DraftKings MMA: UFC Vegas 20 Preview

DraftKings MMA: UFC Vegas 20 Preview

This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.

For the second week in a row, heavyweights will take the main stage at the UFC Apex Center in Las Vegas.

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 $400k MMA Throwdown with $100k to first place. Players get a $50,000 budget to select six fighters, and the scoring is distributed as follows:

Note: Scoring has been updated as of early-2021! Please review the scoring changes below.

Moves Scoring
Strikes: +0.2 PTS
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
Control Time: +0.03 PTS/SECOND
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
Quick Win Bonus: +25 PTS
(fight is finished in 60 seconds or less)

Scoring Notes

  • Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
  • A Significant Strike will count as both a strike and a significant strike and will be worth a total of 0.4 Pts
  • Control Time is the time spent in the dominant position on the ground or in the clinch. +0.03 points are awarded per second.
  • A Knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider an appreciable amount of time.
  • A Quick Win Bonus is awarded to the winning fighter if they win in the first round in 60 seconds or less.

Main Event - Heavyweight

Jair Rozenstruik (11-1-0) v. Ciryl Gane (7-0-0)
DK Salaries: Rozenstruik ($7,200), Gane ($9,000)
Vegas Odds: Rozenstruik (+225), Gane (-265)
Odds to Finish:-265

This fight was scheduled to take place a couple weeks from now, but the cancellation of the scheduled main event here between Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka forced it to be moved up. It's slated for five rounds, although I doubt it lasts that long.

Rozenstruik joined the UFC as nothing more than an afterthought a little over two years ago. He's 5-1 with the company, with all five wins coming via knockout and the one setback being a knockout at the hands of Francis Ngannou, arguably the best heavyweight on the planet at the moment. What you see is what you get with Rozenstruik. The power is extremely legitimate, as his his durability. The issues are his cardio combined with the fact he's a one-dimensional brawler. I expect both to be serious issues against better competition, but Jair has made a nice living beating the tar out of fringe opposition.

Gane has all of seven professional fights under his belt despite the fact he will be turning 31 years of age this coming April. Four of the fights have come in the UFC, in which Gane submitted Raphael Pessoa and Don'Tale Mayes, took a decision from Tanner Boser, and most recently knocked out Junior dos Santos. Oddly enough, Rozenstruik's most recent bout was also a KO win over JDS. 

This should be an extremely entertaining fight and I highly suggest DraftKings players get a piece of it in some form or fashion. After all, these two men have combined to pick up stoppage wins in eight of their nine victories with the company.

I'm going with Gane because I think there's a clear gap in fluidity when it comes to the striking between these two. Gane looks more comfortable and athletic, while Rozenstruik simply swings from the bleachers with every punch he throws. Jair is a threat to be taken seriously as an underdog because the power is legitimate, and his chin has held up against everyone other than Ngannou. But he's an underdog for a reason. Of course, Jair's path to victory is nearly identical to that of Derrick Lewis' last week, and we saw how that worked out.

THE PICK: Gane
 

Co-Main Event - Light Heavyweight

Nikita Krylov (27-7-0) v. Magomed Ankalaev (14-1-0)
DK Salaries: Krylov ($6,900), Ankalaev ($9,300)
Vegas Odds Krylov (+280), Ankalaev (-340)
Odds to Finish: -185

Ankalaev has been dominant since being submitted by Paul Craig in his company debut back in March 2018. He was won five in a row, four via knockout. He's also earned three $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses during that span. Ankalaev's ceiling is high. He hits like a tank, fights physically, and is still just 28 years old. He's one of the brightest prospects in a division that lacks depth. Now it will be interesting to see how he fares against an opponent in Krylov who is considerably better than anyone he has faced to date in the UFC.

Krylov has shown considerably more good than bad during two stints with the company. He's struggled with consistency, but has wins over some decent competition in Johnny Walker, Ovince Saint Preux and Walt Harris, and has hung tough against the likes of current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira. While Krylov has some power, he has become known as a submission specialist during his time with the UFC. He has a long frame for the division at 6-foot-3 and is deceptively athletic. I'm quite confident in saying Krylov is more floor than ceiling at this point, but he has some talent.

The breakdown of this fight is straightforward. There's a clear power and explosiveness edge for Ankalaev, while Krylov is the much better mat specialist. Yes, Ankalaev was submitted in his only career loss, but he also defends takedowns at an 85 percent clip and generally does an excellent job of staying off of his back.  

I'm absolutely shocked that Krylov is the cheapest fighter on the slate. He's a deserved underdog and I'm not picking him, but he's tricky and has beaten some solid opposition. I would guess he puts forth a better performance than his $6900 price tag would lead you to believe. I'll be extremely impressed if Ankalaev runs through him without issue.

THE PICK: Ankalaev
 

Bantamweight

Pedro Munhoz (18-5-0, 1NC) v. Jimmie Rivera (23-4-0)
DK Salaries: Munhoz ($7,900), Rivera ($8,300)
Vegas Odds: Munhoz (+125), Rivera (-145)
Odds to Finish: +185

This is a rematch of a 2015 fight which Rivera won via split decision. These two men were scheduled to fight on two different cards in the early stages of 2021 before multiple issues caused them to be rescheduled.

Munhoz is coming off back-to-back defeats. He dropped a split decision to Frankie Edgar in his most recent bout last August. Prior to that, he went 15 minutes in a unanimous decision loss to Aljamain Sterling, who will challenge Petr Yan for the UFC Bantamweight Championship next week. On the feet, Munhoz lands a ton (5.53 significant strikes per minute) and gets hit a ton (6.03 significant strikes per minute). He's extremely aggressive but doesn't possess the technical striking skill to compete in the stand up for an extended period of time. I much prefer Munhoz on the mat, where he has eight career wins via submission.

