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UFC 251 Preview: Amanda Ribas, Kamaru Usman lead DraftKings MMA Fighters in Price, Betting Odds

Timothy Finnegan previews UFC 251 and looks at DraftKings salaries and DraftKings Sportsbook betting odds for the MMA Millionaire slate that takes place on Saturday, July 11 at 6:00 p.m. ET.

The UFC has a highly anticipated pay-per-view event coming up at 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 11. UFC 251 is set to take place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, and the location of the event has been described in the mainstream as “Fight Island”. At this location, the UFC has built a safe zone for fighters and event personnel that is designed to help limit exposure to COVID-19.

The main card, which starts at 8:00 p.m. ET, has already undergone significant changes. The main event was scheduled to be a title fight between former teammates Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns, but Burns tested positive for COVID-19 last week and got pulled from the card. The UFC was left scrambling to find a replacement for the main event, and they cashed in by booking Jorge Masvidal to take Burns’ place against Usman. In shades of the UFC 196 main event between Conor McGregor and late replacement Nate Diaz, this is a rare occasion of a late replacement fight ending up being more highly anticipated than the originally scheduled fight.

To celebrate the big UFC card, DraftKings is hosting a massive fantasy MMA Millionaire tournament that gives out $2.25 million in total prizes and pays out $1 million to the winner. The contest locks at 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday. Set your lineups here: MMA $2.25M The Island Millionaire [$1M to 1st! + ToC Entry].

DraftKings users can also get in on the UFC action by betting on DraftKings Sportsbook or by downloading the DK Sportsbook app.

DraftKings released fantasy MMA salaries for the event last week and below, we will take a look at the slate. But first, here’s a look at the DraftKings fantasy MMA scoring criteria for mixed martial arts fans who may be new to fantasy MMA.

UFC 251 - 50% Profit Boosts: The UFC is heading to Fight Island and we want to give you two (2) 50% Profit Boosts for UFC 251! Access the profit boosts here at the DraftKings Sportsbook promo page! (opt-in required)

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. Here’s a round-by-round breakdown:

  • 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

Biggest Favorite: Amanda Ribas ($9,500)

At $9,500, Ribas is the most expensive fighter on DraftKings’ fantasy MMA slate this weekend, and it’s for good reason. Ribas is a titanic -835 favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook over Paige VanZant ($6,700), which puts Ribas in a different stratosphere among fighters on this slate. No other fighter carries a moneyline higher than -270 on this card.

Ribas has impressive well-rounded skills, as she is a BJJ black belt, a judo black belt and has showcased crisp striking. In her striking, Ribas shows off a quality jab, the ability to put together combinations and has good distance management, attacking and exiting before her opponent can land cleanly. Ribas’ excellent exiting off strikes also shows up in the UFC metrics, as an outstanding 74% of Ribas’ opponents’ strikes have not landed. This is an elite striking defense number and ranks at the top of the women’s flyweight division. In addition to her strong striking defense, Ribas has been very difficult to take down, stopping 85% of opponent takedown attempts through her three UFC fights, also an outstanding rate.

VanZant, meanwhile, has poor defensive metrics, as just 43% of her opponents’ strikes have not landed. If the fight stays on the feet, VanZant could be a sitting duck for Ribas to tee off on and generate either plus significant strike volume or a quick finish.

VanZant has also weak takedown defense, stopping just 35% of opponent takedown attempts, a very poor mark. Ribas has showcased the ability to land takedowns through multiple methods, including trips, clinches, body locks and judo throws. VanZant could end up on her back a lot in this fight, which could be a death sentence against Ribas, who is a BJJ black belt.

Ribas has multiple ways of either finishing this fight quickly or attaining large fantasy volume if VanZant is able to weather the storm and make it into the later rounds. Ribas is the safest and most elite choice to build fantasy lineups around and makes for an outstanding staple in fantasy lineups.

Curious about when major leagues and events will return? Check out our DraftKings Sports Calendar for the latest updates.

