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Inside The Octagon: UFC DFS Picks For DraftKings + FanDuel UFC 259 Blachowicz vs. Adesanya | Saturday, 3/6

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MMA Betting: Mark Stine gives out odds and prop bets for UFC 249 on 5/9/20 in Jacksonville, Fla., including Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje.

Welcome to Inside the Octagon, UFC fans. This weekend we have a 15-fight card in Las Vegas, including a main event between Jan Blachowicz and Israel Adesanya. The main GPP has $200,000 going to first place with a total of $1,000,000 being paid out. Here I will offer the fights I feel have the most upside for DFS purposes. Let’s dig into some UFC DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel for UFC 259.

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UFC 259 Blachowicz vs. Adesanya DFS Picks

Sean Brady $9,300 vs. Jake Matthews $6,900

Sean Brady

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5-foot-8
  • Weight: 170 lbs.
  • Reach: 72 ins.
  • Record: 13-0-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 55%
  • Betting Odds: -225

Brady was the Cage Fury Welterweight Champion in 2017 and defended the title twice successfully before making his way to the Octagon. Since making his UFC debut, Brady has kept his unbeaten streak going with three consecutive victories, including a Performance of the Night bonus from a nasty guillotine choke win over Christian Aguilera in his last bout. He has three wins via knockout, three via submission and seven via decision. Brady will have the striking advantage over Matthews and will throw more volume on his way to an easy decision victory.

Jake Matthews

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5-foot-9
  • Weight: 170 lbs.
  • Reach: 73 ins.
  • Record: 17-4-2
  • Striking Accuracy: 46%
  • Betting Odds: +180

Matthews had won four of his last five fights as a lightweight before consecutive losses to Kevin Lee and Andrew Holbrook, which sent him back to welterweight. He is coming into this matchup on a three-fight winning streak, with his most recent bout being a decision win over Diego Sanchez. Matthews has four wins via knockout, seven via submission and six via decision. Matthews’ best path in this fight will be to hurt Brady early or to make him tap for the victory. However, Brady will be the better wrestler, and Matthews has only had one submission in five long years.

My preferred play on DraftKings and FanDuel is Brady. His output and pressure will be too much for Matthews to withstand.

UFC DFS Pick: Sean Brady via Unanimous Decision.

Kennedy Nzechukwu $7,200 vs. Carlos Ulberg $9,000

Kennedy Nzechukwu

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 6-foot-4
  • Weight: 205 lbs.
  • Reach: 83 ins
  • Record: 7-1-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 39%
  • Betting Odds: +180

Nzechukwu is coming into this matchup with a decision win over Darko Stosic in 2019. He has not fought since, and this will be his first bout in 19 months. He is 1-1 in the UFC, and the extended layoff could have a negative effect on his performance in this fight. Nzechukwu has four wins via knockout and three via decision. He will have a six-inch reach advantage over Ulberg and should be able to use it effectively. However, Ulberg’s nasty kicks will slow the attack of Nzechukwu and keep him at distance.

Carlos Ulberg

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6-foot-3
  • Weight: 205 lbs.
  • Reach: 77 ins
  • Record: 5-0-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 45%
  • Betting Odds: -225

Ulberg comes from a kickboxing background. He knocked out Bruno Oliveira on Dana White’s Contender Series in November 2020, which secured a UFC contract. Ulberg will have the speed, power and striking advantage over Nzechukwu. He has two wins via knockout and one via decision. Ulberg should use his nasty kicks to slow down Nzechukwu’s attack and movement. Ulberg’s speed and power should bully Nzechukwu in the Octagon and set up a nasty finish.

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My preferred on DraftKings and FanDuel is Ulberg, who may brutalize Nzechukwu on the feet to get the finish. However, this fight could be closer than Vegas expects.

UFC DFS Pick: Carlos Ulberg via Second-Round KO/TKO.


