UFC Fight Night 138 Draftkings Breakdown
Volkan Oezdemir vs Anthony Smith
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.
The Main Event: Volkan Oezdemir $8.4K vs Anthony Smith $7.8K
This is scheduled for five rounds, but I see a finish coming within the first two rounds. This is a GPP fight and I have a strong lean towards Volkan Oezdemir. Volkan is the stronger fighter and hits harder. I do not believe Anthony Smith has been hit by anyone like Volkan to date. He is a natural light heavyweight who cuts to get to 205 pounds. Anthony Smith walks around at 215 pounds so Volkan will outweight him on fight night by 10-15 pounds. My preferred play is Volkan in cash and all GPP formats. If you are playing multi-entry GPPs you should certainly play Anthony Smith to hedge in a few lineups.
The Co-Main Event: Michael Johnson $9.5K vs Artem Lobov $6.7K
I expect this three-round fight to go to decision. It is difficult to justify playing Michael Johnson because he has not scored well in his three-round decision wins. I do expect Michael Johnson to win this fight but Artem Lobov is a great cash game punt. Lobov can keep this fight close if it stays on the feet. He is very tough and will exchange punches with Johnson, who is just the better fighter. His losses have come to top notch guys. Johnson is a multi-entry option only because of his price. Lobov can be played in GPPs and is a great cash game punt.
Weigh in note: Michael Johnson did not make weight. He was one pound over the allowable weight. He was the last fighter to weigh in. Lobov said he was taking the fight even if Johnson made weight or not. I don’t think this changes much for this fight.
GPP Fight: Te Edwards $9.4K vs Don Madge $6.8K
This fight is lined to finish. I expect Edwards to control this fight and his power is most likely too much for Madge, whose only path to victory is a flash KO/TKO. Madge is an accomplished Muay Thai fighter with over 100 wins and only four losses, but he holds a 7-3-1 MMA record and all three losses have been to Leon Mynhardt. Edwards has power in his hands and is a former division 1 wrestler. I think Edwards catches Madge in the first round and knocks him out but if things get dicey he can always rely on that wrestling to grind Madge out.
GPP Fight: Gian Villante $9K vs Ed Herman $7.3K
This fight is favored to finish so I feel obligated to post it as a GPP fight because it is playable on both sides. I am not a fan of the price tag to play Villante. He will pay off 10Xs with a first-round finish and most likely pay it off with a second-round finish, but Villante absorbs more strikes per minute than he lands. Villante is very hittable and does not pursue takedowns. With Villante being a hittable one trick pony, I see a path to victory for Ed Herman, who is capable of winning this fight if he’s in good form. He’s priced well and I would like to see him attempt a takedown early in Round 1 to tire Villante out a bit. Herman likes to use a left-right combo when he moves forward and can connect with that overhand right. I think this fight is mispriced and a decision is very possible also. Villante is multi-entry GPP play. Herman is playable in all formats here at his price.
Sneaky GPP Fight: Sarah Moras $8.7K vs Talita Bernardo $7.5K
This fight is lined to go to decision, but I think it finishes. On the premium podcast, Tyler and I had differing opinions as to who the better striker was between these two ladies. I’m not sure it matters, as I expect Bernardo to try and get this fight to the ground. Moras has moved full time to Vegas to train at the UFCPI so we could see a much improved Sarah Moras in this contest. Both ladies have wins via submission so if/when it gets to the ground the better submission grappler should have an advantage. Bernardo, a BJJ black belt, has four wins by submission and Moras only UFC win is via armbar from bottom. Full disclosure, I bet this fight to finish so listen to the Brews & Bets podcast for other bets if you are looking for a betting breakdown.
Top Tier Leans ($9.7k-$8.7k):.
- Nasrat Haqparast $9.7K – His pressure is too much for Gouti, who will throw bombs so Nasrat needs to watch that chin. But his pressure should put Gouti at a disadvantage and a KO/TKO is what I expect here. Play Nasrat in all formats if you can fit his price.
- Misha Cirkunov $9.4K – Cirkunov is coming off a two-fight losing streak against much better competition. He has the skills necessary to win this fight convincingly. Cummins is a wrestler with mediocre striking. Cirkunov has high-level BJJ so if this fight goes to the mat, he’ll work his submission game. I expect Cirkunov to finish in the first or second round.
Mid Tier Leans ($8.6K-$7.7K): I decided to give full fight predictions for these mid-range fights. When I started making lineups I was left with about $8K in a bunch of my lineups to fill the sixth spot. I try to address paths to victory for each fighter here.
