UFC 219 DraftKings Lineup Picks and Preview

Written By Tommy Messano on December 28, 2017 - Last Updated on December 30, 2017

DraftKings DFS MMA Lineup Picks & Preview for UFC 219

The UFC closes out its 2017 calendar with UFC 219 this Saturday from Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. UFC 219 marks the organization’s second pay-per-view event of the month and 12th overall in 2017.

A New Year’s Eve weekend card, UFC 219 is flying under the radar but still offers plenty of intriguing options for your DraftKings MMA lineups.

Former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm fought in the main event of UFC 208 back in January, and she will once again chase gold at UFC 219. Opposite Holm in 219’s main event will be featherweight champion Cris Cyborg. For the better part of a decade, Cyborg (with her 18-fight winning streak) has been viewed as the most dominant female athlete in MMA.   

UFC 219’s main card also features a possible lightweight number one contender fight: Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on Edson Barboza. Fans also anticipate Neil Magny and the return of former welterweight title holder Carlos Condit.

With fight week upon us, there are several UFC fighters worth considering for your DraftKings lineup. Below is our DraftKings analysis for the main card of UFC 219 and three additional undercard fighters who may be underpriced.

Featured DraftKings DFS MMA Tournaments

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UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship: Cris Cyborg (c) vs. Holly Holm

On DraftKings, Cyborg and her 18-1 record garner a $9.3k price. Plus, she’s the second-biggest favorite of the night. Looking to capture a UFC belt in two different weight classes, Holly Holm comes in at $6.9k.

Backed by an astounding 13 straight KO/TKO wins, Cyborg lives up to her label as “the world’s most dangerous” female fighter. Already 3-0 in the UFC, Cyborg has rarely, if ever, shown any signs of weakness in the cage.  

Meanwhile, since Holly Holm upset and knocked out Ronda Rousey in 2015, she has gone 1-3 in the UFC. A former pro boxer with multiple world championships on her resume, Holm’s technical striking ability may give her something around which to build a gameplan. 

The problem for Holm is that all of her strengths are trumped by Cyborg’s in those same areas. In a battle between fighters who love to strike, Cyborg holds the edge in both power and finishing abilities. For a glimmer of hope, Holm supporters could point to her Jackson Wink MMA Academy being the best gym in the sport. Plus, she’s working with the same coaches who crafted the strategy to defeat Rousey.

The pick has to be Cyborg until she gives the MMA world a reason not to back her.

Lightweight: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Edson Barboza

Priced at $9.1k on DraftKings, the unbeaten Nurmagomedov takes on a dangerous striker in Barboza. Riding a three-fight winning streak, Barboza carries a $7.1k tag at UFC 219.

Sporting a perfect 24-0 record in MMA, Nurmagomedov is also a Sambo champion and a black belt in judo. At 29 years of age, Nurmagomedov has ridden his physicality and dominant wrestling skills to an 8-0 mark in the UFC.

A seven-year veteran of the UFC, Barboza is a human highlight reel inside the cage. Overall, Barboza stands at 13-4 inside the UFC with six stoppages.

In a classic grappler-striker affair, Nurmagomedov’s wrestling skills will look to negate Barboza’s Muay Thai striking attack. This said, it’s worth noting Nurmagomedov has not fought in over a year due to injuries. Barboza’s best chance is to catch Nurmagomedov sleeping early with a big punch or kick from an angle the Russian Sambo specialist is not accustomed to seeing.

Nurmagomedov’s wrestling chops and ability to dictate where the fight takes place makes him the pick here despite the long layoff.    

Strawweight: Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza

In one of the most surprising 219 prices, unbeaten Cynthia Calvillo ($9.2k) steps in as the third-biggest favorite of the night. Former UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza and her one fight winning streak are a live dog at $7.0k.

Only a pro since 2016, Calvillo has raced out to a 7-0 record in MMA. The 30-year-old submission specialist debuted in the UFC in March. Plus, she’s already gone 3-0 in the promotion and will look to win an amazing four UFC fights in the span of nine months.

Also 30 years old, Esparza came to the UFC sporting a 9-2 MMA pro record. Esparza would capture UFC strawweight gold in her first UFC fight and is 3-2 since.

This is basically a matchup of Esparza’s experience versus Calvillo’s raw talent. Despite walking into the cage as an underdog, Esparza’s wrestling ability and big-fight experience should be enough to briefly halt Calvillo’s rise.


Welterweight: Carlos Condit vs. Neil Magny

One of the more popular fighters in the UFC, Condit ($8.5k) returns to the sport after a 15-month retirement. Stuck in a 1-2 losing skid, the 30-year-old Magny ($7.7k) will welcome Condit back to the UFC.

Known for winning 28 of 30 pro MMA wins by knockout or submission, the 33-year-old Condit hit a rough patch before his retirement in August 2016. Condit left the UFC with a 2-5 record since his February 2012 UFC welterweight title win over Nick Diaz.

For most of his 16-fight UFC run, Magny has been known as a solid gatekeeper at 170 pounds with a grinding style. Boosting a 11-5 mark inside the UFC, 19-6 overall, Magny went 1-2 in the cage since Condit hung up his gloves.

From a pure talent standpoint, Condit holds the edge over Magny in striking, submissions, defense, athleticism, and experience. The safe pick is Condit by stoppage, but don’t be surprised if Magny pushes his ring-rusted opponent to the brink. An upset decision seems quite possible. 

Lightweight: Dan Hooker vs. Marc Diakiese

The definition of a showcase fight, hot 24-year old prospect Marc Diakiese ($8.7k) takes on journeyman Dan Hooker ($7.5k) on the main card of UFC 219. An accomplished striking sensation, Diakiese will look to rebound from the first loss of his MMA career. With a 4-3 record in the UFC, Hooker alternated wins and losses in the UFC since his 2014 debut.  

Looking to build momentum on his upset of Ross Pearson in June, Hooker runs into an even more dangerous striker in Diakiese. Look for Diakiese to put on a striking exhibition before stopping Hooker.   


Three potential underdogs for UFC 219 DraftKings lineups

Omari Akhmedov ($7.6k): In a battle of two welterweights competing at middleweight, Omari Akhmedov has both the experience and grappling edge over 24-year-old Marvin Vettori. With the ability to knock out or submit opponents, Akhmedov ought to control the pace and have multiple opportunities to finish off Vettori.

Rick Glenn ($7.4k): Dynamic striker Rick Glenn faces once-heralded prospect Myles Jury in a featherweight fight. Jury recently came back from a two-year hiatus in April. While he was away, Glenn went 5-1 in MMA. Glenn comes from a great gym in Team Alpha Male, and his striking will give Jury problems with the possibility of pulling off a solid upset.

Louis Smolka ($7.3k): Already a nine-fight UFC veteran at 26, Louis Smolka has the talent to compete with any flyweight. Despite losing three straight, Smolka checks the experience and striking boxes over Matheus Nicolau. If Smolka is able to keep the fight on the feet, he possesses a really good chance of out-striking Nicolau and winning by stoppage or decision. 

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Tommy Messano

A fantasy sports player for several years, Tommy Messano is a writer residing in Gilbert, Arizona who is best known for his work as a Mixed Martial Arts journalist. His work has been featured in a number of publications, including Sherdog.com, MiddleEasy.com, ESPN.com and CagesideSeats.com. Twitter: @ULTMMA

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