WATCH: FIGHT PREVIEW WITH ROB FONT – BISPING VS. ST-PIERRE
One of MMA’s legends returns to the octagon for the first time in four years this Saturday night, when Georges St-Pierre takes on UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping in the main event of UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. GSP’s return, along with two other title fights, makes this card a must-see event.
Here are my top-10 DraftKings fighter rankings for UFC 217:
1. Paulo Borrachinha ($8,900)
My top pick of the night is Borrachinha, who I expect to knock out Johny Hendricks. Borrachinha has looked like an absolute destroyer in the UFC so far with back-to-back KOs, and Hendricks is coming off of a brutal TKO loss to Tim Boetsch. I think Hendricks’ chin is shot, and I believe the UFC is counting on Borrachinha brutally finishing him and becoming a new star in the sport.
2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk ($9,200)
I really like Jedrzejczyk to retain her women’s strawweight title against Rose Namajunas. Jedrzejczyk has been flawless in the UFC with an 8-0 record and has shown few flaws in her game. I am expecting Jedrzejczyk to keep this fight standing and pick apart Namajunas on the feet. And since it’s a five-round fight, I expect her to rack up a ton of DK points.
3. Curtis Blaydes ($8,000)
I like Blaydes to defeat Oleksiy Oliynyk in a heavyweight contest. Blaydes has some of the most powerful takedowns and devastating ground-and-pound at 265, and although Oliynyk has an elite submission game, I think Blaydes can neutralize it. I believe he will be able to get Oliynyk to the ground, get on top and rain down the ground-and-pound en route to a stoppage victory.
4. Michael Bisping ($8,100)
In the main event, I’m counting on Bisping to defend his middleweight crown against Georges St-Pierre. Bisping is going to have the size advantage in this fight and, I believe, the striking and cardio advantages as well. He should also have the takedown defense necessary to keep GSP off of him, and in the standup, Bisping should have a big power edge. I just think Bisping is a bad matchup for GSP, and I think he wins a decision to keep his belt.
5. TJ Dillashaw ($7,900)
I’m going against the grain and taking Dillashaw to defeat Cody Garbrandt and win the bantamweight title. Both fighters are tremendous, but I’ve always liked Dillashaw’s skillset a bit more. I think he has better overall striking, and his grappling is a bit stronger. I think his movement is going to cause problems for Garbrandt here, and in a five-round fight, I expect Dillashaw to rack up a number of significant strikes and score a lot of points as he wins back the title.
6. Ion Cutelaba ($9,100)
I really like Cutelaba to take out UFC newcomer Mikael Oleksiejczuk in this light heavyweight bout. Cutelaba has shown exceptional striking ability and an awesome chin in his UFC tenure so far, and while Oleksiejczuk has a very nice record, he hasn’t fought anyone of note. I fully expect Cutelaba to win this fight and likely to do so via KO.
7. Ovince Saint-Preux ($9,000)
I like Saint-Preux to take care of Corey Anderson in this light heavyweight contest. OSP is fighting at a high clip right now and has shown off an exceptional submission game in his last two fights while Anderson is coming off of a brutal KO, so OSP has the momentum. He’s the more well-rounded fighter and should be able to find a way to finish Anderson.
8. Walt Harris ($8,800)
I like Harris to finish Mark Godbeer in a heavyweight contest. Yes, Harris did just lose in a minute to Fabricio Werdum, but this is a completely different matchup. There’s no way Godbeer can get Harris to the ground as quickly as Werdum did and in the standup, Harris is much more dangerous. I’m fully expecting Harris to find a way to KO Godbeer in the first round.
9. Joe Duffy ($8,500)
I’m going with Duffy to finish James Vick in this lightweight contest. Both guys are really good fighters, but Duffy is such a precise striker and Vick’s chin has been touched in the past. I like Duffy here to catch Vick and finish him, though I admit I am worried Vick could pull off an upset.
10. Ricardo Ramos ($7,500)
A low-cost fighter I like to fill the bottom of a roster is Ramos, who fights Aiemann Zahabi in a bantamweight bout. The Brazilian is seven years younger than Zahabi at just 22, and he was more impressive in his UFC debut than Zahabi was in his. I think Ramos finds a way to grind this one out and he should prove to be worth this low price.
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. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.