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DraftKings MMA: UFC Nashville Preview

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.

The UFC will look to keep the momentum rolling from a stellar Kansas City card when they head to Nashville on Saturday for the first time since 2015.

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 – Featherweight


Cub Swanson (24-7-0) v. Artem Lobov (14-12-1, 1NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Swanson ($9,800), Lobov ($6,400)
Vegas Odds: Swanson (-700), Lobov (+500)
Odds to Finish: -255

This is about as poor of matchmaking as you will ever see for a UFC main event. Swanson is well known, marketable and on a three-fight winning streak, so you can make a case for him headlining an event against the right opponent, but a legitimate argument can be made that Lobov is nothing more than roster depth.

Cub had a rough go of it when he finally got the chance to face the best fighters in the UFC's featherweight division, but there is no doubt that he is among the best 145 pounders on the planet. He isn't on the level of guys like Conor McGregor, Jose Aldo, Max Holloway or Frankie Edgar, but he is on that tier just below those elite names. Swanson wins with aggressiveness, grit and the ability to take a beating. His struggles have come when he doesn't attempt to pressure his opponents. I see no reason for him to have issues hitting Lobov with regularity.

Lobov is 2-2 in the UFC (he has won his last two fights) and all of the contests have gone to a decision. His career record is barely over .500, although he does train with McGregor on a daily basis. While known for his striking, Lobov doesn't land enough to truly threaten his opposition. He, much like Swanson, has shown an ability to eat a punch, but he isn't a great athlete and he is too old (30) to expect sudden, significant improvement. There isn't much to like here.

This fight might be entertaining, but it makes zero sense is terms of matchmaking. We have all been surprised before, but based upon everything we have seen of each man of late, I don't see how you can pick Lobov to win this fight.

THE PICK: Swanson

Co-Main Event – Lightweight


Al Iaquinta (12-3-1) v. Diego Sanchez (29-9-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Sanchez ($7,000), Iaquinta ($9,200)
Vegas Odds: Iaquinta (-420), Sanchez (+335)
Odds to Finish: +110

This has the potential to be a terrific fight. Raging Al hasn't fought in more than a year due to injuries and a contract dispute. His contract has apparently not been renegotiated at this point, but he'll be back in action Saturday. Iaquinta is riding a four-fight winning streak and hasn't lost in nearly three years. The lack of recent activity is a concern, but Al is a respectable athlete who keeps himself in good shape. If he leans on his wrestling background and refuses to get into an all out brawl against Diego (which is difficult), he is going to have the advantage.

Diego is coming off a unanimous decision win over Marcin Held in November, and he has alternated wins and losses in his last six fights. Held stood around and did nothing for the majority of that fight and that's not the way to go about beating Sanchez. Diego is among the most entertaining fighters in the company and can take a beating as well as any man on earth, but he simply doesn't have the athletic ability or offensive arsenal to defeat better fighters at age 35.

Diego's takedown defense over the course of his UFC career is just 50 percent. If Iaquinta commits to the wrestling game, I think he wins fairly easily. All bets are off however if he changes the game plan and slugs it out with Diego. Those are the kind of fights that Sanchez lives for.

THE PICK: Iaquinta

Light Heavyweight


Ovince Saint Preux (19-10-0) v. Marcos Rogerio de Lima (15-5-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Saint Preux ($8,700), de Lima ($7,500)
Vegas Odds: Saint Preux (-195), Rogerio de Lima (+155)
Under 1.5 Rounds: -150

OSP has dropped three in a row and four of his last five. The shortcomings in his game are becoming more and more apparent. Saint Preux is a great athlete, but he isn't a great fighter. He gets hit too much on the feet, gets sloppy during exchanges on the mat, and while he is very strong and has legitimate power, he isn't going to improve significantly at the age of 33. He has faced some strong fighters, but the fact OSP hasn't been able to make serious headway in a thin light heavyweight division is a major concern moving forward.

Rogerio De Lima has alternated wins and losses in his last five contests. He is coming off an impressive first-round KO win of Jeremy Kimball in late-January, so he is getting a quick turnaround here. The Brazilian is built like a tank and hits like a Mack Truck, but he has had serious difficulty with his mat defense. His two UFC losses have both come via first round submission.

