UFC 257: Poirier vs McGregor II – 1.23.2021 – Staff Predictions, Picks, and DFS Analysis (FREE)

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Hello Daily Play Action! Welcome to our collaborative coverage of UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor II. The sports world has turned their eyes to the octagon as The Notorious Connor McGregor headlines the UFC’s first pay-per-view card this year. Our analysis includes a pick for every bout from Anthony Marro, Nicholas Marro and GB. We also feature write-ups that will provide consideration for building lineups on both FanDuel and DraftKings.

When building your lineups here are a few things to consider. Pricing differs for most fighters making some better value on one site over the other. Scoring is important as well. On FanDuel a first-round finish scores 5x the points as a decision, where on DraftKings it scores 3x as many. Grappling is also scored drastically different as FanDuel awards points for takedown defense and submission attempts. DraftKings neglects those two stats and instead values control time and reversals. This new year, DraftKings has also added a quick win bonus for victories in the first minute as well as scoring for non-significant strikes. Lastly, you will only want to take two fighters from the same fight if you think it goes into the late rounds and expect both to reach value. Optimal GPP builds very rarely stack the same fight but it can be a viable strategy in cash games.

As coverage continues, we will keep our Daily Play Action records up to date. Be sure to check out our reasoning though as records will not reflect confidence, we will be picking all fights regardless of if we are betting on them. I highly recommend using Bovada for their user-friendly format and awesome deposit bonuses if you want to bet on any of these picks!

If you are looking for even more UFC content, be sure to also check out Daily Play Action on YouTube where we have begun streaming breakdowns of each card.

Current Record

  • Anthony: 14-10-0 (Last Year 223-145-6)
  • Nick: 15-9-0 (Last Year 235-133-6)
  • GB: 13-11-0 (Last Year 216-152-6)

Fight odds are as listed from Bovada and last updated 11:00 AM EST 1-23-2021

Early Prelims- Start 7:00pm EST

Zhalgas Zhumagulov -120 (DK $8300, FD $16) vs Amir Albazi -110 (DK $7900, FD $14)

  • Anthony: The card opens with an excellent bout at flyweight between Zhalgas Zhumagulov and Amir Albazi. Kazakhstan fighters have been putting on a show in the UFC this past year. I bet Zhalgas Zhumagulov in his last time out but he seemed to be robbed of a decision in his debut. I like his striking and he certainly has a chance to be victorious in this fight. However, his ground game is rather mediocre and I think Albazi dominates this fight the second it hits the mat. Albazi has very good submissions, good offensive wrestling and will likely be far more active than Zhumagulov in any scrambles. There is a ton of value on him here both as a DFS play and straight bet, so I am taking a flyer on him as the card opens today. This could end up being a very close decision but if either fighter is going to win inside the distance, I am confident that Albazi is the guy. We have seen him win fights by early submission in the past and that is his clearest path to victory here in my eyes. Amir Albazi by Round Two Submission
  • Nick: Zhalgas Zhumagulov has an outstanding gas tank. He brings a relentless pace to the octagon, but he sometimes coasts through fights or waits for them to come to him. He looked solid in his UFC debut against Raulian Paiva, but he never really did enough to pull away on the scorecards. I feel that Zhumagulov is getting a bit too much love here and I think it’s based on his performances before he made it to the UFC. In his wins against Tyson Nam, Tagir Ulanbekov and Ali Bagautinov he never really looked dominant. In watching those fights, I can confidently say he could have just as easily been handed a loss in any of them without much controversy. This was especially true in the Ulanbekov fight, where he was mostly dominated the entire time and yet was somehow gifted a victory. I am impressed by Zhalgas’ motor and he’s shown a strong chin, but I question how many people would be on him here if those lucky decision wins went the other way. The biggest flaw I see in Zhumagulov’s game is when he’s losing a striking exchange, he turns his back to circle out of trouble. This leaves him in extremely vulnerable positions and I can see Albazi finding his back at some point as a result. Albazi has a decent wrestling base which works well in combination with his aggressive style. His striking is decent, he has a powerful uppercut and does a good job mixing in body shots. He sometimes leaves himself open to counters, but I don’t really view Zhumagulov as someone with power to make him pay for it. Eight of Albazi’s thirteen wins have come via submission. Zhumagulov has never been submitted before, but I’m not sure he’s ever faced an opponent with Albazi’s level of offensive grappling. Amir Albazi by Round Two Submission
  • GB: We open the first pay-per-view card of the year with an interesting flyweight bout. Albazi was able to make fairly quick work out of Malcolm Gordon during his last bout by mixing his striking and counters with takedowns. If Albazi can get Zhumagulov to the ground, this should be relatively quick as he has had success in the past. The only problem that I can see is that Zhumagulov is equally a good counter striker who uses his speed and his quick ins and outs to bait opponents into exchanges. Both fighters are closely matched in salary so there’s not a ton of edge from a DFS standpoint. I will be taking Zhumagulov though as I think he can avoid the takedown in this one. Zhalgas Zhumagulov by Decision

