What is DraftKings?

DraftKings is a daily fantasy sports website that caters to the biggest sporting events including MMA (UFC). You sign up, deposit money and spend a $50,000 virtual budget on five fighters who will score you the most points on the way to winning some cash.

Winning in DraftKings:

One word: underdogs. It isn’t possible to draft five favourites with your budget and you will have to take a chance on a few dogs depending how much you spend on the faves. The key is to find these cheap fighters who will score big for you. Having two to three of these winning fighters can give you a big edge over the field especially in big pools.

Learn more about the DraftKings MMA scoring system here.

Here are some fighters under the $10,000 price tag to consider picking for UFC Fight Night: McDonald vs Lineker:

John Lineker ($9,900)
Bantamweight Main Event Fighter (135 lbs)

Opponent: Michael McDonald ($9,500)
Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG): 78.9
UFC Record: 8-2 (2-0 Bantamweight)

This barnburner of a fight has all the makings for oodles of DraftKings points. Lineker and McDonald are nasty strikers with fight-ending power in their fists. The biggest difference here is there physiques. Lineker, a former flyweight, is stocky and has short reach but packs plenty of wallop in his punches. He’s also incredibly durable and has underrated wrestling. Once Lineker latches on to an opponent, he is hard to keep off and he can use this as a plan B to wear down McDonald who had trouble against Masanori Kanehara.

McDonald can fight like the taller fighter and use his reach advantage to keep Lineker off while fending off the occasional takedowns. But he likely won’t. Once Lineker gets to his range, he will pressure McDonald and force him to fight his fight. And Lineker only needs to land a few punches to make McDonald respect his power. It could be a long (or short) night for McDonald.

Prediction: Lineker by T/KO

Louis Smolka ($9,800)
Flyweight (125 lbs)

Opponent: Ben Nguyen ($9,600)
Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG): 71.7
UFC Record: 4-1

Smolka and Nguyen are two exciting flyweights headed for contention should the either win impressively here. Smolka has the reach advantage and is improving his striking but has a tendency to get nicked up. Against an explosive striker like Nguyen, he can’t afford to live his chin out as often. His ace-in-the-hole is his Jiu-Jitsu. Nguyen is also versed on the mat but when it comes to pure grappling overall, Smolka’s craftiness and experience should win the day.

This is a tough pick’em for DraftKings. Both fighters have a good chance to finish the fight. Taking Nguyen at the slightly cheaper price is not bad and he has been on a roll but in a fight that could feature plenty of back-and-forth exchanges, the lean is on Smolka to edge out Nguyen in a decision. A submission win is not out of the question either.

Prediction: Smolka by Decision

Matthew Lopez ($9,400)
Bantamweight (135 lbs)

Opponent: Rani Yahya ($10,000)
Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG): 0.0
UFC Record: 0-0

The UFC newcomer has a favourable matchup against Yahya. Unbeaten at 8-0, Lopez has strong wrestling and heavy hands and his Jiu-Jitsu game is strong enough to match Yahya’s. The Brazilian is an unsung fighter with the UFC and is one of the best BJJ practitioners and he will have the experience edge but he is pretty limited as a fighter and is at an advanced age.

Lopez, while being green, technically has all the tools to give Yahya a run for his money especially if he uses his wrestling to keep the fight standing to out-strike and even finish Yahya. He can also utilize it to maintain top control and fend off Yahya’s submissions. The betting odds also have this fight as a pick’em so might as well take the shot on the cheaper fighter with the higher ceiling.

Prediction: Lopez by Decision

Eric Spicely ($8,400)
Middleweight (185 lbs)

Opponent: Sam Alvey ($11,000)
Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG): 0.0
UFC Record: 0-0

Spicely is a highly-touted prospect who didn’t quite live up to his hype on the TUF show but a lot of fighters usually don’t fight up to their abilities in the series. Against Alvey, Spicely has a clear path to victory: his grappling. Alvey is a Team Quest fighter who trains with Dan Henderson but has been susceptible to getting clinched and getting taken down. His low-volume striking also makes it advantageous for a more assertive fighter to gain the judges’ favour.

The threat of the knockout looms in this fight. Alvey is one of the hardest hitters but Spicely will no doubt be ready for it and use the game plan Elias Theodorou used by moving around Alvey and limiting his range. Spicely may not be able to finish Alvey but he can earn a decision victory and at a really low price, he is worth the shot.

Prediction: Spicely by Decision
How We Did Last Time:

UFC 200: Tate vs Nunes

Fighters Points Result
Amanda Nunes 121 Win (Round 1 TKO)
Brock Lesnar 62.5 Win (Decision)
Frankie Edgar 39.5 Loss (Decision)
Takanori Gomi 0.5 Loss (Round 1 TKO)
Total: 223.5 (55.87 Avg) 2-2