This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
Two ranked fighters in arguably the UFC's deepest division will duke it out Sunday in Oklahoma City, exchanging blows for the first time since May's heated press conference.
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).
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
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 - LightweightMichael Chiesa (14-2-0) v. Kevin Lee (15-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Chiesa ($8,000), Lee ($8,200)
Vegas Odds: Chiesa (+110), Lee (-140)
Odds to Finish: -265
This is quite the intriguing bout between two fighters who legitimately do not like each other. Chiesa is currently riding a three-fight winning streak and his last loss (other than an injury stoppage against Joe Lauzon) came over four years ago. A true student of the game, Chiesa has improved considerably since he defeated Al Iaquinta to win The Ultimate Fighter 15 back in 2012. A mat wizard who uses his entire 6-foot-1 frame to his advantage, 10 of Chiesa's 14 career wins have come via submission. And while his length is most evident in ground exchanges, Chiesa uses it to his advantage in the striking game as well. He has the ability to strike his opponents from distance and not get hit in return.
Lee entered the UFC in February 2014 as an afterthought, but ten fights (8-2 record) later, he is on the verge of cracking the top 10 in the UFC's deep 155-pound division. The Motown Phenom is about as strong as fighter as you will find in the division. His background is in wrestling and he averages just under 3.5 takedowns per fight. Everything Lee does in the cage, he does with power. He is an emotional fighter, bordering on cocky. A seasoned opponent in Chiesa might be able to take advantage of that.
Lee is young and talented, but I trust Chiesa's ability to construct a game plan that will keep a high-level athlete in Lee at bay. Lee has a two-inch reach advantage despite giving up four inches in height, but he should still rely on his wrestling. Chiesa's takedown defense has been pretty good (72 percent) over the years, but if it doesn't hold up on Sunday, he's in a world of trouble. I like Chiesa's experience edge in what is essentially a pick 'em.
THE PICK: Chiesa
Co-Main Event - MiddleweightTim Boetsch (20-11-0) v. Johny Hendricks (18-6-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Boetsch ($7,7000), Hendricks ($8,500)
Vegas Odds: Boetsch (+175), Hendricks (-210)
Odds to Finish: +115
We'll start with Hendricks. Everyone knows that Bigg Rigg lately has looked nothing like the fighter who defeated Robbie Lawler for the UFC Welterweight Championship more than three years ago. He has had weight issues that he forced him to move up to middleweight, is getting hit more than ever on the feet and his explosiveness has seemingly evaporated. It has been a sudden, drastic downfall for a guy who was considered one of the better pound-for-pound fighters in the world not all that long ago. Hendricks might be 2-4 in his last six fights, but there should be an investigation opened if he doesn't have enough left in the tank to beat the fading Boetsch.
Boestch parlayed back-to-back KO wins over the late Josh Samman and Rafael Natal into a fight with Jacare Souza at UFC 208 in February, and that one went as we all expected it to. So it's back to the drawing board for Boetsch, who at age 36, should be seriously considering retirement. Boestch still has what I like to call "fluky power". By that I mean that he swings for the bleachers from all sorts of odd angles in hopes of connecting with one shot that ends the fight. It worked against Samman and Natal, but it probably won't work against Hendricks. The Barbarian just doesn't have the hand or foot speed to out work his opposition anymore.
I am finished with picking Hendricks in fights against quality competition until he shows me something more, but Boetsch doesn't fit into that category. 24-36 months ago I would have told you that Hendricks could beat Boetsch with one hand tied behind his back. A lot of things have changed since then, but Hendricks should still win this fight.
THE PICK: Hendricks
FeatherweightBJ Penn (16-11-2) v. Dennis Siver (22-11-0, 1NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Penn ($7,400), Siver ($8,800)
Vegas Odds: Penn (+170), Siver (-215)
Odds to Finish: -120
I'm going to begin this blurb by saying that I, like most, have zero desire to see Penn fight anymore. He was one of the greatest fighters in history and a pioneer of the sport, but he hasn't won a fight in nearly seven yeard - UFC 123 against Matt Hughes. Penn was scheduled to face Siver last June but the Russian was forced out with an injury and Penn instead returned in January and was obliterated by rising star Yair Rodriguez in just over a round. Siver is not Rodriguez, but there's no reason to believe BJ can handle any halfway decent fighter at age 38. I seriously doubt he needs the money and risking your long-term health just isn't worth it.
