This article is part of our FanDuel MMA series.
We are back at it with another UFC card! UFC Vegas 22 features 13 bouts, which makes for plenty of opportunities to roster fighters in our FanDuel lineups!
If I do not mention a fighter in this article, it does not mean I am not considering them for a specific category. Still, I am putting fighters in these categories out of respect for prioritization.
Let's get into it!
FanDuel Scoring System:
Moves Scoring (MVP 1.5X)
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.9 PTS
Takedown (TD): +9 PTS
Takedown Defense (TDEF): +4.5 PTS
Submission Attempt (SA): +7.5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +18 PTS
Moves Scoring (Standard)
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.6 PTS
Takedown (TD): +6 PTS
Takedown Defense (TDEF): 3
Submission Attempt (SA): 5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +12 PTS
Fight Conclusion Bonuses (MVP 1.5X)
1st Round Win (1stW): +150 PTS
2nd Round Win (2ndW): +112.5 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rdW): +75 PTS
4th Round Win (4thW): +52.5 PTS
5th Round Win (5thW): +37.5 PTS
Decision Win (DecW): +30 PTS
Fight Conclusion Bonuses (Standard)
1st Round Win (1stW): +100 PTS
2nd Round Win (2ndW): +75 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rdW): +50 PTS
4th Round Win (4thW): +35 PTS
5th Round Win (5thW): +25 PTS
Decision Win (DecW): +20 PTS
MVP Top Play
Montel Jackson ($23)
Montel Jackson is the biggest favorite on this card and holds a vital win inside the distance line. Jackson faces UFC newcomer, Jesse Strader who is very inexperienced in pro-MMA and is at a significant disadvantage everywhere the fight goes (hence the odds being so wide). Jackson will hold a 7-inch reach advantage (i.e., utilizes straight punches and has power in his hands) over Strader and will have a legitimate chance to win this fight via TKO/KO standing (i.e., Strader is very hittable in striking exchanges and was finished in his lone pro-MMA loss via strikes).
Jackson is also the better athlete (i.e., Olympic hopeful wrestler), wrestler (i.e., landed 11 takedowns against Felipe Colares), and grappler here so he can put up a strong score on FanDuel without earning a standing TKO/KO.
Gregor Gillespie ($21)
Gregor Gillespie is entering the octagon for the first time since November 2019. Gillespie is one of the best wrestlers in the history of the sport of MMA (i.e., NCAA Division I Wrestling Champion). He's shown consistency with not only taking fighters down (i.e., 7.02 takedowns per 15 minutes per ufcstats.com) but maintaining full control (i.e., excellent guard passing ability, utilizes the "Daghestani Handcuff," elevates the legs of the opposition to avoid "shrimping") to work for submissions (i.e., uses arm-triangle choke from full mount) or ground & pound stoppage (i.e., does this after gaining back mount with both hooks in).
Gillespie is facing a credentialed striker in Brad Riddell (i.e., World Kickboxing Champion), who is more technical than he is and more defensively sound (i.e., hands up with good head movement). Brad's weakness has been his defensive grappling (i.e., he was taken down three times by Alex Da Silva, eight times by Magomed Mustafaev, and three times by Jamie Mullarkey). I am targeting Gillespie because his cardio has shown to be outstanding by wrestling aggressively non-stop for 15 minutes (i.e., attempted 19 takedowns in his UFC debut) which can earn a submission or ground & pound victory.
Cash Game Underdogs
Derek Brunson ($16)
I view Derek Brunson as a better wrestler (i.e., Division II Wrestling), grappler (i.e., BJJ Brown Belt), and clinch fighter than Kevin Holland (i.e., 52% takedown defense, taken down two times by Allen, six times by Meerschaert). Brunson is the more physical fighter who is likely to get this fight to the ground where he wants to dominate the fight (i.e., will sink in both hooks if presented the back, passes guard in the top position, and has excellent ground & pound). Holland was finished on the ground by Brendan Allen because he didn't defend the submission (i.e., nearly the same thing happened against Gerald Meerschaert) and was almost finished by Darren Stewart by ground & pound from half-guard (i.e., the referee was warning Holland to fight back).
There's a lot of grappling and finishing potential from Derek Brunson, and that is the main reason why I want to roster him this weekend.
Bruno Silva ($15)
Bruno Silva has three bouts in the UFC against his opponent and promotional newcomer, JP Buys. I think Buys is an excellent talent (i.e., BJJ Brown Belt, ability to chain wrestle, switch stance striker), but the biggest concern I have for him in this matchup is cardio. Buys has slowed down in previous fights multiple times, and Silva has shown he go a hard three rounds (i.e., his most recent fight). Buys will be dangerous early, but if Silva can weather the storm, which is a legitimate possibility (i.e., BJJ Black Belt, skilled scrambler, and solid wrestling), I think he can win at least two rounds and possibly get a finish if Buys gets tired. This fight is likely to go to a decision, and I think there is a lot of grappling potential here for both fighters, which has me interested in the more experienced UFC fighter for cash games.
