UFC 230: Cormier vs Lewis
This is a very unique UFC card. We have 13 fights and 10 of them are favored to result in a finish. The Inside The Distance prop is the line that determines if a fight is favored to finish and I will make mention of this line in this article often, abbreviated ITD. Additionally, the betting lines are very wide this week so the Draftkings prices are also very far apart. This is a STARS AND SCRUBS week in which you will be forced to select one of two very low priced fighters if you pay up for one or two high priced fighters. This is also not a main event you want to stack in cash.
This week we really need to take a stand to profit big. Take a stand on a few low priced guys to sprinkle into your lineups and let it ride out. I will give you low priced guys with a clear path to victory but keep in mind, they are underdogs for a reason, specifically, the betting public does not think these underdogs have much of a chance. As Tyler and I mentioned on the podcast, you may be forced to decide which low priced fighter scores the most in a loss which is why we kept mentioning which fighters could last two or three rounds in a predominantly striking fight. Please ask questions in the DISCORD chat if any of this needs to be clarified.
The Main Event: Daniel Cormier $9.6K vs Derrick Lewis $6.6K
This is scheduled for five rounds but the ITD prop is currently lined at -1300 so the general public believes this will finish and I would agree. Daniel Cormier is the better fighter everywhere but Derrick Lewis has that one punch knockout power in his right hand. Cormier needs to outwork Lewis from the opening seconds and take away his space. Lewis needs some distance to throw that right hand so Cormier will clinch him, work the body and look to take him down. This fight may be very boring to watch if it goes at I expect. Cormier will look to grind Lewis out and could eventually get the finish in Rounds 3 or 4.
Cormier is very expensive but will be very active in all aspects of the DK scoring system so he should pay off that price in a victory. Lewis is a low-volume striker. He tends to conserve energy and explode for 10-15 second bursts of punches, looking to take his opponent’s head off. Cormier needs to stay clear of that right hand when Lewis starts his bursts of punches.
Cormier is a safe play in cash and GPPs. Lewis is a GPP play and I would only play him at low volume.
The Co-Main Event: Chris Weidman $8.5K vs Ronaldo Jacare Souza $7.7K
When Tyler and I agree on an underdog play you can certainly use him everywhere. Jacare is a five-time BJJ World Champ, which means most guys just look to survive with him on the ground. Surviving on the ground means you want to try and keep the fight on the feet so the ground work doesn’t come into play. Unfortunately for Chris Weidman, that is where he does his best work. Weidman averages over four takedowns per fight.
Weidman had a three-fight losing streak before snapping it with a win over Kelvin Gastelum. His chin was rocked a few times in those three losses, so conventional wisdom was he would rely on his wrestling roots and take his opponent down. Weidman was successful when he took Gastelum down but his chin was tested by Gastelum’s left hand. Jacare lost his last fight vs Gastelum in a fight he just missed securing that submission a few times. Jacare gassed late in that fight and was lucky to survive after chasing that submission early.
Based on the DraftKings price my preferred play is Jacare Souza. He is a great play in all formats. We are playing Souza here for a few reasons, most importantly we want the submission win, but this fight should last two or three rounds and Souza can score well on the feet and on the ground. The ITD line here is -150 so it is favored to finish. Weidman is strictly a GPP play for me at his price.
Top Tier Leans ($9.6k-$8.8k):.
- Sijara Eubanks $9.4K – Sijara is fighting Roxanne Modafferi in a rematch of the TUF 26 semifinals. Eubanks won that fight convincingly in a three-round decision with a lot of strikes and a few takedowns which included GnP. Eubanks was not able to compete in the TUF 26 Final because of a bad weight cut. Modafferi took her place in that fight and lost to Nicco Montano. Most people believe Eubanks would have been the 125-pound champ had she made weight and fought Montano. Eubanks has all the motivation in the world at this point. She was scheduled to fight Valentina Shevchenko at this event for the title before the UFC changed opponents on them to produce a bigger fight. Eubanks most likely took that slight personally and I expect her to take that out on Roxanne Modafferi. Modafferi did look the best we have seen her in her last fight, and she is very experienced, but Eubanks has the natural talent, strength advantage and motivation to shine in this spot. Eubanks is very safe in cash. She can pay off her price in GPPs, but I expect to see 10 times her price, getting 12 times her price may be a stretch unless it finishes last in Round 1 or 2, which I don’t expect. This fight is favored to go to a decision at -285 so expect three rounds of points. I would have no problem stacking this fight in cash. The high volume striking totals are there.