Mosvar Evloev -700 (DK $9400, FD $23) vs Nik Lentz +450 (DK $6800, FD $8)

  • Anthony: Nik Lentz drops down from 155-pounds to a 150 catchweight here as he faces Mosvar Evloev. This feels like a bout where the UFC continues to build their hot young prospect, that being Evloev. He is undefeated and has looked excellent thus far in the promotion. Evloev is a very good striker but his bread is buttered in the grappling department as he constantly can take down and grind out wins over most opponents. His price is a bit ridiculous in this matchup be he is the rightful favorite for sure. I see him really pouring the pressure on Lentz here and winning this fight rather convincingly wherever it takes place. His DFS tag is one of the highest on the slate and he will likely be a low owned option, but I do not see him hitting value without a finish in this spot. Mosvar Evloev by Decision
  • Nick: The line is definitely a bit too wide but Evloev is certainly on the rise right now. Mosvar is a former M1 Champion and one of the more hyped prospects coming out of Russia. He has already scored notable wins over Seung Woo Choi, Enrique Barzola and Mike Grundy. He is a Master of Sport in Greco-Roman wrestling and fully content to grapple with anyone in this division. Nik Lentz is scrappy well-rounded veteran and he’s not going to go down easy here. Still, this feels like a showcase spot for Evloev. Lentz could luck into a submission scrambling here, but I really just see Evloev outclassing him no matter where this one goes. He’s a bit over-priced everywhere so I’m not sure how much exposure I’ll have, but he should cruise to a victory. Mosvar Evloev by Decision
  • GB: Evloev is a late replacement in this catchweight bout against Nik Lentz. I have a hard time fading Evloev in this spot as his powerful wrestling and cardio should make this a difficult fight for Lentz to get ahead in. Lentz is a typical UFC fighter with a fairly well-rounded background, master of nothing other than the ability to slow down and grid out fights. I think Evloev gets the win but one thing I am not a fan of is his price on both sites. He doesn’t score a ton of points in a decision so I don’t see a ton of value here. Mosvar Evloev by Decision

Preliminary Card- Starts 8:00pm EST

Khalil Rountree -370 (DK $9300, FD $22) vs Marcin Prachnio +280 (DK $6900, FD $8)

