DraftKings UFC 217 DFS MMA Lineup Picks and Preview
On Saturday November 4th, the UFC returns to New York City’s Madison Square Garden for one of the biggest MMA cards ever, creating some of the biggest DFS MMA contests ever. Featuring three title fights and the return of one of the most popular fighters in mixed martial arts history, UFC 217 looks to be the most stacked pay-per-view of the year for MMA fans.
In the main event, UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping puts his belt on the line versus former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. For Bisping, it will be his second UFC title defense while St-Pierre returns to the cage after a four-year retirement and will move up in weight to the 185-pound limit for the first time his career.
The UFC 217 pay-per-view undercard is anchored by a Cody Garbrandt vs.T.J. Dillashaw bantamweight title fight along with a Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas women’s strawweight championship bout.
With fight week upon us, there are several UFC fighters worth considering for your UFC 217 DraftKings lineup. Here is our DraftKings analysis for the main card of UFC 217, three additional undercard fighters who may be underpriced and provide value to your lineup.
UFC 217 Main Card Preview
UFC Middleweight Championship: Michael Bisping (c) vs. Georges St-Pierre
On DraftKings, UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping ($8,100) enters UFC 217 priced dead even with his opponent Georges St-Pierre ($8,100). In an even fight that may come down to intangibles, there is some value on Bisping.
The 38-year-old Bisping is on a five fight win streak with victories over Anderson Silva, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson. Bisping has also been the more active fighter with a total of eight UFC fights, four that went a full 25 minutes, during St-Pierre’s self imposed hiatus from the sport.
Ring rust is a very real thing and despite the past accomplishments for St-Pierre, the UFC 217 main event will be his first fight in 47 months. Also, while Bisping has spent his career fighting at 205 and 185 pounds respectively, St-Pierre’s entire 27 fight career has been contested at 170 pounds.
With the cardio, experience fighting at middleweight, activity and size advantage all leaning Bisping, the defending champion taking a decision victory or a TKO win over St-Pierre is a good pick.
UFC Bantamweight Championship: Cody Garbrandt (c) vs.T.J. Dillashaw
Former training partners turned rivals, DraftKings prices of UFC bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt ($8,300) and challenger T.J. Dillashaw ($7,900) points to a very competitive fight. For both Garbrandt and Dillashaw, it will be their first fight in 11 months.
In Garbrandt’s last outing, he took a decisive five-round decision from longtime champion Dominick Cruz. Dillashaw’s last outing saw him win a three-round decision over striker John Lineker.
Physically, Garbrandt and Dillashaw are similarly built for the 135 pound weight class, with no significant height or reach advantage factoring in.
Both fighters are wrestlers who have evolved into great MMA strikers. Garbrandt holds the punching power edge with nine KO/TKO wins in 11 pro fights. While Dillashaw holds the MMA wrestling advantage as a three time NCAA tournament qualifier out of Cal State Fullerton.
With no clear cardio lean for either fighter, the bantamweight title bout may boil down to Garbrandt’s ability to land his power shots versus Dillashaw’s strength of mixing wrestling with striking. Over the course of five rounds it’s hard to avoid Garbrandt’s dynamite hands from landing a fight altering blow.
Garbrandt and his boxing give him a likely decision or KO nod over Dillashaw.
UFC Strawweight Championship: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (c) vs. Rose Namajunas
In terms of DraftKings salary, UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk ($9,200) represents the biggest favorite of the UFC 217 12-fight card. Looking to pull the upset will be 25-year-old Rose Namajunas ($7,000).
When the highest priced fighter on DraftKings goes up against the lowest priced fighter, is there a chance for an upset?
A converted kickboxer and Muay Thai champion, the 30-year-old Jedrzejczyk is a perfect 14-0 in her MMA career. Jedrzejczyk is 8-0 in her UFC run with now five successful 115 pound title defenses under her belt.
After winning three straight fights, all by submission, on the Ultimate Fighter reality show tournament, Namajunas lost in the finals but was still signed to an UFC contract. Since losing her UFC debut, Namajunas has gone 4-1 in the UFC with three wins coming via highlight reel submissions.
Namajunas’ best shot to win is to make the champion scramble, turn the fight into a high pace affair and drag the fight to the ground for an early submission. If the UFC 115 pound title fight remains on on the feet, Jedrzejczyk’s technical prowess and overall MMA experience edge should carry her to a decision or maybe a late TKO stoppage.
Welterweight: Stephen Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal
With a $1,000 edge on DraftKings, Stephen Thompson ($8,600) leads the way over Jorge Masvidal ($7,600) in a battle of 170 pound strikers. Both Thompson and Masvidal enter the fight on a one fight losing streak, so expect both men to pull out all the stops.
Moving up from 155 pounds Masvidal may run into problems with the bigger, stronger Thompson over the course of what looks to shape up as a 15 minute striking exhibition. A former two-time welterweight title challenger, look for Thompson’s striking style to frustrate Masvidal in route to a spectacular KO win.
Middleweight: Johny Hendricks vs. Paulo Costa
The UFC 217 pay-per-view opens up with two fighters going in opposite directions. A physical presence at 185 pounds Paulo Costa ($8,900) is 10-0 in his MMA career. A former 170 pound contender Johny Hendricks ($7,300) is not only moving up in weight but he’s stuck in a run of five losses in his last seven fights. All signs point to Costa winning by KO or dominant decision.
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Three Underdogs for UFC 217 DraftKings Lineups
Curtis Blaydes ($8,000): A live dog to fellow heavyweight Alexey Oleinik ($8,200), Blaydes has the height, size and athletic advantage in the undercard matchup. 14 years younger than the 40-year-old Oleinik , Blaydes strength and durability gives him a real shot of not only winning the fight but picking a up KO or TKO along the way.
James Vick ($7,700): With a 7-1 record in the UFC and 11-1 in MMA overall, James Vick is an underdog to few lightweights. Joseph Duffy ($8,500) owns a 4-1 UFC record and 17-2 mark in his MMA. In what should be a striking affair, Vick holds a five inch height and three inch reach advantage.
Ricardo Ramos ($7,500): A 22 year-old prospect with a 10-1 MMA record, 1-0 in the UFC, Ricardo Ramos is lined up to the pull the upset at UFC 217. Ramos is paired with unbeaten 7-0 bantamweight Aiemann Zahabi ($8,700). With eight career finishes by KO or submission wins, Ramos will serve as the toughest test of Zahabi’s career and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he pulled off a victory.