What in the world is going on with UFC 206 live from Toronto on PPV this Saturday night? Daniel Cormier dropped out of the main event due to a groin injury; then they make an interim title fight between Holloway and Pettis as a new main event. Then Pettis misses required weight by three lbs., taking away his chance to win the belt with a victory. Cowboy Cerrone with a legit eye injury from hunting, yet cruises to Cabo last minute for some stem cell work? Emil Meek required to shave his beard by the Ontario Commission if he wants to fight? What is going on? Ah, who cares. Let's see some fights and win some money!
Some quick notes about the main card.
Max Holloway vs. Anthony Pettis
- Max Holloway (16-3, 12-3 UFC) vs. Anthony Pettis (19-5, 6-4 UFC) headline the PPV for what was to be an interim featherweight title fight. By missing weight, Pettis cannot win the title with a win, yet Holloway can still be crowned the interim champ still with a win.
- This is the 15th UFC featherweight bout for Holloway in the UFC, the most in the history of the division.
- Holloway is riding a nine fight winning streak, the third longest streak among active fighters.
- Pettis was successful in his featherweight debut, defeating Charles Oliveira by submission in round 3.
Donald Cerrone vs. Matt Brown
- Cerrone is 3-0 since moving to welterweight.
- All three welterweight victories have been via stoppage.
- Cerrone’s 16 stoppage victories are the most in the combined history of the UFC/WEC.
- Brown is just 1-4 in his past five bouts.
- Brown has nine KO victories in the welterweight division which lands him with the most in divisional history.
- Brown lands 54% of his significant strike attempts in the division, making him 2nd highest in welterweight history.
Cub Swanson vs. Dooho Choi
- Cub has 13 wins in UFC/WEC featherweight competition, which places him 2nd most behind Jose Aldo in divisional history.
- Cub has six knockdowns recorded in UFC featherweight competition which ties him for most in divisional history.
- Choi is riding a 12 fight winning streak.
- Choi has won all three of his UFC fights by KO.
Tim Kennedy vs. Kevin Gastelum
- Kennedy is coming in after an 805-day layoff.
- Kennedy has won by stoppage in 14 of his 18 victories.
- Gastelum was forced to jump back to the middleweight division after missing weight on three separate occasions at welterweight.
- Gastelum has never been finished, and both of his losses are via split decision.
Jordan Mein vs. Emil Meek
- Mein briefly retired but is making his return after 679 days since his last fight.
- Meek is making his UFC debut, after knocking out Rousimar Palhares last May at Venator FC 3.
Alright, time to recap how the DraftKings scoring is set for these tourneys:
Before we get started with breakdowns, here’s my tips to consider as you build your lineup.
Have you taken down some notes? Well, let's do this: Breakdown time.
As mentioned in the tip sheet above, here’s my MMA DFS Heat Chart for UFC 206. As you can see, the chart is ranked based on fight finish odds. Fight finishes are where the points are at in MMA DFS. Take a quick glance at the stack, and we will break down the individual match-ups here in just a few.
Now, two key offensive metrics are strikes and takedowns. They get off on their opponents, watch your points rack up quick. Here’s my Offensive Output Meter for UFC 206. With this chart, you can compare historical fighter averages in these two key metrics as I rank all fighters participating Saturday night.
Match-up time. Let’s roll.
Holloway ($8800) vs. Pettis ($7400)
Pettis missed weight by three lbs and lost his chance at the title with a win. Those final hours of that weight cut had to take a good toll on him, as well as some severe mental letdown. Aside from that, even if he made it, Holloway is the pick here. He's the better boxer by far, has good use of range, and will be twice as active on the feet. I expect Holloway to fight very intelligently and will move in and out, looking to score, while avoiding the big shots from Pettis. Pettis just beat Oliveira in his last fight, and it took him into the 3rd to do so. It only took Holloway just over a minute to finish the same guy via TKO (esophagus injury) aka "I don't want anymore daddy!" Holloway should show us a technical clinic and cruise to unanimous victory.
Cerrone ($9300) vs. Brown ($6900)
As you may have seen this week, Brown cannot stand Cerrone. He’s been very vocal this week about his distaste and has twice completely shot down Cerrone’s offer for a gentlemen's handshake. These two will come out swinging. Watch. As we've seen in the Dos Anjos fight, if you get off first and hurt Cerrone, you are in good shape. But Cerrone at this weight is much different. He's finished his last three since moving up and should finish Brown as well. Cerrone’s Muay Thai should expose Brown's weakness. That is the inability to take shots to the body. We should either see Brown buckle or at some point, Cerrone lock on a choke. The only concern I have is the travel Cerrone has put in to get to Saturday night. Denver, to Cabo San Lucas, to Toronto in a VERY short time. Hopefully, that recycled airplane air doesn't get in the way. Cerrone for me.
