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UFC 270 DFS Breakdown: Model, Preview, Picks for Gane vs. Ngannou, Moreno vs. Figueiredo, More Fights

UFC 270 features a super-sized title unification bout in the main event, between heavyweights Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane. Don’t forget about the little guys, though, as Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo meet for the third time in flyweight title action. Lineups lock at 6 p.m. ET.

We have built out a full player-projection model using the FantasyLabs Tools and Player Models to help put together some winning DFS lineups in UFC. You can use our optimizer to build optimal lineups using these projections.

The model, created by our own Sean Koerner, is based on 10,000 simulations of all the fights. He then pulled the DraftKings score from each fight to create floor, median and ceiling projections for every fighter. Here is how he defined each projection:

  • Floor: Fighter has an 80% chance of going over this score, 20% chance of going under
  • Median: Fighter has a 50% chance of going over this score, 50% chance of going under
  • Ceiling: Fighter has a 20% chance of going over this score, 80% chance of going under

These should give us a better sense as to which fighters we should target based upon the game type — maximizing ceiling in GPPs, for example.

You can check out the projections for every fighter on Saturday’s card below.

UFC DFS Model

The Easy Chalk

Identifying the chalk at UFC 270 isn’t quite as simple as it frequently is. We have two title fights (and thus two five-round fights), both with relatively narrow odds. While ownership will likely condense on those fights, I wouldn’t anticipate any particular fighter carrying outsized ownership. With that said, we’ll discuss both title fights later. Here’s some of the undercard fighters who could carry high ownership — while being safe bets for production — this week.

Raoni Barcelos ($9,300)

Barcelos is the heaviest favorite (remaining) on the card, at roughly -500 for his bout against UFC newcomer Victor Henry ($6,900). The Brazilian was 5-0 in the UFC before dropping his last fight, a close majority decision to Timur Valiev. Barcelos leads our projections in floor, median and ceiling, as he’s expected to make short work of the overmatched Henry.

It’s hard to see Barcelos struggling against Henry, a journeyman fighter who’s competed mostly in Japan against lesser competition. That makes Barcelos an obvious addition to cash lineups, but worth discussing for tournaments. Barcelos is likely to be heavily owned, with 91% of Tapology Predictions coming in on him. As the most expensive fighter, he’d need to put up a big score to justify that high ownership. He doesn’t have an especially high output, though, with his three UFC stoppages all landing between 110 and 113 DraftKings points.

Henry has also never been finished as a pro, so it’s somewhat likely that this one goes to a decision. I may sprinkle some Barcelos in my tournament lineups, but I don’t think it’s necessary to force it given the salary constraints. If we have a decision-heavy card he could make the optimal lineup, but if there’s stoppages from cheaper fighters (which I’m expecting) it’s unlikely he does so.

Jack Della Maddalena ($9,200)

Maddalena is taking on Pete Rodriguez ($7,000) in a battle of UFC newcomers (which is curious for a PPV card). Maddalena lost his first two fights as a professional (both before his 20th birthday) before ripping off a 10-fight win streak, including nine stoppages. Rodriguez is undefeated as a pro, but has only fought four times professionally. The combined records of his opponents (at the time he fought them) is 8-4.

Which explains why Maddalena — who’s fought relatively stiff competition outside of the UFC — is such a heavy favorite. That makes this bout tricky to analyze, though. Rodriguez has beaten every fighter in front of him. They weren’t the best fighters, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Rodriguez isn’t UFC-caliber. None of his opponents made it three minutes into a fight with him, so it’s not like he was squeaking by either.

Regardless, Maddalena trails only Barcelos in our median projections for UFC 270. Betting markets are fairly efficient, and he’s not a -350 favorite for no reason. It’s far from a sure thing that he wins this one though, so I’m considering a sprinkle of Rodriguez in my tournament lineups.

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The Upside Plays

Tony Gravely ($8,900)

Gravely is a perfect fighter for tournament lineups, averaging more than 120 DraftKings points in his UFC wins. He’s an extremely active grappler, picking up 17 takedowns across four bouts. That’s a bit of a scary prospect against his opponent, Saimon Oliveira ($7,300). Oliveira has picked up 11 submissions in 18 professional wins.