With one win since December 2012, Siver hasn't exactly been lighting it up himself of late. The fact that it has been more than two years since his last fight doesn't help matters. He has been in the UFC for more than a decade and he has faced countless top opponents, so he isn't going to be overwhelmed by facing BJ, but like Penn, there are legitimate concerns about how much Siver has left in the tank. He was a powerful man in his heyday, but who knows what he will look like after all the time off.
My advice is to avoid this fight all together because no one can say with any kind of certainty what we will see, but if you are picking a straight-up winner, I think it has to be Siver. Siver may very well be finished, but I'm not entirely positive of that. I know Penn is finished.
THE PICK: Siver
Women's StrawweightFelice Herrig (12-6-0) v. Justine Kish (6-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Herrig ($8,300), Kish ($7,900)
Vegas Odds: Herrig (-120), Kish (+100)
Odds to Finish: +180
Herrig was heading towards a release following an April 2015 loss to Paige Van Zant, but she has since responded with back-to-back wins over Kailin Curran (first-round submission) and Alexa Grasso (unanimous decision). Herrig is a ground specialist who relies on her brute strength to win fights. She is in terrific shape and she has shown an ability to outmuscle most any woman in the division. It's a massive and necessary advantage for a woman who struggles at times in the striking department.
Kish has taken unanimous decisions from Ashley Yoder and Nina Ansaroff in her two UFC bouts. While she was the far better fighter in both of those contests, Herrig represents a significant step up in competition. There is a fluidity to Kish's striking that Herrig doesn't have. Her clearest path to victory is to try to win an extended kickboxing match. Anything that involves Kish spending a prolonged period of time on the mat is likely bad news for the undefeated Russian.
I think Kish's hand speed advantage is going to be negated by the strength advantage of Herrig. Kish is likely going to be in serious trouble the second Herrig gets her hands on her. I'm not a huge long-term believer in either woman, but give me Herrig here for her third straight win.
THE PICK: Herrig
Light HeavyweightJoachim Christensen (14-5-0) v. Dominick Reyes (6-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Christensen ($6,900), Reyes ($9,300)
Vegas Odds: Christensen (+310), Reyes (-370)
Odds to Finish: -240
THE PICK: Reyes
WelterweightTim Means (26-8-1, 1NC) v. Alex Garcia (14-3-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Means ($9,000), Garcia ($7,200)
Vegas Odds: Means (-250), Garcia (+210)
Odds to Finish: -225
THE PICK: Means
LightweightClay Guida (32-14-0) v. Erik Koch (15-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Guida ($7,600), Koch ($8,600)
Vegas Odds: Guida (+280), Koch (-340)
Odds to Finish: +110
THE PICK: Koch
Women's StrawweightCarla Esparza (12-4-0) v. Maryna Moroz (8-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Esparza ($8,900), Moroz ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: Esparza (-270), Moroz (+230)
Odds to Finish: +175
THE PICK: Esparza
LightweightDevin Powell (8-1-0) v. Darrell Horcher (12-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Powell ($7,000), Horcher ($9,200)
Vegas Odds: Powell (+335), Horcher (-4200)
Odds to Finish: +120
THE PICK: Horcher
FeatherweightJared Gordon (12-1-0) v. Michel Quinones (8-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Gordon ($8,100), Quinones ($8,100)
Vegas Odds: Gordon (-140), Quinones (+110)
Odds to Finish: +125
THE PICK: Quinones
Light HeavyweightJosh Stansbury (8-4-0) v. Jeremy Kimball (14-6-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Stansbury ($8,700), Kimball ($7,500)
Vegas Odds: Stansbury (-185), Kimball (+155)
Odds to Finish: -160
THE PICK: Stansbury
LightweightTony Martin (11-3-0) v. Johnny Case (22-5-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Martin ($8,400), Case ($7,800)
Vegas Odds: Martin (-140), Case (+125)
Odds to Finish: +145
THE PICK: Case