This season of Dana White’s Contender Series is set to wrap up on Tuesday night at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. The show airs at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and features prospects that hope to earn UFC contracts by showcasing their skills inside the octagon. Through nine weeks, over 30 UFC contracts have been awarded, and last week, 17-year-old prospect Raul Rosas Jr. received a contract, making him the youngest fighter ever to sign a contract with the UFC.
On last week’s episode, a DraftKings Sportsbook bettor locked down the final three legs of a huge 10-leg Parlay Bet to win over $10,000. The bettor turned $40 into $10,880.75 by making the following picks, which featured a mixture of NFL, MLB and UFC bets:
- Allen Lazard to score Anytime/GB Packers to win
- Derrick Henry Anytime TD
- Jalen Hurts Anytime TD
- LA Dodgers Moneyline (9/18 vs SF Giants)
- SEA Mariners Moneyline (9/19 vs LA Angels)
- ATL Braves Moneyline (9/19 vs WAS Nationals)
- NY Mets @ MIL Brewers NRFI (9/19)
- Jafel Filho Moneyline
- Austen Lane Moneyline
- Brunno Ferreira Moneyline
Since Jafel Filho, Austen Lane and Brunno Ferreira all won their DWCS fights last week, the bettor won the Parlay Bet and took home a massive payday.
This week’s episode features the return of one of the most exciting prospects in MMA fighting in the featured bout: Bo Nickal. Nickal appeared earlier this season on Episode 3, making quick work of Zachary Borrego.
- Bo Nickal (-1500) vs. Donovan Beard (+900)
- Sam Patterson (-190) vs. Vinicius Cenci (+160)
- Freddy Emiliano Linares (+200) vs. Jack Jenkins (-240)
- Rafael Esteves (-205) vs. Joao Elias (+175)
- Ashiek Ajim (+225) vs. Mateus Mendonca (-265)
Featured Bout: Bo Nickal vs. Donovan Beard
Bo Nickal is one of the best wrestlers to enter MMA in recent years and has the skills to emerge as a future UFC title contender. Nickal is a three-time NCAA Division I National Champion wrestler who went 120-3 in wrestling at Penn State and went undefeated in his final two years. In addition to his elite wrestling credentials, Nickal also has high-level submission grappling experience, including a modified rules match against jiu jitsu monster Gordon Ryan, who just thoroughly and brutally dominated everybody he faced at ADCC earlier this month. Ryan’s performance at ADCC was one of the greatest grappling performances in history and has the jiu jitsu world buzzing, as he displayed a level of dominance that has not been seen since Rickson Gracie in the 1990s.
Nickal is more than an elite wrestler—his striking has looked explosive. Nickal stands southpaw and has a powerful left hand, which will help him against orthodox fighters, as an orthodox fighter’s lead defensive shoulder is on the opposite side of a southpaw’s left hand. Between his two amateur bouts and two professional bouts, Nickal has won twice by KO/TKO, and he pulverized his opponent in his pro MMA debut with a powerful punching combination.
In Nickal’s DWCS debut in August, he immediately took Zachary Borrego down with an impressive blast double and won by rear-naked choke in 62 seconds. Nickal hunted several chokes once the fight hit the mat, including a guillotine choke from the front position and a rear-naked choke from the back, which he ultimately finished. Nickal’s athleticism jumped off the page, and it was a dominant and highly impressive debut.
Donovan Beard is 7-1 in professional fights, but Nickal is a huge step up in competition, and there have been several holes in Beard’s game that could be exploited by a higher-level opponent. Beard stands fairly upright in his stance, which will make it difficult to defend Nickal’s level changes and shots. Beard was immediately and easily taken down by his opponent in his most recent fight and got taken down multiple times in the coming rounds without much resistance. Beard does not have the defensive wrestling to keep Nickal from taking him down.
In Beard’s second most recent fight in May 2022, Beard was badly hurt by a knee strike and was put in several dominant positions on the ground by his opponent, including full back control with both hooks in. Beard displayed huge toughness to survive this and ultimately reversed the position to get on top and win by TKO, but this is a situation Beard would be unlikely to survive against Nickal.
Nickal is highly likely to take Beard down without much resistance and finish this fight on the ground. Given the way Nickal hunts chokes when the fight hits the ground, taking Nickal to win by submission is a good choice. Nickal has won two of his four fights by choke—a guillotine choke in an amateur bout and a rear-naked choke in his DWCS debut.
Dana White’s Contender Series props bets such as To Win by Submission will be available on DraftKings Sportsbook on fight day!
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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.