Update: Eubanks missed weight. As long as this fight goes off as scheduled my opinion does not change.
- Lyman Good $9.5K – Lyman Good returns from a USADA suspension to take on Ben Saunders. I like him in all formats. Good is a heavy favorite in a fight with an ITD line of -350. I expect Good to finish Saunders under the 1.5-round mark. Good is strong and a powerful striker. Good is a local New York guy with a few of his teammates competing on this card so they certainly pushed each other in camp to prepare for this event. I expect to see the best of Lyman Good and he was very good before this layoff. He fought Elizeu Zaleski in a back and forth fight that I thought he won. His overhand right is a KO punch and he took some shots from Zaleski so his chin is good to go.
- Shane Burgos $9K – Burgos is a very good striker who had his hiccup last time out. Burgos lost to Calvin Kattar, who was able to knock him out in the third round. At this point, we know Kattar is a stud himself with his only loss to Renato Moicano. Burgos is a high volume striker, landing 6.49 strikes per minute. He also absorbs a lot of strikes, which is my only concern. Burgos will have a speed advantage with his hands over Kurt Holobaugh, who will exchange with Burgos in the pocket. The striking totals should be very high here. This fight carries an ITD line of -165 and stacking this fight in cash is not a bad play because the pace is there.
- David Branch $9.3K – Branch is an experienced veteran and has held titles at 185 pounds and 205 pounds in WSOF. His only UFC loss is at the hands of Luke Rockhold in which Branch won the first round and got caught in a really bad position on a scramble in the second round. Branch is a Renzo Gracie BJJ Black Belt and fights out of Brooklyn, NY. I like Branch in all formats. The ITD line of -120 indicates it’s 50/50 to finish. His opponent, Jared Cannonier, is fighting his first time at 185 pounds. He began his UFC career with two fights at HW in which he weighed in at 235 pounds and 241 pounds. I really want to see Cannonier on the scales before I am all in on Branch in single entry GPP as well. This fight could be a weigh in disaster!
Mid Tier Leans ($8.7K-$7.5K):
- Karl Roberson $8.7K – Roberson is my play here and I think he is better everywhere. He is a discount considering the other high priced guys on this card. His opponent, Jack Marshman, is going to try and close the distance and box him up, but he looks very uneasy vs southpaws. In Marshman’s fight vs Thiago Santos, Santos switched stances a few times to southpaw and Marshman didn’t attempt to throw a strike. Marshman had Santos hurt and didn’t pursue the finish because Santos switched to southpaw. Karl Roberson is a southpaw! I think Roberson is better everywhere and add to that Marshman looking uncomfortable with a southpaw, and this is a great matchup for Roberson to get back to his winning ways after suffering his first loss. Roberson comes from a good camp also and is a local guy who fights out of New Jersey. I like him in all formats.
- Montel Jackson $8.3K vs Brian Kelleher $7.9K – I have a feeling this fight could have a big effect on my night. Montel Jackson has a huge height and reach advantage here. He has a very good skill set also but lacks the experience. Brian Kelleher is a good fighter and has acknowledged his path to victory — use his wrestling and pressure like Ricky Simon to grind out a victory. I will acknowledge that path for Brian Kelleher, but I question if he can execute that game plan. Simon is a much stronger guy and was relentless in chasing those takedowns, we haven’t seen that out of Kelleher and he has had opponents in which he should have used that plan, like his fight vs John Lineker. The underdog price on Kelleher is tempting on a card we are going to struggle to fit in low priced fighters, but this could be Jackson’s coming out party and a finish is possible here. I will have more Jackson in GPPs.
Update: Kelleher missed weight. It shouldn’t have too much effect on this fight. I am surprised he missed weight here but it could be strategic.
- Adam Wieczorek $8.6K vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima $7.6k- Both guys are playable in GPPs. I prefer de Lima as the better GPP play and de Lima is a possible cash play. De Lima is coming up to HW because he couldn’t make 205 and my concern is that he gases. He does have a HW fight in his past, but that was in a local event in 2014. His fights don’t usually last too long. He will be at a height disadvantage and a reach disadvantage vs Wieczorek, who has a few finishes sprinkled in with a few decisions. His only loss is to Marcin Tybura via decision. He was getting destroyed by Arjan Bhullar in his last fight before Bhullar made a mistake and got caught in a submission. I will have a little Wieczorek and a decent amount of de Lima because his path to victory is a knockout. At $7.6K, a knockout will certainly put it in the optimal lineup. The ITD prop of -365 leads me to believe this fight will finish. I expect de Lima to be the quicker fighter here also, and they will probably weigh in about the same since Wieczorek is a lighter HW.