That’s a good thing for Gravely’s GPP-prospects, though. Oliveira is likely to welcome the grappling exchanges, allowing Gravely to rack up takedown points as he looks to work ground and pound. Gravely also has impressive power, picking up three knockdowns in four UFC bouts.

Given his takedown prowess, he’s likely to be the superior wrestler than Saimon, who appears to be more of a traditional BJJ player. That gives Gravely the option to take this fight wherever he wants it to go, which is a good thing. There’s certainly a risk that he secures the takedown that leads to his own submission defeat, but that’s what makes him a good tournament play.

Gravely has the best ceiling projection on the slate outside of Barcelos, at a cheaper price and probably lower ownership. He’s a -275 favorite in this one (after opening at -250) so all signs point to a big day for Gravely. I’ll be loading up on him in tournaments.

The Value Play

Michael Morales ($8,200)

Morales is the cheapest favored fighter on the card, making him one of the better values this weekend (outside of the title fighters — more on them later). The UFC debutant is -120 as he takes on Trevin Giles ($8,000) in welterweight action.

There’s a lot to like about Morales, who is 12-0 as a professional fighter. Ten of those wins have come from stoppages, with nine of them by knockout. He went the full 15 minutes in his Contender Series bout, though, showing that he has the stamina to go the distance. Giles is a reluctant grappler (three takedowns in his last seven fights) so this one should be contested mostly on the feet. Morales also has a massive five-inch reach advantage (at the same height as Giles), which is especially helpful in a standup bout.

At his salary, Morales only needs to win the fight to have a good shot at finding the optimal lineup. Giles has a fairly low activity rate, which doesn’t play well to the judges should they get involved. Giles also is dropping a weight class here, which is beneficial to Morales for a couple reasons. One, it’s a bad sign when a fighter drops a weight class coming off of a loss. More often than not, it wasn’t the size difference giving them problems. Two, if it was the size difference, the reach disadvantage is still a problem here. Finally, Giles’ endurance could be a factor if the weight cut was a challenge for him.

All of which makes Morales a solid value, with the upside for a lot more. I’ll feature a heavy dose of him in my GPP lineups this week, by setting a rule to include him in our FantasyLabs MMA Optimizer.

The Contrarian Approach

Genaro Valdez ($7,500)

There’s an inordinate amount of debuting fighters on UFC 270, among them Valdez. “El Rayadito” (The Little King) is another undefeated Latin prospect, with a 10-0 record as a pro. All of his bouts were finished inside the distance, with seven knockouts and three submissions. He’s taking on Matt Frevola ($8,700) who has lost his last two bouts, including a seven-second knockout in his last contest. (He was also knocked out in the first round of his UFC debut.)

Even when he wins, Frevola hasn’t been particularly impressive. Both UFC wins were by decision, including a split against Luis Pena. Given how little information we have on Valdez, this is more of a bet against Frevola than on Valdez, but “The Steam Rolla’s” career seems to be in danger of being flattened.

Stopping the takedown will be the key for Valdez, who, by the numbers, has the edge in the standup portion of the fight. He’s done that successfully against lesser competition so far in his career. Whether he can do that this weekend or not remains to be seen, but he’s worth a look in GPP lineups.

The Swing Fights

Brandon Moreno ($8,500) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo ($7,700)

I highly suggest reading the work of my colleague Erich Richter on Trilogy Fights in the UFC before we get into this one. With that out of the way, the third bout between Figueiredo and Moreno serves as the co-main event of UFC 270, with Moreno as a -175 or so favorite. Most of the data points towards Moreno being the winner of this one. In addition to the trilogy trends, the younger fighter tends to win rematches more often than not. (Moreno is about six years younger.)

Moreno is the more active fighter, attempting significantly more strikes and takedowns than his opponent. “Deus da Guerra” makes up for it in power, though, with a knockdown rate more than three times the divisional average. So far in the trilogy, Moreno has been able to avoid the big shots. While there’s no guarantee he does so again, the odds are in his favor.

