The Octagon is back in New York City for what figures to be a magical, unforgettable night of UFC action. On Saturday, Nov. 2 at the iconic Madison Square Garden, UFC 244 features a highly anticipated main event between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz for the inaugural “BMF” belt. In the co-main, former welterweight title challenger Darren Till moves up to middleweight to face recent interim title challenger Kelvin Gastelum.

Without exaggeration, this is the best UFC card of the year from top to bottom. Just about every fight is evenly matched and an overwhelming majority of them are relevant to the top-15 of their respective divisions. Before fight night kicks off in the Big Apple, let’s take a brief look at some of the fighters on UFC 244 who can rack up big scores for your DraftKings lineups.


Jorge Masvidal ($8,800) vs. Nate Diaz ($7,400) – Welterweights

Few could have predicted that after losing two straight to end 2017 (and missing all of 2018) that “Gamebred” would turn into an MMA superstar in 2019. He had a “KO of the Year” contender vs. Darren Till in March, then followed it up with a record-setting, five-second flying knee demolition of Ben Askren at UFC 239, in what will go down as one of the sport’s greatest finishes ever. Diaz achieved his own rise to superstardom when he upset Conor McGregor in 2016, and while he lost the rematch in a five-round classic, fans were clamoring for his return. It took longer than anticipated, but he came back in August and dominated Anthony Pettis, immediately calling for a fight with Masvidal afterward, which the UFC made just a few weeks later.

It’s hard not to favor Masvidal. He’s the harder hitter, more technical fighter, and while Diaz is a major threat on the mat, Masvidal’s grappling skills are more than equipped to handle anything Nate throws at him. The only real concern for Masvidal is his tendency to drop off his work rate, but I think those worries are behind him and Diaz won’t let it be slow-paced. Diaz should not be discounted given his own striking, underrated clinch, and his ridiculous cardio, but I’ve got Masvidal earning BMF honors. It’d be a surprise if Masvidal stopped Diaz, but the pace is likely to produce a lot of offense even if it goes the distance.

Number of Note: 139. In his last five wins, Masvidal has out-landed his opponents in significant strikes by a total margin of 139, with four of those bouts ending in a knockout. Diaz has only been finished via strikes once, six years ago vs. Josh Thomson.


Kelvin Gastelum ($9,200) vs. Darren Till ($7,000) – Middleweights

Israel Adesanya may be the UFC’s middleweight king, but Gastelum gave him one epic fight at UFC 236, losing the interim title matchup by thrilling unanimous decision. Both men had each other hurt, and Gastelum did well to even make it the distance. Gastelum’s wins at 185 lbs include stoppages of Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy, as well as a split nod over Jacare Souza, establishing himself as a force in the division. Till was on a fairly fast track to the top of welterweight thanks to victories over Donald Cerrone and Stephen Thompson, but the Englishman was dominated by Tyron Woodley in his title shot, then KO’d cold by Jorge Masvidal earlier this year. It’s a fresh start for Till at a new weight class, and a win here would put him right into title contention.

This bout is very dependent on how much of an impact (if at all) the reduced weight cut makes on Till. He is known as a fast starter and is a precise puncher with a size advantage on Gastelum. However, his chin has to be considered a concern given his last two bouts, and Gastelum is notoriously tough and will be the faster of the two men. I believe Gastelum is going to give Till a rude awakening at 185, and the speed, volume and power of the southpaw will be too much for Till to handle. Gastelum will get the TKO and get back into title contention.

Number of Note: 6. Since returning to middleweight in late 2016, Gastelum has recorded six knockdowns, with Israel Adesanya the only man he’s failed to drop. Till has been knocked down in his previous two outings.


Vicente Luque ($7,700) vs. Stephen Thompson ($8,500) – Welterweights

Luque has been on a phenomenal run, winning six consecutive bouts dating back to 2017, and 10 of his last 11. He’s coming off a grueling split decision over Mike Perry, smashing Perry’s nose in the process. Luque has been flying under the radar despite his success, and now he’s finally getting a significant step up in competition. “Wonderboy” has twice challenged for the belt, but now he finds himself in must-win territory. Thompson was sensationally knocked out by Anthony Pettis in March, sending him to 1-3-1 in his last five. That said, his one win is a one-sided decision over Jorge Masvidal, and he’s one of the top strikers at 170 lbs.

This is not an easy fight to call. Thompson is the best opponent Luque has fought, and at his best he has got the timing, craft and power to knock a lot of opponents out. Luque is a well-rounded fighter capable of violent KOs and he has a crafty submission game that includes a dangerous d’arce choke. Thompson will have to stay on the outside as much as possible to work his kicks and counterpunches. I suspect Luque’s going to compromise that chin further and put the 36-year-old away to announce his arrival as a legitimate title threat.

Number of Note: 4. Thompson has been dropped in four of his last five fights. Meanwhile, Luque has won by KO or TKO four times during his six-fight winning streak.


Johnny Walker ($9,000) vs. Corey Anderson ($7,200) – Light Heavyweights

Walker has quickly established himself as a potential title challenger entering 2020. The Brazilian has three knockouts in as many UFC appearances, including a 36-second thrashing of Misha Cirkunov that saw him hurt himself in the post-fight celebration. His power and athleticism is something truly special. Facing Walker on Saturday is his toughest opponent to date, TUF 19 winner Corey Anderson. He’s on a three-fight winning streak, primarily using his wrestling and improving striking to dispatch Ilir Latifi, Glover Teixeira and Patrick Cummins.

On paper, Anderson should actually win this. He’s a strong and persistent wrestler who is often looking to advance to a dominant position, and we’ve not seen a lot of Walker’s wrestling abilities. However, he’s been historically prone to one-shot KOs, and that just so happens to be Walker’s specialty. If Anderson can work his takedowns successfully, he’s in a good position to win, but the ever-present danger of Walker’s striking (combined with Anderson’s shaky chin) has me leaning towards Johnny adding to his win streak.

Number of Note: 14. Johnny Walker has scored a knockout in a whopping 14 of his 17 wins. Three of Anderson’s four defeats have come by knockout.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mookiealexander) 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. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mookiealexander) 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. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.