  • Anthony: The preliminary card starts at light heavyweight with a bout between Khalil Rountree and Marcin Prachnio. This feels like a feeder fight as Prachnio has done nothing in the UFC but get finished. His three bouts all ended in defeat inside of the first five minutes. Prachnio has decent distance striking but has had pressure fighters break him time after time. His chin being so suspect makes me fear for his safety against a power puncher like this. Rountree is one of many fighters who traveled to Thailand in order to improve his game. After that camp he obliterated Eryk Anders and striking coach George Hickman seems to of joined him on this business trip. I am confident he gets the job done here inside of the first two rounds as his power proves too much for Prachnio to handle. In addition to straight shots he has a well-developed kicking game and a very good cage presence. I will not bet him straight at this price but when it comes to paying up in DFS, there are few better point per dollar options. Khalil Rountree by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Coming off three losses, it seems Marcin Prachnio is going to be fighting for his job here. He’s been finished in the first round in all three UFC fights and it seems he’s unfortunately running into his fourth tonight. Prachnio is a decent striker at range, but he leaves himself open to counters and he doesn’t really have the technical prowess to stay out of the way of power. Rountree has had chin issues of his own, but he’s a far more technical striker than Prachnio. He has the more serious power as three of his last four wins have come by way of knockout. Khalil Rountree by Round One KO
  • GB: I feel like the UFC is just trying to break Prachnio at this point. Three fights in the UFC and three first round finishes have me thinking this is another sacrifice. Prachnio will need to try and get right in this one, but I don’t know how he will. He is known for his defensive struggles and seems to get tagged easily at close range. Perhaps he tries to wrestle Rountree a bit here, but Rountree has shown in the past that he’s not terrible at stuffing a takedown. My biggest fear here is that Rountree loses this somehow as he has a rocky record as a fight favorite. That alone will hinder me from smashing him as a play, and I will not be shy about running hedge lineups with Prachnio. I still think Rountree takes his head off early, but he’s not shy to losing these types of fights. Khalil Rountree by Round One KO

Sara McMann -130 (DK $8200, FD $16) vs Julianna Pena +100 (DK $8000, FD $13)

  • Anthony: I am not too excited for this women’s bantamweight bout between Sara McMann and Julianna Pena but anything can happen. McMann is a credentialed wrestler and her clearest path to victory will be grinding Pena in this fight, taking her down and repeating over the course of fifteen minutes. I think Pena however is underrated in her ground game and if these two really are grappling for fifteen minutes, I expect her to surprise a lot of people. She was able to control Germaine de Randamie prior to being submitted in her last bout. Her striking is on par with that of McMann so if she stuffs just a few takedowns here, this fight becomes much more compelling. McMann stepping into the cage here at 40 years old certainly is concerning and for all these reasons I give the smallest edge to Pena in this bout. I would not bet a dime on either fighter here, though there is some DFS appeal in larger contests. Julianna Pena by Decision
  • Nick: Sara McMann is an Olympic level wrestler who thrives on her ability to score takedowns and maintain ground control. Pena is going to have an advantage when this fight takes place on the feet, but I’m not sure her 28 percent takedown defense is going to cut it against a grappler with McMann’s pedigree. As long as McMann leans on her strengths, she should be able to get things done wrestling here. I wouldn’t be shocked if Pena pulled of the upset, but I’m siding with the superior grappler. Sara McMann by Decision
  • GB: This fight is a bit of a headache for me. Both fighters are far from exceptional but one has to win. McMann seems to rarely fight so I am always concerned about ring rust. She also does not have a strong resume, nor much to offer outside of her wrestling skillset. Even as an Olympic level wrestler, she’s terrible at defending submission attempts. That being said, Pena can submit her or win by decision in this spot. I am going back to my roots and completely fading this women’s bout as I feel that from a price point neither one of these fighters excite me. Neither offer slate breaking upside and both can put up complete DFS duds. Julianna Pena by Decision

Brad Tavares -120 (DK $8700, FD $18) vs Antonio Carlos Junior -110 (DK $7500, FD $11)