As are our projections, which give Moreno the best Pts/Sal number on the card. Both fighters have reasonably high ceilings (by virtue of the extra two rounds) but the underdog has a much higher one. Especially given his cheaper price point, the big power of Figueiredo could add up to a big fantasy score.

I’ll be mixing in both fighters in my lineups, but setting an optimizer rule to have exactly one of them is a must. All four title fighters have reasonable enough salaries that you can fit any two you want. Going overweight on Figueiredo is my preferred strategy for tournaments, though. (Overweight relative to the field, not his opponent. He’s likely to be owned somewhere in the 25% range, so I’ll still have more Moreno.)

Ciryl Gane ($8,400) vs. Francis Ngannou ($7,800)

We’ve saved the best for last, with a heavyweight title unification bout between former sparring partners that could easily go either way. Gane is by far the more complete fighter, and one of the best technical strikers the division has ever seen. Ngannou, on the other hand, has massive power, with 10 UFC wins by KO/TKO, to go with one submission.

Which in a weird way, is reminiscent of the co-main event (despite being on opposite ends of the size spectrum). Gane should win the bulk of this fight, but he has to be near perfect at avoiding Ngannou’s power, or he can lose it in a heartbeat.

Not that Gane doesn’t have power himself, having recently finished Derrick Lewis with strikes. Lewis beat Ngannou as well, so the “transitive property of MMA” points toward Gane here. Truthfully, this fight could play out similar to the Gane vs. Lewis fight. If Gane is able to avoid the power of Ngannou for a couple of rounds, the odds swing heavily in his favor. That’s a much tougher task against Ngannou, though, who’s faster and has four inches of reach on Lewis.

From a DFS perspective, being overweight against the field on Ngannou is probably the right move. Based on betting data, Ngannou is implied to win this one roughly 45% of the time. It’s hard to see him not making the optimal lineup if he does. The field tends to be much lower than that on main event underdogs, so it’s plus-EV to be higher on Ngannou.

Either way, you aren’t winning much this time without getting both title fight winners correct. I’ll be setting an optimizer rule to have exactly one from each bout in all of my lineups.

Photo Credit: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC
Pictured above: UFC champions Brandon Moreno and Francis Ngannou

UFC 270 features a super-sized title unification bout in the main event, between heavyweights Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane. Don’t forget about the little guys, though, as Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo meet for the third time in flyweight title action. Lineups lock at 6 p.m. ET.

We have built out a full player-projection model using the FantasyLabs Tools and Player Models to help put together some winning DFS lineups in UFC. You can use our optimizer to build optimal lineups using these projections.

The model, created by our own Sean Koerner, is based on 10,000 simulations of all the fights. He then pulled the DraftKings score from each fight to create floor, median and ceiling projections for every fighter. Here is how he defined each projection:

  • Floor: Fighter has an 80% chance of going over this score, 20% chance of going under
  • Median: Fighter has a 50% chance of going over this score, 50% chance of going under
  • Ceiling: Fighter has a 20% chance of going over this score, 80% chance of going under

These should give us a better sense as to which fighters we should target based upon the game type — maximizing ceiling in GPPs, for example.

You can check out the projections for every fighter on Saturday’s card below.

UFC DFS Model

The Easy Chalk

Identifying the chalk at UFC 270 isn’t quite as simple as it frequently is. We have two title fights (and thus two five-round fights), both with relatively narrow odds. While ownership will likely condense on those fights, I wouldn’t anticipate any particular fighter carrying outsized ownership. With that said, we’ll discuss both title fights later. Here’s some of the undercard fighters who could carry high ownership — while being safe bets for production — this week.

Raoni Barcelos ($9,300)

Barcelos is the heaviest favorite (remaining) on the card, at roughly -500 for his bout against UFC newcomer Victor Henry ($6,900). The Brazilian was 5-0 in the UFC before dropping his last fight, a close majority decision to Timur Valiev. Barcelos leads our projections in floor, median and ceiling, as he’s expected to make short work of the overmatched Henry.

