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Fantasy MMA DFS Picks: UFC 239: Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos




Josh Engleman returns with his Fantasy MMA DFS Picks for UFC 239: Jon Jones vs. Thago Santos, with a couple low priced upsets on the card.

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Jon Jones (-580) vs. Thiago Santos (+439)

This isn’t a fight that needs a ton of analysis. I see three potential methods of victory for Santos, with only one of them being relevant. Santos’ best chance is Jones getting DQ’d or failing a post-fight drug test. Otherwise, he needs to do something that no one has ever been able to do. He needs to turn off Jon Jones lights. Let’s be clear: he has the power to do it. The question is, does he have the skill? Logic says the answer is no. In a way, this is the fight we’ve wanted for years, but we’ve replaced Anthony Johnson with Santos. Santos is a GPP-only play, if that’s not obvious.

He’s either getting 100+ points because he knocks out Bones, or he’ll get close to zero (unless they start giving out points for punching the air). It might be tough for Jones to justify the salary. I would expect his output to look more like the second Gustafsson fight, which probably isn’t enough to put you on top in a GPP. I’m not sure Santos can survive long enough for Jones to crest 100 FP as he did against Anthony Smith, Ovince Saint Preux and Glover Teixeira. The real question coming out of this fight, assuming Jones takes care of business, is: who’s next? Cormier at heavyweight? Stipe at heavyweight? Dominick Reyes? Luke Rockhold? The future looks fun for Bones.

Amanda Nunes (-410) vs. Holly Holm (+344)

Champ Champ is in the building. It’s been a full year since we’ve seen Amanda Nunes defend her Bantamweight title by brutally bludgeoning Raquel Pennington for 25 minutes. Oh, she also fought Cris Cyborg on December 29 and knocked her into 2019. Fight props say Nunes inside distance is the most likely scenario, but we’ve only seen Holm finished by Meisha Tate. She went to a decision with Cyborg, Germaine de Randamie and Valentina Shevchenko. It’s not like she’s an easy out.

If this fight works out for Holm, she’s working from distance and not really putting out a ton of volume. If it doesn’t, it’s because she didn’t do enough. That’s been the modus operandi of Holm from the beginning. I’m mostly avoiding this fight. I don’t expect a finish, but I also don’t see enough striking volume to matter if this goes to a decision.

Ben Askren (-200) vs. Jorge Masvidal (+185)

I wish Asken was a better DFS option. Let me get this out of the way now: I’m a massive Askren fan. Masvidal will need to finish what Robbie Lawler started, which makes him an interesting GPP option. Askren’s wrestling will be too much for Masvidal to overcome. I think the perfect analog is Masvidal’s fight with Demian Maia. While Askren is clearly not the submission threat that Maia is, he certainly has the control game on lock. With that said, I think Masvidal is the more interesting DFS play. If he wins, he’s paying off $7500 in a big way. Askren makes for a fine cash play at a salary that’s easy to fit. If Askren wins, does he get the first crack at Usman?

Other Fights

Luke Rockhold is making his light heavyweight debut against Thiago Santos’ most recent victim: Jam Blachowicz. This is a tough fight for Rockhold, but his price is just too low for his skillset. I love him in cash and GPPs. Honestly, he’s probably the best cash play on the slate. I have a bit of interest in Michael Chiesa, but $9200 is a tad high. I’ll be paying close attention to his projected ownership. If he comes in low due to his price, I’ll increase my exposure. Ismail Naurdiev might not be the best dollar for dollar value, but he’s going to control Rencountre for 15 minutes with relative ease.

Josh is the Director of Content 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 across all sports. 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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