This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
The UFC heads to Milwaukee for the first time since 2013 for what will be the last card televised on FOX for the foreseeable future, as the promotion is set to move to the ESPN family of networks in 2019. DFS-wise, we have $60,000 up for grabs in the $10 MMA Uppercut, and dozens of qualifiers available for the Year End Brawl, which is shaping up to be one of the biggest prize pools in the sport's history.
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 - LightweightKevin Lee (16-4-0) v. Al Iaquinta (13-4-1)
DraftKings Salaries: Lee ($9,000), Iaquinta ($7,200)
Vegas Odds: Lee (-310), Iaquinta (+255)
Odds to Finish: -265
The UFC's first trip to Milwaukee's brand new Fiserv Forum will be headlined by the rematch of a February 2014 bout in which Iaquinta defeated Lee via unanimous decision. Lee has been angling for these two to run it back for months, if not years, and he will get his wish on Saturday. That was Lee's first fight with the company, and he has improved by leaps and bounds in his near five years with the UFC.
Lee has fought 12 times since the two first met, compared to just seven times for "Raging Al." Lee is 10-2 in that span, and his two setbacks came against Tony Ferguson and Leonardo Santos, the latter being a fluke first-round knockout. Lee has a background in wrestling, he's a superb athlete, and he's freakishly strong for the lightweight division. He missed weight his last time out and his striking defense becomes suspect at times, but he has all the tools to be a future title contender.
Due to a crazy set of circumstances, Iaquinta found himself fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 in April in Brooklyn. That fight went about as expected (Khabib rolled over Al), but Iaquinta displayed his toughness and managed to see the final bell of a five-round fight. That's an exceptionally impressive feat given what we saw Khabib do to Conor McGregor not long ago. Iaquinta's striking has improved considerably since he first entered the company off The Ultimate Fighter in 2012. Al's base remains his wrestling game, but his pinpoint stand-up game is now viewed as an asset, as opposed to a weakness.
While the two men are the same exact height, Lee has a whopping seven-inch reach advantage. It's an edge that may prove important in a fight in which there is seemingly little separating the two men. Iaquinta has the better cardio and the longer this thing goes, the more it favors the Long Islander. Yet, Lee is the better athlete who is far more explosive, and I always believe in betting on quality athletes. The line is too high for my liking, as is Lee's DK salary, but he deserves to be favored and I think he wins. I do advocate using Al somewhere if you create multiple lineups. His toughness is extremely underrated and he has a enough tricks in his offensive arsenal to pull the upset.
THE PICK: Lee
Co-Main Event - LightweightEdson Barboza (19-5-0) v. Dan Hooker (18-7-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Barboza ($8,000), Hooker ($8,200)
Vegas Odds: Barboza (-105), Hooker (-115)
Odds to Finish: -155
The UFC Women's Flyweight Championship has caused a ton of controversy for a title that was introduced less than a year ago. It's inaugural winner, Nicco Montano, won the belt by winning a reality show and was stripped before she ever had a chance to defend it. Thankfully, that is now all water under the bridge. Saturday we get the fight that everyone is looking forward to.
With four-straight stoppage wins under his belt, Hooker finally gets the top-10 opponent he has been seeking, and he is certainly deserving of the opportunity. Although he last three fights have taken place in North America, Hooker is still a relative unknown to casual fans due to the fact he has spent most of his career fighting in Australia and his native New Zealand. At 6-feet even, Hooker is one of the biggest and most physical lightweights on the UFC roster. It's rare that Barboza finds himself up against an opponent who can match his length and physicality, but Hooker is going to have the edge in both of those categories.
Edson lost to Lee in April, and prior to that, was dominated by Nurmagomedov last December in one of the most lopsided three-round fights in the history of the sport. I'm not sure what's going on with Barboza at the moment, but if he isn't at the top of his game against Hooker, he's going to find himself riding a three-fight losing streak. Perhaps the most dangerous kicker in the sport, Edson has gotten away from what makes him successful in his last few fights. An opponent such as Hooker who is willing to stand and trade should allow Barboza to get back to his biggest strength. But unless the Brazilian starts defending himself better, all the kicks in the world aren't going to save him.
I've been promoting Hooker for a while. He's young enough (28) to expect continued improvement moving forward, and his ground game is underrated. When you add in his power, you have a valuable, valuable asset. Barboza, if he gets back to what has made him successful over the years, will easily be Hooker's stiffest test to date. Still, I'd rather bet on Hooker's recent run of success, as opposed to an opponent who is struggling to find his way for the past 12 months.
THE PICK: Hooker
BantamweightRob Font (15-4-0) v. Sergio Pettis (17-4-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Font ($8,400), Pettis ($7,800)
Vegas Odds: Font (-165), Pettis (+145)
Odds to Finish: +135
With the departure of long-time champion Demetrious Johnson to ONE in the Ben Askren deal, and the UFC's flyweight division seemingly on life support, Pettis will return to bantamweight on Saturday for the first time in nearly four years. His flyweight run was up-and-down. Pettis's record was fairly strong (5-3), but he still struggles to make in-fight adjustments when changes are needed. Perhaps that can be blamed on youth (Pettis turned just 25 years old in August), but any fighter that has Duke Roufus in his corner each fight should be able to alter his game plan as needed, and Pettis has struggled in that department. I was never a huge fan to begin with, and I don't think he will have any more success at bantamweight than he did at flyweight.