  • Anthony: I am very excited for this bout between Brad Tavares and Antonio Carlos Junior at middleweight. Tavares is a wrestle-boxer who has been there and done that thus far in his career. We have seen him in the cage rather sporadically as of late and I am questioning his motivation here even as he continues fighting at the highest level. He certainly should be the more comfortable fighter on the feet, but the grappling of Antonio Carlos Junior is an major factor in this fight. If he can get the back of Tavares at any point I see him quickly sinking in a submission victory. Junior also has rather sneaky power on the feet making him a compelling DFS play with upside to finish by submission and perhaps even getting a knockdown. While this could end up being a Fight of the Night brawl, I see Carlos Junior taking over in this bout the second things hit the mat. He is one of the better underdog plays on the card. Antonio Carlos Junior by Round One Submission
  • Nick: This is a high-level match-up at middleweight, and by most accounts one of the tougher fights on the card to call. Tavares has an excellent wrestling base. He does a good job using his strikes to create entries for takedowns, but it seems he’s been falling in love with his hands lately. He has chin issues, but Antonio Carlos Junior doesn’t seem like the fighter to take advantage. Carlos Junior has a ridiculous 79-inch reach, but his striking is far from polished. He has a negative striking differential in the UFC and he’s never won a fight by knockout. The path for Carlos Junior to pull off the upset is on the ground. He’s a credentialed BJJ black belt with more than enough skill to put Tavares out if he can get the fight there. That being said, it feels like a tall order. Tavares has a very solid 77 percent takedown defense in spite of a few outlier performances against guys like Yoel Romero. Neither of these guys have fought in over a year so it’s tough to know exactly how polished they’ll look come fight time. They both looked solid at weigh-ins, so I’m hopeful for a fun scrap here. If Carlos Junior can find Tavares’ back he’s live for the upset, but I’m siding with the favorite to stuff any takedown attempts and win this fight on the feet. Brad Tavares by Decision
  • GB: This middleweight bout is another classic matchup between a striker and grappler. I usually side with the grappler in these situations as they tend to look for their spot to take things to the mat and grind out rounds. The only hesitancy I have is the fact that Tavares’s striking is near perfect in accuracy and hyper aggressive. It may cause problems for Carlos Junior trying to get in close enough for a takedown. I am still confident enough in the dog to grab him in this one as I expect him to make this a grappling match. Antonio Carlos Junior by Round Two Submission

Arman Tsarukyan -650 (DK $8900, FD $20) vs Matt Frevola +425 (DK $7400, FD $10)

  • Anthony: Very strange circumstances caused this bout between Matt Frevola and Arman Tsarukyan at lightweight. The original opponent for Frevola was Ottman Azaitar who was cut from the UFC yesterday for violating their health and safety protocols. Meanwhile, Tsarukyan lost his opponent Nasrat Haqparast due to a botched weight cut. Now these two competitors will square up with Tsarukyan heavily favored and a pound overweight. He had a much tougher opponent scheduled and now enjoys a significant strength and power advantage. Frevola will certainly be hungry here after multiple fight cancelations and full year layoff. I think he certainly has a chance in this fight and may sprinkle some money on him given these wide odds. However, Tsarukyan implements the same wrestling heavy game plan as Frevola at a far more efficient rate. He is going to beat Frevola at his own game by grinding him to a pulp in this bout. Not to mention he enjoys a striking advantage here as well that he could always rely on instead. I think that he wrestles early and often in this bout on his way to securing an easy decision victory. You can get him at a discount on both DraftKings and FanDuel as he was priced as a much smaller favorite versus Haqparast. Arman Tsarukyan by Decision
  • Nick: This should be a really fun scrap at lightweight between two guys that weren’t scheduled to fight just a day ago. Frevola was going to have a grappling advantage against Ottman Azaitar, but I expect it be mostly negated now against Tsarukyan. This is one of the more underrated fighters in the UFC. He’s a creative striker with an extremely high Fight IQ. Tsarukyan is a competent grappler as well, coming off an impressive win over Davi Ramos – a fighter I consider to be an even better grappler than Frevola. While Frevola has only been knocked out once, he’s been knocked down several times by guys with far less power than Tsarukyan. The DFS price on him is definitely more appealing than the betting line, but I Tsarukyan to keep this fight mostly on the feet as he cruises to victory. Arman Tsarukyan by Round Three KO
  • GB: The first thing I saw in this fight was the betting line. This fight was put together yesterday morning which means each fighter was preparing for another opponent making it hard to trust really either side. I do like the favorite though. Tsarukyan is an animal who should be able to apply pressure, attempt and land a ton of takedowns and ultimately grind this one out. Even as a decent wrestler preparing for a striker in Azaitar, Frevola is no match for Tsarukyan’s cardio, pressure or takedowns. Usually don’t like grabbing fighters with this kind of spread, but I will own a lot of Tsarukyan on DraftKings as he is probably one of the safer plays on the slate given his floor. Arman Tsarukyan by Decision

