The most dominant female fighters in the world — and perhaps in the entire UFC — take center stage at UFC 193. Ronda Rousey battles boxing champion Holly Holm, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes on Valerie Letourneau. Let’s break down each fight on the card and figure out how to make your best Draft Kings lineup.
Ronda Rousey ($11400) vs Holly Holm ($8000)
I don’t think Holly Holm, or really any other fighter, can stop Ronda Rousey from getting inside and taking them down. We all know what happens then. Holm is a solid striker and an excellent fighter. Ronda is just light years away from anyone on the roster.
Pick: Rousey by submission
Valerie Letourneau ($8100) vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk ($11300)
Speaking of dominance, Joanna Jedrzejczyk has a formula that can’t be beat. She averages 4.90 significant strikes per minute, while absorbing just 1.38. She also defends takedowns at an 84% clip. So she is hitting her opponents almost four times for every one time she takes a strike. She has power in both hands, speed and amazing vision. This will become a firefight at some point, and that favors the champion.
Pick: Jedrzejczyk by KO/TKO
Mark Hunt ($10500) vs Antonio Silva ($8900)
A rematch of their insane fight back in 2013, Bigfoot Silva vs. Mark Hunt is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Both men will sit in the pocket and drop bombs, and this fight will not go the distance as it did last time. At this point in their careers, Hunt still seems like he is able to take an inordinate amount of punishment. I can’t say the same about Silva, who has not been the same since that fight, nor since quitting TRT. Enjoy the fireworks while you can, and don’t blink. The Super Samoan will lay Silva out in the first round.
Pick: Hunt by KO/TKO
Uriah Hall ($9800) vs Robert Whittaker ($9600)
Hall was deadly accurate in his fight against Gegard Mousasi, and his spinning back kick/flying knee combo was simply amazing. Hall always had the talent, now his confidence matches it. He’s won five of his last six and seems poised to start getting top-5 opponents after this bout. Whittaker is a fine fighter, but Hall has faced much stiffer competition. I think Hall truly believes that he can be the champion now. Expect another insane highlight from Hall.
Pick: Hall by KO/TKO
Stefan Struve ($9900) vs Jared Rosholt ($9500)
The only logical pick — assuming you even want to play this fight — is Struve by KO. Rosholt has been a major disappointment in the UFC, boring fans with a clinch and hold/lay and pray approach. Even when he wins he rarely averages over 50 fantasy points. I hope Struve works behind the jab early and often, and when Rosholt goes for a sloppy shot Struve places a knee right on his forehead. If Struve stays off his back, he wins. I think he will.
Pick: Struve by KO/TKO
Jake Matthews ($11000) vs Akbarh Arreola ($8300)
Matthews hit the first bump in the road in his young career when he lost via submission to James Vick back in May. The matchup with Arreola seems to be a much better one for him, at least statistically. Matthews outlands Arreola by over a strike per minute, and he absorbs very little punishment at just 1.40 strikes per minute. Contrast that with Arreola, who eats 3.33 per minute, and you can see where the numbers add up to a Matthews win. I do think Arreola is skilled and tough enough to make it to the final horn though, so I won’t be playing Matthews since $11000 for around 50-60 points isn’t good value.
Pick: Matthews by decision
Kyle Noke ($9200) vs Peter Sobotta ($10200)
Sobotta has fared much better in his second UFC stint, scoring back-to-back victories over Steve Kennedy and Pawel Pawlak. He’s also hit on five of seven takedown attempts in those fights, and that’s a good indicator for him going into this fight. Noke has been taken down five times in his last two fights. When you look at Noke’s age, his recent performance and his style against Sobotta’s, everything lines up for Sobotta to score the win. However, Noke is an extremely tough out and I expect him to survive. Sobotta will win the rounds and the fight, but $10200 for a decision win is too steep for me.
Pick: Sobotta by decision
Anthony Perosh ($8500) vs Gian Villante ($10900)
This is my lock of the night. Villante trains with the champ, Chris Weidman, and he has heavy hands. Although he lost in his last fight to Tom Lawlor, we keep seeing a better Gian Villante every time he enters the Octagon. Perosh is a solid journeyman, but Villante is too big, too strong and too fast for him. He’s also excellent at stopping takedowns. Villante will stuff Perosh early then lay him out with a flurry of punches.
Pick: Villante by KO/TKO
Richie Vaculik ($9700) vs Danny Martinez ($9700)
The rare pick ’em in Draft Kings MMA, where both fighters have the same salary. I like watching Martinez fight, and have since he was in the WEC. But his striking accuracy is a problem, as he connects on just 28% of his strikes. His power has yet to translate in the UFC, and it likely won’t. He’s also been taken down 15 times in his last two fights. Vaculik loves to get the fight to the ground, so the fight is a problem for Martinez anywhere it goes. The loser of this fight is most likely out of a job, and everything points to Vaculik taking it.
Pick: Vaculik by decision
Dan Kelly ($9000) vs Steve Montgomery ($10400)
Kelly is a very good judoka. The problem is getting inside against Montgomery, who will have an advantage in both reach and height. Montgomery is also the better striker. Kelly is old school tough, so I don’t see Montgomery finishing him, but I do see him doing enough to win the rounds. That probably won’t justify his $10400 salary, so I’ll be staying away from this one. There is a chance, of course, that Montgomery knocks him out, but I need to see him one more time in the UFC before I can predict that with confidence.
Pick: Montgomery by decision
Richard Walsh ($10800) vs Steve Kennedy ($8600)
I won’t let Walsh’s 1-2 record in the UFC dissuade me from picking him for my lineup. He comes to fight and he absolutely brings it. With the exception of his loss to Alan Jouban, Walsh has decidedly outstruck his UFC opponents. Kennedy is no Jouban, and he looked overmatched in his fight with Peter Sobotta. Walsh will bring the heat. Kennedy will try to match or get it to the ground, but he won’t be able to do either. Walsh will have a quick night’s work.
Pick: Walsh by KO/TKO
James Moontasri ($10600) vs Anton Zafir ($8800)
Moontasri has had a rough start to his UFC career since coming over from the RFA. He’s 1-2 in the UFC, but the losses are to two really tough competitors: Joe Ellenberger and Kevin Lee. Zafir will be making his UFC debut and has never fought anyone of Moontasri’s caliber. It’s hard to picture him losing this fight. Moontasri will show off his dynamic skills over the three rounds and win easily be decision.
Pick: Moontasri by decision
Ben Nguyen ($10000) vs Ryan Benoit ($9400)
Benoit is more of a brawler/power puncher, and it’s worked for him. He’s finished all eight of his wins, with seven coming by KO. Beating Sergio Pettis in March was an indicator that he is indeed a UFC-caliber flyweight. Nguyen hasn’t lost since 2010, although he had some time off during that stretch, but he has lost four times by KO. Benoit eats a lot of punches, but he can take them better than most flyweights. I like a small upset here, with Benoit using his power to put Nguyen to sleep.
Pick: Benoit by KO/TKO