UFC 217 DraftKings Full Breakdown

UFC 216 was a lively card that gave us one of the most awesome “oh shit that really happened moments” in UFC history. I’m talking about Demetrious Johnson turning a German suplex into a Fujiwara armbar and winning via submission. That, was beyond badass. Now we go into UFC 217, headlined by Bisping vs St-Pierre, but with loads of intrigue in the prelims as well as the main card itself. Let’s continue doing a semi breakdown, giving the odds and the DraftKings price point. All odds-lines and DK totals are relative to when this article is posted.

 

Early Prelims

Aiemann Zahabi +100 (7-0-0) v Ricardo Ramos -120 (10-1-0)

Both are coming off victories by unanimous decision. Zahabi however, took 20 more strikes and a pair of takedowns from Reginaldo Vleira while Ramos landed almost 20 more strikes and a submission while taking 2 takedowns as well. Both performed well, but Ramos seemed to be more in control and better at avoiding strikes from Tanaka. Zahabi only had 3 strikes on the ground in the previous fight while Ramos had 26 total strikes that were not standing based attacks. Ramos likely will aim to go to the ground and force Zahabi on the defensive. This is a rather even match-up for the most part, but I give Ramos the edge. Ramos is more accurate with his strikes (51.15% vs 39.29%) and absorbs 2.5 strikes less than Zahabi.

I’m Taking: Ricardo Ramos via Submission

Draft Kings: Zahabi – $8,700 | Ramos $7,500

 

Aleksei Oleinik +300 (52-10-1) v Curtis Blaydes -400 (7-1-0, 1 NC)

Oleinik comes in having won 13 of his last 14, the loss being by majority decision. Oleinik has been a pro since 1997. A year where I turned 9 and jumped onto the N64 train hard. He has 40 wins via submission and point blank likes to keep it on the ground. His last two wins are via submission and even in his decision loss on July 13th of 2016 he still had 4 takedowns and a pair of submissions. This becomes a problem for Blaydes. Both have a rather weak takedown defense (both at 25%) and Blaydes prefers to stand and box. He can takedown as well, he had 8 against Milstead, but that plays into Oleinik’s hand far too much. For Blaydes, he needs to keep Oleinik on his feet and force him to box. Oleinik has a lot of experience and several advantages which will force Blaydes to fight a specific bout.

I’m Taking: Aleksei Oleinik via Submission

 

Draft Kings: Oleinik – $8,200 | Blaydes $8,000

Ion Cutelaba -445 (13-3-0) v Michal Oleksiejczuk +325 (12-2-0)

The best non-main card fight here. There is a lot of story to be had. Cutelaba is 2-2 in his last 4 fights. He recently destroyed de Silva in a round 1 KO, but lost the previous fight via unanimous decision to Cannonier despite getting 6 total takedowns. The Moldovan Hulk is a power hitter, but is a volume striker. He’s like playoff Aaron Judge with his 31% successful strike percentage. All his successful takedowns are against Cannonier and his ground game is still relatively raw from a professional standpoint. On the other hand Oleksiejczuk hasn’t lost since November of 2014. He sticks mostly to Kos with the occasional decision or submission win. This could be a classic Good ol’ JR Slobberknocker between a pair of big bruising strikers where landing strikes will matter.

I’m Taking: Michal Oleksiejczuk via KO

Draft Kings: Cutelaba – $9,100 | Oleksiejczuk – $7,100

 

Prelims on FS1

Randy Brown -175 (9-2-0) v Mickey Gall +145 (4-0-0)

This is a matchup I am paying more attention to than I anticipated. Brown is a classic standing striker with some takedown ability while Gall likes going to the ground for both strikes and submission attempts. I take out his win over CM Punk as CM Punk, while a great WWE wrestler and hot fire on a mic, is no MMA fighter. He landed no strikes and Gall won what was essentially a warm up sparring match. Gall is still young into his UFC career, but has a lot of potential and upside. Brown has been able to go into round 2 and 3 and win whereas Gall has made it to round 2 only once. Brown has a better fight history while Gall has a lot of raw ability, but in this I can see Rudeboy Brown handing Gall his first loss. Brown is by far his hardest competition and I feel he will come out swinging.