Main Card- Starts 10:00pm EST

Amanda Ribas -325 (DK $9200, FD $20) vs Marina Rodriguez +250 (DK $7000, FD $9)

  • Anthony: The main card opens with a big women’s strawweight bout featuring Amanda Ribas and Marina Rodriguez. The UFC knows they have another marketable, Brazilian star in Ribas and I think they want to see her win again here. The slow build has been good for her career trajectory and I see her challenging for a title at either 115 or 125 pounds in the not-too-distant future. Her striking has improved in every fight thus far and against an opponent like Rodriguez she will at least need to show some presence of mind on the feet. However, I eventually see Ribas getting this fight to the mat and utilizing her stellar jiu jitsu in order to take over. A tall and lengthy opponent like Rodriguez could give Ribas problems on the feet, but on the mat those long limbs quickly become a disadvantage when facing skilled grapplers. I see Ribas attempting several submissions in this fight and either locking one up late or just falling short at the final horn. Her control time should be sufficient in taking the judge’s scorecards even if she gets beat in the striking department. The betting line is a bit wider than I’d like but this is still a spot I am confident betting the favorite. Amanda Ribas by Round Three Submission
  • Nick: This is a high-level women’s MMA match-up between two of the division’s more interesting prospects. Rodriguez is a powerful Muay-Thai striker. She’s fought an extremely high level of competition in this division but she’s struggled to break the top five. She’s coming off a rough loss as a -180 favorite against a declining Carla Esparza and she’s lost a lot of the hype she had prior. It feels like the UFC is trying to prop up Amanda Ribas here. Ribas has been the main focus of the UFC’s promo for this fight. She’s a fan-favorite as an aggressive fighter with outstanding offensive grappling ability. She is a black belt and four of Ribas’ professional victories have come by way of submission. The line feels a bit too wide as Rodriguez is likely going to have a striking advantage here. She’s excellent in the clinch, and she lands more than five significant strikes per minute. If she can keep this fight on the feet, she’ll have a chance to pull off the upset. I’m having trouble seeing it though. Amanda Ribas has an excellent body lock takedown which she should be able to find if Rodriguez tries to fight her in close. Rodriguez sports just a 61 percent takedown defense coming into this fight. She has never been submitted before professionally, but it feels like she may be running into a wall here in what figures to be a very difficult stylistic match-up. Ribas’ grappling advantage feels greater than Rodriguez’s striking advantage. At some point this fight will hit the mat and I expect Ribas to either find that submission or control her and win on the scorecards. Amanda Ribas by Decision
  • GB: Ribas is red hot in the UFC at the moment so you can’t help but think that this one is set up for her to continue rising the ranks. She is constantly applying pressure which makes her entertaining to watch and she has a really good ground game. Rodriguez seems like a decent opponent for her, someone who can equally dictate the pace of a fight as she is ruthless with her pressure punching. I am curious of Rodriguez’s takedown defense in this one, as after stuffing the takedown a few times she could be set up for the victory. However, if she can’t stop the takedown I think Ribas has a fairy dominant performance on the mat. Amanda Ribas by Decision

Makhmud Muradov -170 (DK $8600, FD $17) vs Andrew Sanchez +140 (DK $7600, FD $13)

