This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
While we did lose a featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega due to Volkanovski testing positive for COVID, UFC 260 is still set to determine the "baddest man on the planet" (aka the champion in the heavyweight division).
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 $600k UFC 260 Special with $150k 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.
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)
- 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 Championship
Miocic and Ngannou will be a rematch of a January 2018 fight which Miocic won via split decision. This was the only fight to make with the depth of the division seemingly dwindling by the day and the plans for Jon Jones unknown.
Stipe has fought three times since the first fight between the two, all against the since-retired Daniel Cormier. He lost the first (and his title) before rebounding to take the last two. Miocic's power is well known, but I believe his two greatest attributes are his durability and athleticism. Stipe was knocked out in his loss to Cormier, but I firmly believe that result, or at least how it happened, was a fluke. He has proven time and time again that he can take a massive beating and keep on ticking, and that could very well be a necessity against Ngannou. Stipe is also considerably more athletic that your typical massive heavyweight. His footwork is excellent and his cardio is strong. Francis keeps himself in excellent physical condition, but I would favor Stipe if this fight sees a fourth or fifth round.
Ngannou followed up his previous loss to Miocic with a baffling defeat to Derrick Lewis in a fight in which neither man did much of anything. Since the Lewis fight back in July 2018, Francis is 4-0 with four knockouts. The wins came over Jair Rozenstruik, Junior dos Santos, Cain Velasquez and Curtis Blaydes. Ngannou is the most terrifying man in the sport, hands down. Ngannou's power is the most fight-altering attribute in the sport today. He barely touches guys and they go to sleep. Considering he didn't land in the Lewis fight, you could say that Miocic is the only opponent to handle Ngannou's power and live to tell about it.
Francis has put a large emphasis on becoming a better all-around fighter. His conditioning is clearly better and his wrestling, while never on the strength of his striking, has improved. He defends the takedown at 71 percent despite allowing six successful tries to Stipe in their first fight. He can't allow six again. Ngannou's power is the ultimate equalizer, but he isn't going to stop Stipe with strikes off of his back.
One thing that clearly must be mentioned here is the smaller cage at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Throw everything else out the window. The bottom line is that whenever someone is going up against Francis in the smaller cage, it favors Ngannou.
I picked Ngannou in the first fight and got burned. I'm going back to the well. I respect Miocic and don't think there's a massive gap between the two. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if his grappling once again led to a win, but this just feels like the crowning moment for Ngannou. That said, Stipe is exceptionally crafty, and the fact he's even money tells you all you need to know about how highly respected he is throughout the industry. I still don't think he wins.
THE PICK: Ngannou
Co-Main Event - Welterweight
Set to turn 39 years of age early next month and in the midst of a three-fight losing streak in which he was dominated in each bout, Woodley is almost certainly fighting for his job on Saturday. Woodley's recent three-fight skid came on the heels of a seven-fight unbeaten streak. Now, those three defeats came against the best the division has to offer in current UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman and a pair of former title challengers in Gilbert Burns and Colby Covington, but even a novice MMA observer would be able to tell Woodley is trending in the wrong direction.
Luque is one of the more underrated fighters on the entire roster and has been for years. He is 12-2 in his past 14 fights, with those setbacks coming against Stephen Thompson and Leon Edwards. Luque is a stand-up fighter and is ridiculously aggressive on the feet. He's the type of guy who is willing to eat a strike in order to land two of his own. That strategy rarely works when the competition level rises, but Luque has held serve thus far. He lands 5.72 significant strikes per minute while eating 5.82 per minute. Luque is a volume over power guy and I expect some struggles moving forward unless he pays more attention to defending himself. He's talented enough to improve in that area.
The one area in which Woodley would appear to have an edge is in terms of his wrestling. Tyron has always been a good, underrated wrestler, but he rarely uses those skills (1.08 takedowns per 15 minutes) and I have a difficult time foreseeing a complete game plan change given his advanced age.
I'm not particularly high on Luque's ability to beat the best welterweights on the UFC roster, but Woodley looks shot. His athleticism has entirely evaporated, and he's spending so much time defending himself that he's unable to land with regularity on the feet. I'm not even sure he still has the power in his hands we saw earlier in his career.
Trusting Luque is a big ask given his price tag, but I'd much rather gamble on him living up to expectations as opposed to Woodley pulling any sort of upset. It's a shame to think about, but Woodley appears to be firmly heading down the Johny Hendricks path. That's not a good thing. I need to see some sort of improvement before ever considering picking him again, and if he loses this fight, I may not get a chance.
THE PICK: Luque
I'm truly shocked Almeida is getting another shot with the company. Once called a future champion by UFC President Dana White, Almeida has lost three in a row and four of his last five. He's been with the company for well over six years and will be turning 30 years of age this coming July, so time is clearing running out on the Brazilian. Almeida has legitimate pop in his hands, but he's arguably the most reckless fighter on the roster. He consistently pushes forward and pays zero attention to defending himself. He's ten times worse in that area than Luque, and that's saying something. I suppose he could get lucky and land one big shot that leads to a finish, but you could say that about everyone who steps into the Octagon.