Lower Tier Leans ($7.4K-$6.6K): I am giving more lower tiered plays than usual because of the stars and scrubs approach to this card we are being forced to take. Some are cash plays with little chance to finish, and some of these plays are GPP only because they have a chance to finish and score big or lose and score very little, such as Don Madge last week! The key is to pick the right combination.
- Derrick Brunson $7.1K – Brunson is a big underdog here and this fight is favored to finish with a -225 line. Adesanya has a bunch of finishes before the UFC but his last two fights have gone to decision. Brunson’s fights tend to finish because of his aggressive style. Being this is Adesanya’s highest level opponent, I am surprised he is such a big favorite. He can certainly prove it to us here. but Brunson has been in the ring with better fighters. Brunson is a good play in any type of GPP contest.
- Jordan Rinaldi $7.4K – Jordan is dropping down from 155 to 145 to take this fight. He should be the bigger guy and that may be the advantage he needs if he can get this fight on the ground. Jordan is a BJJ brown belt and could be the better ground fighter here. Knight is high energy and has lost three straight fights. He needs a win here and has a striking advantage. Rinaldi is a low volume GPP option. Rinaldi’s striking average is very low, stay away in cash.
- Roxanne Modafferi $6.8K – I expect Sijara Eubanks to win this fight, but I think Modafferi can last three rounds and be a cash game punt at this price. This is the rematch and Sijara won the first fight, but they both landed punches back and forth on the feet. Modafferi landed her share of significant strikes so she can score a decent amount on DK. My concern is the strength advantage. Sijara is much stronger and threw Roxanne around in the first fight. If Sijara got on top that could limit Roxanne’s strikes. But I can see three rounds here and a good DK score at this price.
- Sheymon Moraes $7K – This price is just mispriced. Sheymon is a good striker. I expect to see a three-round striking match. Moraes has faded in the third round before, but I think he has a legit chance to win this fight via a split decision with finishing ability if he catches Arce in the pocket. I like Moraes in cash and GPP.
- Matt Frevola $7.3K – I like Frevola more for GPPs but I can see playing him in cash also. The ITD line is -215, but I like the over. Vannata is 1-3-1 in the UFC. He is dangerous with his striking arsenal, but he also strikes from the outside. Frevola is a pressure fighter who got caught in his UFC debut. He has three wins via submission, and he is a Gracie guy so I like his skill set. I expect Frevola to get in his face and eliminate the space where Vannata is most dangerous.
- Kurt Holobaugh $7.2K – I like Kur,t but I like Burgos more. Shane Burgos is a high volume pressure fighter who also absorbs his share of strikes. Burgos style is going to force Kurt to return strikes for the entirety of the fight. This will be a great fight to watch and Burgos is coming off a knockout loss as is Kurt. This can go the distance and can be stacked in cash for the volume of strikes that can be expected.
- Jared Cannonier $6.9K – David Branch is the better fighter everywhere in this fight. Cannonier has never fought at 185 pounds so this could turn out to be a disaster but he has a power right hand with finishing ability. He’s a low volume GPP play for me here.
Here is my advice for gathering information for any UFC event:
- Go to Tapology and print out the sheet for this event with all 13 fights listed.
- Listen to the Premium Podcast and make notes on the fights as you listen.
- Read this article and Tyler’s UFC article for more information.
- Check the odds on fight day to see if any line movement opens up value plays.
Types of MMA Contests on Draftkings:
- Cash (Head 2 Heads, 50/50s, triple ups)- Depending on the card I suggest 1 to 3 cash lineups. Playing cash is a slow grind. Pay attention to line movement. Some of the line movement happens early in the week but some will happen the day of the fight. When the line moves drastically that fighter will be highly owned in cash. Stacking the 5 round fights usually pays off. I like the Conor/Khabib stack here.
- Single Entry GPPs- Draftkings runs a $12, $5, and $1 single entry tournament every week. I play in them as my main source of GPP exposure. You don’t have to be overly risky here but you do want finishes here.
- Low Entry GPPs (less than 20 entries)- You play play these a few different ways. Sometimes I will spread around my exposure but other times I will work a 2 or 3 fighter core and only spread the remaining fighters in those other spots. A good place to fade fights or fighters. Draftkings runs a 20 entry $4 tourney most weeks. They also run a 3 entry $3 contest and a 3 entry $20 contest.
- High Entry GPPs (more than 20 entries)- You need the nuts to bring the big prize home!