This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
Saturday's card from Orlando features two title eliminators in the featherweight and women's strawweight divisions. It's also a great day for DFS on DraftKings, with four contests featuring five-figure prize pools, and the $8 MMA Hook offering a $15,000 top prize.
If you're hoping to turn the event into an opportunity to build your DFS bankroll, DraftKings.com has you covered with a full slate of contests. Players get a $50,000 budget to select six fighters, and the scoring is distributed as follows:
(Please note that DraftKings altered their scoring system in December 2016 to add a new fighter to the lineup and adjust scoring. The most recent point values are listed below.)
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
Advance (ADVC): +3 PT
Takedown (TD): +5 PTS
Reversal/Sweep (REV): +5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +10 PTS
Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win (1rW+): +90 PTS
2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rW+): +45 PTS
4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 PTS
5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 PTS
Decision Win (WBD+): +30 PTS
Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
Advances include: To Half Guard, To Side Control, To Mount, To Back Control
Now, on to the fights...
Main Event - FeatherweightJosh Emmett (13-1-0) v. Jeremy Stephens (26-14-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Emmett ($7,600), Stephens ($8,600)
Vegas Odds: Emmett (+140), Stephens (-160)
Odds to Finish: -205
While it's not the most compelling main event in turn of name recognition, this should be a terrific fight. Emmett gets his chance in the spotlight after his first-round knockout of Ricardo Lamas in December. It's a quick turnaround for the Team Alpha Male product, but he was in no position to turn down such a big opportunity. Emmett's all-around game is impressive. He has power and he is a pretty good wrestler. There is no one single area in which he can be clearly attacked.
I picked Stephens in his fight against Doohoo Choi just mere weeks ago because I know he can take a punch and I know he has the thunder in his hands to finish fights. It turned out exactly that way, as Stephens scored a vicious Round 2 knockout en route to another Fight of the Night award, his second in a row. Lil' Heathen's aggressive style works well most of the time, but there will be nights in which he gets pounded simply because he is far too willing to absorb punishment in order to land strikes. Stephens is coming at you full bore regardless of who his opponent is.
The fight sets up as essentially a pick 'em. Emmett's win over Lamas was not only shocking in terms of how big of an upset it was, but it was also shocking because few realized that he had the type of power that could end a fight in an instant. We all know that Stephens has that type of pop. If Emmett commits to defending himself, I think he stands a good chance of winning. If he fights foolishly and engages in the brawl that Stephens is seeking, he is going to have a tough time. If you are ever undecided about who to put into your DraftKings lineup, yet want to ensure a piece of the five-round main event, take the fighter that provides the bigger return on investment.
THE PICK: Emmett
Co-Main Event - Women's StrawweightJessica Andrade (17-6-0) v. Tecia Torres (10-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Andrade ($9,200), Torres ($7,000)
Vegas Odds: Andrade (-320), Torres (+260)
Odds to Finish: +175
It is reasonable to conclude that the winner of this fight will be next in line for the winner of the upcoming fight between Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the UFC Women's Strawweight Championship.
Andrade's only loss since moving down to strawweight came at the hands of Joanna. She is coming off a dominant unanimous decision win over Claudia Gadelha in what was her best performance to date. Andrade's brute strength gives her an advantage over most every opponent she faces. It allows her to muscle other women to the mat and grind out victories. It is imperative that Jessica stays in tight against Torres because she is going to be at a distinct disadvantage in the striking department.
Torres is 6-1 in the UFC, with her only setback coming against Namajunas. An explosive striker with a karate background, the only knock on Torres is that she has problems finishing fights. In fact, she doesn't have a knockout win in her entire career. The Tiny Tornado overwhelms the competition with volume as opposed to pure power. She's really good, but at some point you have to start putting an end to fights and not leaving it in the hands of the judges.
I like Torres and she's stronger than her 5-foot-1 frame would lead you to believe, but her takedown defense throughout the course of her UFC career is pretty lousy (62 percent). Furthermore, I think she is going to have a very difficult time getting Andrade off of her if she ends up on her back. Of course, this is all assuming that Andrade realizes she is at a massive disadvantage on the feet and tries to get the fight to the ground. Torres' salary is awfully low for a fighter of her ability. She makes sense as a value play in hopes that she keeps the fight standing and lands a ton of strikes. I still don't think she wins.
THE PICK: Andrade
Light HeavyweightOvince Saint Preux (22-10-0) v. Ilir Latifi (14-5-0, 1NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Saint Preux ($8,300), Latifi ($7,900)
Vegas Odds: Saint Preux (-120), Latifi (+100)
Odds to Finish: -115
Originally scheduled to fight last month in Charlotte ,OSP and Latifi got pushed back just about four weeks due to an injury suffered by The Sledgehammer. The lack of depth in the UFC's light heavyweight division provides room for immediate advancement, and both OSP and Latifi are in position to take advantage.
