My Pick

Uros Medic

Marlon Moraes DK: $7,300 FD: $17 (+210) vs. Merab Dvalishvili DK: $8,900 FD: $19 (-260)

Two fights back, Moraes matched up against Cory Sandhagen. Sandhagen proved to be too lengthy and elusive for Moraes to land his power strikes. This fight resulted in a 2nd round TKO by a kick to the head for Sandhagen. Moraes followed up this fight with a first-round KO/TKO loss to Rob Font (another lengthier fighter than himself) after controlling most of the first round on the mat. Moraes is currently +210. His chin is a big concern having been knocked out in each of his last two fights. Give me Dvalishvili all the way.

My Pick

Merab Dvalishvili

Taila Santos DK: $9,300 FD: $21 (-410) vs. Roxanne Modaferri DK: $6,900 FD: $9 (+310)

Santos has a striking advantage. Her path to victory is simple, to keep Modaferri at bay with her jab and general striking abilities. Modafferi must get this fight to the mat. She has to recognize after her fight with Vivian Araujo that striking is not her best weapon at the moment. If Modafferi can make this a grappling/wrestling match then she can win this fight. The problem is, Santos has a TD def of 85 %. Santos is a lock for me. The question is, can she pay off at a salary of $9,300. I believe she can. Roster percentages could be lower than expected here making Santos a great GPP selection.

My Pick

Taila Santos

Shamil Abdurakhimov DK: $7,400 FD: $11 (+170) vs. Chris Daukaus DK: $8,800 FD: $19 (-210)

Speed, volume, and precision are the name of the game for Chris Daukaus as he sets to face Shamil Abdurakhimov. Daukaus has averaged 11.56 significant strikes landed per minute in the UFC. Massive numbers for a Heavyweight. Abdurakhimov is now 40 years old. Daukaus is another $8,500+ salary range fighter that I will be heavily invested in. Daukaus is -200 to win and this fight is -200 to not go the distance. Give me Daukaus for conventional gambling and daily fantasy purposes. 

My Pick

Chris Daukaus

Nasrat Haqparast DK: $7,500 FD: $14 (+135) vs. Dan Hooker DK: $8,900 FD: $17 (-155)

Nasrat Haqparast has elite knock-out power. Tonight he faces Dan Hooker who recently got knocked out by Chandler in relatively easy fashion. Having lost two in a row now, I am beginning to look at Hooker slightly differently. He will have an agility advantage but he’s simultaneously at a big disadvantage in the power department. Hooker’s last win was against Paul Felder in late February of 2020. Give me Haqparast here by KO/TKO. Haqparast is on a two-fight win streak. 

My Pick

Nasrat Haqparast 

Jessica Andrade DK: $9,000 FD: $20 (-225) vs. Cynthia Calvillo DK: 7,200 FD: $10 (+185)

Andrade is an easy pick here. Calvillo is coming off a loss to Katlyn Chookagian by a split decision. Look for Andrade to come back strong in a match-up where she has almost every advantage. Her salary is slightly high but it's not a concern of mine. Lock in Andrade and move on. This fight will end ITD which is currently +110. Love this bet and love Andrade for DFS purposes at a salary of $9,000 on Draftkings. Lock her in!

My Pick

Jessica Andrade

Curtis Blaydes DK: $9,200 FD: $21 (-335) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik DK: $7,000 FD: $11 (+260)

Curtis Blaydes has the matchup advantage here. He’s averaging 6.64 takedowns per fight while Rozenstruik will be looking for the knockout. Rozenstruik defends takedowns at an 85% rate. The daily fantasy community clearly favors Blaydes here but I think this fight is closer than you’d think. This fight is a must-play for daily fantasy purposes. One way or the other, one of these fighters will reach value and more. Blaydes either gets knocked out or takes this fight to the ground quickly and efficiently. Give me Blaydes but by a hair. Close fight, don’t fade either side.

My Pick

Curtis Blaydes

Nick Diaz DK: $7,900 FD: $14 (+135) vs. Robbie Lawler DK: $8,300 FD: $16 (-155)

Robbie Lawler throws volume and is violent. This is a fight that you must have a piece of. Despite Draftkings Sportsbook having this fight at -115 to go the distance, I can’t see that happening. One of these aggressive fighters will go down as I expect both fighters to simply throw down. Diaz is +1800 for a 1st round KO/TKO while Lawler is +600 for the same bet. Give me Robbie Lawler who we haven’t seen in the Octagon since August of 2020 against Neil Magny. 

My Pick

Robbie Lawler

Valentina Shevchenko DK: $9,500 FD: $23 (-1500) vs. Lauren Murphy DK: $6,700 FD: $10 (+850)

This fight is -250 to end ITD. Shevchenko is favored by -1500. The question isn't if but when. Shevchenko WILL hold onto the belt. She is the most expensive fighter at a salary of $9,500. Lauren Murphy is weaker, slower, and less technical than Shevchenko. Simply said, Shevchenko is the better fighter, this is her match to lose. Lock in Shevchenko (if you have the salary).

My Pick

Valentina Shevchenko

Alexander Volkanovski DK: $8,600 FD: $20 (-190) vs. Brian Ortega DK: $7,600 FD: $16 (+160)

You must be aware that there are multiple five-round fights on this card. Ownership will be higher for these bouts but because we have three 5-rounders, you may see slightly lower percentages for this fight compared to a normal card. Considering Ortega is +160, a $7,600 price tag on DK is actually very fair. The same goes for Volkanovski at $8,600. Oddsmakers have this fight at -130 to last at least 4.5 rounds. Considering this line, give me Volkanovski to keep the belt here. He’s patient and counters well. His leg kicks are brutal and accurate. He is very strong against the fence and durable is an understatement. Beating Max Holloway twice is no easy feat. Ortega has earned the right to be here but If we're assuming this fight goes to decision, the current champion in Alexander Volkanovski is who I want to roster. 

My Pick

Alexander Volkanovski

Louis Cangiano

Louis Cangiano has been an avid DFS player since his freshman year of college at the University of Rhode Island. Now a 3x live finalist, Louis is currently a full-time Daily Fantasy Player, having previously provided content at: DFSArmy, TheQuantEdge, EliteFantasy and SiriusXM Radio, specializing in MLB and NBA GPP plays. You can find Louis on Twitter @JaguarDFS.