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Fantasy MMA DFS Picks: UFC on ESPN+ 20, Ben Askren vs. Demian Maia

Josh Engleman



Josh Engleman gives out his MMA DFS Picks: Ben Askren vs. Demian Maia, ESPN 20, Fantasy UFC on Oct. 26, DraftKings, FanDuel

Take a break from football and get your MMA DFS Picks for UFC on ESPN+ 20, with a main card featuring Ben Askren and Demian Maia.

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Ben Askren vs. Demian Maia

Because of the size of the card (11 fights), it’s not the best for DFS. From a fight perspective, this is one of the more intriguing main events you can put together. Putting aside the brutal knockout against Jorge Masvidal, Askren still comes in as one of the most successful MMA wrestlers in the sport. He has been a grappling menace since day one. Meanwhile, Demian Maia is one of the most fearsome jiu-jitsu practitioners to ever step foot in the Octagon.

I think the fight plays out in one of two ways: either it becomes a boring kickboxing match because no one gets the fight to the ground, or Askren spends most of the fight on top, fending off Maia’s submission attempts while attempting to land some ground and pound. Based on the current odds, the latter appears to be the more likely scenario.

Askren is the guy I’m looking to grab in both cash and GPPs. Ownership is projected to be relatively flat for the entire card, so taking a stand on part of the main event looks like a decent strategy. I don’t mind getting to Maia, but I have a hard time seeing his path to victory, unless Askren’s chin hasn’t recovered.

Michael Johnson vs. Stevie Ray

The fact that this fight is the semi-main event is hilarious. In his last four losses, Johnson has been finished in all of them. Similarly, Ray is coming off of a KO loss and is 1-3 in his last four fights. Yuck.

Johnson is ultra expensive, which is to be expected. He’s a massive favorite. Ray has a 9% chance of finishing the fight. That’s the lowest mark on the card. I would completely avoid him in GPPs. If Jonhson’s ownership is to be believe, I would pivot aggressively to Ciryl Gane. They have similar odds to win the fight, but Gane’s odds of a finish are twice as high. Go with Gane.

Other Thoughts

As I mentioned above, I like going with Gane over Johnson. I feel the same way about Sergei Pavlovich. Gane and Pavlovich feels much more viable in GPPs. Beneil Dariush looks like a solid mid-tier option. He’s a solid favorite against Frank Camacho. After the guys in the main event, Gane, and Pavlovich, Dariush is the best value on the slate. Camacho is a game opponent, but Dariush just feels like the safer play.

Saving money is difficult. There’s not a lot of skill at the bottom of this card. Raphael Pessoa has the best chance of a finish for the cheapies. He was subbed in the first round by Gane back in August, but he won’t really have to deal with grappling in this one. I think he’s worth the flyer if you need to save some money.

Josh is Contributor for where he hosts video and writes content regularly across the primary sports of MLB, NBA, and NFL as well as contributing to the development of models and projections for soccer. He originally started producing projections & articles for Reddit's r/DFSports in 2014 where he built a loyal following that brought him to where he is today. Josh is most known for his elaborate Excel spreadsheets, which he shares in all of his video content. You can find him on Twitter or hanging out in Awesemo's Premium Slack. You can contact Josh by emailing

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