The UFC rolls on with the third of three events organized by president Dana White and broadcast on Pay-Per-View at an empty VyStar Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
The first two events went on despite fighter Jacare Souza testing positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. On Wednesday, Karl Roberson was scratched from his fight with Marvin Vettori due to illness, though it is unclear if Roberson had the coronavirus. Fighters and their cornermen will be tested ahead of Saturday’s event, so stay tuned for potential cancellations.
Saturday’s UFC Fight Night is another 11- fight card with two main events, including a heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris. The co-main event is a women’s strawweight battle between Claudia Gadelha and Angela Hill.
DraftKings is offering several big DFS contests with the Throwdown Special offering $500k in prizes for a $15 entry fee. At, PlayPicks we’re once again providing our top DFS plays to help you build your DFS lineups.
In this column, we will identify the top DFS plays to consider for Cash and GPP formats for the May 16 contests at DraftKings. We also highlight sleepers and values to consider.
Keep in mind the betting lines may shift prior to the fight and news may break regarding how prepared each fighter is for their respective bout, many of which were scheduled on relatively short notice.
UFC Fight Night Top DFS Plays
Walt Harris ($8,700)
This main event heavyweight bout could go up to 5 rounds, but Harris has shown a penchant for ending things early. His last time out, he knocked out Aleksei Oleinik just 12 seconds into the first round, earning his fourth straight victory. Harris (13-7) faces 39-year-old veteran Alistair Overeem (45-18), who has been knocked out in 3 of his last 5 fights. Since Overeem’s last 6 fights and Harris’ last 4 fights have ended with an early stoppage, we should see a big bonus for whichever heavyweight comes out on top. Consider Overeem ($7,500) as a value play in GPP lineups sine the veteran could have enough tricks up his sleeve to outmaneuver Harris. But we like Harris to stay hot with another knockout.
Edson Barboza ($8,500)
While Barboza (20-8) has dropped 4 of his last 5 fights, two of those came against top-ranked contenders or champions in Justin Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov. At 34, Barboza can still deliver plenty of punishment and he’s a tempting bet against 28-year-old Dan Ige with -137 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Barboza moves down to the featherweight division and stands 5-foot-11 to Ige’s 5-foot-7, with a four-inch advantage in reach (75″). Ige is riding a hot streak thanks in part to his ability to take his opponents to the mat, but Barboza has an 80% takedown defense rate. The Brazilian has 7 TKO wins in his UFC career and 5 of his last 6 fights have gone to decision, so he’s a relatively safe play with a good ceiling.
Darren Elkins ($8,300)
Elkins is another veteran who has struggled lately against some premier competition. He comes into his featherweight fight against Nate Landwehr on a 3-fight losing streak that began with a decision loss to Alexander Volkanovski in 2018. But Elkins (25-8) has been off since last July and knows how to go the distance against the less experienced Landwehr (13-3).
The average fight time for Elkins runs 11:56 and Landwehr only landed 1.47 significant strikes per minute in his UFC debut against Herbert Burns in January. Elkins averages 2.52 takedowns per 15 minutes and should have an advantage on the mat. The 35-year-old is worth a look at -118 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook.
UFC 249 Top DFS Value Plays
Eryk Anders ($7,600)
We should see an aggressive strategy from the 33-year-old Anders in his middleweight bout against Krzystztof Jotko (21-4). While Jotko (-165 at DK) is favored, an upset could prove very profitable for backers of Anders (+130) and those who slot him into their GPP lineups. Both fighters are southpaws with plenty of power, but Anders should pack more punch after moving down to fight at 185 pounds. Anders is a supreme athlete, who once starred at linebacker for Alabama. He’s been training with his heavyweight friend Walt Harris and probably has the speed and strength to get inside Jotko and knock him out. Jotko is a technical fighter who has won 65% of his octagon fights by decision. Anders should aim to avoid going the distance.
Marlon Vera ($7,300)
Vera is a training fiend and that should give bettors confidence that he’s used all the downtime during the pandemic to grow stronger. The Ecuadorian is listed as a +150 underdog against 22-year-old hotshot Song Yadong (15-4), who is unbeaten over his last 8 bouts. But this is a relatively even featherweight matchup between fighters who both land and absorb a lot of significant strikes for their weight class. Vera (15-5-1) is no slouch with a 5-fight win streak of his own coming into this event that includes three TKO finishes and two second-round submissions. He’s priced very affordably for a fighter who averages a solid 72.6 DK points per fight.