I’m Taking: Brown via Decision

Draft Kings: Brown – $7,800 | Gall – $8,400

 

Ovince Saint Preux -185 (21-10-0) v Corey Anderson + 150 (10-3-0)

Saint Preux steps in due to an injured Patrick Cummins which may in fact play to the advantage of Anderson. While Anderson’s takedown percentage is only 50%, it translates to 29 total takedowns in just 13 fights. Anderson strikes at a high rate, landing 5.01 SPM compared to OSP’s 2.75 SPM. OSP and Anderson absorb near equal SPM hovering around 2.40, yet Anderson overall has a better striking defense. The question is whether OSP is ready for Anderson coming in last minute. Anderson is coming off a Round 1 loss by KO while OSP is coming off the performance of the night with his round 1 submission of Yushin Okami just over a month ago. Anderson has the takedown advantage, but OSP is stronger on the mat from a submission perspective. Fun fact, OSP’s last loss via KO was during UFC 204 when Bisping headlined. I will take Anderson partially due to that, but also because I feel he can avoid OSP’s strikes while landing his own. This is an intriguing matchup so early in the card.

I’m Taking: Corey Anderson via Decision

Draft Kings: Saint Preux – $9,000 | Anderson – $7,200

 

Walt Harris (10-6-0) v Mark Godbeer (12-3-0) *no odds found

Harris got thumped by Werdum in a submission so quick that no recorded strike happened. A good thing going into this fight for Harris is that Godbeer is a standing striker and likes it that way. That favors Harris’ style as prior to Werdum he had back to back KO’s outpunching his competition. Both men avoid 63% of strikes, but Godbeer seems to pace himself a bit better. He landed 92 strikes in 3 rounds against Daniel Spitz, giving him his first loss. It would take Harris 3.5 fights to reach that strike total. Simply put, if this goes into round 3, it favors Godbeer, but the knockout ability of Harris still gives him the edge in the opening minutes.

I’m Taking: Mark Godbeer via Decision

Draft Kings: Harris – $8,800 | Godbeer – $7,400

 

James Vick -205 (11-1-0) v Joe Duffy +165 (16-2-0)

Vick having 6 less fights than Duffy is interesting when you realize he has thrown nearly 400 more strikes and landed 161 more as well. He’s a volume striker who nearly landed 100 strikes in his win over Franca in April 2016. Duffy is 3-1 in his last 4 fights with the loss coming to Poirier in a decision that was a thrashing. Duffy absorbed 72 strikes and 4 takedowns. Duffy fights better when in control and offensive, not when defensive. Vick is the same way as well as he is 3-1 in his 4 fights and his loss to Dariush was a 46 strikes KO where Vick was on the receiving end. These two are evenly matched with Vick getting an edge due to his volume striking simply from an offensive perspective. He’s like Carmelo Anthony in that he is at his best when he gets to take all the shots essentially. This should be an interesting strikers duel where whoever gets the offensive upper hand will most likely win.

I’m Taking: Joe Duffy via KO

Draft Kings: Vick – $7,700 | Duffy – $8,500

 

Main Card

Paulo Borrachinha -225 (10-0-0) v Johny Hendricks +175 (18-7-0)

An interesting bout to be had. Hendricks is coming off a rough slump since losing the title in a split decision to Robbie Lawler. He’s 2-4 since March of 2015 and just hasn’t been on the top of his game the past 2 years. That said, Hendricks is still one hell of a competitor and cannot be taken lightly. Borrachinha is undefeated, but hasn’t faced anyone quite like Hendricks. He has to avoid takedowns and Hendricks loaded strike ability. On the ground Hendricks can go for the submission which Borrachinha has to be able to avoid. In a weird sense, Borrachinha needs to keep the fight standing, which Hendricks excels at usually as well. Looking at Hendricks losses though, the way to beat him is to control the offensive output. If Borrachinha can control the pace he can win the bout.

I’m Taking: Paulo Borrachinha via Decision

 

Draft Kings: Borrachinha – $8,900 | Hendricks – $7,300

Stephen Thompson -175 (13-1-1) v Jorge Masvidal +145 (32-12-0)

Thompson is coming off a pair of fights against Tyron Woodley where he went 0-1-1. A draw at UFC 205 and a majority decision loss at UFC 209 are the only two blemishes on Thompson’s career thus far. He matched well against Woodley and held his own twice. He has a new foe in Masvidal, a fighter that enjoys going for the submission just as much as he likes turning a bout into a strikefest. Defensively Masvidal has the edge with a 10% better striking defense percentage, but more importantly is very comfortable on the ground. It puts the onus on Thompson to either evade the takedown, forcing a standing bout or proactively takedown in order to hold the upper hand. Masvidal has experience on his side, but Thompson is coming off a tough two part title fight with Woodley and is hungry to keep his #2 Welterweight ranking.

