UFC 198 features a heavyweight title fight between Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic. Below are the studs and value plays for UFC 198 to help fill out your DraftKings lineups:
Best Plays on the Card
Chris Cyborg ($11,600) vs. Leslie Smith
Cyborg makes her much anticipated debut in the Octagon Saturday night. Her salary is ridiculous, but Cyborg is easily the top play on the card if you’re looking for an early finish. Smith doesn’t stand a chance Brazil.
There are still questions as to whether or not Cyborg can make it down to the 135-pound bantamweight limit, but this fight will take place at 140 pounds. Cyborg typically fights at 145, and she’s big for that weight class. Weight is a concern, but that’s more of an issue if the fight goes beyond the first round. We’ll see if the weight cut impacts Cyborg down the road, but the 140-pound catchweight shouldn’t be an issue in this matchup.
Smith is 2-2 in the UFC. She lost to Sarah Kaufman and was stopped by Jessica Eye. It should be noted the TKO loss to Eye was the only time Smith was stopped in her career, and it was a doctor’s stoppage, although she’s never fought anyone with Cyborg’s power. That’s because no other female in MMA possesses Cyborg’s power.
Cyborg has 15 wins in her career. Thirteen have come by knockout; eight in the first round. She lost her pro debut back in 2005 and hasn’t been defeated since. Cyborg has been waiting a long time to fight in the UFC. Upsets happen, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Smith lasts long in this fight.
If you roster Cyborg you’ll have to be creative with the rest of your lineup, but she’s likely an easy 100 DKFP play.
Warlley Alves ($10,800) vs. Brian Barberena
Barberena put the UFC on notice when he submitted the much-hyped Sage Northcutt in January. Now he gets an even tougher test in undefeated Brazilian Alves. Don’t expect lightning to strike twice.
Alves has run through his competition so far in the UFC. He’s 3-0 and won his last two fights by submission. Alves has finished seven of his 10 opponents. Northcutt didn’t pressure Barberena and allowed him to get comfortable. Look for Alves to attack Barberena early and try to take him down. Alves has a 71 percent takedown accuracy rate in the UFC.
Barberena is a competent fighter. He’s 11-3 and coming off the big win over Northcutt. I actually like Barberena and don’t believe his win over Northcutt is a fluke. However, fights are always about matchups and this is just a bad matchup for him. If Barberena can’t use his striking to keep Alves off him early, he’ll be in big trouble.
Northcutt has a lot of hype around him but right now Alves is the better overall fighter. Barberena will be a nice underdog play in the future but not this time. Alves should get his third straight stoppage win.
Best Value Plays for the Price
Stipe Miocic ($9,100) vs. Fabricio Werdum
I love Miocic at this price. Actually, I think Miocic is going to win the fight, so I would have taken him at any price, but I was thrilled to see his salary this low.
I see this as an even fight. Werdum is red hot. He destroyed Cain Velasquez. He’s won six fights in a row and nine of 10 overall. While that’s certainly impressive, just keep in mind that Werdum is also 38, hasn’t fought in almost a year and is coming off a back injury.
Miocic has won five of his last six fights. His only loss came against Junior Dos Santos in a five-round stand-up war. This matchup is much different as each fighter has a distinct advantage depending on how the fight goes.
Werdum is a master at Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and he’ll have a big edge if the fight goes to the ground. Ten of Werdum’s 20 career wins have come by submission. Miocic is quicker and more athletic than Werdum. Miocic has shown to be a dangerous striker with 10 of his 14 career wins coming by knockout.
Miocic is a former wrestler. He has a takedown defense rate of 70 percent in the UFC. If Miocic keeps this fight standing and doesn’t get caught in one of Werdum’s submission attempts, I like him to become the next UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Vitor Belfort ($8,800) vs. Jacare Souza
Belfort may be nearing the end of his stellar career, but Jacare is 36-years-old himself. I don’t see age being a factor here. In Belfort’s second UFC stint his three losses came against Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and Chris Weidman. Jacare isn’t on that level.
This fight is simple. It’s the classic grappler vs. striker. Belfort is going to come out on fire looking for a quick finish like always. Jacare will try to weather the storm and take Belfort down. If he does, Belfort will have little chance of winning the fight.
All things even, Jacare is the better fighter right now. That’s why he’s the favorite. Jacare lost a close split decision to Yoel Romero his last time out that many people thought he won. Belfort is still dangerous though because of his ability to finish, especially fighting in Brazil.
If you’re playing a lineup with a big favorite like Cyborg and need some cheaper fighters to fill out the card, Belfort is a high-upside option worth the shot.