Brad Riddell ($9)
Even though I think Brad Riddell's opponent, Gregor Gillespie, most likely wins on Saturday, I do like Riddell as a sneaky, low-owned option. Brad is the superior striker (i.e., Kickboxing background) who counters very well, and we've seen Gillespie hurt in the past multiple times (i.e., against Lee, Gonzalez, and Franca). I think Brad's window of opportunity will be limited to earn the TKO/KO because Gillespie will likely look to close the distance promptly. Still, Brad's technical advantages on the feet combined with being much more active have me interested in him as a cheap and low-owned option.
Also Considered: Derek Brunson ($) and Bruno Silva ($)
GPP Pivot Favorites
Adrian Yanez ($19)
Adrian Yanez is a talented prospect whose strength is as a striker (i.e., he utilizes very good feints, significant power in his hands, good combination striking, varied, counters well, very measured). Yanez does leave his chin high and drops his hands after throwing combinations, but his chin has shown to be good. Yanez's opponent, Gustavo Lopez, has shown to leave his head on the center line and chin high in striking exchanges, which has led to him getting hurt in striking exchanges previously (i.e., against Dvalishvili, Alday, Castaneda, and Ewell). Yanez has a solid chance to finish this fight inside the distance, holds the reach advantage, and is the superior striker.
Roman Dolidze ($16)
Roman Dolidze will be moving down to 185lbs (I will be monitoring weigh-ins as he's a big guy even for 205lb standards) to face Trevin Giles. Giles is an athletic and powerful striker but struggles the most in the grappling department (i.e., mounted by Antonio Braga Neto in round 1, mounted by Gerald Meerschaert, back was taken and nearly submitted by James Krause in round 1). Roman is an ADCC grappling champion (i.e., passes guard in the top position, heel hook submission threat) who has good wrestling (i.e., double leg takedown ability against the fence the open). Roman will be the more physical fighter and more technical & dangerous submission grappler in my eyes. Roman has a solid win inside the distance line, reassuring me that he can finish this fight. I will target Roman as a fighter than has the potential to dominate the grappling exchanges.
Tai Tuivasa ($18)
Tai Tuivasa has done some training at American Kickboxing Academy, which is nice to see he wants to improve his game. Tai faces Harry Hunsucker, who's taking this fight on short notice (Wednesday). Hunsucker has not been past the 3:56 mark of the first round in his pro-MMA career and has been finished via strikes in all of his losses where he's shown liabilities in his game (i.e., technical striking and defense). Tuivasa has the preparation, size, and competitive advantages while having a strong chance to win inside the distance. I am willing to take chances on Tuivasa in my FanDuel GPP lineups.
JP Buys ($17)
JP Buys is the fighter type that will put up a big FanDuel score in a win scenario. He is an aggressive wrestler (i.e., ability to chain wrestle, good transitional, and reactive wrestling). Also, he methodically passes guard in the top position (i.e., good shoulder pressure, experienced scrambler, utilizes "Daghestani Handcuff") to work for various submissions (i.e., BJJ Brown Belt). Bruno Silva was taken down multiple times in his most recent bout against Tagir Ulanbekov. Silva's previously been put in vulnerable positions on the ground (i.e., back was taken by Khalid Taha and was eventually submitted via arm-triangle choke). IF Buys wins, I think there's a decent chance it's by an early finish from his grappling onslaught, which is why I want to target him for GPPs.
GPP Fades/Fighters To Be Light On
Julia Avila ($22)
I would instead target other options in Julia Avila's price tier this weekend on FanDuel. Julia does not have a solid chance to win inside the distance per the betting odds. Julia is also unlikely to grapple here (i.e., lands .49 takedowns per 15 minutes per ufcstats.com) because she faces a BJJ specialist in Julia Stoliarenko (i.e., BJJ Brown Belt, dangerous guard from the bottom position).
By default, Julia very likely needs a standing TKO/KO, which though possible (i.e., has power and is aggressive in bursts). I find it unlikely, so I am not willing to play Julia on FanDuel despite picking her to win.
Cheyanne Buys ($21)
There are options in Cheyanne Buys' price range. I'd instead target for UFC Vegas 22 on FanDuel. Cheyanne does not have a solid chance to win inside the distance per the betting odds and is primarily a striker (i.e., Tae Kwon Do Black Belt, moves well in open space, utilizes jab, combinations, and counters well).
Despite me liking Cheyanne as a prospect (i.e., is well rounded, trains at Fortis MMA, and is young) and picking her to win on Saturday, I think she likely needs to earn standing TKO/KO to pay off her FanDuel price. Cheyanne faces Montserrat Ruiz, who's never been finished in her pro-MMA career and seems very tough. While it's possible Buys pays off her FanDuel price, I'd rather roster other fighters on this slate.