The start to UFC’s 30th year is eerily similar to the end of its 29th. Sean Strickland took just three weeks off between his last main event and this one. He’s now on a two-fight skid, hoping to reverse fortunes against the surging Middleweight contender, Nassourdine Imavov. Let’s take a look at this DFS slate for UFC Vegas 67!
Mateusz Rebecki ($9,400) vs Nick Fiore ($6,800)
Rebecki is in a smash spot against fellow rookie Nick Fiore. As a -740 betting favorite with under 1.5 rounds set at -155, DraftKings Sportsbook seems to agree. He looked fairly dominant in his win in the DWCS, using offensive pressure to find an early takedown and capitalize on an opponent’s mistake for the first round sub. Look for him to seek another early finish against the less-experienced Fiore.
Javid Basharat ($9,200) vs Mateus Mendonca ($7,000)
Don’t get me wrong, I like Mendonca as a prospect — and his hair. However, Basharat is just not the matchup for him in his UFC debut. Basharat is a very strong wrestler who may make his way to the top of the division one day. For now, he needs to use his pressure and offensive wrestling to take down and finish the less-experienced Mendonca. He could realistically be in play for an early finish, but I’ll project him for one in the second half of this three-round bout.
Roman Kopylov ($7,700) vs Punahele Soriano ($8,500)
Claudio Ribeiro ($7,900) vs Abdul Razak Alhassan ($8,300)
In tournaments, I’m probably playing one of these four gentlemen given that their fights are not favored to go the distance. While risky, both underdogs are viable plays on DraftKings. Kopylov and Ribeiro profile as volatile options, as they have sub-10-point performances in their range of outcomes. However, each of these four has 130-plus-point upside, which cannot be ignored. My official picks are Kopylov and Alhassan, but wouldn’t blame you for picking any of these guys.
Umar Nurmagomedov ($9,300) vs Raoni Barcelos ($6,900)
I believe Nurmagomedov wins this fight. However, DFS is a game of value, and I believe his likely decision-win will not yield the fantasy scoring we’ll need from him at his salary to win a tournament. It would be wise to play him in a cash format, but in tournaments, he’ll need a finish to make it into the optimal lineup.
Nassourdine Imavov ($8,700) vs Sean Strickland ($7,700)
Imavov is one of UFC’s rising stars in the Middleweight division. The future title contender faces the toughest test of his UFC career on Saturday when he takes on the dangerous yet slumping contender Sean Strickland.
Just last July, we were talking about Strickland as a title contender. That was until he was KO’ed by current champion Alex Pereira. After losing by split-decision to Jared Cannonier less than a month ago, Strickland enters this fight on short notice and on a two-fight skid. I’m not sure Imavov can finish Strickland, but I do feel confident that he’ll pull out the win. Given that this fight is five rounds, there should be more than enough time for Imavov to earn striking and grappling points against Strickland on his way to a high-floor, low-ceiling win.
Good luck this weekend! Feel free to check me out on Twitter for more DFS and MMA content! @JeffGailius
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.