This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
This could very well go down as a landmark evening for the UFC. Not due to the fights, but due to the fact it is the very first time the company is holding an event in Russia. The plan was for Oleinik to face for champion Fabricio Werdum, but Werdum was dinged for a potential USADA violation in May and heavyweight stalwart Mark Hunt was officially given the slot in July.
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 - HeavyweightMark Hunt (13-12-1, 1NC) v. Aleksei Oleinik (56-11-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Hunt ($8,600), Oleinik ($7,600)
Vegas Odds: Hunt (-225), Oleinik (+185)
Odds to Finish: TBD
Oleinik has born in the Ukraine and now resides in Florida. His Soviet heritage will make him the fan favorite in this one. Oleinik turned 41 years old in late-June, and Saturday will be his 68th professional fight in a career that began way back in November 1996. While I don't have any official confirmation, I imagine Oleinik's 44 career submission wins are the most in the history of the sport – at least among UFC regulars. He is 5-2 in the UFC and is coming off a victory over Junior Albini in May via Ezekiel Choke.
Hunt turned 44 years old in March and is coming off a bad, unanimous-decision loss to Curtis Blaydes in February. Hunt had Blaydes hurt badly in the early portion of that fight, but he was unable to get the stoppage and Blaydes leaned on his wrestling the rest of the way to earn the easy decision. Hunt is the same fighter he has always been – a guy with poor cardio that hits hard and possess an iron chin. He needs to attack Oleinik early if he hopes to emerge from this one with a victory.
It goes without saying that any ground exchanges massively favor Oleinik. Hunt has been submitted six times in his professional career, although five of them came in a six-fight span from July 2006 to September 2010. Hunt has not been submitted since then. On a card with countless high price DK options, Oleinik seems like one of the few quality value plays. $7600 is a more than fair price for the underdog given Hunt's advanced age and Olenik's home field advantage.
THE PICK: Oleinik
Light HeavyweightNikita Krylov (24-5-0) v. Jan Blachowicz (21-7-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Krylov ($8,200), Blachowicz ($8,000)
Vegas Odds: Krylov (-110), Blachowicz (-110)
Odds to Finish: -210
Krylov returns to the UFC after a brief four-fight stint in Russia. Following a first-round submission loss to Misha Cirkunov in December 2016, Krylov strangely declined to renew his contract with the company. After running off four-straight stoppage wins overseas, he's back Saturday. The 26-year-old remains an excellent prospect in the thin 205-pound division. Krylov has 24 career wins, all of which – 10 via knockout and 14 via submission – have been stoppages.
Blachowicz is coming off this biggest win of his career, a unanimous-decision triumph over Jimi Manuwa in March. While Krylov has made a career of finishing his opponents, racking up stoppages has been extremely difficult for Blachowicz. He has a distinct lack of finishing power in his hands and he fights sleepily at times, instead preferring to let his opposition dictate the pace of the action. That game plan won't work against a well-rounded guy like Krylov.
Still in his athletic prime and with numerous paths to victory, Krylov is an easy pick in this one. He's a legitimate top-10 light heavyweight with room for immediate advancement given the lack of depth in the division. Blachowicz has extremely limited underdog appeal since he lacks both explosiveness and the ability to finish fights.
THE PICK: Krylov
HeavyweightAndrei Arlovski (27-16-0, 1NC) v. Shamil Abdurakhimov (18-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Arlovski ($7,900), Abdurakhimov ($8,300)
Vegas Odds: Arlovski (+115), Abdurakhimov (-135)
Odds to Finish: -120
I have been banging the drum regarding Arlovski's release from the UFC for seemingly ever, but the company apparently doesn't value my opinion. At least in this instance they are putting him on a Fight Pass card in a foreign market where he can do some good. He still probably won't win, but I see the logic behind it. "The Pit Bull" is coming off a unanimous-decision loss to Tai Tuivasa in June that dropped his record to 2-6 in his last eight fights dating back to January 2016. Arlovski spends the entirety of every fight nowadays throwing haymakers. Some connect, most don't, and he usually eats a shot from his opponent on the counter.
Five fights (3-2) into his UFC career, Abdurakhimov has proven to be nothing more than roster depth. The power he displayed earlier in his career has all but disappeared since he joined the company and it's not coming back for a guy that turned 37 years old earlier this month. Still, this fight is a base-case scenario for Shamil. He gets to compete on a landmark card against a washed up opponent with a questionable chin.
I'd prefer to not pick either guy but I'm told I have to. I refuse to pick Arlovski, so I guess that means I'm taking Abdurakhimov by default. I don't think either man is a terrific DK play. Both have been prone to the knockout and are well past their respectable athletic primes.
THE PICK: Abdurakhimov
WelterweightAlexey Kunchenko (18-0-0) v. Thiago Alves (27-12-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Kunchenko ($9,000), Alves ($7,000)
Vegas Odds: Kunchenko (-500), Alves (+400)
Odds to Finish: -210
THE PICK: Kunchenko
MiddleweightCB Dollaway (18-9-0) v. Khalid Murtazaliev (18-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Dollaway ($7,800), Murtazaliev ($8,400)
Vegas Odds: Dollaway (+140), Murtazaliev (-160)
Odds to Finish: -180
THE PICK: Murtazaliev
BantamweightPeter Yan (8-1-0) v. Jin Soon Son (9-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Yan ($9,600), Son ($6,600)
Vegas Odds: Yan (-800), Son (+550)
Odds to Finish: -300
THE PICK: Yan
LightweightRustam Khabilov (21-3-0) v. Kajan Johnson (22-13-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Khabilov ($9,500), Johnson ($6,700)
Vegas Odds: Khabilov (-700), Johnson (+500)
Odds to Finish: +125
THE PICK: Khabilov
LightweightMairbek Taisumov (26-5-0) v. Desmond Green (21-7-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Taisumov ($8,900), Green ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: Taisumov (-440), Green (+350)
Odds to Finish: -150
THE PICK: Taisumov
Light HeavyweightMagomed Ankalaev (9-0-0) v. Marcin Prachnio (13-3-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Ankalaev ($9,100), Prachnio ($7,100)
Vegas Odds: Ankalaev (-450), Prachnio (+360)
Odds to Finish: -280
THE PICK: Ankalaev
MiddleweightAdam Yandiev (9-0-0) v. Jordan Johnson (9-0-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Yandiev ($7,500), Johnson ($8,700)
Vegas Odds: Yandiev (+215), Johnson (-255)
Odds to Finish: -300
THE PICK: Yandiev
WelterweightRamazan Emeev (17-3-0) v. Stefan Sekulic (12-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Emeev ($9,300), Sekulic ($6,900)
Vegas Odds: Emeev (-470), Sekulic (+375)
Odds to Finish: +135
THE PICK: Emeev
BantamweightMerab Dvalishvili (7-3-0) v. Terrion Ware (17-7-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Dvalishvili ($9,200), Ware ($7,000)
Vegas Odds: Dvalishvili (-485), Ware (+385)
Odds to Finish: +165
THE PICK: Dvalishvili