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Fantasy MMA – UFC DraftKings Picks – UFC 251

High Priced

Kamaru Usman

Kamaru Usman is the elite of the elite and one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. His standup continues to progress, mixing elite volume with plenty of power. Usman’s best tools are his pressure, cardio, and wrestling, though. We’ve seen him fight at an elite pace for 25 consecutive minutes, mixing takedowns with advances and a plethora of significant strikes. There are very few holes in Usman’s game, one of the reasons he’s 11-0 in the UFC. 

Jorge Masvidal is an outstanding striker but doesn’t throw quite the volume of Usman. He has also struggled significantly more defensively. He’s coming off three consecutive knockouts, and he’ll need to find another one to have a real chance at winning this fight. Masvidal has solid takedown defense but has been taken down by significantly worse wrestling, suggesting Usman will be able to get this fight to the ground at some point. 

Surprisingly, Usman is only a -225 favorite. He does possess +195 odds to win inside the distance, but Usman posted 132 and 176 fantasy points in his last 2 decision wins. He’s the better fighter in virtually every category with Masvidal’s only real path to victory a knockout. Usman possesses outstanding striking defense, though, and I expect him to dominate this fight from start to finish. Masvidal will likely have his moments, but Usman is entirely too cheap for his fantasy upside. 

 

Mid-Priced

Volkan Oezdemir

Volkan Oezdemir has found tremendous success in the UFC, posting a 5-3 record through 8 fights. He has only lost to elite competition, though, including Daniel Cormier, Anthony Smith, and Dominick Reyes. Oezdemir has power in his hands, but he could focus a bit more on his leg kicks and wrestling in this particular matchup. 

Jiri Prochazka has a few solid victories on his record, but he likely isn’t ready for the top of the UFC light-heavyweight division. Prochazka has outstanding boxing, utilizing combinations to hurt his opponents. He generally keeps his hands low to defend takedowns, though. His sprawl-and-brawl style works well against wrestlers, but may not work against someone with the power of Oezdemir. 

Oezdemir is currently a -145 favorite with +145 odds to win inside the distance. He’ll be the more powerful fighter and should find plenty of success with leg kicks and power punches, as Prochazka’s stance will allow for both of them to effectively land. Oezdemir is a bit of a risky option because his upside comes from his knockout potential rather than his volume. Mixing in wrestling will help with his floor, although there’s no guarantee he opts to use it or finds success with it. Still, Oezdemir offers tremendous upside for his price tag. 

 

Low Priced

Max Holloway

This is a rematch that likely will go similarly to the first fight. Both fights will look to land volume, while Alexander Volkanovski will land with more power. The only way for Max Holloway to increase his chances to win this fight is with more volume. I fully expect the former champion to focus on more volume in the early rounds, adding to his upside in terms of fantasy. Overall, this should be another close fight with two of the best fighters in the world. 

Holloway is one of the cheapest options on the slate and he’s a +170 underdog. This fight has -240 odds to go the distance, giving Holloway a full 25 minutes to score fantasy points. He scored 67 in a loss in their first matchup, and I’m expecting more volume this weekend. Holloway is a fighter that has winning potential but will still score well in a loss. He’s an outstanding cash game option, who can also be used in tournaments.

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