This article originally appeared on Lucky Trader: UFC 285 DraftKings Reignmakers Breakdown.
This week, DraftKings Reignmakers is offering up $125,000 in prizes between its five tiers of contests: CORE, RARE, ELITE, LEGENDARY and REIGNMAKER.
All players from DraftKings’ Heatwave, UFC 281, UFC 282, UFC 285 and Genesis sets are eligible to compete in these contests.
It is worth noting that the Genesis Standard, Genesis Premium and Genesis CORE Add-On packs are all still available for purchase. These packs contain top UFC fighters and a random distribution of most of the fighters stepping into the octagon this weekend.
The UFC 285 event set goes on sale Tuesday, February 28 at 1 p.m. ET.
With that said, this article breaks down the best fighters to consider adding to your team via the Reignmakers marketplace. All listed prices refer to CORE tier unless otherwise noted, but the recommendations can be agnostically applied to all other tiers.
Below are the best fighters to roster for the upcoming UFC 285 event.
Valentina Shevchenko ($14 - Genesis)
UFC 285 features two title fights, the first of which is between arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in UFC history and Alexa Grasso.
Grasso is on a four-fight win streak, and her dual threat of boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu makes her one of the hardest opponents in the Women’s Flyweight division. But Shevchenko is on another level. She is justifiably a massive favorite this weekend at -600 on DraftKings Sportsbook, as she looks to extend her win streak to double digits. This will be her eighth title defense in a row since winning the UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship against Joanna Jędrzejczyk in late 2018. In a five-round fight, Shevchenko is almost required to have a chance at winning in DraftKings Reignmakers contests this Saturday.
Jon Jones ($22 - Genesis)
The second title fight features Jon “Bones” Jones, who hasn’t fought since 2020. He is returning to the octagon to compete against Ciryl Gane for the UFC Heavyweight Championship following Francis Ngannou’s departure from the league.
Gane only has one loss in the UFC, which came via a decision to Ngannou in early 2022. His standup skills are good, but Jones is great. Jones has one loss in the UFC via disqualification for illegal elbows, and it came in 2009. The big question is whether or not Jones still has “it” after years off and inconsistent training over the last few years. Gane is the perfect heavyweight opponent because he’s small and relies on striking. Jones is also small and relies on striking, and he’s also better in that department. This fight might not be as exciting as some are expecting, but Jones should find a late knockout or point his way to victory.
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Below are the worst fighters to roster for the upcoming UFC 285 event.
Da’Mon Blackshear (N/A)
Blackshear gets a tough matchup against Farid Basharat, a wrestler averaging three takedowns per fight. Blackshear rarely defends takedowns and will likely look for random submission opportunities from the bottom for most of this fight. His upside is low, and he is expected to lose as a +330 underdog on DraftKings Sportsbook. Basharat should control this fight on the ground, and he could end up finishing Blackshear via submission. Blackshear doesn’t currently have fighter cards available on the secondary marketplace, but he will soon when the pack drop sells out. Avoid taking a risk on him this weekend.
Geoff Neal ($1.75 - Genesis)
Neal is in a similar situation to Blackshear. He is a sizable underdog against a good wrestler at +400 on DraftKings Sportsbook. This fight is expected to finish inside distance, and that will likely be via Shavkat Rakhmonov submission. Rakhmonov is a Master of Sport in Combat Sambo, and he rarely takes damage. He should control Neal for most of this fight before finding a submission victory in the later rounds. Neal’s upside is a sneaky, low-scoring decision victory, and he is not worth considering in most tournaments on DraftKings Reignmakers.
Below are the most obvious fighters to roster for the upcoming UFC 285 event.
Bo Nickal ($40 - Genesis)
Nickal is the biggest favorite on this weekend’s UFC 285 card at -1400 on DraftKings Sportsbook. He won the 2019 U23 World Championship and the US Open National Championship in freestyle wrestling, and he was a finalist for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. He is also a three-time NCAA Division I National Champion. The point is, he is very good at wrestling.
Jamie Pickett’s only saving grace is that he is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under John Salter. But that likely won’t matter. Nickal is going to out-wrestle Pickett for as long as it takes to pick up the win. Takedowns and control time are valuable on DraftKings Reignmakers, which makes Nickal one of the best plays this weekend.
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