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Dominick Cruz $8,100 vs. Casey Kenney $8,100

Dominick Cruz

  • Age: 35
  • Height: 5-foot-7
  • Weight: 135 lbs.
  • Reach: 68 ins.
  • Record: 22-3-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 32%
  • Betting Odds: +105

Cruz is a high-volume striker with sneaky, slippery movement, which makes it hard for his opponents to land solid strikes. However, Cruz is coming into this matchup on a disappointing knockout loss against Henry Cejudo in May 2020. His career has been overshadowed somewhat due to him seemingly being injury prone. Cruz has seven wins via knockout, one via submission and 14 via decision. This is an important fight for Cruz, as he is currently ranked 10th in the bantamweight division. A win over Kenney could possibly move him up the rankings and closer to a title shot against Petr Yan. However, Cruz will need to avoid Kenney’s wrestling-heavy attack.

Casey Kenney

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5-foot-6
  • Weight: 135 lbs.
  • Reach: 68 ins.
  • Record: 16-2-1
  • Striking Accuracy: 43%
  • Betting Odds: -125

Kenney is coming into this matchup riding a four-fight winning streak. If Kenney can secure a victory, it will be the biggest victory of his UFC career. Kenney has shown with his wins over Ray Borg, Manny Bermudez, Louis Smolka and Nathaniel Wood that he is ready for this fight against a veteran of the sport. He will come with a heavy ground game, although he could find himself in deep water with such a savvy veteran. This should be a close, exciting fight.

My preferred play on DraftKings and FanDuel is Kenney. However, Cruz is a dangerous striker, especially when he finds his rhythm. That said, If Kenney can get this fight to the mat and wear on Cruz, he has clear shot at victory.

UFC DFS Pick: Casey Kenney via Unanimous Decision.

Islam Makhachev $9,400 vs. Drew Dober $6,800

Islam Makhachev

    • Age: 29
    • Height: 5-foot-8
    • Weight: 155 lbs.
    • Reach: 70.5 ins.
    • Record: 18-1-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 56%
  • Betting Odds: -350

Makhachev is currently riding a six-fight winning streak. He has been training MMA at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif. Makhachev is a machine, and I do not expect anyone to outwork Makhachev on the canvas inside the Octagon. He has three wins via knockout, seven via submission and eight via decision. Makhachev is the only fighter to win rounds against Khabib Nurmagomedov in training, which shows how much potential Makhachev has in the UFC. He will look to take this fight to the mat and wear Dober down with smothering pressure. Dober will be the better striker, while Makhachev will have a clear advantage on the mat.

Drew Dober

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5-foot-7
  • Weight: 155 lbs.
  • Reach: 70 ins.
  • Record:23-9-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 40%
  • Betting Odds: +280

Dober is currently riding a three-fight winning streak, with all three wins coming via knockout. He has big power in his hands. Dober will have the striking advantage against Makhachev if he can keep this fight standing. He has 10 wins via knockouts, six via submission and seven via decision. Makhachev’s only loss has come via knockout, so Dober will be looking to make a statement with a big knockout shot against Makhachev. However, Dober will have a tough time staying off the mat in this fight while also trying to avoid Makhachev’s dangerous submission attack.

My lean on DraftKings and FanDuel is Makhachev. That said, Dober can end Makhachev’s night with one punch. Makhachev should be patient while using head movement and footwork to avoid Dober’s striking attack and looking to set up takedowns.

UFC DFS Pick: Islam Makhachev via Third-Round Submission.

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Petr Yan $9,400 vs. Aljamain Sterling $6,800

Petr Yan

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5-foot-6
  • Weight: 135 lbs.
  • Reach: 67 ins.
  • Record:15-1-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 50%
  • Betting Odds: -130

Yan has the elite striking to effectively damage his opponents. His hand speed, timing and power are dangerous for his opponents. Yan’s boxing skills is elite, which can lead to overwhelming his opponents in the Octagon. He has seven wins via knockout, one via submission and seven wins via decision. Yan will have the boxing advantage, and with Sterling’s push-forward striking style, Yan will find his timing and pick Sterling apart. Furthermore, if the fight hits the mat, Yan’s ground striking is relentless.

Aljamain Sterling

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5-foot-6
  • Weight: 135 lbs.
  • Reach: 71 ins.
  • Record:19-3-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 50%
  • Betting Odds: +110

Sterling has earned his title shot with five straight wins, and his most recent bout was a first-round submission win over Cory Sandhagen. He has a dangerous and extremely slick submission game. Sterling has two wins via knockout, eight via submission and nine via decision. He should bring a heavy ground attack against Yan while looking for that one opening to lock in a submission stoppage. However, Sterling will need to avoid Yan’s push-forward approach because he is vulnerable on his entries to being hit hard. With Yan’s power, Sterling could find himself in huge trouble early.

