DraftKings MMA: UFC London Preview

DraftKings MMA: UFC London Preview

This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.

The UFC heads overseas to the O2 arena in London for a late-afternoon card on its Fight Pass streaming service.

If you're hoping to turn the event into an opportunity to build your DFS bankroll, DraftKings.com has you covered with a full slate of contests. Players get a $50,000 budget to select five fighters, and the scoring is distributed as follows:

(Please note that DraftKings has altered their scoring system. The new point values are listed below and the rosters will now expand from 5 to 6 fighters).

Moves Scoring
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
Advance (ADVC): +3 PT
Takedown (TD): +5 PTS
Reversal/Sweep (REV): +5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +10 PTS

Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win (1rW+): +90 PTS
2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rW+): +45 PTS
4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 PTS
5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 PTS
Decision Win (WBD+): +30 PTS

Scoring Notes
Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.

Advances include: To Half Guard, To Side Control, To Mount, To Back Control

Now, on to the fights...

Main Event – Light Heavyweight

Jimi Manuwa (16-2-0) v. Corey Anderson (10-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Manuwa ($8,400), Anderson ($7,800)
Vegas Odds: Manuwa (-150), Anderson (+130)
Odds to Finish: -275

This is a halfway decent fight that is on par with some of the other main events that the UFC has booked on international Fight Pass cards.

Manuwa, at 36 years old, isn't getting any younger, but he still has insane power. His last fight against Ovince Saint Preux earned him a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus for his vicious second-round KO win. He doesn't get much notoriety amongst casual fans, but Manuwa is 5-2 in his UFC career and his only two setbacks were against Rumble Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson. There is a legitimate, understandable concern that Manuwa is nothing more than a knockout artist. I think there's some truth to that, but I also believe he has more ways to win a fight than most think.

Anderson is a better athlete than Manuwa, but virtually all of his success inside the cage is based off his ability to rack up takedowns. He doesn't have the power Manuwa does, but he has also averaged nearly four and a half takedowns per fight over the course of his UFC run. It's difficult to get knocked out if you're grappling on the mat. In my opinion, Anderson is very overrated. He's only ranked so highly because there's no depth in the division at all.

Anderson can grind out a win most nights, but there's no chance he can do that against the best in the world. His current ranking (No. 6) is about where I expect him to max out. Manuwa's takedown defense (63 percent) isn't great, but I think he is going to land enough power shots to limit Anderson's ability to shoot on him repeatedly. Regardless of who you think is going to win, Manuwa is the better DK play because he is far more likely to secure a quick finish.

THE PICK: Manuwa

Co-Main Event – Welterweight

Gunnar Nelson (15-2-1) v. Alan Jouban (15-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Nelson ($9,200), Jouban ($7,000)
Vegas Odds: Nelson (-350), Jouban (+290)

Nelson was certainly hoping for a higher-ranked opponent than Jouban, but at least he gets the honor of the co-main event spotlight. Gunni is coming off a second-round submission win over the extremely underrated Albert Tumenov last May. Nelson is 6-2 in the UFC, with his two setbacks coming against Demian Maia and Rick Story. Nelson struggles on the feet, but he has improved in that area. He is never going to overwhelm you with power shots, but he has learned to throw enough effective combinations to at least threaten his opponents with his limbs.

Jouban is the polar opposite of Nelson. He's explosive, hits hard, and spends very little time grappling. The 35-year-old is also 6-2 during his UFC run, although it's safe to say Nelson has faced the better competition of the two men. The entire key for Jouban in this fight is to stay off the mat. He is going to have a distinct advantage over Gunni in a slugfest, but he's toast as soon as Nelson gets into position to potentially clamp on a submission.

While Jouban has more power, Nelson is deceptively strong. I think Jouban is going to have an issue avoiding Nelson's takedown attempts. I also think Nelson is smart enough to stick with his game plan even if it doesn't work early on. Jouban is a decent DraftKings underdog play because of his power, but I don't think he's going to win.

THE PICK: Nelson


Brad Pickett (26-13-0) v. Marlon Vera (8-3-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Pickett ($8,200), Vera ($8,000)
Vegas Odds: Pickett (-145), Vera (+125)

After a long, underrated and successful career, this will be Pickett's final fight. "One Punch" has fought the likes of Demetrious Johnson, Urijah Faber, Renan Barao, Eddie Wineland, Michael McDonald, Ian McCall, Thomas Almeida and others. He has generally come up short against the best in the world, but his durability is legendary and you will never come across another fighter who is more respected by his peers. Inside the cage, Pickett has been getting by on grit and determination for years. He is a below average athlete, although he is capable of winning a fight in a variety of different ways.

