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Welcome to the JaguarDFS MMA Breakdown for this Saturday’s UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Gastelum on ESPN. 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 upcoming Saturday (8/21) we have a 12-fight card. DraftKings has a $100,000 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.
- We have many close fights on this card (7 of the 11 fights are -160 or less)
- Remaining four fights all < -190.
- The main event is fadable.
- 7:00 pm ET main slate start.
- Trying a new style of MMA content. Brief and to the point, let's see how it goes.
UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Gastelum
Sasha Palatnikov DK: $7,700 FD: $13 (+115) vs. Ramiz Brahimaj DK: $8,500 FD: $17 (-145)
Brahimaj has a clear path to victory. He has a significant advantage on the ground and should have no problem taking down Palatnikov. At a salary of $8,500, Ramiz makes for a hopefully low-owned GPP play to start your night.
Roosevelt Roberts DK: $8,400 FD: $18 (-155) vs Ignacio Bahamondes DK: $7,800 FD: $12 (+125)
Roberts has not fought well as of late. After a first-round submission loss to Jim Miller, his most recent fight ended in a first-round submission loss to Kevin Croom. Technically, it will show up as a no-decision because of a positive Marijuana test for Croom. Despite recency bias, Roberts will look to take this fight to the mat. If successful, his DKFP could reach upwards of 100+ in a victory.
Bea Malecki DK: $8,600 FD: $19 (-160) vs. Josiane Nunes DK: $7,600 FD: $11 (+128)
Malecki has a major size advantage against the hard-swinging Nunes. Malecki is 5’9” with a 74-inch reach. Nunes will be looking for the knockout. She stands 5’2” with a 6-inch reach. If Malecki is capable of keeping Nunes at bay for at least two rounds, she will outlast Nunes and win this fight. This is a fight that you will want a piece of for daily fantasy purposes.
William Knight DK: $9,400, FD: $22 (-185) vs. Fabio Cherant DK: $6,800 FD: $10 (+142)
-200 ITD. This is another fight that you must have a piece of for your daily fantasy lineups. On a night with many close bouts, for me, this is the most lopsided fight of the night. Give me William Knight who, in my opinion, is the overall better fighter; strength, skill, versatility, and durability all go to Knight.
Brian Kelleher DK: $9,000 FD: $21 (-180) vs. Domingo Pilarte DK: $7,200 FD: $9 (+142)
Most of the DFS community is on Kelleher. I expect him to be highly rostered. On a slate where so many fights are close, taking a chance on the cheaper, lower-owned fighter is the play here. One way or another, this fight is expected to score at -170 to end in under 2.5 rounds. Give me the leverage play for GPP purposes.
Austin Lingo DK: $7,900 FD: $14 (+100) vs. Luis Saldana DK: $8,300 FD: $16 (-125)
Trevin Jones DK: $9,000 FD: $18 (-145) vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov DK: $7,200 FD: $12 (+115)
Both are replacement fighters in both corners technically and there are a lot of question marks around Saidyokub. As for Jones, he has all the skills necessary to win this fight especially since he punches hard and he’s coming off of a second-round KO/TKO against Mario Bautista back in March of this year. First-round KO for Jones is my best guess but regardless, you will want to be invested in this fight for daily fantasy purposes.
Vinc Pichel DK: $8,200 FD: $15 (-115) vs. Austin Hubbard DK: $8,000 FD: $16 (-110)
Full DFS fade. High odds to go the distance and volume is a problem. Pichel is expected to outlast Hubbard over three rounds and get the decision win but for DFS purposes, I don’t like either fighter. Give me Hubbard for value but nothing too exciting here.
Alexandre Pantoja DK: $8,900 FD: $19 (-186) vs. Brandon Royval DK: $7,300 FD: $12 (+142)
If any DFS score is going to be above 100 in this fight, it will be Brandon Royval. Invest in Royval or fade the fight. Pantoja could very well win this fight and not score. At a salary of 8,900 on DK, investing in Pantoja for DFS purposes could be a mistake. This is the perfect example of the difference between DFS plays and conventional gambling. Pantoja should win this fight but reaching value is another story. For that reason, give me Royval by default.
Parker Porter DK: $7,000 FD: $8 (+155) vs. Chase Sherman DK: $9,200 FD: $23 (-195)
You have to love the heavyweight fights. Oddly enough, oddsmakers have this fight at -125 to go the distance. I say oddly enough because the big boys rarely go to decision. With that said, Porter is more versatile and will throw more volume. Sherman is coming off a PED suspension which is never a good sign. Give me Porter but once again, invest in both sides as this fight is expected to score regardless of who wins.
Clay Guida DK: $7,100 FD: $11 (+135) vs. Mark O. Madsen DK: $9,100 FD: $20 (-170)
Madsen has a clear path to victory on the mat. After gasing against Hubbard, I expect him to get it right this time. He will take this fight to the mat and look for submissions against a wild card in Guida. With that said, the longer the fight goes on, the better chance Guida has to steal the victory.
Mark O. Madsen
Jared Cannonier DK: $8,700 FD: $20 (-150) vs. Kelvin Gastelum DK: $7,500 FD: $17 (+120)
Gastelum is a fine value play but is in danger of a low score potentially. Cannonier will need a TKO/KO to reach value. I simply don’t think that happens. Gastelum has yet to be knocked out in his career and I don’t believe it starts tonight.