Font has alternated wins and losses in his last four fights. A brilliant knockout of Thomas Almeida last January was quickly forgotten after Font dropped a clear-cut, unanimous decision to the perennially-underrated Raphael Assuncao in July. Font has fast feet, fast hands, and above-average power. Yet, his striking defense isn't great and his takedown defense is abysmal (25 percent), so it's easy to say why he can't put together a prolonged win streak. Font has will have a two-inch height and reach advantage over Pettis, and it's imperative that he fights physically in order to make Pettis's return to bantamweight a difficult one.
Pettis's lack of finishing ability (he has just three career wins by knockout) figures to be an issue in a bout in which he is giving up size and strength. The odds of him outpointing the quick Font aren't great. He's an acceptable underdog play given the fact the event is taking place in his native Milwaukee, but I think he's giving up a decent amount of natural ability to Font.
THE PICK: Font
Women's FlyweightJessica-Rose Clark (9-4-0, 1NC) v. Andrea Lee (9-2-0)
DraftKings Salaries: Clark ($7,000), Lee ($9,200)
Vegas Odds: Clark (+215), Lee (-255)
Odds to Finish: +225
Clark continues to get prime opportunities to enhance her resume, despite the fact she has done stunningly little to deserve the chances. Clark's three UFC fights consist of a split-decision win over Bec Rawlings, a unanimous-decision win over Paige VanZant and a unanimous-decision loss to the overrated Jessica Eye in June. Clark fought for multiple organizations prior to joining the UFC and she showed little in each of them. She also has a history of missing weight. In addition to giving up a boatload of ability to Lee, Clark is looking at a two-inch height and five-inch reach disadvantage.
Lee has been in the news quite a bit since taking a decision from Veronica Macedo in her company debut in May, but for all the wrong reasons. Multiple issues regarding Lee's husband and coach, Donny Aaron, came to light. Lee posted a statement asking for privacy and thanking everyone for their support, and she will get back to work on Saturday. One of the best female flyweights in the world, Lee possesses a solid all-around game and I can't see her having much problem with Clark assuming her head is in the right place.
A bet on Clark would imply that you don't believe Lee is fully recovered from a mental standpoint and I don't know how you can accurately quantify that. The far more likely result is an easy win for the much more talented fighter.
THE PICK: Lee
Jim Miller (29-12-0, 1NC) v. Charles Oliveira (23-8-0, 1NC)
DK Salaries: Miller ($7,300), Oliveira ($8,900)
Vegas Odds: Miller (+250), Oliveira (-300)
Odds to Finish: -295
THE PICK: Oliveira
Zak Ottow (16-6-0) v. Dwight Grant (7-1-0)
DK Salaries: Ottow ($6,800), Grant ($9,400)
Vegas Odds: Ottow (+245), Grant (-290)
Odds to Finish: -245
THE PICK: Grant
Bobby Green (24-8-1) v. Drakkar Klose (9-1-1)
DK Salaries: Green ($6,900), Klose ($9,300)
Vegas Odds: Green (+235), Klose (-275)
Odds to Finish: +200
THE PICK: Klose
Jared Gordon (14-2-0) v. Joaquim Silva (10-1-0)
DK Salaries: Gordon ($8,600), Silva ($7,600)
Vegas Odds: Gordon (-155), Silva (+135)
Odds to Finish: -155
THE PICK: Silva
Gerald Meerschaert (28-9-0) v. Jack Hermansson (17-4-0)
DK Salaries: Meerschaert ($7,400), Hermansson ($8,800)
Vegas Odds: Meerschaert (+170), Hermansson (-200)
Odds to Finish: +125
THE PICK: Hermansson
Dan Ige (9-2-0) v. Jordan Griffin (17-5-0)
DK Salaries: Ige ($8,500), Griffin ($7,700)
Vegas Odds: Ige (-175), Griffin (+155)
Odds to Finish: -145
THE PICK: Ige
Adam Milstead (8-2-0, 1NC) v. Mike Rodriguez (9-3-0)
DK Salaries: Milstead ($8,700), Rodriguez ($7,500)
Vegas Odds: Milstead (-170), Rodriguez (+150)
Odds to Finish: -165
THE PICK: Milstead
Trevor Smith (15-8-0) v. Zak Cummings (21-6-0)
DK Salaries: Smith ($7,100), Cummings ($9,100)
Vegas Odds: Smith (+230), Cummings (-270)
Odds to Finish: +150
THE PICK: Cummings
Chris De La Rocha (5-2-0) v. Juan Adams (4-0-0)
DK Salaries: De La Rocha ($6,700), Adams ($9,500)
Vegas Odds: De La Rocha (+325), Adams (-400)
Odds to Finish: -570
THE PICK: Adams