  • Anthony: Next is an excellent fight at middleweight between Makmud Muradov and Andrew Sanchez. I am very excited to once again see Muradov in the octagon as his two UFC wins thus far have been impressive. He is a very talented boxer managed by Floyd Mayweather and improving as a martial artist in each and every fight. This is a bout that could give him some trouble however as he faces former TUF winner Andrew Sanchez. Muradov has been drilling his takedown defense and that will play a huge factor in deciding this bout today. Sanchez is a fighter who historically has enjoyed wrestling opponents over the course of fifteen minutes. However, in his most recent fights he decided instead to stand and strike which could clearly get him into trouble today. I think we do see Sanchez work his takedowns early, but with such a suspect gas tank I fear he will not be able to keep the pressure on for a full fifteen minutes. Not to mention that Muradov will likely drain Sanchez’ gas tank even faster than usual as he works the body in this bout. It feels like a trap spot, but I am going to be siding with the favorite in Muradov. I believe the UFC moved this bout onto the main card as they are hoping him succeed here today. However as the line continues to widen, I become less and less comfortable laying the juice on him. Makhmud Muradov by Round Three KO
  • Nick: This is an excellent match-up between two strong competitors at middleweight. As a highly accredited wrestler, Sanchez is going to want to take this fight to the mat. He may have some success early but he doesn’t have the finishing ability required to put away a tough opponent in Muradov. Additionally, he’s had cardio issues throughout his career and if he’s not scoring takedowns there’s a chance he gasses himself out. Muradov has excellent footwork which he uses to stay out of his opponent’s range. He’s going to be the more powerful and technical striker here. The longer this fight stays on the feet the better I think things go for him. He comes in with a 100 percent takedown defense across a very small sample size. I could see Sanchez getting him down once or twice early, but over the course of fifteen minutes I think Muradov’s striking advantages shine through. He’s one of my favorite DFS plays and a solid bet at this price. I could see Sanchez potentially pulling off the upset, but Muradov has more momentum right now and the higher career trajectory as well. This feels like a nice spot for him to score a KO against a former TUF Champion. Three of Sanchez’s five professional losses have come by knockout. I am siding with the favorite for these reasons. Makhmud Muradov by Round Two KO
  • GB: Makhmud Muradov is slowly becoming a fighter that I love to see. He’s elusive, boxes effortlessly and packs an absolute cannon of a punch. He’s easily the better striker of the two in this one and will heavily rely in his striking ability to control this bout. Sanchez doesn’t have a ton of holes in his game as he can strike well and has a tendency to grind out wins on the mat. One thing that Sanchez doesn’t do well is survive under pressure, and unfortunately for him Muradov lands about five strikes per minute. I expect to Sanchez in some trouble here. There is a fair price difference between these two, but I think Muradov is the only one who can get a finish here. Makhmud Muradov by Round Two KO

Joanne Calderwood -140 (DK $8400, FD $15) vs Jessica Eye +110 (DK $7800, FD $15)

  • Anthony: Interesting fight at flyweight as we get a grudge match between Joanne Calderwood and Jessica Eye. I have seen a lot of sharp people taking Calderwood here, but I think this fight is about as close to a coinflip as any on the card. In her last fight Eye had weight cutting issues but she looks to be in excellent shape prior to this bout. She can likely out volume Calderwood on the feet, but I fear the power and diversity of strikes coming back at her. In my opinion Eye could win this fight far easier by bringing Calderwood to the mat but this feels like a bout that is decided primarily on the feet. Given her far superior resume I will side with Eye in this one, but not very confidently. Neither are players I want high exposure to when building DFS lineups, but all the value seems to be on the side of Eye when it comes to betting this one. Jessica Eye by Decision
  • Nick: We have another high-level women’s match-up here between two top contenders at flyweight. Jessica Eye is coming off a rough loss to Cynthia Cavillo in which she struggled to make weight and four consecutive rounds. Eye missed weight in each of her last two fights, but she looked much better on the scales coming into this one. For this reason, I think we see a better version of her tonight. Calderwood has a solid Thai-clinch and does a good job striking at close range. She has more power than a lot of the other girls in this division, but her volume is what usually helps her win when her fights hit the scorecards. Jessica Eye is a talented striker with advanced footwork. She’s not going to match Calderwood on volume, but Calderwood will be open for counters and I could see Eye doing more damage in exchanges. I give the grappling advantage to Eye here as well. While this is definitely a close fight to call, Calderwood just hasn’t proven to be on Eye’s level yet. She could definitely get it done here on volume alone, but I see Eye scoring enough takedowns over three rounds to secure the win. Jessica Eye by Decision
  • GB: Here’s another women’s bout that I have almost zero interest in as both ladies sit at a price point that I cannot get behind. Neither is overly effective on the ground and I do not see this one finishing inside of the distance. Calderwood does offer a slight striking advantage as she throws power and utilizes her knees more often than Eye. I expect this fight to be on the feet where Calderwood has a very small advantage. Neither are DFS plays for me unless I am throwing a dart in a GPP build. Joanne Calderwood by Decision

