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DraftKings MMA DFS Picks | UFC Vegas 49

DraftKings MMA DFS Picks for UFC Vegas 49

Monk here. UFC Vegas 49, happening February 26, 2022, at The UFC Apex, is a decent card on paper with a few very exciting fights. Islam Makhachev taking on Bobby Green on short notice should be very fun, Tsarukyan against Joel Alvarez should be a banger, & we have the return of the seven-second LW prospect, Terrance McKinney. Priscila Cachoeira may even bring a steel chair into the octagon, who knows? We are down to eleven fights, so set your core fighters & then work in some variance.

I’m going to give you three value plays & a fade this week, with a bit of what I call salary sorcery thrown in.

Play #1

Play #1 is obvious, but you must pay up for the highest salaried fighter on the card, Islam Makhachev. While being very fun to watch, Bobby Green will be bringing a different fight to Islam than Dariush would have. Green is a great counter striker and tough as nails, but I feel that Islam has all the tools & talent to stifle Bobby Green for as long as he wishes. Makhachev should be able to land several takedowns, & Bobby Green is probably tough enough to get up from a few, resulting in a rinse & repeat of takedown after takedown. Points on points on points…and Makhachev has up to five rounds to score as many points as possible.

Islam scores an average of 3.99 Raw DK Pts/m & 99.47/W, but 10 of his 11 UFC fights have only been three rounds. Makhachev gets an extra 10 minutes to rack up points in this one, should the fight go that long. I love Islam’s possible score in an early finish, but I may love it even more if this fight goes all five rounds. I will do everything I can to put Islam Makhachev in as many lineups as possible this week, eyeing a 60-70% exposure limit.

Salary Sorcery: The probabilities on the $9500 salary are the absolute best on the card, as you may expect. It has been used 18 times since 1/1/2021, winning 83.33% of the time & making the optimal lineup in an astonishing 60% of those wins. On the other side of the coin, Bobby Green’s salary of $6700 is statistically the worst salary DraftKings has to offer. Of the 19 times it has been used, the salary has only one win (5.26 win percentage) & has yet to make the optimal lineup.

Play #2

The next fighter I will be looking to roster is Arman Tsarukyan. Arman’s opponent is getting a ton of love this week after dismantling Thiago Moises in round one, but I am putting my chips on Tsarukyan. Arman averages almost 101 DraftKings points/W & 3.97 raw DKP/m, making him one of the better, more consistent scorers on the entire card. At $9100, Arman is expensive ($540 over his average salary), but I believe his high grappling upside & tremendous striking will net him a triple-digit score against Alvarez.

Joel Alvarez allowed only 55.60 DKP in his lone UFC loss, but he has shown that he can be taken down. Now, Alvarez does not mind playing off his back, especially since 16 of 19 career wins have come by way of submission, but that means Arman should be able to land several takedowns pretty much whenever he feels like it. I think Tsarukyan has the potential to be one of the highest scorers on the card this week.

Salary Sorcery: From week to week, the $9100 salary doesn’t do well. It has one of the highest win rates out of all the 9K level salaries at 76.19%, but only makes the optimal lineup in 25% of those wins. I will be going against the sorcery this week & increasing my exposure on Tsarukyan due to the high grappling upside.

Play #3

The last of the fighters I will be looking to roster is my favorite underdog of the week, Rong Zhu. Even though Rong Zhu has a very small UFC sample size & a 1-1 record, I love him this week at $7200. Not only does Rong Zhu average 4.70 raw DraftKings points/m, but he also dropped 146 in his win. 146! He has a very high grappling upside & is coming in $1150 cheaper than his average salary over two fights.

Rong Zhu’s opponent is another young prospect in Ignacio Bahamondes who, in my opinion, must show me a bit more before I become a believer. I know, he did land one of the best KOs of the year & possibly of all-time against Roosevelt Roberts in 2021, but I’m not sold quite yet. Ignacio does have a 100% TD defense, but I suspect Rong Zhu will be putting that number to the test this week. I see a ton of grappling in this one from Rong Zhu & he is an underdog I did pick to win at UFC Vegas 49.

Salary Sorcery: The $9000/$7200 salary pair has the second-highest rate of success, with the winner making the optimal lineup 65.00% of the time. I will be increasing my exposure to both fighters, but with a lower cap on Ignacio & a very high cap on Rong Zhu.

Fade #1

Let’s now finish up UFC Vegas 49 with The Monkmatician’s fighter to fade. This week, I will be fading Fares Ziam. Ziam has one of the lowest raw DraftKings point rates at only 1.65/m & has scored a very low 56.88 points per win over two wins. This fight is lined to finish inside the distance according to Vegas, which I agree with, but unless Fares scores a very early, Terrance McKinney-like knockout, I do not think he will score enough points to make the optimal lineup.

The problem here is the fact that we just don’t have any UFC tape on McKinney. His seven-second KO of Matt Frevola, while good, showed us nothing of his game in general. We do know he has a massive TD & finish ability to go with his power, and Fares has shown to be susceptible to TDs, but Ziam has a tremendous defensive striking advantage in my opinion. However, striking defense does not score points in DraftKings, so I will be fading the seemingly low output of Fares Ziam this week.

Salary sorcery: Ziam’s $8400 salary wins at a 52.38% rate but makes the optimal lineup in only 50% of those wins, which is one of the lower numbers in that range. Mix that with the low output from Fares and it makes for an easy fade.

 

There you have it, loyal readers. If you cannot get enough of me, please check me out over on Twitter.

I do a weekly show, Game Theory, over on YouTube where I prep you for UFC Vegas 49 with everything you need for MMA DFS. Check it out!

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Thank you all for reading & let’s win some money & get those takedowns this weekend! I want all of you to enjoy the fights, so…enjoy.

-Monk AKA The Monkmatician AKA Monk Master Flecks