This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
Before the UFC shifts attention to the annual Madison Square Garden card, the promotion will head north of the border to Moncton, New Brunswick for a light heavyweight showcase.
If you're hoping to turn the event into an opportunity to build your DFS bankroll, DraftKings.com has you covered with a full slate of contests. Players get a $50,000 budget to select six fighters, and the scoring is distributed as follows:
(Please note that DraftKings altered their scoring system in December 2016 to add a new fighter to the lineup and adjust scoring. The most recent point values are listed below.)
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
Advance (ADVC): +3 PT
Takedown (TD): +5 PTS
Reversal/Sweep (REV): +5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +10 PTS
Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win (1rW+): +90 PTS
2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rW+): +45 PTS
4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 PTS
5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 PTS
Decision Win (WBD+): +30 PTS
Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
Advances include: To Half Guard, To Side Control, To Mount, To Back Control
Now, on to the fights...
Main Event - Light HeavyweightVolkan Oezdemir (15-2-0) v. Anthony Smith (30-13-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Oezdemir ($8,400), Smith ($7,800)
Vegas Odds: Oezdemir (-180), Smith (+160)
Odds to Finish: -1050
Three upset wins in a five-month span earned Oezdemir a shot at Daniel Cormier's UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in January. Unfortunately, "No Time" (that's Oezdemir) was a "no-show" for the biggest fight of his career. As expected, Oezdemir had zero answers for DC's world-class wrestling game. Oezdemir isn't on the level of Cormier, or Alexander Gustafsson (who he was due to fight in September), or Jon Jones, or whatever other top light heavyweights that you wish to name. He's in that next tier, and the concerns that he is nothing more than a knockout artist are legitimate.
Smith is coming off back-to-back knockout wins over Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua in a five-week span this past summer. The move up to 205 pounds has seemingly saved Smith's career. A professional for more than a decade, Smith has 33 fights under his belt despite the fact he turned just 30 years of age in July. Smith possesses big-time power and an underrated chin. He has been knocked out just once in the past seven years.
Smith is the more well-rounded fighter of the two, but I think this will be an all-out brawl. The winner will be the man that will be able to absorb power shots from his opposition the best, and from everything I've seen of late, I expect that to be Smith. I'm also a bit worried about Oezdemir's cardio in a five-round fight. DC will make a lot of guys look stupid, but I have concerns about Volkan being able to push the pace for 25 minutes. Give me Smith in what should be a highly entertaining fight.
THE PICK: Smith
Co-Main Event - Light HeavyweightMisha Cirkunov (13-4-0) v. Patrick Cummins (10-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Cirkunov ($9,300), Cummins ($6,900)
Vegas Odds: Cirkunov (-425), Cummins (+340)
Odds to Finish: -240
Cirkunov and Cummins meet in a matchup of two fighters who have underachieved in relation to their overall talent level. Cirkunov is coming off back-to-back knockout losses to Oezdemir and Glover Teixeira. Those two setbacks came on the heels of an impressive four-fight winning streak to start his run with the company. Misha has a boatload of power and is an exceptional athlete. He's highly explosive and has seven career wins via submission. His main downfall has been his inability to right the ship when things start to go south during the course of a fight.
Cummins, who turns 38 years old next month, has fought 11 times in his 4.5 years with the company. The results have been mediocre (6-5), with Cummins struggling against quality competition and beating up on fringe opponents. A former two-time Division I All-American wrestler at Penn State, Cummins's entire offensive attack revolves around his ability to score takedowns. His striking defense is non existent and his chin is questionable.
Cirkunov's biggest strength is his grappling, but he should have a significant advantage over Cummins on the feet. I've been burned by Cummins more times than I can count and I'm not falling into that trap again. Even if Cummins is able to score a takedown or two, Cirkunov is talented enough to score a submission from bottom position. If Cirkunov's takedown defense holds up, I think he wins easily given Cummins's striking limitations.
THE PICK: Cirkunov
Light HeavyweightGian Villante (16-10-0) v. Ed Herman (24-13-0, 1NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Villante ($9,000), Herman ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: Villante (-250), Herman (+210)
Odds to Finish: -175
The UFC's light heavyweight division continues to spin it's wheels. The division has a half dozen guys or so (Villante, Corey Anderson, Cummins, Ilir Latifi, Ovince Saint Preux, etc..) who seem to fight each other and no one else.
Villante continues to underachieve given his athletic pedigree. A loser of three of his last four bouts, the former Hofstra University football star may have very well deserved a better fate in his split-decision setback to Sam Alvey in June. Villante's cardio – a long time issue – has actually looked a bit better of late. On the other hand, Villante still gets hit too much and he possesses zero footwork. He won't win anything other than an all-out brawl.