Dan Hooker -155 (DK $8500, FD $19) vs Michael Chandler +125 (DK $7700, FD $18)

  • Anthony: The co-main event should be an excellent one between Michael Chandler and Dan Hooker at lightweight. Chandler enters the octagon here for his very first time after fighting the past decade in Bellator. He really was one of the few stars in that promotion, fighting for and defending the lightweight belt on numerous occasions. While he rose through the ranks as a power wrestler, the latter end of his career is largely filled with highlights on the feet. He carries a lot of power but lacks precision striking and the physical attributes to succeed in this matchup. Hooker is the slight favorite in this bout and I think he is far undervalued. He has been there and done that in the UFC’s 155-pound division and now welcomes the fighter making his promotional debut. On the feet, Hooker has a massive advantage in this fight. He enjoys a seven-inch reach advantage and stands much taller than Chandler. I see him winning this fight with ease as he keeps things standing and picks apart Chandler from kickboxing range. You can’t wrestle an opponent who stays out of your grasp and I do not see Chandler closing the distance in this matchup. In my opinion, we are years removed from the best version of Michael Chandler. His previous six fights did not impress me. I am betting big on Hooker in this spot as he should cruise over the course of just three rounds. He is the far better technical fighter and still growing better each and every fight. Dan Hooker by Round One KO
  • Nick: Michael Chandler is making his UFC debut here after an impressive career in Bellator. Chandler was an accomplished NCAA Division I Wrestler. He’s going to be one of the better wrestlers in the lightweight division now that he’s in the UFC and his game-plan here should obviously be to try to take Dan Hooker, a polished striker, down to the mat. Hooker has a near even striking differential. As technically impressive as he can be, defense is rarely a priority for him. If he starts overthinking Chandler shooting on him for takedowns, he could leave himself open to eat some serious power shots in this fight. Hooker is an extremely talented kickboxer. He has powerful leg kicks that he combines with high volume and speed. He’s a master of angles and does a great job finding openings against a wide range of opponents. Chandler has a decent chin in spite of being KO’d before. It should not be a major issue here as Hooker relies more on volume and precision than true power. Hooker will have the reach advantage, but I think Chandler’s power grappling will be enough to take this fight to the mat. Hooker has a decent 79 percent takedown defense, but he’s really never faced anyone with the wrestling pedigree of Chandler. This is one of the tougher fights on the card to call and I’ll definitely have shares of each fighter for DFS purposes. In terms of who I think wins, I see Chandler leaning on his grappling and pulling off the upset. Michael Chandler by Decision
  • GB: Here is an absolute banger of a co-main event as Michael Chandler gets a taste of what the UFC’s competition is like against a tough Dan Hooker. Hooker is a great kickboxer who knows how to use his legs to control range effectively. That could pose problems for Chandler as he looks to close the gap and likely score a takedown early. If Hooker ends up on his back he could be in for a long night as Chandler’s top pressure becomes very hard to deal with. At first glance he could be the poor-man’s version of Justin Gaethje, which isn’t a bad comparison to have. As good as his pressure and wrestling skills are, we know he may be eating damage heading into these exchanges. If Chandler has to stand and strike with Hooker this should be over within the three rounds, but smart work in the clinch could net him this victory. From a DFS standpoint I see myself fitting in more Chandler given his cheaper price, but this fight really feels like a coinflip. Michael Chandler by Decision

