This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
Before fight fans get treated to a Conor McGregor pay-per-view this weekend, we'll get a little breakfast MMA during the workday Wednesday. Lineups lock at 9 a.m. EST for a card with 14 scheduled bouts.
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, including a $200k MMA Throwdown with $50,000 to first place. Players get a $50,000 budget to select six fighters, and the scoring is distributed as follows:
Note: Scoring has been updated during the break! Please review the scoring changes below.
Strikes: +0.2 PTS
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
Control Time: +0.03 PTS/SECOND
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
Quick Win Bonus: +25 PTS
(fight is finished in 60 seconds or less)
- Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
- A Significant Strike will count as both a strike and a significant strike and will be worth a total of 0.4 Pts
- Control Time is the time spent in the dominant position on the ground or in the clinch. +0.03 points are awarded per second.
- A Knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider an appreciable amount of time.
- A Quick Win Bonus is awarded to the winning fighter if they win in the first round in 60 seconds or less.
Now, on to the fights...
Main Event - Welterweight
Originally scheduled to serve as the co-main event for this card, Chiesa and Magny got bumped up to the headliner following the cancellation of the Khamzat Chimaev v. Leon Edwards bout. These two have long been known as two of the best conditioned athletes in the company, and I don't expect the switch to impact either man.
Magny continues to go about his business. He won three straight fights in less than a seven-month span in 2020 (Robbie Lawler, Anthony Rocco Martin, Li Jingliang), all via unanimous decision. As I've said in this space countless times, Magny is the king of in-fight adjustments. He's a below-average athlete, but he keeps himself in great shape and excels at tailoring his game plan to his competition. He's traditionally struggled over the years when tasked with facing true top-flight opponents, but I'm not sure Chiesa, now 33 years old, falls into that category. Regardless, I'm sure Magny will show up ready to go, as always.
Chiesa is hot. He, too, enters having won three straight. His first two wins over Carlos Condit and Diego Sanchez meant little given where those two are in their respective careers, but his unanimous decision win over Rafael dos Anjos a little less than a year ago was impressive. It's truly amazing Chiesa has been as successful as he has over the years given the fact he doesn't have a single knockout victory in his entire MMA career. It's nearly impossible to believe that he hasn't picked one up along the way, but it's true. He has 11 wins via submission and six via decision.
I'm interested in seeing how Chiesa fights as the smaller man. He's a big (6-foot-1) welterweight, but Magny is two inches taller and enters with a whopping five-inch reach edge. That could potentially be an issue for Chiesa given the fact Magny is the more accomplished striker.
This is a weird fight to try to breakdown. I'm always hesitant to pick a submission specialist over a striker, but it's not as if Magny has fight-ending power, plus four of his seven setbacks have come via tap out. This is a close one, so I'll take the extra juice with the underdog in Chiesa. Perhaps his 3.84 takedowns per 15 minutes will come into play given the fact Magny defends them at just a 59 percent clip.
THE PICK: Chiesa
Co-Main Event - Welterweight
Long on talent and short on production, Alves has alternated wins and losses in his past four bouts dating back to May 2018. Overall, he is just 2-4 in his past half dozen fights dating back to May 2016. Alves is a big, physical welterweight with excellent mat skills, but his striking game is average, at best, and he's been trending downward for the better part of the past five years. To give you an idea of his potential, Alves has a first-round submission victory over Colby Covington on his resume.
Lazzez made his UFC debut in July, taking a unanimous decision from Abdul Razak Alhassan as a +200 underdog. It was a strong effort from a fighter we still know relatively little about. Lazzez is now 10-1 in his pro career, with eight of those wins coming via knockout, but other than the Alhassan fight, he has competed in organizations such as a "Dubai FC", "Desert Force", and "Brave CF." In other words, we need to see more from Lazzez before we can term him any type of legitimate threat at 170 pounds.
I think Lazzez has to be the pick given his potential combined with the inconsistent ways of Alves, but I have little interest in using him from a DK perspective. $9000 in salary is a fortune and there is no way I can justify spending it on a fighter we still know next to nothing about. I like Alves as a Hail Mary Vegas play, also.