Thankfully for Gian, Herman seems likely to engage him in that type of bout. "Short Fuse" has just one win in the last 4.5 years, but he somehow still has a job. Herman has a terrific ground game (13 career submission wins) for a big man, but he's giving up all sorts of size and strength to Villante and it seems unlikely he will be able to get his opponent to the mat.
I'm out on Villante in terms of him defeating legitimate contenders, but Herman is nothing more than roster depth. It will be a telling, disturbing result if the native New Yorker somehow comes up short on Saturday.
THE PICK: Villante
HeavyweightArjan Bhullar (7-1-0) v. Marcelo Golm (6-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Bhullar ($8,800), Golm ($7,400)
Vegas Odds: Bhullar (-210), Golm (+175)
Odds to Finish: +110
Bhullar is looking to bounce back from the first loss of his pro career, a submission setback against Adam Wieczorek in April. A native Canadian of Indian descent, Bhullar is a potential marketing gold mine. The 32-year-old was a multiple time Canadian national wrestling champion and he has potential in a division that lacks young, talented bodies. Bhullar's biggest issue is that he is still inexperienced as a professional MMA fighter given his age. His striking remains a work in progress and there are concerns that he won't ever have the all-around game to defeat top competition. That being said, he's a fighter to keep an eye on moving forward.
Golm is 1-1 in his brief UFC run. The polar opposite of Bhullar, Golm has a ton of power and little else. All six of his victories have been of the first-round stoppage variety, and I have concerns regarding his cardio. That might not come into play during this fight, but it almost certainly will moving forward.
Golm is young enough (25) that it's reasonable to expect improvement moving forward. While he can't match the grappling game of Bhullar, he's more athletic and has way more power in his hands. On a fight card that features a bunch of lesser known fighters, fantasy owners will need to make their stand somewhere. Bhullar's striking defense is actually halfway decent and it's difficult to see Golm winning any way other than knockout. I'll take Bhullar in a close, competitive fight.
THE PICK: Bhullar
FeatherweightMichael Johnson (19-12-0) v. Artem Lobov (14-14-1, 1NC)
DraftKings Salaries: Johnson ($9,500), Lobov ($6,700)
Vegas Odds: Johnson ($9,500), Lobov ($6,700)
Odds to Finish: +125
THE PICK: Johnson
BantamweightAndre Soukhamthath (12-6-0) v. Jonathan Martinez (9-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Soukhamthath ($8,600), Martinez ($7,600)
Vegas Odds: Soukhamthath (-220), Martinez (+180)
Odds to Finish: +140
THE PICK: Soukhamthath
WelterweightAlex Garcia (15-4-0) v. Court McGee (19-6-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Garcia ($8,500), McGee ($7,700)
Vegas Odds: Garcia (-185), McGee (+160)
Odds to Finish: +160
THE PICK: Garcia
WelterweightNordine Taleb (14-5-0) v. Sean Strickland (19-3-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Taleb ($8,200), Strickland ($8,000)
Vegas Odds: Taleb (-105), Strickland (-115)
Odds to Finish: +225
THE PICK: Strickland
LightweightThibault Gouti (12-4-0) v. Nasrat Haqparast (9-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Gouti ($6,500), Haqparast ($9,700)
Vegas Odds: Gouti (+575), Haqparast (-850)
Odds to Finish: -285
THE PICK: Haqparast
FeatherweightCalvin Kattar (18-3-0) v. Chris Fishgold (17-1-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Kattar ($9,100), Fishgold ($7,100)
Vegas Odds: Kattar (-275), Fishgold (+235)
Odds to Finish: +130
THE PICK: Kattar
Women's BantamweightSarah Moras (5-4-0) v. Talita Bernardo (5-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Moras ($8,700), Bernardo ($7,500)
Vegas Odds: Moras (-200), Bernardo (+175)
Odds to Finish: +185
THE PICK: Bernardo
LightweightTe Edwards (6-1-0) v. Don Madge (7-1-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Edwards ($9,400), Madge ($6,800)
Vegas Odds: Edwards (-440), Madge (+350)
Odds to Finish: -300
THE PICK: Edwards
LightweightStevie Ray (21-7-0) v. Jessin Ayari (16-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Ray ($8,300), Ayari ($7,900)
Vegas Odds: Ray (-165), Ayari (+145)
Odds to Finish: +240
THE PICK: Ayari