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UFC 284 Picks: Top DraftKings DFS Fantasy MMA Targets, Values

Tim Finnegan gives UFC 284 picks for Saturday’s DraftKings UFC slate.

MMA: UFC 275- Maddalena vs Emeev Paul Miller-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 284 is taking place on Saturday from Australia, and despite the location, the DraftKings fantasy UFC slate will have its usual lock time of 6:00 p.m. ET. DraftKings users should be aware that fantasy UFC contests no longer have late swap.

The card is headlined by a champion vs. champion fight for the UFC lightweight title. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is moving up a weight class to attempt to become a two-division champion, and he will face lightweight champion Islam Makhachev. Since Volkanovski will not be defending the featherweight title in the short term, an interim title has been created, and Yair Rodriguez will face Josh Emmett in the co-main event for the interim belt.

DraftKings is hosting a huge UFC 284 fantasy MMA tournament that pays out $600,000 in total prizes, including $200,000 to first place. Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: UFC $600K UFC 284 Special [$200K to 1st].


Jack Della Maddalena ($9,200)

Through three UFC fights, Della Maddalena has run an incredibly fast striking pace, landing about 8.5 significant strikes per minute, which is the most striking volume on the DraftKings fantasy UFC slate. Della Maddalena’s striking metrics are strong, landing about twice as many strikes as he has absorbed. Della Maddalena also has good striking defense on a rate basis, avoiding 67% of opponent significant strike attempts.

Visually, Della Maddalena’s striking looks incredibly sharp. Della Maddalena is excellent at managing distance and getting in and out on his opponents, where he lands clean and precise strikes on the way in without taking much damage on the way out. Della Maddalena has a stinging lead jab that serves as a safe lead, and he can slide back and land retreating power shots on opponents who attempt to close the distance on him.

Della Maddalena’s striking volume combined with first-round finishes has made him a strong fantasy scorer, scoring over 100 DraftKings fantasy points in each of his three UFC fights and averaging a slate-high 117 DKFP per fight.

In this matchup for UFC 284, Della Maddalena is a substantial favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook over Randy Brown, carrying a moneyline of about -325. Brown is longer and has the reach advantage, but Della Maddalena’s distance management should help him find success from range with volume striking and produce a strong fantasy score in a winning effort.

Islam Makhachev ($9,500)

The UFC 284 main event featuring Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski was written up in-depth at DK Nation—read the breakdown here.

To recap some of that breakdown, Islam Makhachev is a monstrous offensive grappler who has an elite top game that allows him to drag opponents into the deep end and either control them for a decision win or drown them with a finish. Lately, it’s been drowning opponents with finishes. Makhachev has finished each of his last five fights, with four of them by submission.

Because Makhachev is so good at smothering his opponents with offensive grappling, he barely absorbs any strikes, absorbing under one significant strike per minute, which is amazing. Makhachev does not allow many opportunities for opponents to land strikes on him because they are too busy fighting for their lives to defend his takedowns and survive his top game.

Makhachev’s style is fantasy friendly because he generates fantasy points through control time, takedowns and wins. Makhachev has scored at least 100 DraftKings fantasy points in each of his last five fights.

Despite this being a champion vs. champion fight between two incredible fighters, Makhachev is a big favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook, carrying a moneyline of about -400. Makhachev’s offensive grappling has looked unstoppable lately, and it doesn’t look like Alexander Volkanovski will be able to survive it.

Volkanovski has been put in several bad positions on the ground at featherweight, most notably in his fights against Brian Ortega and Chad Mendes. Volkanovski got taken down by Ortega after Ortega caught a Volkanovski kick, and Volkanovski ended up in a mounted guillotine, which nearly finished Volkanovski.

Volkanovski also had his back taken by Chad Mendes after a Mendes takedown.

If Makhachev can secure a dominant position on the ground like both Mendes and Ortega did in their fights against Volkanovski, it’s hard to see Volkanovski surviving, especially with Volkanovski moving up a weight class. Makhachev just submitted BJJ black belt and submission ace Charles Oliveira and has run through four of his last five opponents with submission wins on the ground. Makhachev will be in a good position to stick to Volkanovski like glue with top pressure and win this fight with a strong fantasy score.

Value Play

Parker Porter ($7,800)

Porter is one of the highest-volume strikers on the slate, landing about 6.5 significant strikes per minute. Porter’s strikes landed to absorbed ratio is better than his opponent, Justin Tafa, who has absorbed more strikes than he has landed. Tafa has absorbed about six significant strikes per minute, which is a very elevated rate. Porter’s striking volume combined with Tafa absorbing a lot of strikes gives Porter fantasy scoring upside in this matchup, which is a winnable one for Porter. Porter has scored over 100 DraftKings fantasy points in two of his last three wins.

Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: UFC $600K UFC 284 Special [$200K 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.