This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
The UFC continues its run at Fight Island (with the larger cage) on Saturday, with multiple women's bantamweight fights that should make the title picture a lot clearer as we head into the fourth quarter of 2020.
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, including a $300k MMA Throwdown with $100k to first place. Players get a $50,000 budget to select six fighters, and the scoring is distributed as follows:
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 - Women's Bantamweight
Holly Holm (13-5-0) v. Irene Aldana (12-5-0)
DK Salaries: Holm ($8,400), Aldana ($7,800)
Vegas Odds: Holm (-120), Aldana (+100)
Odds to Finish: +160
Holm continues to get prime-time opportunities despite struggling with inconsistency for much of her UFC career. Holly is fresh off a unanimous decision win over Raquel Pennington in her most recent bout in January, but she is still just 3-5 in her past eight bouts dating back to March 2016. Essentially, Holm parlayed her knockout victory over Ronda Rousey to win the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship back in November 2015 into nearly five years' worth of high-profile fights.
Aldana has won two straight, including an impressive first-round knockout win over Ketlen Vieira in her most recent fight last December. Her 5-1 record in her past six bouts looks good on paper, but Aldana dropped a split decision to Pennington just over a year ago. It's way too mature to consider the 32-year-old any sort of legitimate contender at 135 pounds.
This fight is interesting because it involves two tall women who are pure strikers. Holm (5-foot-8) and Aldana (5-foot-9) both have ideal frames for the division. Both also rely on volume as opposed to knockout power. Aldana lands a whopping 6.16 significant strikes per minute, but she absorbs 5.92 per minute. By comparison, Holm lands 2.75 and absorbs 2.80. To summarize, Holm is technical and willing to pick her spots, while Aldana is willing to eat one in order to land two of her own. When a matchup like that happens, it's usually the technical fighter that comes out on top.
Aldana will mix in a submission (three over the course of her career) here and there, but Holm's takedown defense is actually an impressive 75 percent. I'd be very surprised if this turns into anything other than extended kickboxing match. I think the fact this is a five-round fight favors Holm. She's been involved in countless main events over the course of her UFC career and always shows up in excellent shape. I'm not particularly high on either woman moving forward, but I think this is the rare "good" matchup for Holly. She can win a kickboxing match against an opponent with little knockout power. and Aldana falls into that category.
THE PICK: Holm
Co-Main Event - Heavyweight
Yorgan de Castro (6-1-0) v. Carlos Felipe (8-1-0)
DK Salaries: De Castro ($8,900), Felipe ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: De Castro (-260), Felipe (+220)
Odds to Finish: -285
Neither De Castro nor Felipe are household names, but this sets up as a DraftKings player's dream given the fact these two have combined for 11 knockout wins in their 14 combined victories.
A product of the Dana White Contender Series, de Castro made his official UFC debut last October and quickly knocked out Justin Tafa. He was then pushed into a fight against Greg Hardy this past May, falling via unanimous decision. De Castro's long-term ceiling is non-existent, but his power is legitimate, and he's never been stopped via strikes in his professional career. He's a darn fun fighter to watch as long as expectations are kept in check.
Virtually everything I just mentioned about De Castro applies to Felipe as well. The Brazilian made his company debut in July, falling to Sergey Spivak via majority decision. Prior to his arrival in the UFC, Felipe has all sorts of success racking up knockouts in the Brazilian regional circuit. The only thing Felipe has going for him in the fact he's nearly a full decade younger than De Castro.
Both of these guys push the upper echelon of the heavyweight weight limit, but neither are particularly tall, we both being listed at six feet. That should make for an action-packed fight. Just don't expect a technical masterpiece. I lean slightly towards De Castro (although I'm terrified to use him at his salary), but I think it's a pretty good idea to get a piece of both of these guys in one fashion or another given the extreme unlikelihood of this one seeing the final bell. The (-285) "odds to finish" mark is the highest on the entire card.
THE PICK: De Castro
Germaine de Randamie (9-4-0) v. Juliana Pena (10-3-0)
DK Salaries: De Randamie ($8,600), Pena ($7,600)
Vegas Odds: De Randamie (-135), Pena (+115)
Odds to Finish: +135
De Randamie has been with the UFC for well over seven years now. Her record with the company is 6-2, with both losses coming against Amanda Nunes, including her most recent fight for the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship last December. A pure Muay Thai specialist, de Randamie has the technical stand-up skills to give most every fighter in the division trouble, but her lack of knockout power has always held her back. It's the one thing that separates her from a true superstar like Nunes.