It’s hard to see Barcelos struggling against Henry, a journeyman fighter who’s competed mostly in Japan against lesser competition. That makes Barcelos an obvious addition to cash lineups, but worth discussing for tournaments. Barcelos is likely to be heavily owned, with 91% of Tapology Predictions coming in on him. As the most expensive fighter, he’d need to put up a big score to justify that high ownership. He doesn’t have an especially high output, though, with his three UFC stoppages all landing between 110 and 113 DraftKings points.

Henry has also never been finished as a pro, so it’s somewhat likely that this one goes to a decision. I may sprinkle some Barcelos in my tournament lineups, but I don’t think it’s necessary to force it given the salary constraints. If we have a decision-heavy card he could make the optimal lineup, but if there’s stoppages from cheaper fighters (which I’m expecting) it’s unlikely he does so.

Jack Della Maddalena ($9,200)

Maddalena is taking on Pete Rodriguez ($7,000) in a battle of UFC newcomers (which is curious for a PPV card). Maddalena lost his first two fights as a professional (both before his 20th birthday) before ripping off a 10-fight win streak, including nine stoppages. Rodriguez is undefeated as a pro, but has only fought four times professionally. The combined records of his opponents (at the time he fought them) is 8-4.

Which explains why Maddalena — who’s fought relatively stiff competition outside of the UFC — is such a heavy favorite. That makes this bout tricky to analyze, though. Rodriguez has beaten every fighter in front of him. They weren’t the best fighters, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Rodriguez isn’t UFC-caliber. None of his opponents made it three minutes into a fight with him, so it’s not like he was squeaking by either.

Regardless, Maddalena trails only Barcelos in our median projections for UFC 270. Betting markets are fairly efficient, and he’s not a -350 favorite for no reason. It’s far from a sure thing that he wins this one though, so I’m considering a sprinkle of Rodriguez in my tournament lineups.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

The Upside Plays

Tony Gravely ($8,900)

Gravely is a perfect fighter for tournament lineups, averaging more than 120 DraftKings points in his UFC wins. He’s an extremely active grappler, picking up 17 takedowns across four bouts. That’s a bit of a scary prospect against his opponent, Saimon Oliveira ($7,300). Oliveira has picked up 11 submissions in 18 professional wins.

That’s a good thing for Gravely’s GPP-prospects, though. Oliveira is likely to welcome the grappling exchanges, allowing Gravely to rack up takedown points as he looks to work ground and pound. Gravely also has impressive power, picking up three knockdowns in four UFC bouts.

Given his takedown prowess, he’s likely to be the superior wrestler than Saimon, who appears to be more of a traditional BJJ player. That gives Gravely the option to take this fight wherever he wants it to go, which is a good thing. There’s certainly a risk that he secures the takedown that leads to his own submission defeat, but that’s what makes him a good tournament play.

Gravely has the best ceiling projection on the slate outside of Barcelos, at a cheaper price and probably lower ownership. He’s a -275 favorite in this one (after opening at -250) so all signs point to a big day for Gravely. I’ll be loading up on him in tournaments.

The Value Play

Michael Morales ($8,200)

Morales is the cheapest favored fighter on the card, making him one of the better values this weekend (outside of the title fighters — more on them later). The UFC debutant is -120 as he takes on Trevin Giles ($8,000) in welterweight action.

There’s a lot to like about Morales, who is 12-0 as a professional fighter. Ten of those wins have come from stoppages, with nine of them by knockout. He went the full 15 minutes in his Contender Series bout, though, showing that he has the stamina to go the distance. Giles is a reluctant grappler (three takedowns in his last seven fights) so this one should be contested mostly on the feet. Morales also has a massive five-inch reach advantage (at the same height as Giles), which is especially helpful in a standup bout.

At his salary, Morales only needs to win the fight to have a good shot at finding the optimal lineup. Giles has a fairly low activity rate, which doesn’t play well to the judges should they get involved. Giles also is dropping a weight class here, which is beneficial to Morales for a couple reasons. One, it’s a bad sign when a fighter drops a weight class coming off of a loss. More often than not, it wasn’t the size difference giving them problems. Two, if it was the size difference, the reach disadvantage is still a problem here. Finally, Giles’ endurance could be a factor if the weight cut was a challenge for him.

