Welcome to my DFS breakdown for UFC Vegas 31: Makhachev vs. Moises!

After a crazy live event at the T-Mobile arena in Vegas last weekend featuring the trilogy between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, the UFC is headed back to their HQ at the Apex facility for this Saturday’s fight night. The main event features two prospects in Islam Makhachev and Thiago Moises while the co-main features the return of former champion Meisha Tate after five years away from the sport. 

With just 11 fights on tap for this weekend, we have a much smaller player pool than normal, which means that we need to tighten our core as DFS players and really attack our favorite plays on the slate, as opposed to spreading ownership across a few different scenarios as we do on bigger cards. If you’re interested in DFS and betting takes for every fight on this card, you can check out my The Undisputed MMA Show with myself and Jon Kelly.

In this weekly article, I will outline three fighters who present strong floors and ceilings for your DraftKings lineups. 

High price: Amanda Lemos $9,300

Oftentimes, on MMA DFS slates, we see one, maybe two significant favorites per card with a bunch of fights in the mid-range being priced as close to a pick-em in the betting markets. This week, however, we have four fighters who have 75%+ implied win probabilities according to the betting market, which makes it a stars and scrubs style week on DK, where I am trying to fit in two top-tier options in my lineups. You really can’t go wrong at the top end of DK this week: Islam Makhachev is a volume-heavy wrestler with a potential five-round ceiling and Rodrigo Nascimento is nearly a pick-em to win via finish in Round 1 while facing one of the worst fighters on the roster. The reason I’ve selected Lemos as my high priced option this weekend is solely ownership compared to the rest of the fighters in this field. Lemos is a massive favorite over Ruiz, but I think people are underselling her potential finishing value in this spot. Lemos is an extremely physical fighter for this weight class and is capable of finishing the fight on the feet or on the mat against somebody who essentially has one skill in Ruiz. Lemos is currently projected to be considerably less owned than Makhachev and Nascimento, and I’d love to pair her with one of those two to get a lower-owned start to my lineups. 

Mid-price: Daniel Rodriguez $8,800

I tried to steer clear of the heavy chalk in the higher price range, but I’m giving in and eating some chalk here with Daniel Rodriguez in the mid-range. Rodriguez takes on UFC newcomer Preston Parsons this weekend in a fight that lines up great for D-Rod, who throws volume at an insane clip on the feet, landing nearly eight strikes per minute, and has a good amount of finishing ability in this spot as well. Parsons is a very aggressive “kill or be killed” style fighter and if he can’t land takedowns on Rodriguez, he’s in for a world of trouble. Rodriguez carries a high floor due to his outstanding volume numbers, and he is currently a near 60% favorite to finish inside the distance, which shows how much upside he carries in this spot. 

Low-price: Fade some chalk!

Some may view this as a cop-out answer on how to approach the bottom of the barrel this week in terms of pricing, but since there aren’t many underdogs who I like stylistically in their matchups, I’m trying to just use the lower price range to leverage off of some of the chalkier options that I’m not in love with. My first spot to do that is with Malcolm Gordon, who figures to be one of the lowest owned fighters on the slate against Fransisco Figueiredo. Gordon can’t take a punch and has not made it out of the first round in either of his UFC appearances, but Figgy figures to be popular and simply isn’t a good fighter. The second spot to try and fade some chalk is with Dustin Stoltzfus, who isn’t a particularly skilled fighter and takes on BJJ ace Rodolfo Vieira, who is an extremely dangerous fighter early on. But we saw in Vieira’s last fight that if you can extend him past the first round of the fight, he has dramatic cardio issues and becomes a liability on the feet. If Stoltzfus can survive the early storm, he has a chance for a comeback victory late in the fight. Overall, this card doesn’t figure to see a ton of underdogs win in my opinion, so mixing and cycling through guys that leverage off the chalk is the best way to approach things.