Pena has barely fought herself. Multiple injuries, in addition to having a baby, have limited Pena to just one bout dating back to January 2017. Her lone fight during that span was a unanimous decision win over Nicco Montano. Pena seemed to be in really good shape to make a potential title run at one point, but she simply hasn't gotten the necessary reps to develop her game. She turned 31 years of age this past August, and I honestly have no idea what to expect from her given the fact we have barely seen her fight over the past four years.
GDR clearly has the edge on the feet. I want to say that Pena is the better grappler, but I don't know how comfortable she feels employing those skills given her inactivity.
Say what you will about de Randamie, but she has run through everyone in her way other than Nunes. Pena, on the other hand, really only has two notable wins in her career. They came against an overrated Jessica Eye and an aging Cat Zingano. I'd normally dock GDR for her inactivity, but she's actually been more active than Pena. Pena is going to have to make this an ugly, grinding fight if she is to have any chance at winning. GDR will pick her apart on the feet in an extended kickboxing match. De Randamie just feels like the safer pick as far as I'm concerned.
THE PICK: de Randamie
Carlos Condit (30-13-0) v. Court McGee (20-9-0)
DK Salaries: Condit ($7,900), McGee ($8,300)
Vegas Odds: Condit (+110), McGee (-130)
Odds to Finish: +160
Condit and McGee has both been around since the beginning of time, but it's a near certainty that the loser of the fight will be sent packing. In fact, I could easily see a scenario in which the winner steps aside, as well.
We'll start with Condit because he seems to be in a deeper hole. "The Natural Born Killer" was viewed as one of the best welterweights in the world for many years, but the numbers since his November 2012 title fight against Georges St. Pierre are horrifying. Going back to that GSP bout – which took place about eight years ago now – Condit is sporting a 2-8 record. He's lost five in a row overall and is without a victory in well over five years. There's nothing I can say to put a positive spin on any of this. The only slight positive I can take from any of this is the fact Condit has been submitted in three of his past four fights, and that's not really McGee's game. Besides that, I got nothing.
The one advantage McGee has over Condit is that he's been able to see the final bell of late. It's not much, but it's something. Court is 1-4 in his past five fights dating back to January 2017, with every fight going to a decision. In fact, 13 of McGee's last 14 bouts have gone to a decision, a mind-numbing stat in today's day and age of MMA. McGee's always been limited from an athletic standpoint, so it's not a surprise he's started to struggle as he has aged. "The Crusher" turns 36 years old this coming December.
I'm surprised Condit is still fighting. He's openly talked about retirement in the past (before this losing streak got out of hand), but he's still here.
My lucrative contact with RotoWire states I have to pick a winner here. When I can't decide, I generally go with the fighter who provides more value, and in this case, that's Condit. Barely. I don't feel good about it. The range of outcomes in this fight is immense.
THE PICK: Condit
Dequan Townsend (21-11-0) v. Dusko Todorovic (9-0-0)
DK Salaries: Townsend ($7,100), Todorovic ($9,100)
Vegas Odds: Townsend (+265), Todorovic (-325)
Odds to Finish: -165
THE PICK: Todorovic
Kyler Phillips (7-1-0) v. Cameron Else (10-4-0)
DK Salaries: Phillips ($9,200), Else ($7,000)
Vegas Odds: Phillips (-440), Else (+350)
Odds to Finish: -245
THE PICK: Phillips
Charles Jourdain (10-3-0) v. Josh Culibao (8-1-0)
DK Salaries: Jourdain ($9,300), Culibao ($6,900)
Vegas Odds: Jourdain (-445), Culibao (+335)
Odds to Finish: -180
THE PICK: Jourdain
Jordan Williams (9-3-0, 1NC) v. Nassourdine Imavov (8-2-0)
DK Salaries: Williams ($8,700), Imavov ($7,500)
Vegas Odds: Williams (-140), Imavov (+120)
Odds to Finish: -175
THE PICK: Williams
Loma Lookboonmee (4-2-0) v. Jinh Yu Frey (9-5-0)
DK Salaries: Lookboonmee ($8,500), Frey ($7,700)
Vegas Odds: Lookboonmee (-135), Frey (+115)
Odds to Finish: +245
THE PICK: Frey
Casey Kenney (14-2-1) v. Heili Alateng (14-7-1)
DK Salaries: Kenney ($9,000), Alateng ($7,200)
Vegas Odds: Kenney (-310), Alateng (+255)
Odds to Finish: +135
THE PICK: Kenney
Luigi Vendramini (8-1-0) v. Jessin Ayari (16-5-0)
DK Salaries: Vendramini ($8,000), Ayari ($8,200)
Vegas Odds: Vendramini (-105), Ayari (-115)
Odds to Finish: -105
THE PICK: Vendramini