Swanson ($7300) vs Choi ($8900)
The Korean Superboy. This is one of those guys you see walking down the street, and you think he’s 12 years old, heading to get a Slurpee. Little do you know, he would put you to sleep and fast. This guy is a technical freak. Check this out. Choi has absorbed only ten significant strikes across all three of his UFC fights combined. Why? Because he clips you first clean. He's won by TKO/KO in his last eight fights, five of which were in the first round. Cub is his toughest competition yet, though. He's landed 777 significant strikes in his UFC/WEC career (2nd all-time) and has been KO'd only once in his 30 fight career. It came via a nasty knee to the eye in 2009 against Jose Aldo, at a fight I coincidentally attended. I think the torch gets passed on Saturday.
Kennedy ($8300) vs. Gastelum ($7900)
Gastelum is a tremendous wrestler, while Kennedy is known for his submission grappling. Kennedy has the striking edge but hasn't fought for over two years. Gastelum may land from the southpaw stance, but eventually, Kennedy will get it to the ground and score with the pressure from the top. I'd suggest passing on this one from a DFS perspective, but I see Kennedy via decision as a winner.
Mein ($9000) vs. Meek ($7200)
Mein is coming out of retirement (he's 27) to take this fight in front of his hometown Canadian fans. Now I always have a hard time taking a guy who's coming off a KO loss, and he's another one of those that I'll pass on. Not only will he have some ring rust, but he's also coming off a KO loss (kick to the body) in his last effort. Meek, on the other hand, could have the ol' octagon jitters in his UFC debut, but I doubt it. The guy is an animal. He either finishes or gets finished if you know what I mean. After watching him destroy Palhares in just 45 seconds back in May, I’m a fan and think he has live dog shot and pulling this off. Plus he’s gotta be pissed off that the commission made him trim down the sweet beard he's been working on to fight Saturday night. Make em pay Emil Meek!
Cirkunov ($8100) vs. Krylov ($8100)
I'm a Misha fan. No, not Miesha Tate, Misha Cirkunov. Krylov has this cult following and what started as some trolling, has turned into some real believers backing this guy. He keeps finishing everyone they put in front of him. Check the stats I have above. This should prove to be Krylov going ham on the feet, and Cirkunov looking to close and get it to the mat….and he will. Krylov has some sneaky subs, but Cirkunov has shown us he does as well, finishing his last two via triangle and neck crank. Krylov’s last two losses have come from guys that forced the fight to the ground. With a 43% takedown defense versus a guy that lands almost five takedowns per fight (4.65), I like my chances here.
Aubin-Mercier ($8200) vs. Dober ($8000)
Even though Dober has been on a little run as of late (2-0 in 2016), I like OAM at home in this spot. Yes, every fight starts on the feet, but these two love the submission game, and this one will eventually get to the mat, and OAM should be in the dominant position for the majority of that. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a rear naked choke locked in before the final bell from OAM.
Letourneau ($8400) vs. Pereira ($7800)
Letourneau looked horrible at the weigh-ins. The word is she had an extremely tough cut, and you could see visibly that she had been crying just before hitting the scale. She stated she just ran out of time and would have made the limit with more time. (They do the official weigh-ins, in the mornings now, with the televised follow up for press later in the day) Even with the issue, this fight looks to be set up for the Canadian fans with Letourneau leveraging her 5-inch reach advantage and taking out some frustration on Pereira. Pereira, from Brazil, is making her UFC debut and is an amazing 11-0 record. A record she's collected against a bunch of .500 opponents (not amazing). Take it for what it's worth, Pereira has never fought outside of Brazil, and out there they typically fight in arenas without AC. So let's send her to Toronto where it's like 21 degrees. The crowd will be loud for Letourneau.
Gagnon ($8600) vs. Lopez ($7600)
Gagnon from Canada. Gagnon (12-3) with 11 submission victories. Lopez with only one UFC fight in his career. Lost via submission. I see what you are doing here UFC. I may take a shot and put the hometown guy in my lineup.
Vannata ($8700) vs. Makdessi ($7500)
What a match up here. I have always thought Cerrone took a piece of Makdessi’s soul with that head kick in May of 2015. Remember Makdessi started trying to call timeout and waved off the fight himself along with some other stuff? Well if anyone can get inside and possibly re-break that jaw, its Vanatta. Yes, he only has one UFC fight, but it was very short notice against El Cucuy, and he almost finished him more than once. The bright lights, or fights on the road, have no hindrance on this guy. Makdessi will be the more technical fighter, but he’ll bring less power than Vanatta, and Vanatta will eventually draw blood.
Khabilov ($9100) vs. Saggo ($7100)
Saggo is a solid fighter, fighting at home here, but this is a terrible matchup for him. Khabilov missed weight by 2.5 lbs and will hand over 20% of his purse, which will make it ever more important to get the win money Saturday night. Khabilov will land takedowns and most like control Saggo for the majority of the fight, which will likely end in a decision.
Makovsky ($8500) vs. Ortiz ($7700)
This will be a close fight. Both have solid striking and takedowns. Expect some scrambles and back and forth action. Lots on the line for both as one will have their third loss in a row, which typically equals a pink slip. I will be fading this one in DFS, but I am going with the underdog.
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