All of which makes Morales a solid value, with the upside for a lot more. I’ll feature a heavy dose of him in my GPP lineups this week, by setting a rule to include him in our FantasyLabs MMA Optimizer.

The Contrarian Approach

Genaro Valdez ($7,500)

There’s an inordinate amount of debuting fighters on UFC 270, among them Valdez. “El Rayadito” (The Little King) is another undefeated Latin prospect, with a 10-0 record as a pro. All of his bouts were finished inside the distance, with seven knockouts and three submissions. He’s taking on Matt Frevola ($8,700) who has lost his last two bouts, including a seven-second knockout in his last contest. (He was also knocked out in the first round of his UFC debut.)

Even when he wins, Frevola hasn’t been particularly impressive. Both UFC wins were by decision, including a split against Luis Pena. Given how little information we have on Valdez, this is more of a bet against Frevola than on Valdez, but “The Steam Rolla’s” career seems to be in danger of being flattened.

Stopping the takedown will be the key for Valdez, who, by the numbers, has the edge in the standup portion of the fight. He’s done that successfully against lesser competition so far in his career. Whether he can do that this weekend or not remains to be seen, but he’s worth a look in GPP lineups.

The Swing Fights

Brandon Moreno ($8,500) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo ($7,700)

I highly suggest reading the work of my colleague Erich Richter on Trilogy Fights in the UFC before we get into this one. With that out of the way, the third bout between Figueiredo and Moreno serves as the co-main event of UFC 270, with Moreno as a -175 or so favorite. Most of the data points towards Moreno being the winner of this one. In addition to the trilogy trends, the younger fighter tends to win rematches more often than not. (Moreno is about six years younger.)

Moreno is the more active fighter, attempting significantly more strikes and takedowns than his opponent. “Deus da Guerra” makes up for it in power, though, with a knockdown rate more than three times the divisional average. So far in the trilogy, Moreno has been able to avoid the big shots. While there’s no guarantee he does so again, the odds are in his favor.

As are our projections, which give Moreno the best Pts/Sal number on the card. Both fighters have reasonably high ceilings (by virtue of the extra two rounds) but the underdog has a much higher one. Especially given his cheaper price point, the big power of Figueiredo could add up to a big fantasy score.

I’ll be mixing in both fighters in my lineups, but setting an optimizer rule to have exactly one of them is a must. All four title fighters have reasonable enough salaries that you can fit any two you want. Going overweight on Figueiredo is my preferred strategy for tournaments, though. (Overweight relative to the field, not his opponent. He’s likely to be owned somewhere in the 25% range, so I’ll still have more Moreno.)

Ciryl Gane ($8,400) vs. Francis Ngannou ($7,800)

We’ve saved the best for last, with a heavyweight title unification bout between former sparring partners that could easily go either way. Gane is by far the more complete fighter, and one of the best technical strikers the division has ever seen. Ngannou, on the other hand, has massive power, with 10 UFC wins by KO/TKO, to go with one submission.

Which in a weird way, is reminiscent of the co-main event (despite being on opposite ends of the size spectrum). Gane should win the bulk of this fight, but he has to be near perfect at avoiding Ngannou’s power, or he can lose it in a heartbeat.

Not that Gane doesn’t have power himself, having recently finished Derrick Lewis with strikes. Lewis beat Ngannou as well, so the “transitive property of MMA” points toward Gane here. Truthfully, this fight could play out similar to the Gane vs. Lewis fight. If Gane is able to avoid the power of Ngannou for a couple of rounds, the odds swing heavily in his favor. That’s a much tougher task against Ngannou, though, who’s faster and has four inches of reach on Lewis.

From a DFS perspective, being overweight against the field on Ngannou is probably the right move. Based on betting data, Ngannou is implied to win this one roughly 45% of the time. It’s hard to see him not making the optimal lineup if he does. The field tends to be much lower than that on main event underdogs, so it’s plus-EV to be higher on Ngannou.

Either way, you aren’t winning much this time without getting both title fight winners correct. I’ll be setting an optimizer rule to have exactly one from each bout in all of my lineups.

Photo Credit: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC
Pictured above: UFC champions Brandon Moreno and Francis Ngannou