Vera is a better fighter than Pickett's originally-scheduled opponent, Henry Briones. Although he is only a .500 fighter over the course of his UFC career (2-2), Vera is a legitimate threat on the mat and has been plenty durable over the course of his career. That's the good news. The bad news is that he is giving up a ton of experience to Pickett, and he took this fight on just over a week's notice.

I don't expect a highlight reel finish, but fighting in front of countless family and friends in his final fight is enough for me to pick One Punch. Pickett will be sorely missed. While he is not a household name, he is highly respected by all hardcore MMA fans.

THE PICK: Pickett


Arnold Allen (11-1-0) v. Makwan Amirkhani (13-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Allen ($7,900), Amirkhani ($8,300)
Vegas Odds: Allen (+110), Amirkhani (-130)

This is without a doubt the best fight on the entire card. For fans who enjoy up-and-coming prospects, this is the bout for you. Allen, at age 23, has won both of his UFC fights, although the competition he has faced (Alan Omer, Yaotzin Meza) has been lousy. Currently the fifth-youngest fighter on the roster, Allen has a solid all-around game. The majority of his offense comes off of takedown attempts, but he has underrated boxing skills. Little was expected of him when he entered the company as a last-minute replacement in June of 2015, but he has performed well.

Amirkhani is among the most personable and charismatic fighters in the company. Originally from Kurdistan, Amirkhani's father moved his family to Finland where his son still resides and trains. "Mr. Finland" is darn effective inside the cage, as well. A former Finnish champion in both Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling, Amirkhani has nine career wins by submission. He does enough on the feet to get by, but that's not the strength of his game.

Neither of these man are particularly strong strikers. Amirkhani is very accurate with his punches (66 percent), but he simply doesn't throw much. Allen on the other hand, struggles with land with regularity (30 percent). I'm taking Amirkhani, albeit with little confidence. There appears to be virtually nothing separating these two fighters. I would certainly be willing to listen to an argument that the cheaper Allen is the better fantasy play.

THE PICK: Amirkhani

Other Bouts


Joe Duffy (15-2-0) v. Reza Madadi (14-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Duffy ($9,700), Madadi ($6,500)
Vegas Odds: Duffy (-680), Madadi (+490)
Odds to Finish:-205

Light Heavyweight

Darren Stewart (8-0-0) v. Francimar Barroso (18-6-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Stewart ($8,800), Barroso ($7,400)
Vegas Odds: Stewart (-175), Barroso (+155)
THE PICK: Stewart


Daniel Omielanczuk (19-6-1, 1NC) v. Timothy Johnson (10-3-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Omielanczuk ($7,700), Johnson ($8,500)
Vegas Odds:Omielanczuk (+140), Johnson (-160)
THE PICK: Omielanczuk


Marc Diakiese (11-0-0) v. Teemu Packalen (8-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Diakiese ($8,900), Packalen ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: Diakiese (-210), Packalen (+175)
THE PICK: Diakiese


Tom Breese (10-1-0) v. Oluwale Bamgbose (6-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Breese ($9,000), Bamgbose ($7,200)
Vegas Odds: Breese (-265), Bamgbose (+225)
THE PICK: Breese


Leon Edwards (12-3-0) v. Vicente Luque (11-5-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Edwards ($7,500), Luque ($8,700)
Vegas Odds: Edwards (+145), Luque (-165)


Ian Entwistle (9-3-0) v. Brett Johns (13-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Entwistle ($6,900), Johns ($9,300)
Vegas Odds: Entwistle (+330), Johns (-410)


Bradley Scott (11-4-0) v. Scott Askham (14-3-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Scott ($7,600), Askham ($8,600)
Vegas Odds: Scott (+135), Askham (-155)

Women's Bantamweight

Lina Lansberg (6-1-0) v. Lucie Pudilova (6-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Lansberg ($9,100), Pudilova ($7,100)
Vegas Odds: Lansberg (-290), Pudilova (+245)
THE PICK: Lansberg

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Jon Litterine plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: JLitterine.
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Jon Litterine
Jon Litterine is RotoWire's lead MMA Writer and MMA Editor. He has covered numerous MMA events live. He's also RW's NHL Prospect Analyst. Jon has been writing for RotoWire since 2005. He is a graduate of U Mass-Lowell.
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