Conor McGregor -340 (DK $9100, FD $21) vs Dustin Poirier +260 (DK $7100, FD $18)

  • Anthony: As you know by now, the main event features Conor McGregor returning to lightweight for a rematch against Dustin Poirier. The Notorious one looks to be in phenomenal shape and promises to put on a perfect performance in the cage against a very live opponent. His last performance against Donald Cerrone was about as clean as it gets, but I do not know how much we can take from that bout versus an old, damaged welterweight. Poirier on the other hand went five hard rounds against Dan Hooker in his last bout. I was impressed by that performance, but the first two rounds looked extremely bleak for The Diamond. He was able to rally and pull of the decision win, but I imagine that task becomes a lot more difficult when facing someone as powerful as McGregor. I feel that at this point of his career Conor has rounded out all the holes in his game. In what is likely a technical striking match, all signs point to McGregor getting the knockout victory. Poirier has a great chin but unless he can really work takedowns or get this thing into the championship rounds, I do not love his chances. All of the value is on the Poirier side so I cannot blame you for betting him here as Conor realistically should be a -200 favorite. I am getting my action on this fight by loading up on McGregor in my DFS builds. Perhaps I will sprinkle a few dollars on Poirier if this line gets out of hand. Conor McGregor by Round Two KO
  • Nick: Anytime McGregor fights it is must-see TV. He’s one of the best boxers to ever fight under the UFC banner and the first fighter to ever hold titles at multiple weight classes. He has outstanding power for a lightweight, and it appears he may be in the best shape of his career. Poirier came out slow in his last fight against Dan Hooker, but it was likely the reason he won the fight. He ate a lot of shots early until he weaponized his cardio to take over in the later rounds. While that was an effective strategy in his last fight, I really don’t see him repeating that feat here against a far more powerful striker in McGregor. Four of McGregor’s last five Wins have come via knockout. All signs seem to point to him seriously improving during his time off and I expect we see a great version of him here to start of 2021. It is worth noting that the line does feel too wide, likely inflated by the general public loving and betting on McGregor in every fight he gets. Still, it feels fairly justified. He’ll likely need to get it done early, but I expect him to repeat history here against Poirier. I find it interesting that leading up to this fight McGregor and Poirier have been so cordial. I’m not convinced this isn’t just another head-game from McGregor. We saw in his last fight against Cerrone that he’s in a friendly mood, but only until those cage doors close behind him. If Poirier leans on his wrestling he’s live for the upset, but I think McGregor will succeed in keeping things on feet long enough to score the win. I’ll have shares of Poirier as a hedge for DFS purposes, but I’m siding with the pricey favorite. Conor McGregor by Round One KO
  • GB: As much as I dislike his antics, it’s always fun to watch Conor step back into the octagon. The last time these two fought they were both up-and-comers in the featherweight division, and both have had great success since then. I don’t have a ton to say about Conor that isn’t already known, and he has controlled every fight he has taken part of on the feet. That alone is the key for Poirier, slowing down or minimizing the striking from Conor. Poirier knows it, but can he prepare and be successful with this strategy? If Poirier wins it will be one of two ways: wrestling or getting in dirty with Conor and catching him with a strike before he’s caught himself. Poirier has phenomenal boxing skills and knows that he can rely on sound wrestling to change things up if he feels overwhelmed on the feet. From a price standpoint, it is hard not to like Poirier in some GPP formats given his cheap price and track record against some of the UFC’s best. However, I have a hard time envisioning Conor losing this one. I see him winning in typical Conor fashion here, by picking apart Poirier with exceptional striking once again. Conor McGregor by Round Two KO

*Anthony, Nick and GB play on both FanDuel and DraftKings, and although they express their opinions, they may also implement other plays and strategies without notice