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UFC Picks: Top DraftKings DFS Fantasy MMA Plays for UFC 297

Jeff Gailius gives UFC 297 picks for Saturday’s DraftKings UFC slate.

MMA: UFC 290 - Whittaker vs Du Plessis Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

You wanted a UFC 297 DFS Breakdown? You got it! Here’s a look at every single fight on the UFC 297 card, with my summary, prediction, and advice for this DFS slate!

PRELIMS

Malcolm Gordon ($8,300) vs. Tereza Bleda ($7,900)

Jimmy Flick fights again for the third time in a year following his three-year layoff from the sport. He’s been knocked out twice, and scored extremely poorly in those past matchups. I hope he’s made some adjustments in camp and is a more polished version of himself, but I’m not waiting on baited breath for the 33-year-old. Malcolm Gordon is a -205 favorite despite only having an $8,300 price tag. He may not be the most talented guy on the roster, but he’s certainly more competitive at this point in his career than Flick. I’ll make it a three-peat for Jimmy, and have Gordon finishing him before this one reaches the third round.

Pick: Malcolm Gordon by KO/TKO/DQ (Round 1-2)


Jasmine Jasudavicius ($9,500) vs. Priscilla Cachoeira ($6,700)

Call me biased, but I don’t see a path for Jasmine losing this fight. She’s a far superior wrestler in this matchup, and should dominate any clinch or ground exchanges vs Cachoeira. If Priscilla can keep this one standing, maybe we see a Jessica Andrade-equse performance vs McKenzie Dern last November, but I’m not willing to bet on it. I’ll play Jasmine in cash games given my strong feeling she’ll win this fight, but struggle to see her paying off this massive price for a tournament.

Pick: Jasmine Jasudavicius by Decision


Yohan Lainesse ($8,400) vs. Sam Patterson ($7,800)

This is a perfect matchup for both fighters. Lainesse is an extremely powerful striker going up against an opponent who was just knocked out. Patterson is a great submission artist, competing against a guy who doesn’t spend much time on the ground. In these types of matchups, I typically lean with the better wrestler, as they tend to have more ways to win fights. I have no idea who wins this fight, but given the likelihood of this one ending inside the distance, I’ll say pick one of these guys and hold your nose.

Pick: Fight Not To Go The Distance.... good luck!


Gillian Robertson ($9,100) vs. Polyana Viana ($7,100)

This is a Gillian Robertson or pass spot for me in DFS. Gillian is a super accomplished grappler and wrestler, submitting three of her past five opponents. While Viana is no slouch, finishing each of her past three wins in the first or second round, she’s more vulnerable on the ground than her record would admit. I don’t envision Viana controlling Robertson on the ground, and expect her to generate a low score even with a win. I’m taking Robertson to get this one inside the distance!

Pick: Gillian Robertson by Sub (Round 1-2)


Serhiy Sidey ($8,900) vs. Ramon Taveras ($7,300)

Likely the earliest rematch in UFC history, these two DWCS graduates are debuting against each other after Sidey defeated Taveras by early stoppage in their first matchup late last year. Sidey clearly won the fight, but since the ref stepped in slightly too early, the promotion is running this one back. I love this fight from a DFS perspective, and recommend both guys be in your multi-entry tournament pool. My heavy lean is towards Sidey, but you could easily convince me to play the revenge narrative for Taveras, especially given his cheap price.

Pick: Sidey by KO/TKO/DQ (Round 1-2)


Charles Jourdain ($9,000) vs. Sean Woodson ($7,200)

Woodson is a very popular underdog pick for this slate, and I totally agree with that sentiment. This fight is much closer than the DFS price differential suggests, and I’d recommend including one of these guys in your lineup. Jourdain is going to be my pick given his slightly more robust offensive game, but I’d feel more confident in my DFS lineup by playing the cheaper Woodson and another similarly priced high upside option (Malott, Robertson, Sidey).

Pick: Charles Jourdain by Dec


Brad Katona ($8,700) vs. Garrett Armfield ($7,400)

Experience vs upside seems to be the question in this matchup. Katona has been around the UFC for a while, and seems to have a knack for winning long decision fights. He’s super smart in the cage, and while sometimes low volume, he maintains upside as his unlimited cardio allows him to continue accruing strikes late into the third and final round. Armfield only has two UFC fights on his record, splitting both with a win by early knockout and a loss by second round sub. I doubt Armfield will be able to keep up with Katona, and expect a similar performance to his previous fight vs Cody Gibson this Saturday.

Pick: Brad Katona by Decision


Main Card

Mosvar Evloev ($8,700) vs. Arnold Allen ($7,500)

Few underdogs on this card have the pedigree or upside as Arnold Allen. While I believe Evolev’s offensive pressure and wrestling should see him win a decision in this fight, I don’t blame you for picking Allen for the cost savings. His best case scenario is an early knockout, which he’s done twice in his past three fights (once was an injury stoppage for Calvin Kattar). Worst case? He gets subbed early. Most likely case is this a slog of a three round fight where he scores well (30-45 points), despite a loss.

Pick: Mosvar Evloev by Decision


Chris Curtis ($8,500) vs. Marc Andre-Barriault ($7,700)

If you feel confident in your fighter knocking the other guy out in this fight, feel free to throw them in a tournament lineup. There’s a real chance though, that both guys score relatively poorly in DFS given the matchup here. Both men are great strikers, and while I expect MAB to lead the dance as the more aggressive fighter, Chris Curtis is easily one of the most dangerous counter-strikers in UFC. If either one knocks the other out, they may break through as one of the best values on this slate. I’ll give a slight lean to Curtis as the favorite, but don’t feel overly confident in my pick in this one.

Pick: Chris Curtis by KO/TKO/DQ (Round 3)


Mike Malott ($9,300) vs. Neil Magny ($6,900)

In a large field, multi-entry tournaments, I can rationalize having some exposure to Neil Magny. He’s a well rounded guy who more often than not thrives in ugly, decision fights. However, I have a strong feeling that the Candian Mike Malott comes in and solves the Neil Magny playbook. I believe he’ll come in, avoid the clinch positions, and finish Magny within two rounds, cementing his place in the top 15. Give me Malott in cash games, tournaments, and everywhere!

Pick: Mike Malott by KO/TKO/DQ (Round 1-2)


Mayra Bueno Silva ($8,600) vs. Raquel Pennington ($7,600)

Sharp DFS players will be stacking this fight, as I anticipate the public fades this generally unexciting co-main event title fight. Mayra Bueno Silva is a dangerous submission threat, finishing her last three fights by Sub before the 3rd round began. She’s a slight favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook at -166 despite being the slightly smaller woman in this matchup. Pennington is certainly a live dog in this fight, as her striking could keep the offensive pressure of Bueno Silva at bay. Both are in play in larger field tournaments, given that they have five rounds to accrue strikes and control time. I’ll lean towards MBS and assume she gets this one done by Decision.

Pick: Mayra Bueno Silva by Decision


Main Event: Sean Strickland ($8,200) vs. Dricus Du Plessis ($8,000)

Sean Strickland is the incumbent champion, with a huge asterisk. Arguably unworthy of the title shot in the first place, Strickland played a shell defense for four rounds against a tepid Adesanya. I don’t believe he has the offense to defend his title against DDP, although he may play good enough defense to survive and eek out a decision. Both guys are certainly in play for DFS contests, cash and tournaments, but I’ll side with DDP and I think he gets it done in punishing fashion.

Pick: Dricus Du Plessis by KO (Rounds 2-4)

Good luck this weekend!


Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: UFC $500K UFC 297 Special [$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.