On Saturday night, UFC 255 will take place from Las Vegas at the UFC APEX. The card is headlined by two title fights: a men’s flyweight title bout between champion Deiveson Figueiredo and challenger Alex Perez, and a women’s flyweight title bout between champion Valentina Shevchenko and challenger Jennifer Maia.
Figueiredo is making his first title defense since claiming the vacant flyweight title in July. On the women’s side, Shevchenko is 5-0 since dropping down to flyweight and has gone 4-0 in UFC flyweight title fights.
DraftKings is hosting a big UFC 255 fantasy MMA tournament that pays out $700K in guaranteed prizes, including $150K to first place. The fantasy MMA contest locks at 6:30 p.m. ET with the start of the prelims. Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: MMA $700K 255 Special [$150K to 1st].
DraftKings Sportsbook will also be featuring UFC bets that can be placed throughout the night for the duration of UFC 255. Place your UFC bets at the DraftKings Sportsbook UFC page and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.
Below, we will break down UFC 255 and examine some of the UFC betting offerings for the event by DraftKings Sportsbook. In addition, we will take a look at the DraftKings daily fantasy MMA slate and make some DFS picks for the UFC 255 fantasy MMA slate.
Notable DraftKings Sportsbook betting odds
- Favorite Deiveson Figueiredo (-305) vs. underdog Alex Perez (+240)
- Favorite Valentina Shevchenko (-1430) vs. underdog Jennifer Maia (+790)
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Alex Perez
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jennifer Maia
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Alex Perez
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jennifer Maia
DraftKings Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Fantasy MMA Scoring Criteria
- A significant strike is worth 0.5 DraftKings fantasy points (DKFP). A significant strike is defined as any distance strike or clinch/ground strike that is considered a “power strike” by official scorers.
- Advances on the ground are worth 3.0 DKFP. Advances include to half guard, to side control, to mount and to back control.
- A takedown is worth 5.0 DKFP.
- A reversal or sweep is worth 5.0 DKFP.
- A knockdown is worth 10.0 DKFP. A knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider an appreciable amount of time.
Fight Conclusion Bonuses
DraftKings fantasy points (DKFP) are awarded based on how quickly a fighter is able to finish the fight.
- 1st round win: 90 DKFP
- 2nd round win: 70 DKFP
- 3rd round win: 45 DKFP
- 4th round win: 40 DKFP
- 5th round win: 40 DKFP
- Decision win: 30 DKFP
Main Event: Deiveson Figueiredo ($9,000) vs. Alex Perez ($7,200)
Figueiredo possesses explosive fight-finishing ability, showcasing powerful punching to pair with a black belt in BJJ. Figueiredo leads all flyweights in knockdowns and is coming off a highly impressive win over Joseph Benavidez where he put on an accuracy clinic, landing 35 of 40 significant strikes in just under five minutes, including 12 of 16 from distance and 23 of 24 on the ground. Part of the reason Figueiredo won by choke was because his ground-and-pound was so ferocious that Benavidez gave Figueiredo his back to get Figueiredo to stop destroying his face with vicious elbows from the top position.
On the feet, Figueiredo keeps his hands low, which makes him hittable at times but allows him to throw lead attacks from unexpected angles. Figueiredo starched Benavidez early in their rematch by throwing a counter lead right hook to the temple from an angle that Benavidez did not see coming. Even though Figueiredo’s low hand placement makes him a little bit more hittable than you’d like to see, he has a strong chin and eats the punches he absorbs. Figueiredo also uses movement and distance to avoid having opponent strikes land with full power.
Figueiredo doesn’t display the strongest hips when opponents get in on his hips and his takedown defense stats aren’t strong, stopping 61% of opponent takedown attempts. In Figueiredo’s only career loss, he was taken down three times and controlled for about seven of the 15 total minutes, which resulted in him losing a decision on points to Jussier Formiga. Figueiredo was also taken down seven times and controlled for about half the fight in a narrow split decision win over Jarred Brooks. This could be Perez’s best method for victory: controlling the action with offensive grappling and dragging the fight into the deeper rounds. Perez has a wrestling background and has displayed the ability to successfully use his wrestling offensively in the past. Given Figueiredo’s potency with his power punching, Perez will probably be best served trying to tire Figueiredo out with grappling early in the fight so he can capitalize on his cardio advantage in the later rounds.
Ultimately, I expect Figueiredo to win and finish the fight. Figueiredo is faster, more explosive, has more accurate striking and has a highly capable ground game where he hunts submission finishes. Figueiredo has attempted at least one submission in seven of his nine UFC fights and was inches away from finishing an armbar on Benavidez before winning via KO/TKO in their first fight, which would have given him three straight submission wins.
Prediction: Deiveson Figueiredo to win and not go the distance
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DraftKings DFS Bargain Bin: Jordan Wright ($7,300)
Wright enters his fight against Joaquin Buckley ($8,900) as a +215 underdog on DraftKings Sportsbook, which has contributed to him being slotted as the fifth cheapest fighter on the UFC 255 fantasy MMA slate. Buckley has huge power and sent shock waves through the MMA community after recording one of the greatest knockouts in UFC history in his most recent fight in October.
Buckley’s explosive power makes Wright a risky fantasy play with bust potential, but there are a few reasons that Wright can be considered as a salary relief option to help free up money for higher-priced fighters in DraftKings fantasy MMA contests.
Buckley comes forward to attack without much regard for defense, which has resulted in him absorbing a lot of shots. Buckley has eaten about six significant strikes per minute in his two UFC fights, an elevated number. Buckley was knocked out in one of those fights, so there’s also recent history of him being finished with strikes.
Wright has good height at 6’2”, which he used effectively in his UFC debut. Wright used the standing Muay Thai clinch to land 12 knee strikes in about a minute and a half, which ended up resulting in a cut that forced a TKO stoppage. Wright enters this fight with a four-inch listed height advantage over Buckley, and being the taller fighter will make it easier for him to get back to that Muay Thai clinch and land knees.
It’s a small sample, but Wright was also extremely active in his limited octagon time. Wright landed just under eight significant strikes per minute, a big number. Wright is 11-0 (1 NC) in his professional career and has finished all 11 of his wins, with 10 of them being finished in the first round. These are all encouraging factors when looking for a cheap salary relief target with some upside.
Biggest Favorite: Valentina Shevchenko ($9,600)
UFC title fights are generally not expected to be this lopsided, although lopsided betting odds have been a theme for Shevchenko’s flyweight title defenses. Shevchenko is a massive -1430 favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook, which are odds that are reminiscent of peak Ronda Rousey’s reign of terror on the women’s bantamweight division from 2013 to 2015. The women’s flyweight division has not been around for very long, so the division hasn’t had the same opportunity to build the quality of depth that more entrenched divisions have had, which can make finding new title contenders more challenging in the short term. This has resulted in an extremely lopsided matchup that makes Shevchenko an extremely safe play to build around on this DraftKings fantasy MMA slate despite it being a championship match. No other fighter on this slate is larger than a -400 favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Bets to consider on DraftKings Sportsbook
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is timfinn521) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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