I’m Taking: Stephen Thompson via KO

Draft Kings: Thompson – $8,600 | Masvidal $7,600

 

Strawweight Title Fight

Joanna Jedrzejczyk -555 (14-0-0) v Rose Namajunas +405 (7-3-0)

Let me point out a fun fact for you. Queen Scrabble landed 225 strikes at UFC 211 against Jessica Andrade in her last title defense. Namajunas has 261 successful strikes in all 10 of her bouts combined. Manajuanas has 15 takedowns out of 25 and tends to like using that offensively. It isn’t her primary striking offense, but it is part of her offense that is important, especially in this bout. Jedrzejczyk wants this to go to round 4 or 5 and will happily win by decision where Namajunas wants to take it to the ground and aim for the submission as quickly as possible. It will be hard as Scrabble is one of the best strikers right now in the ring, especially with her 82% takedown avoidance.

I’m Taking: Joanna Jedrzejczyk via Decision

Draft Kings: Jedrzejczyk – $9,200 | Namajunas $7,000

 

Bantamweight Title Fight

Cody Garbrandt -185 (11-0-0) v TJ Dillashaw +150 (15-3-0)

UFC 217

Dillashaw’s 2 losses over the last 5 years are via split decision, the other loss by KO in 2011. The point here is Dillashaw has still been a powerhouse even after losing his title to Dom Cruz. He hasn’t had a fight in almost a year, but is still going to be a hell of a fight for Garbrandt. Speaking of Dillashaw’s most recent loss, Garbrandt defeated Dom Cruz to take Dillashaw’s title and did it via unanimous decision. So it’s a story that writes itself. Dillawshaw wants his title back he lost by split decision while Garbrandt is an undefeated champion.

This is a hard one to call. Garbrandt is the new Nintendo Switch, but Dillashaw is the reliable and long lasting Nintendo 64. Both are great, but only one can win… other than a draw of course. Dillashaw has the experience edge and tends to land more strikes per minute (5.38 vs 3.58). Both have nearly equal accuracy, strike defense and absorbed strikes per minute. Diaashaw has a slight edge in takedown averages, but nearly equal takedown accuracy to Garbrandt. These guys are equals in most facets. However, Dillashaw’s experience gives him a few more routes to go. He could take it to the ground and go for a submission, which he is far better at than Garbrandt, or he could simply try to out-strike Garbrandt. The key for Garbrandt is effective takedowns and keeping up strike for strike with Dillashaw. A tough task, but the pattern that Cruz used in his split decision title win. This is a tough match, but a damn enjoyable one.

I’m Taking: TJ Dillashaw via Decision

Draft Kings: Garbrandt – $8,300 | Dillashaw – $7,900

 

Middleweight Title Fight

Michael Bisping +105 (31-7-0) v Georges St-Pierre -115 (25-2-0)

UFC 217 Draftkings Breakdown

St-Pierre comes in defensively superior to Bisping. But has been off for almost 4 full years. St-Pierre is still one of the best, but Bisping has had 8 total fights since St-Pierre retired and expectedly would be in better Octagon shape. It truly comes down to how much you trust in GSP’s raw, natural in ring ability. His takedown abilities, superior to Bisping in every way, striking defense, probably on par at this point with Bisping, and his strikes per minute where Bisping holds a higher average. Can GSP get a submission attempt in and/or force Bisping into a defensive posture? Those would lead down the lane of a GSP win, but if Bisping can keep up, keep his strikes in and not allow GSP to take him down, it could lead to a Bisping victory.

The problem for Bisping is he is susceptible to submission specialists and takedowns. He holds a 65% takedown defensive rating which isn’t very strong, but GSP is a god among men when taking about takedowns and submissions. Bisping has to play a near perfect hand or hope that GSP is out of ring shape which would allow Bisping the opportunity to take his shots. GSp though was well known for going the distance. His last 7 victories were all by unanimous decision except his last one against Johny Hendricks which was split. Can Bisping pull off the upset despite being the incoming champ or is it a return to GSP as champion in UFC?

I’m Taking: Georges St-Pierre via Submission

Draft Kings: Bisping – $8,100 | St-Pierre – $8,100

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