THE PICK: Lazzez
This one has been a long time coming. These two were scheduled to fight this past September before Schnell fell ill due to the effects of a poor weight cut and the fight was cancelled.
Now 37 years of age, Nam had upwards of 30 professional fights under his belt before finally getting his opportunity with the UFC back in September 2019. He began his run with back-to-back unanimous decision losses to Sergio Pettis and Kai Kara-France before knocking out Jerome Rivera and Zarrukh Adashev in his two most recent bouts. The obvious concern here is that Nam appears to be beating up on lesser opponents while struggling against better competition. Schnell's been up and down during his time with the company but he's clearly more talented than both Rivera and Adashev.
A member of the UFC roster for more than four years now, Schnell has fought at both flyweight and bantamweight. He's far more interesting at 125 pounds given the relative lack of depth in the division. Like Nam, Schnell has a tendency of struggling against better competition. His offensive arsenal is limited and he doesn't possess the ability to generate a ton of damage in short order.
There is a true contrast of styles here. Eight of Schnell's 14 career wins have come via submission. He has just two knockouts on his record. On the other hand, Nam has 12 career knockouts and just one submission.
Therefore, the breakdown of this fight is quite simple. Nam has a massive advantage on the feet and Schnell should dominate on the mat. Of course, Schnell is nearly seven years younger and that could very well come in to play. Give me Nam with the caveat that Schnell is a live underdog and strong DK play given his price tag.
THE PICK: Nam
These two were scheduled to fight last week but COVID issues forced a brief postponement.
Akhmedov ran off a six-fight unbeaten streak (5-0-1) from November 2016 to December 2019 before receiving a step up in competition and dropping a unanimous decision to former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman this past August. Omari may have lost that one, but he has shown far more good than bad since joining the company back in November 2013 and remains one of the company's more underrated middleweights.
The same goes for Breese, who won his first three UFC bouts before alternating wins and losses in his past four fights. One of the main reasons Breese remains a virtual unknown is because just two of his 14 career bouts have taken place in the United States. He's also been banged up, having not fought at all from May 2018 to February 2020.
Breese is a big, physical middleweight. While the two are even in the reach department, Breese (6-foot-3) is three inches taller. It's imperative he try to remain on the outside against Akhmedov, who averages 2.56 takedowns per 15 minutes. Breese, on the other hand, hasn't scored a successful taken in his UFC career. He will have to try to string together combinations all while remaining aware of the constant threat of the takedown from Akhmedov.
This is not a particularly deep card despite the fact it is the UFC's first show on ABC under its new contract with ABC/ESPN. There aren't a ton of underdogs I love outright, but Akhmedov seems perfectly capable of pulling an upset in what essentially sets up as a pick 'em. I'll take the slight salary relief he provides.
THE PICK: Akhmedov
Ike Villanueva (16-11-0) v. Vinicius Alves Moreira (9-4-0)
DK Salaries: Villanueva ($8,200), Moreira ($8,000)
Vegas Odds: Villanueva (-140), Moreira (+120)
Odds to Finish: -325
THE PICK: Moreira
Lerone Murphy (9-0-1) v. Douglas Silva de Andrade (26-3-0, 1NC)
DK Salaries: Murphy ($9,200), Silva de Andrade ($7,000)
Vegas Odds: Murphy (-310), Silva de Andrade (+255)
Odds to Finish: -155
THE PICK: Murphy
Francisco Figueiredo (11-3-1, 1NC) v. Jerome Rivera (10-3-0)
DK Salaries: Figueriedo ($8,500), Rivera ($7,700)
Vegas Odds: Figueriedo (-150), Rivera (+130)
Odds to Finish: +125
THE PICK: Figueriedo
Umar Nurmagomedov (12-0-0) v. Sergey Morozov (16-3-0)
DK Salaries: Nurmagomedov ($9,500), Morozov ($6,700)
Vegas Odds: Nurmagomedov (-252), Morozov (+415)
Odds to Finish: +145
THE PICK: Nurmagomedov