My lean on DraftKings and FanDuel is Yan. That said, if Sterling can get this fight to the mat and take Yan’s back, he is live for a submission. Yan should be patient with his striking while using his takedown defense, feints and power combinations to interrupt Sterling’s game plan.

UFC DFS Pick: Petr Yan via Fourth-Round KO/TKO.

Amanda Nunes $9,600 vs. Megan Anderson $6,600

Amanda Nunes

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5-foot-7
  • Weight: 145 lbs.
  • Reach: 69 ins.
  • Record:20-4-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 51%
  • Betting Odds: -1100

Nunes is currently riding an 11-fight winning streak, and her most recent bout was a unanimous decision win over Felica Spencer in June 2020. Nunes is the reigning women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion. She is a well-rounded fighter with dangerous grappling and extremely vicious ground-and-pound. She has first-round finishes of former champions Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. Nunes has 13 wins via knockout, three via submission and four via decision. Nunes should be the better fighter everywhere, and her power striking will be too much for Anderson to withstand.

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Megan Anderson

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6-foot-0
  • Weight: 145 lbs.
  • Reach: 72 ins.
  • Record:11-4-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 46%
  • Betting Odds: +700

Anderson is coming into this matchup with huge confidence, fresh off consecutive first-round stoppage wins over Norma Dumont and Zarah Fairn. She will have a height and reach advantage over Nunes. However, I do not expect that to be a factor against a power striker like Nunes, who does an excellent job at controlling distance. Anderson has six wins via knockout, three via submission and two via decision. If Anderson can stay at range, she will have a chance, but only if she can land strikes against Nunes. Anderson may come out looking to shock the world with a quick knockout of Nunes. That said, Nunes should wait for Anderson to push the pace.

My preferred play on DraftKings and FanDuel is Nunes. Anderson does have the power to finish her opponents, but Nunes will use her power and combinations to end Anderson’s night early.

UFC DFS Pick: Amanda Nunes via Third-Round KO/TKO.

Jan Blachowicz $7,000 vs. Israel Adesanya $9,200

Jan Blachowicz

  • Age: 38
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 205 lbs.
  • Reach: 78 ins.
  • Record:27-8-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 48%
  • Betting Odds: +210

Blachowicz is coming into this matchup riding a six-fight winning streak, including an impressive second-round knockout of Dominick Reyes at UFC 253. He has massive power in both hands and a solid ground game with nasty ground-and-pound. Blachowicz has eight wins via knockout, nine via submission and 10 wins via decision. He will have the edge in power over Adesanya. Although Adesanya will have the edge in speed, Blachowicz will stand and bang with Adesanya. However, if Blachowicz can get Adesanya to the mat, then he could use his weight advantage and his smothering pressure to grind him to absolute exhaustion.

Israel Adesanya

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6-foot-3
  • Weight: 185 lbs.
  • Reach: 80 ins.
  • Record:20-0-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 50%
  • Betting Odds: -250

Blachowicz will be the toughest test for Adesanya yet, especially since Adesanya is moving up to light heavyweight for this title fight. Adesanya has been phenomenal thus far in his UFC career, although his fight against Yoel Romero was a disappointing performance. He rebounded with an impressive knockout of Paulo Costa at UFC 253. Adesanya is a fantastic boxer with excellent movement and big power. He has 15 wins via knockout and five via decision. Adesanya has looked phenomenal at middleweight, but that does not mean it will translate to the light heavyweight division. Adesanya will be patient and use his excellent movement, timing and range to avoid the power of Blachowicz.

My lean on DraftKings and FanDuel is Blachowicz. That said, Adesanya is extremely dangerous and has big power that could put Blachowicz’s lights out. Blachowicz will be patient while trying to find his timing to shoot and get Adesanya to the mat. This is where Blachowicz could snap Adesanya’s unbeaten record.

UFC DFS Pick: Jan Blachowicz via Third-Round Submission.


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