The weekend is here which means UFC 234 is fast approaching which means it’s about time to draft another DraftKings dream team and make some money. Depending on what cash games you got in on last week you might have been lucky enough to money. Probably not though seeing that Ricardo Ramos and Justin Ledet both basically laid up zero burgers. Fear not though, we are going to turn that around this week and get straight winners across the board. Let’s get cooking. After all, the second time is the charm as they say.
Honestly, there’s a lot to pick from at the top of the barrel this week. Vegas has the lines on a lot of these fights being quite lopsided and the fighter prices show it. I’m not going to try and nail anyone to the cross for drafting Stylebender at $9,600 he should win this fight. However, I’m not putting dancing around and trying to make this a glorified sparring session past Anderson. Therefore I’m primarily going to be riding with other options.
Lando Vanatta – $9,300
This is going to be a recurring theme for this weeks lineup but while I don’t subscribe to MMA math I do subscribe to judging the quality of opposition. Similar to how last week I was on Mara Romero Borella because Santos hadn’t beaten anyone. I’m on Vanatta this week because not only does Marcos Rosa have wins over nobodies, but he also has a fair bit of losses to nobodies.
Seriously, of his six wins, only two come against opponents with winning records. This is essentially a “thank you for your service” fight for Vanatta here. He’s entertained the masses with brawl after brawl in the past so the UFC is giving him a softball. A fighter who is very clearly not in the same class. Vanatta has a tendency to try and get cute with everything which may actually delay the finish, but I honestly don’t see how he doesn’t finish this fight however he wants. If you aren’t rocking with Stylebender, Vanatta is a must have in a DraftKings lineup.
Montana De La Rosa – $8,800
I’ll be totally honest, I’ve never seen Kassem fight and the only De La Rosa fight I’ve watched start to finish is the Ostovich fight. So if you know anything about me you know that means literally nothing because I don’t think Rachel Ostovich is good… like at all. So I was fully prepared to save some money here and ride with Kassem if need be. That is until I did just a little bit of homework and found out Kassem’s four opponents prior to entering the UFC have a combined ZERO wins. Yup ZERO. They have just as many professional wins as I do sitting right here typing this on my couch. Sure she beat Alex Chambers that’s cool. Alex Chambers was 1-4 in the UFC. Do you want to know who that one win was over? Kailin Curran who was 1-6 in the UFC against largely lackluster competition.
Again I do not subscribe to MMA math but that is big trash. De La Rosa is a wildly more competent grappler than Chambers so expect to see Kassem grounded early and often till De La Rosa figures out what submission she wants to use to close the show.
Jalin Turner – $8,700
You ever see one of those fight videos at a sporting event where some random 52-year-old guy thinks for whatever reason he’s going to KO someone 25 years his junior? That’s sort of what this is going be like. Turner caught a raw deal in his UFC debut, which he stepped in on short notice a weight class up for, and paid for it. He’s still very much a prospect with potential. He’s athletic, rangy, and perhaps most importantly now fighting where he originally cut his teeth – at 155. Callan Potter is basically Joel Edgerton’s character in the movie warrior except this isn’t a movie. This is real life. So the guy who looks like a physics teacher and listens to Beethoven doesn’t win in the end. Turner is going to upset the home crowd here and get his first UFC win in emphatic fashion.
Middle Of The Pack
Devonte Smith – $8,600
The only thing that makes me nervous about having Devonte Smith on the dream team is how overwhelmingly one-sided the support for him in this matchup is. Otherwise, I couldn’t believe he was only $8,600. All nine of his wins are by stoppage which is exactly the type of mouthwatering stat you’re looking for when shopping fighters on DraftKings. If you watch Ma’s fight with Marco Polo Reyes you’ll see he’s by no means a defensive savant and is there to be hit. I’m willing to wager Smith hits harder than Polo Reyes and will have Ma out of there before the third.
Last week I know we actually had a real budget find in Mara Romero Borella (Justin “Flat Earth” Ledet not so much) but this week we really are scraping the bottom of the barrel due to the top-heavy nature of the dream team.
Kelvin Gastelum – $7,300
It’s not that I think Kelvin Gastelum is bad. After all, he is 4-1-1 at middleweight. I just think Robert Whittaker is that good. The reason I don’t have Whittaker in the lineup is Gastelum is one tough son of a bitch. I don’t know if it’s the extra blubber he carries around at 185 but he can take shots very well. So the likelihood of Whittaker getting him out of there early is pretty low in my mind. Surveying the remaining options we have given our budget I do like Gastelum’s toughness to carry him to the later rounds where he’ll have up to an extra ten minutes to score some points.
I really have very little faith for Gastelum to win the fight outright. I think skill-wise everything he does outside of a straight left Whittaker does better. However, his ability to score in a dog fight is what I got him on the dream team for this week and at this price that’s all you need him to do.
Teruto Ishihara – $6,800
*Insert shoulder shrug emoji* What do you want from me? We are about scotch out of money and unless you’re putting two people fighting each other in your lineup – which I am not – Ishihara is one of the few choices left. Sure you might be safer hedging against Smith in cash games or something, but I’m not here to pay for the pizza for next weekend’s ESPN card. I’m here to get the money to be cage-side for next weekend’s ESPN card.
So yes, I think Ishihara is probably going to lose. I think Ho Kang is going to be able to take him down repeatedly despite him training extensively with a stable of wrestlers at Team Alpha Male. That said, he gets the nod here because out of our remaining options (yes including Silva) I think he has the best chance to suddenly end the fight. If there’s one thing he can be on the feet it’s dynamic and if you’re talking DraftKings dynamic is good. We just have to hope he has that dynamic moment before he drowns in an avalanche of grappling exchanges where he will undoubtedly look clueless.
What I’m staying away from
Not much. This card is full of what on paper looks like lopsided matchups that could result in finishes. I can even see making a play for Sam Alvey if you think Crute is going to be a stereotypical 22-year-old fighter and walk right into a nuclear left-hand. If I had to pick one to leave alone it would be Yahya vs Simon. That fight has comfortable three round unanimous decision written all over it which in terms of DFS is a big giant “Do Not Enter” sign if you’re trying to win big money.
Again last week was a little tough and that’s on me for trusting a flat earther to do anything other than score zero points. We aren’t making the same mistake this week (at least I don’t think we are) so I’m expecting far better results. Hopefully, we get them because outside of the top two fights this PPV is the most ‘meh’ of ‘meh’ PPV’s. If there’s a couple duds in a row on this card it’s going to feel like physical labor getting to the goal line here. Fear not though, we have the ESPN debut card next weekend which looks like a banger top to bottom. So in the meantime sit back, relax, enjoy the poetry in motion that is Bobby Knuckles and I’ll see you all back here next week to talk about how much money we won.