That's especially true in this case against an opponent in Rivera with lightning-quick hands. Jimmie has displayed relatively little stopping power (four career knockout wins) over the course of his professional run, but he excels at stringing together combinations and does an excellent job of getting out of range before his opponent can return fire. Rivera is 2-2 last four fights dating back to September 2018, with the losses coming to Yan and Sterling.

I'm interested in seeing Munhoz's method of attack here. Both men average less than a single takedown per 15 minutes and Rivera defends them at 92 percent, so getting him to the mat would appear to be a difficult task. If that is indeed the case and this fight takes place on the feet, I like Rivera more than both his DraftKings salary and the Vegas odds would suggest.

Rivera is the crisper boxer and I trust his ability to game plan a bit better than Munhoz. Munhoz is a threat simply because he's a talented guy, but there are very few fighters at 135 pounds I would pick over Jimmie in what projects to be a kickboxing match.

THE PICK: Rivera
 

Women's Strawweight

Angela Hill (12-9-0) v. Ashley Yoder (8-6-0)
DK Salaries: Hill ($9,200), Yoder ($7,000)
Vegas Odds: Hill (-325), Yoder (+265)
Odds to Finish: +255

This fight literally came together less than a week ago. Hill and Yoder were notified of this potential matchup last Saturday and both immediately accepted. It's a rematch of a July 2017 fight which Hill won via unanimous decision.

Coming off back-to-back, split-decision losses to Claudia Gadelha and Michelle Waterson, Hill needs a victory here. Hill's career UFC record is just 6-7 over the course of two stints with the company, but she's fought better than that number would indicate and has far more talent than her below-.500 mark would lead you to believe. Hill is an excellent striker. She also has excellent cardio and is deceptively strong. In short, despite being on the wrong side of some questionable judges decisions, there is no real reason for her mediocre record. I'm a fan, but it's difficult to believe Hill is going to go on some sort of prolonged winning streak given the fact she turned 36 years of age last month.

Like Hill, Yoder is below .500 with the UFC, sporting a 3-5 mark. She likely would have been cut had she lost to Miranda Granger this past November, but Yoder took unanimous decision to snap a two-fight losing streak. The exact opposite of Hill, Yoder generates all her offense off the mat. She has four career wins via submission and four via decision. She has no power and her striking is awkward. Yoder's greatest attributes are her ground game, durability (she's never been knocked out) and large frame (5-foot-7) for the division.

Neither woman has an edge as far as training given the fact both learned about this fight at the same time. Although Hill is a boxer, she also boasts an impressive 77 percent takedown defense and I see no chance Yoder remains competitive here in a kickboxing match. The hand speed and the technique of Hill appear to be far too much for Yoder to overcome. Anyone betting on Yoder as an underdog or using her in their DK lineup is simply hoping for an unforeseen submission. I'd rather use Krylov and save the $100. 

THE PICK: Hill
 

Other Fights

Women's Flyweight
Montana De La Rosa (11-6-0) v. Mayra Bueno Silva (7-1-0)
DK Salaries: De La Rosa ($7,800), Silva ($8,400)
Vegas Odds: De La Rosa (+115), Silva (-135)
Odds to Finish: +160
THE PICK: De La Rosa

Featherweight
Alex Caceres (17-12-0, 1NC) v. Kevin Croom (21-12-0, 1NC)
DK Salaries: Caceres ($8,800), Croom ($7,400)
Vegas Odds: Caceres (-210), Croom (+175)
Odds to Finish: +140
THE PICK: Caceres

Lightweight
Alexander Hernandez (12-3-0) v. Thiago Moises (14-4-0)
DK Salaries: Hernandez ($8,700), Moises ($7,500)
Vegas Odds: Hernandez (-190), Moises (+165)
Odds to Finish: +125
THE PICK: Hernandez

Light Heavyweight
William Knight (9-1-0) v. Alonzo Menifield (9-2-0)
DK Salaries: Knight ($8,200), Menifield ($8,000)
Vegas Odds: Knight (-110), Menifield (-110)
Odds to Finish: -285
THE PICK: Menifield

Women's Bantamweight
Sabina Mazo (9-1-0) v. Alexis Davis (19-10-0)
DK Salaries: Mazo ($8,900), Davis ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: Mazo (-200), Davis (+170)
Odds to Finish: +260
THE PICK: Mazo

Bantamweight
Vincent Cachero (7-3-0) v. Ronnie Lawrence (6-1-0)
DK Salaries: Cachero ($7,600), Lawrence ($8,600)
Vegas Odds: Cachero (+140), Lawrence (-160)
Odds to Finish: +185
THE PICK: Lawrence

Light Heavyweight
Dustin Jacoby (13-5-0) v. Maxim Grishin (31-8-2)
DK Salaries: Jacoby ($8,500), Grishin ($7,700)
Vegas Odds: Jacoby (-180), Grishin (+160)
Odds to Finish: -130
THE PICK: Jacoby

Welterweight
Alex Oliveira (22-9-0) vs. Ramazan Kuramagomedov (8-0-0)
DK Salaries: TBD
Odds: TBD
Odds to Finish: TBD
THE PICK: TBD

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Jon Litterine plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: JLitterine.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jon Litterine
Jon Litterine is RotoWire's lead MMA Writer and MMA Editor. He has covered numerous MMA events live. He's also RW's NHL Prospect Analyst. Jon has been writing for RotoWire since 2005. He is a graduate of U Mass-Lowell.
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