The UFC is at the Apex again, this time for UFC Vegas 70. We have a 11-fight card headlined by top-10 light heavyweights Nikita Krylov and Ryan Spann. A win for either man would propel them into the title conversation in a wide open 205 lbs division. Lineups lock at 4:00 ET on Saturday.
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 bout 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 of which fighters we should target based on the game type – maximizing ceiling in GPPs, for example. We’ve also added ownership projections by yours truly, to help find leverage spots for GPPs.
You can check out the projections for every fighter on Saturday’s card in our UFC Models.
Nikita Krylov ($8,700) vs. Ryan Spann ($7,500)
Krylov and Spann are both riding two-fight win streaks, with their only losses coming to top competition. They’re both back-end top-10 fighters with a chance to move up into the championship picture in a suddenly chaotic 205 lbs division.
The point is the stakes are high here. Both fighters have clear paths to upside — both have plenty of knockout power as well as grappling/submission ability. Spann probably has more of the former, with Krylov being better in the latter department.
Spann has a tendency to punish grapplers with a nasty guillotine choke, though, so Krylov could choose to make this a striking match. Krylov is the better technical striker of the pair, but Spann has the power edge. For that reason, Spann is my preferred DFS option when considering price — though it’s fairly close.
Either way, this one’s too tight to pick a side for cash games. For GPPs, I’ll have one or the other in every lineup I build since this one is a whopping -900 to end inside the distance.
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The Easy Chalk
Joseph Solecki ($9,400)
Solecki is approaching -600 odds in some books in a fight that’s -190 to end inside the distance. He’s taking on Carl Deaton ($6,800), who’s making his UFC debut after going 2-2 in his last four fights on the regional scene. Solecki is 4-1 in the UFC. Don’t overthink this one — Solecki is the safest play on the card.
Trevor Peek ($8,900)
Peek is another somewhat heavy favorite in a bout likely to end early. He was -190 on DraftKings at the time salaries were released but has since moved to -215 or better across the industry. That makes him about $200 too cheap, as he’s a heavier favorite than the $9,100 and $9,200 fighters.
This fight is also -900 to end inside the distance, the longest odds on the card. All of which paints a pretty clear picture for Peek. His opponent Erick Gonzalez ($7,300), is 0-2 in the UFC, with a pair of stoppages within the first six minutes. Peek is 7-0, with each of his wins coming via knockout. Just once has he needed a second round, and he holds a win over UFC veteran Khama Worthy on the regional circuit.
Peek is a borderline must-play for both cash games and GPPs.
The Contrarian Choice
Brendan Allen ($7,100)
Allen is fighting grappling ace Andre Muniz in the co-main event on Saturday. The line has actually moved a bit in Muniz’s favor throughout the week — but that’s a good sign that ownership will be low on Allen.
Muniz is a world class jiu-jitsu athlete who has won most of his bouts via submission. However, there are some major holes in his game. He’s been knocked out in all four of his losses. Additionally, he has the suspect cardio that is somewhat typical of jiu-jitsu-based fighters. Jiu-jitsu competitions normally feature a much slower pace than MMA fights, so adapting to the intensity can be an issue.
It’s a good style matchup for Allen as well. He’s also a jiu-jitsu black belt — though not nearly the level of Muniz. Still, it’s enough that he should be able to at least survive the grappling exchanges. His only submission loss was in his fourth pro fight when he was just 20 years old.
Allen is 8-2 in the UFC, with both losses coming via strikes to high-level boxers: Chris Curtis and Sean Strickland. Muniz doesn’t pose a threat in the standup in the same way those fighters do. If Allen can survive an early grappling exchange or two, he should pick up a victory here.
At his price point, any win should see him in the optimal lineup.
The Value Play
Jasmine Jasudavicious ($7,800)
My original choice for this section — Ailin Perez — had her fight canceled due to an illness to her opponent. Fortunately, it’s a good week for underdog women with long stoppage odds. When targeting underdogs — especially for cash games — we want to target fighters likely to see a full 15-minute fight. That way, we have a decent shot at a usable score, even in a loss.
At +180 odds, her fight against Gabriella Fernandes ($8,400) is the likeliest of the night to see the judges. Adding to that, Jasudavicious has seen some slight line movement her way. At her current +105 odds, she’d normally come in around $8,000, but the plethora of close fights this weekend has her cheaper.
Beyond that, I don’t know a ton about Jasudavicious or her opponent. However, Sean Zerillo likes her as an underdog play, as we discussed on the latest episode of our UFC Betting Preview for the Action Network:
The Upside Play
Don’Tale Mayes ($7,900)
Mayes is fighting Augusto Sakai ($8,300) in a heavyweight bout. Sakai is coming off four consecutive knockout losses, which is a terrible sign for any fighter, but especially a heavyweight. While Mayes isn’t an especially powerful heavyweight, he still has the size and strength to put Sakai’s lights out.
He also has the grappling upside here. Sakai has below-average takedown defense by UFC standards, and Mayes averages just over a takedown per 15 minutes. While he has a tendency to wrestle himself into trouble — both of his official UFC losses were submissions — that’s not a concern against Sakai, who’s never won a bout via a tap out.
The two things we target for DFS upside are knockout ability and potential takedowns. Mayes brings both to this matchup.
At +110 or so odds, he’s also a bit too cheap for his line, which is another bonus for DFS.
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The Swing Fight
Mike Malott ($9,200) vs. Yohan Lainesse ($7,000)
Two aggressive Canadian fighters are meeting on Saturday, with Malott and Lainesse combining to have only four decisions among their 20 fights. Malott is the more well-rounded fighter, with four wins each coming via knockout and submission.
Lainesse is more one dimensional, with a high striking volume and excellent takedown defense so far in his UFC/Contender Series career. That should equate to a mostly stand up bout, with both men picking up solid scores via significant strikes.
This one is -650 to end insider the distance though, so whichever fighter finds a home for their power shots is likely to post an optimal-worthy score. It’s likely to be the favored Malott, although the line has moved slightly in Lainesse’s favor this week.
Still, I’m looking to fit Malott in whenever possible under the salary cap. If trying to squeeze in other heavy favorites though, Lainesse is worth mixing in as well. He’s almost certainly going to be in the optimal with a win, and probably ends up with a score that doesn’t tank your lineups in a loss.