UFC 212 goes down this Saturday night at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and it should be a fun night of fights. The card is loaded with Brazilian talent including one-half of the main event as UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo attempts to unify the title against interim champ Max Holloway.
On a night where there could be a lot of exciting finishes, here are my top-10 fighters for UFC 212 for your DraftKings teams.
1. Paulo Boracchinha ($9,200)
My number one fighter for this week is Boracchinha, who takes on Oluwale Bamgbose in a middleweight fight. This will be Boracchinha’s first fight on Pay-Per-View, and it looks like the UFC is trying to set him up with a big win. Boracchinha is only 26 and is already 9-0 in MMA with all of his wins coming inside the distance, all in the first round. In his UFC debut, he took home a first-round TKO win over Garreth McLellan. He looks like a great prospect at 185 and I am buying the hype behind him. Bamgbose has been knocked out before in the UFC, and I expect it to happen again here in his home country of Brazil.
2. Vitor Belfort ($8,400)
A main card middleweight bout sees Belfort take on Nate Marquardt in a battle of UFC vets, and I like Belfort to win this fight by stoppage. Although Belfort is 40 and is coming off of three-straight knockout losses, he still has fast, powerful hands and is still very dangerous in the first round. At 38 Marquardt is no spring chicken himself and his chin is completely gone. If Belfort catches Marquardt in the first round he’s likely going to put his lights out, and that’s what I think happens. Belfort is potentially fighting for a big free-agent contract offer so a highlight-reel win here would be huge for him, and I think he gets the job done in his native Brazil.
3. Iuri Alcantara ($9,100)
Another Brazilian who I believe will have a big showing is Alcantara, who fights Brian Kelleher on the prelims. Alcantara is now 36 but he’s fighting at a very high level, and in his last two fights, he has submission wins over Luke Sanders and Brad Pickett. He has a ton of experience fighting elite competition, and although he hasn’t fared that well against the top guys at 135, he beats most mid-tier fighters with ease. Kelleher is making his UFC debut here and I believe it’s just a bad matchup for him against a dangerous opponent in Alcantara who has more UFC experience. I’m looking for Alcantara to get this fight to the ground and earn another submission victory as he continues marching up the top 15.
4. Erick Silva ($8,000)
I’m surprised Silva is the underdog in this welterweight bout against Yancy Medeiros. Although Silva has disappointed at times in his UFC career, he’s also had a number of highlight-reel victories, and against Medeiros, he’ll have the chance to do that once again. Silva generally performs well in Brazil, and in his career, he has 16 stoppages in 19 wins. He can be flaky at times, but when he’s on he’s an extremely dangerous fighter. I’m going to go with Silva in this fight and predict he finishes Medeiros in the first round.
5. Luan Chagas ($8,800)
Chagas is 0-1-1 in the UFC, but he’s still been impressive even in his defeat against Erick Silva and his draw against Sergio Moraes. Chagas, who is only 24, has big power and has finished all 14 of his career victories. In my opinion, he has had two really tough fights in the UFC, and I believe he has a lot more to offer. Wallhead has more experience than Chagas, but he’s a lot older, less durable and looks to be on a steep decline. I think Chagas finds a way to finish Wallhead and collect that elusive first UFC win.
6. Max Holloway ($8,100)
Holloway fights Jose Aldo in the main event for the title of undisputed featherweight champion, and I like Holloway in this fight. The 25-year-old Hawaiian has won 10-straight fights, and in his last outing, he destroyed Anthony Pettis via TKO. Holloway has an excellent striking attack on the feet, dangerous submissions and he keeps getting better. There’s no doubt Aldo is the best featherweight ever, but we saw what Conor McGregor did to him, so he’s not unstoppable. In what should be a hard-fought bout, I’m looking for Holloway to emerge with the title, and in five rounds I think he picks up a lot of fantasy points.
7. Deiveson Figueiredo ($8,500)
Figueiredo makes his UFC debut against Marco Beltran, and I believe it’s a winnable fight for him. The Brazilian is 11-0 and has rare stopping power at 125 as he’s won 10 fights by knockout or submission. He looks like a really nice prospect in the flyweight division, and I’m looking forward to his debut. If Figueiredo gets this fight to the ground, he’ll have a great chance of earning a submission.
8. Marlon Moraes ($8,700)
Moraes was the WSOF bantamweight champion, and in his UFC debut, he will take on top-5 ranked Raphael Assuncao. It’s not an easy fight for Moraes, but I think he has a good chance of winning. He’s currently sporting a 10-fight wins streak, and with his devastating striking to go along with slick submissions on the ground, he’s one of the most dangerous bantamweights in the sport today. He could have been higher on the list, but Assuncao can’t be underestimated. Still, I think Moraes wins this fight, and he has the chance to do so by stoppage.
9. Johnny Eduardo ($7,600)
Another fighter I believe is being undervalued is Eduardo, who takes on Matthew Lopez in a bantamweight bout. Eduardo is 36 now, but he’s coming off of a huge KO win over Manny Gamburyan and finally looks to be healthy again. He’s a devastating striker, has a ton of experience and yet he’s constantly underrated because he doesn’t fight often enough. Here against Lopez, I believe Eduardo gets the win. Although Lopez is better on the ground, on the feet Eduardo is going to be at a massive advantage. Look for Eduardo to land on Lopez in the standup and potentially win the fight via knockout. He’s definitely an underdog to look for.
10. Eric Spicely ($7,300)
One last underdog who I think is worth taking a flier on is Spicely, who fights Antonio Carlos Junior on the prelims. Spicely is 2-1 in the UFC and has won back-to-back fights with submissions over Thiago Santos and Alessio Di Chirico. He’s always a big underdog in his fights, yet with his dangerous ground game, he more often than not wins fights. Junior has been a disappointment in the UFC, and although this fight will be in his native Brazil, I don’t believe that will be enough to lead him to victory. I’m going with Spicely to win this fight via late submission.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is MMAdamMartin) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.