The 34-year-old Saint Preux is in the midst of the best stretch of his career. He has earned three stoppage wins in a row, the last two of which have earned him Performance of the Night bonuses. Prior to the streak, OSP found himself on a three-fight skid. Still more of an athlete than a mixed martial artist, Saint Preux has generally beaten up on lesser fighters and struggled against quality competition. This fight is a bit hard to predict because Latifi falls somewhere in the middle.
One of the most powerful men in the division, Latifi has struggled with consistency in his own right. While his overall record is strong (6-3), he has had a couple of dreadful performances. Latifi excels in slow, grinding fights in which he can use his brute strength to his advantage. His questionable chin has been an issue in the past and I expect Latifi to struggle significantly if OSP forces him to keep moving for an extended period of time.
Both men need to have this one if they hope to keep themselves in any sort of title contention. OSP is five inches taller, has a seven inch reach advantage and is the far better athlete of the two men, but his takedown defense is also poor (64 percent) and I think Latifi has a path here to grind out a boring decision.
THE PICK: Latifi
BantamweightRenan Barao (36-5-0, 1NC) v. Brian Kelleher (18-8-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Barao ($8,500), Kelleher ($7,700)
Vegas Odds: Barao (-155), Kelleher (+135)
Odds to Finish: -120
Considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world not all that long ago, Barao's fall from grace has been sudden and violent. He is 2-3 in his last five fighters after going undefeated for nearly nine years prior. Barao has struggled to make weight and briefly moved up to featherweight last year. He will return to 135 pounds for Saturday's fight, but I'm not optimistic that his luck will change. The Brazilian appears to be suffering from a clear lack of confidence. He is tentative in the cage and his movements have slowed considerably. Barao turns 31 years old next week, so it's not as if age is a factor. We may never have an answer in regards to what happened to the former UFC Bantamweight Champion, seemingly overnight.
A former Ring of Combat Bantamweight Champion who fought Jimmie Rivera in Bellator in 2013, Kelleher will be making his fourth appearance under the UFC banner on Saturday. Boom has two stoppage wins sandwiched around a submission loss. Part of an ever growing list of UFC fighters from Long Island, Kelleher is a high-energy guy that works at a quick pace. He has eight career wins by submission and seven by knockout. That's the good news. The bad news is that outside of Rivera (and that fight was years ago), Kelleher has never fought anyone remotely close to Barao's level, even if he isn't the fighter he used to be.
Perhaps against my better judgment, I am still a believer in Barao. Sure, he will never get to the level that he was once at, but he is still extremely talented and I don't see why he still can't work his way into fights that impact the title picture. His issues appear to be more mental and anything else and I think (hope) that can be rectified.
THE PICK: Barao
WelterweightMike Perry (11-2-0) v. Max Griffin (13-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Perry ($9,400), Griffin ($6,800)
Vegas Odds: Perry (-340), Griffin (+280)
Odds to Finish: -300
THE PICK: Perry
Women's BantamweightSara McMann (11-4-0) v. Marion Reneau (8-3-1)
DraftKings Salaries: McMann ($8,900), Reneau ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: McMann (-220), Reneau (+180)
Odds to Finish: +170
THE PICK: McMann
Women's StrawweightMaryna Moroz (8-2-0) v. Angela Hill (7-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Moroz ($8,000), Hill ($8,200)
Vegas Odds: Moroz (+130), Hill (-150)
Odds to Finish: +250
THE PICK: Hill
WelterweightBen Saunders (21-8-2) v. Alan Jouban (15-6-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Saunders ($7,100), Jouban ($9,100)
Vegas Odds: Saunders (+210), Jouban (-250)
Odds to Finish: -240
THE PICK: Jouban
Light HeavyweightSam Alvey (31-10-0, 1NC) v. Marcin Prachnio (13-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Alvey ($7,200), Prachnio ($9,000)
Vegas Odds: Alvey (+230), Prachnio (-270)
Odds to Finish: +100
THE PICK: Prachnio
BantamweightRani Yahya (24-9-0, 1NC) v. Russell Doane (15-7-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Yahya ($9,300), Doane ($6,700)
Vegas Odds: Yahya (-255), Doane (+215)
Odds to Finish: -140
THE PICK: Yahya
FlyweightEric Shelton (11-4-0) v. Alex Perez (19-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Shelton ($7,500), Perez ($8,700)
Vegas Odds: Shelton (+135), Perez (-155)
Odds to Finish:+150
THE PICK: Shelton
BantamweightAlbert Morales (7-3-1) v. Manny Bermudez (10-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Morales ($7,400), Bermudez ($8,800)
Vegas Odds: Morales (+150), Bermudez (-170)
Odds to Finish: +110
THE PICK: Bermudez