O'Malley's perfect record went out the window following a late first-round knockout loss at the hands of Marlon Vera. O'Malley was pounding Vera in the early portion of the bout before suffering a lower leg injury. It left him hobbled and essentially unable to defend himself, and Vera took advantage. I'm extremely confident O'Malley would have won that fight with relative ease had he not suffered the injury and I'm going on the assumption he's fully healthy heading into this fight. His ceiling remains massive.
This fight doesn't make a ton of sense on the surface, but a deeper dive makes it a bit more understandable. Almeida has zero leverage and is likely looking at a release with a defeat, so he gets a chance to fight on a pay-per-view and potentially pull a huge upset. O'Malley gets more exposure in a primetime spot in a fight he should win with ease.
Stylistically, this seems like a worse-case scenario for Almeida. This fight figures to be contested entirely on the feet, and you can count on one hand the amount of bantamweights who can hang with O'Malley in that area. He's extremely technical and highly creative, and I expect him to rout Almeida if the Brazilian pushes forward with reckless abandon. Anyone betting on Almeida to come through as an underdog is simply hoping for a one-punch knockout.
THE PICK: O'Malley
This is a weird fight and one you wouldn't think would be on the main card of a pay-per-view, but the cancellation of the UFC Featherweight Championship bout between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega forced every fight to be bumped up.
I mentioned Woodley and Almeida likely fighting for their jobs on Saturday, and Mullarkey falls into that category also. In fact, Mullarkey may be in the worst shape of the three heading into the night. He's fought twice in the UFC to date, dropping unanimous decisions to Brad Riddell and Fares Ziam. The highlight of Mullarkey's career up to this point was a first-round knockout loss to Volkanovski back in March 2016. The Aussie has some pop in his hands (eight career knockout wins) and youth remains on his side at age 26, but the early returns haven't been positive.
Worthy made his company debut in August 2019 as a late-notice replacement and went on to pick up stoppage wins over Devonte Smith (TKO) and Luis Pena (submission) before being knocked out by Ottman Azaitar last September. Worthy is an in-your-face power puncher. He's worthy of his nickname, "The Deathstar." That's all well and good, but the question is how Worthy will fare when those power punches aren't landing. He can mix in the occasional submission as he showed against Pena, but that really isn't his game.
I'd try to stay away from this fight if at all possible given the fact the range of outcomes seems enormous. Mullarkey has shown nothing to date, but Worthy is 34 years old and the odds of him running off any sort of prolonged winning streak seem exceedingly small. I have enough questions about Worthy's all-around game that I'll take Mullarkey given the $1000 savings. Again, I'm not crazy about this one either way.
THE PICK: Mullarkey
These two were scheduled to fight at UFC 258 a little over a month ago, but a non-COVID illness suffered by Robertson forced the fight to be pushed back.
Robertson is 6-3 in her first nine UFC bouts. She fights often, having stepped into the Octagon three times in both 2019 and 2020. Robertson is young (25 years old), but has displayed zero ability to compete against better competition. Her ultimate downfall has been the lack of power in her hands. She has just one career knockout win, and while Robertson is excellent on the mat, her opposition is well aware she can't threaten them on the feet. It's difficult, if not downright impossible, to see that changing moving forward.
Maverick is one of the youngest fighters on the UFC roster. She won't turn 24 years of age until July 1. She made her pro debut with Invicta as a 19-year-old back in November 2016. The fact she has a dozen fights under her belt already is a very good sign, but even an inconsistent and limited Robertson figures to be by far the best opponent Maverick has seen to date. All that matters for Maverick at this point is that she remains healthy and gets reps. The results will come.
This is a real contrast in styles. Robertson, as I mentioned, is a pure submission specialist. Maverick, on the other hand, is a reckless brawler. She doesn't have much knockout power, but she's aggressive on the feet to the point of recklessness. Her company debut was a doctor's stoppage TKO win at the end of Round 1 over Liana Jojua last October. Maverick fights extremely physically for a woman who stands 5-foot-3. Her technical skills are lacking, but she has way more power than Robertson.
I think Maverick's aggressiveness and physicality will ultimately be enough to win, but she seems ridiculously overpriced from a DK perspective. She should be more like $8200 or $8300 as opposed to $8800. Even if I think she will emerge victorious, I'd much rather use Robertson and hope Maverick's inexperience works against her. This is close to a pick 'em for me.
THE PICK: Maverick
Jared Gooden (17-5-0) v. Abubakar Nurmagomedov (15-3-1)
DK Salaries: Gooden ($7,200), Nurmagomedov ($9,000)
Vegas Odds: Gooden (+195), Nurmagomedov (-235)
Odds to Finish: +120
THE PICK: Nurmagomedov
Modestas Bukauskas (11-3-0) v. Michal Oleksiejczuk (14-4-0, 1NC)
DK Salaries: Bukauskas ($7,700), Oleksiejczuk ($8,500)
Vegas Odds: Bukauskas (+130), Oleksiejczuk (-150)
Odds to Finish: -145
THE PICK: Bukauskas
Marc-Andre Barriault (11-4-0, 1NC) v. Abu Azaitar (14-2-1, 1NC)
DK Salaries: Barriault ($8,200), Azaitar ($8,000)
Vegas Odds: Barriault (-115), Azaitar (-105)
Odds to Finish: +135
THE PICK: Azaitar