This figures to be the last stand for OSP. He could conceivably be cut if he losses. Dropping four straight fights is an easy way to lose your job. Rogerio De Lima's power and his ability to score quick finishes certainly make him the better DraftKings play. I don't have much faith in either man moving forward, but OSP's struggles of late have me significantly concerned.

THE PICK: de Lima

Bantamweight


John Dodson (19-8-0) v. Eddie Wineland (23-11-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Dodson ($9,400), Wineland ($6,800)
Vegas Odds: Dodson (-445), Wineland (+315)
Odds to Finish: -115

This is the best fight on what is a fairly weak card. Dodson has a first-round KO win over Manny Gamburyan and a split-decision loss to John Lineker on his record since moving up to bantamweight. While Lineker's power isn't as effective at 135 pounds as it was at flyweight, it's still a difference maker. Dodson's hand and foot speed give him a distinct advantage over bigger opponents. Though he gives up in size and reach, he can make up for with movement.

Wineland appeared to be on the verge of retirement after a loss to Bryan Caraway in July 2015, but he has since rebounded with back-to-back KO wins over Takeya Mizugaki and Frankie Saenz. Wineland has been fighting the best in the world for nearly a decade and has taken a lot of punishment over the years. I thought Wineland was finished after the Caraway fight, and I was really shocked that he earned wins over Mizugaki and Saenz. Still, this appears to be a terrible matchup for him.

Dodson moves so fast that I think he is going to pop Wineland at will and get out of range before he can return fire. Putting high-priced fighters in your lineup is generally a significant risk, but I like Dodson here. I think that he has such a significant striking advantage that Wineland is going to have a difficult time keeping up.

THE PICK: Dodson

Other Bouts


Lightweight


Joe Lauzon (27-13-0) v. Stevie Ray (20-6-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Lauzon ($7,400), Ray ($8,800)
Vegas Odds: Lauzon (+180), Ray (-260)
Odds to Finish: -115
THE PICK: Ray

Welterweight


Jake Ellenberger (31-12-0) v. Mike Perry (9-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Ellenberger ($7,800), Perry ($8,400)
Vegas Odds: Ellenberger (+100), Perry (-140)
Odds to Finish: -245
THE PICK: Perry

Middleweight


Thales Leites (26-7-0) v. Sam Alvey (30-8-0, 1NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Leites ($8,100), Alvey ($8,100)
Vegas Odds: Leites (-120), Alvey (-120)
Odds to Finish: +135
THE PICK: Alvey

Flyweight


Dustin Ortiz (16-6-0) v. Brandon Moreno (13-3-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Ortiz ($8,600), Moreno ($7,600)
Vegas Odds: Ortiz (-230), Moreno (+170)
Odds to Finish: +175
THE PICK: Ortiz

Lightweight


Scott Holtzman (9-2-0) v. Michael McBride (8-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Holtzman ($9,300), McBride ($6,900)
Vegas Odds: Holtzman (-370), McBride (+260)
Odds to Finish: +110
THE PICK: Holtzman

Women's Strawweight


Jessica Penne (12-5-0) v. Danielle Taylor (8-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Penne ($8,500), Taylor ($7,700)
Vegas Odds: Penne (-155), Taylor (+125)
Odds to Finish: +220
THE PICK: Taylor

Women's Bantamweight


Alexis Davis (17-7-0) v. Cindy Dandois (8-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Davis ($8,900), Dandois ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: Davis (-260), Dandois (+200)
Odds to Finish: -125
THE PICK: Dandois

Lightweight


Bryan Barberena (12-4-0) v. Joe Proctor (11-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Barberena ($9,100), Proctor ($7,100)
Vegas Odds: Barberena (-350), Proctor (+260)
Odds to Finish: Even Money
THE PICK: Barberena

Flyweight


Hector Sandoval (13-3-0) v. Matt Schnell (10-3-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Sandoval ($8,200), Schnell ($8,000)
Vegas Odds: Sandoval (-135), Schnell (+105)
Odds to Finish: +145
THE PICK: Sandoval

All odds taken from BestFightOdds.com on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 18.
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.
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