- Nordine Taleb $8.2K vs Sean Strickland $8K – The odds have flipped for this fight. There is line value on Strickland, which will make him popular in cash and all lineups. Strickland is coming off a bad KO loss to Zaleski. Taleb was tapped out by Claudio Silva in his last outing. Both guys are distance strikers with high percentage striking defense. Taleb has been the more aggressive fighter in the past and I expect to see that here as well. This fight is likely to go to decision and could be a low scorer, most likely path to victory is a split decision for either guy. It really is a toss-up fight in my opinion. I prefer Taleb because he is more aggressive and trains in Canada, so he is considered the local guy. Taleb is much older but has shown no signs of being done. Strickland has lost to the better competition. I’m arguing against myself here because this fight is just so close. In the lineups I’ve made, Strickland seems to fit in a bit easier.
- Alex Garcia $8.5K vs Court McGee $7.7K – Alex Garcia has the wrestling advantage here, which, in most cases, would lead me right to him as a safe mid-range play with a clear path to victory. The problem with Garcia is that he gases. He is short and muscular so that muscle mass tires him out by Round 2. Court McGee has a path to victory if he can hang around later and take advantage of a tired Alex Garcia. I can see Garcia winning Rounds 1 and 2 and getting the decision win or possibly a KO/TKO in the first eight minutes. After that eight-minute mark, I can also see McGee winning Round 2 and 3 for the decision win or knocking Garcia out late. Round 2 is very important in this fight! My lean is Garcia gets this win.
- Andre Soukhamthath $8.6K vs Jonathan Martinez $7.6K – Full disclosure, I have a max bet on Soukhamthath. There is no denying Soukhamthath has suspect ring IQ. He has one UFC win via knockout of a southpaw, Luke Sanders. Martinez is a southpaw. Martinez is making his UFC debut on short notice. He started training full time only two or three weeks ago when he signed the fight contract for this fight. He was a part-time fighter and worked a day job up until that point. Martinez usually fights at 125 or 130 pounds and was prepping for an LFA fight scheduled for Oct 19th. This is Soukhamthath’s fight to win or lose. He really could be 4-0 in the UFC with a better fight IQ in the ring. I am playing Soukhamthath for his talent and he has shown a focused work ethic in this full fight camp. He’s split his camp between Hard Knocks in Florida and his local camp in Rhode Island. He’s had high-level sparring partners and top notch coaching. Martinez could be 10-0, his only loss was via disqualification for an illegal knee. He has multiple submission victories. I expect Soukhamthath to keep this standing and use his power to win a decision with a KO possible. Soukhamthath is now -155 so there is odds value on Martinez, which will make him popular, especially if the line keeps moving.
- Jessin Ayari $7.9K- Ayari opened as a big underdog and the line tightened up before DraftKings dropped the pricing or he’d be a much better play for his price. I expect to see the best of Ayari in this fight. His lone UFC loss is to Darren Till at 170 pounds in a fight in which Till weighed in at 176 pounds. Ayari still took the fight. Till knocked Ayari around pretty good, but Ayari lost via decision so this kid is tough. Ayari is now 26 years old and is making his debut at 155 pounds. Stevie Ray is a good fighter but does not possess the one punch power to finish this fight. We haven’t seen Ayari in some time, but I expect to see a much improved Ayari for these reasons.
Lower Tier Leans ($7.6K-$6.5K):
- Marcelo Golm $7.4K – Golm has a path to victory. He is a young, athletic, strong guy who is in good shape for a heavyweight. Usually, we see heavyweights who are carrying a bunch of weight in the midsection, but Golm is more defined physically. He is also a very good boxer and BJJ practitioner. Arjan Bhullar is a former Canadian Olympic wrestler and his path to victory is to use that wrestling to hold Golm down. Golm did well in defending the takedown in his lone UFC loss to Tim Johnson. Golm is a good GPP play as he can connect on a big punch to get the KO/TKO win. If Bhullar has his way it’ll be three rounds of low scoring wrestling with no advances and minimal ground strikes.
- Chris Fishgold $7.1K – I really like this play! Chris Fishgold is high energy and will be the physically stronger fighter with a ground advantage. Fishgold uses his striking to close the distance and get his hands on his opponent to get the fight to the ground. Calvin Kattar is a very good striker, but his ground game has not been tested in his UFC fights. Fishgold usually fights at 155 pounds so this matchup at 145 pounds should put him in a good position to bulk up and have a weight advantage after hydrating this he can use to work his wrestling. He is a great play in all formats and saves a lot of money to pay up for the high priced guys.
Types of MMA Contests on DraftKings:
- Cash (Head 2 Heads, 50/50s, triple ups) – Depending on the card, I suggest one- to-three 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 five-round fights usually pays off.
- 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 these a few different ways. Sometimes I will spread around my exposure but other times I will work a two- or three-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 three-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!