Main Event: Kamaru Usman ($8,900) vs. Jorge Masvidal ($7,300)

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, this is a rare instance of a replacement fight ending up being more highly anticipated than the originally scheduled fight. Usman enters as the favorite with a -265 moneyline on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Since Masvidal is taking the fight on very short notice, Usman has had more time to prepare for a lengthy fight, which will likely benefit Usman as the fight goes into the later rounds. If Masvidal, who is a +210 underdog on DraftKings Sportsbook, is going to pull off the upset, it will likely have to be via TKO/KO before the fight enters the championship rounds. Masvidal has finished all three of his last opponents by KO/TKO and recorded at least one knockdown in each of his last three fights. One of those knockdowns was an impressive head kick that had Nate Diaz in trouble in the first round of his most recent fight, which he won via TKO due to a cut stoppage. Masvidal also had one of the most devastating KOs you’ll ever see in his five second flying knee destruction of Ben Askren, which practically sent Askren into retirement.

Usman has been a fantasy machine, recording over 100 DKFP in six of his last seven fights. Usman has not been much of a finisher, as eight of his last 10 UFC wins have gone to decision and he has recorded octagon time in the fifth round in each of his last four fights. However, Usman has compensated for the lack of finishes by posting huge striking volume recently, landing at least 130 significant strikes in each of his last three fights. Usman, who has a strong wrestling background, has also shown the ability to rack up fantasy points by accumulating advances on the ground.

Usman is also ridiculously difficult to take down, as he has stopped a perfect 100% of opponent takedown attempts in his 11 UFC fights. Because of this, Usman practically never spends any time on his back, which allows him to keep attacking on offense. Usman’s bottom position time and bottom position percentage are both the best among all qualified UFC fighters since the metric began being tracked.

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the most likely outcome of this fight is Usman via decision (+140), which makes sense given eight of his last 10 fights have been decision wins. Usman by KO, TKO or DQ (+200) is the next most likely outcome, followed by Masvidal by KO, TKO or DQ (+275). Usman is the safer play and carries tremendous upside due to his ability to rack up fantasy volume, but Masvidal could be a quality tournament and salary relief play given he has the ability to record a quick knockout. Masvidal is the sixth cheapest fighter on this slate, and if you are chasing cheap upside, he’s worth consideration.

Full Salary list with DraftKings Sportsbook Moneyline

All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.

  • Kamaru Usman (-265; $8,900) vs. Jorge Masvidal (+210; $7,300)
  • Alexander Volkanovski (-230; $9,100) vs. Max Holloway (+185; $7,100)
  • Petr Yan (-250; $9,300) vs. Jose Aldo (+200; $6,900)
  • Jessica Andrade (+162; $7,200) vs. Rose Namajunas (-200; $9,000)
  • Amanda Ribas (-835 $9,500) vs. Paige VanZant (+525; $6,700)
  • Volkan Oezdemir (-177; $8,400) vs. Jiri Prochazka (+140; $7,800)
  • Elizeu Dos Santos (+108; $8,000) vs. Muslim Salikhov (-134; $8,200)
  • Makwan Amirkhani (-215; $8,600) vs. Danny Henry (+170; $7,600)
  • Leonardo Santos (-190; $8,800) vs. Roman Bogatov (+150; $7,400)
  • Marcin Tybura (-112; $7,900) vs. Maxim Grishin (-112; $8,100)
  • Raulian Paiva (-180; $8,700) vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov (+142; $7,500)
  • Karol Rosa (-240; $9,200) vs. Vanessa Melo (+185; $7,000)
  • Martin Day (-177; $8,500) vs. Davey Grant (+141; $7,700)

Set your Millionaire fantasy MMA lineups here: MMA $2.25M The Island Millionaire [$1M to 1st! + ToC Entry].

UFC 251 - 50% Profit Boosts: The UFC is heading to Fight Island and we want to give you two (2) 50% Profit Boosts for UFC 251! Access the profit boosts here at the DraftKings Sportsbook promo page! (opt-in required)

For sports betting, head over to DraftKings Sportsbook or download the DK Sportsbook app.

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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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