UFC Fight Night 80 features a strawweight battle between rising female stars Paige VanZant and Rose Namajunas. Below are the studs and value plays for UFC Fight Night 80 to help fill out your DraftKings lineups:
Best Plays on the Card
Sage Northcutt ($11,300) vs. Cody Pfister
Northcutt is the biggest favorite on the card and it’s well-deserving. Northcutt is 6-0. All six of his wins have been by stoppage with five of those coming in the first round.
Northcutt’s UFC debut was a 57 second dismantling of Francisco Trevino. Pfister is a step up in completion from Trevino but he should still offer little resistance for the aggressive Northcutt. Against Trevino, Northcutt landed 21 strikes in just 57 seconds.
Pfister’s strength is his wrestling. He’ll try to slow this fight down. He’s also never been knocked out in 16 career fights, although Pfister has been submitted three times.
Northcutt is one of the top prospects in the UFC. He showed no nerves in his destruction of Trevino last time out. Northcutt will make it two straight finishes in the UFC.
Elias Theodorou ($10,700) vs. Thiago Santos
There’s some value in taking Santos because of his power and low salary. However, I’m a huge fan of Theodorou, so I don’t mind paying for him.
Theodorou is 11-0 overall and 3-0 in the UFC. He has seven career finishes with two of those being knockouts in the UFC.
Santos is a dangerous opponent and a step up in class but I view Theodorou as one of the middleweight division’s rising stars. He’s impressive in all areas. Theodorou is an accurate striker, he has power, he’s shown good defense and Theodorou is also an excellent wrestler.
Theodorou attempts over nine strikes per minute and six takedowns per 15 minutes. He lands almost 50 percent of his strikes and 57 percent of his takedowns.
Santos is aggressive but he’s not a particularly accurate striker. Santos will also struggle mightily with Theodorou’s takedown attempts in this fight if it comes to that.
Santos has a puncher’s chance because of his power but if Theodorou doesn’t get caught, he holds a big advantage in every other area. Expect another dominant performance by Theodorou.
Zubaira Tukhugov ($10,400) vs. Phillipe Nover
Nover went 0-3 the first time he was in the UFC. He came back in May to fight Yui Chul Nam and won a disputed split decision.
Nover is one of the least impressive fighters on the card. He has a terrible takedown defense, he doesn’t throw many strikes, he’s not very accurate when he does throw and he has poor defense. Nam landed twice as many strikes as Nover in their fight but lost the decision because he kept getting taken down.
Tukhugov is much more active than Nover and a more accurate striker. He’s 2-0 in the UFC and this fight looks like a mismatch in all areas. Tukhugov can control this matchup whether it stays standing or goes to the ground.
Tukhugov isn’t a big finisher but he did win his last fight against Ernest Chavez by first-round TKO. Expect another dominate performance this time out against the overmatched Nover.
Best Value Plays for the Price
John Howard ($8,500) vs. Tim Means
This is a pretty even fight in my opinion. Means deserves to be the favorite but at $10,900, he’s the most overvalued fighter on the card.
Means is a good fighter and solid in all areas. My issue with Means is he fights sloppy and makes too many costly mistakes. Matt Brown is very talented but Means made a terrible mistake against him in his last fight by leaving his neck exposed late in Round 1 and getting choked out.
Means is more aggressive than Howard but Doomsday does have the ability to finish. Fifteen of Howard’s 23 career wins have come by either knockout or submission.
I like to take the low-salary with a fighter when I see the matchup being pretty close to a toss-up. I give Means a slight edge in this fight but with his big salary, Howard has value if you’re looking for a low-cost option to put in your lineup.