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UFC Orlando Picks: Top DraftKings Fantasy MMA DFS Plays for December 3

Jeff Gailius gives UFC Fight Night picks for Saturday’s DraftKings UFC slate.

UFC Fight Night: Thompson v Holland Ceremonial Weigh-in Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

UFC Orlando is one of the more exciting Fight Night cards we’ve had in a while. Not counting Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, we have six top-10 contenders duking it out, and several up-and-comers to keep an eye on. Let’s break down some of the top DraftKings plays from this card!

Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: UFC $350K Throwdown [$100K to 1st]


Jonathan Pearce ($9,500)

Jonathan Pearce has been on a tear since moving to featherweight. Earning a finish in three of his last four wins, Pearce projects as one of the best DFS plays on this slate despite his hefty $9.5K price tag. His opponent, the established veteran Darren Elkins, is coming off a win, but is now 38 years old and has taken a ton of damage in his career. He has the wrestling and striking experience to make this a competitive fight, but since 2020, the younger fighter in UFC has won roughly 62% of the time. In a matchup where he has speed, striking, and wrestling advantages, I’m taking Pearce to win by a late stoppage.

Matheus Nicolau ($9,400)

I’m glad that this article is coming out after weigh-ins because Matheus Nicolau’s opponent had one of the most comical moments on the scale. After initially missing weight, Matt Schnell shaved his head to cut the additional .5 pounds to make weight. Already a -365 favorite, I’m even more confident in Nicolau winning this fight given Schnell’s struggles on the scale.

While a great option for cash games, I’m not sure Nicolau projects well for tournaments. At $9,400, he’ll need to hit 100+ points, likely with a stoppage, to be in Saturday’s optimal lineup. In his last eight fights, Nicolau has only one win by finish and has gone over that 100-point mark twice. On the other side of this fight, Schnell proved to be almost unfinishable in his last bout, rallying from a near knockout to submitting Su Mudaerji. I’m taking this fight to go this distance, and for Nicolau to have his hand raised in the end.

Marc Diakiese ($9,200)

Diakiese has been a revelation in his past two fights. He’s earned two decision wins where he’s scored more than 110 points, primarily due to getting 19 total takedowns across those bouts.

He enters this fight against Michael Johnson, who has been less than spectacular as another elder statesman on this card. With a 1-5 record since 2019, Johnson has been through the wringer in the lightweight division and has another tough test against Diakiese this Saturday. While he does have an impressive 79% takedown defense, he also absorbs 3.91 strikes per minute and is vulnerable to Diakiese’s high volume and pressure. I think Diakiese cruises to a win here, picking up a stoppage along the way.


Bryan Barberena ($6,600)

Now, I’m sure you didn’t expect me to reference Logan Paul in this article, but hear me out. In his recent WWE match with Roman Reigns, his entire strategy was around landing “one lucky shot”. Barberena is in a very similar situation against the established veteran, heavy favorite, and highest-priced fighter on this slate, Rafael Dos Anjos ($9,600). If there’s anyone that can land one lucky shot, it’s Barberena. On a three-fight win streak, I’m willing to sprinkle some Barberena in tournaments given his ability to throw strikes and willingness to seek a finish. I’m not expecting a win here, but all we need is one lucky shot.

Main Event

Kevin Holland ($8,500) vs. Stephen Thompson ($7,700)

The main event of UFC Orlando is going to be entertaining. Two strikers who can talk a lot (in very different ways) have both been waiting for this matchup. Unfortunately for us, it’s going to be very difficult to predict a winner in this fight.

Stephen Thompson, former No. 1 welterweight contender, might be over the hill at this point. At 39 years old, his striking and reflexes have started to slow, and he probably isn’t fighting for a title for the remainder of his career. However, he’s still one of the most creative kickboxers this sport has ever seen and hasn’t really had a matchup against a pure striker in several years. His last two matchups were against Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns, both of whom have great wrestling props, yet neither were able to finish him on the ground.

Kevin Holland, former UFC “retiree”, is back to take on Thompson in this main event. We most recently saw Holland at UFC 279, where he was unceremoniously mauled by Khamzat Chimaev. This was a horrible matchup for Holland, who like Thompson, much prefers to fight on his feet. He now gets a relatively favorable matchup against Wonderboy. He has all of the physical advantages with a 3-inch edge in height and a 6-inch edge in reach.

Since this is the only five-round fight on the card, feel free to play both guys in cash if you need to. I’m leaning towards Holland in tournaments as the younger and more athletic fighter, who should also come in at less overall ownership.

Good luck this weekend! Feel free to check me out on Twitter for more DFS and MMA content! @JeffGailius

Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: UFC $350K Throwdown [$100K to 1st]

All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.