UFC 197 MMA DFS Picks
UFC 197 heads back to ‘home base’ at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for the return of Jon Jones, as he takes on former University of Tennessee linebacker Ovince Saint Preux in a battle for light heavyweight supremacy. At the top of the flyweight class, Demetrious Johnson will battle former Olympian Henry Cejudo in what figures to be a pair of very excited co-main event bouts.
That isn’t it, though. Not by a long shot. This card is littered with intriguing battles from Anthony Pettis-Edson Barboza in the lightweight division, Rafael Natal-Robert Whittaker in the middleweight division and Andre Fili-Yair Rodriguez doing battle at the featherweight level. Vegas has a few of the fighters favored by considerable margins, but you know from past history that the Vegas lines do not always coincide with the results inside the octagon.
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Jon Jones ($11,400 vs. Ovince Saint Preux): At last check Jones (-600) is a heavy favorite over the former Vols run stopper. I wanted to find a way to get Jones into my lineup, and these five selections help you in a high-low DFS strategy. Jones makes his octagon return after several run ins with the law outside of the octagon, including a hit-and-run incident. Now, he’ll finally get to hit someone inside the octagon for the first time since Jan. 3, 2015. He was to battle Daniel Cormier in a rematch of his last bout, a unanimous decision win at UFC 182. However, Cormier pulled out due to injury, leading to OSP taking this bout on short notice. This is likely to be a short bout, too, with ‘Bones’ returning to his submission winning ways, likely via the guillotine or rear-naked choke.
Sergio Pettis ($10,100 vs. Chris Kelades): Both Pettis and Kelades, a.k.a. ‘The Green Assassin’, returned to their winning ways last time out after suffering a fight in their second-to-last bout. Pettis was methodical in taking down Chris Cariaso at UFC 192, and you can expect the same kind of fight against Kelades. Pettis is a raw talent on the come, while Kelades does a bunch of different things, but nothing particularly well. Look for Pettis to score several quality strikes early on, and for his speed to overwhelm the Canadian by the second round.
Danny Roberts ($10,400 vs. Dominique Steele): Roberts enters this bout as a heavy favorite (-360), and this is one Vegas absolutely has pegged correctly. Roberts exhibits tremendous footwork and power punching, especially with a devastating overhand left. If he can catch Steele with it, this bout ends early. Steele is more of a disjointed brawler who has a chance if he can get Roberts to the mat, which is where he isn’t as strong. But he likely won’t get that chance to stretch this out to three rounds and a judge’s decision, as Roberts is just too good with his strikes to allow this bout to go the distance.
Cody East ($9,600 vs. Walt Harris): East, like Jones, has had his share of run-ins with the law. Now, he’ll look to take out his aggression on Harris. All outside-the-octagon issues aside, East the better fighter due to his quick strikes combined with his outstanding wrestling ability. As a slight underdog, East is a nice value, especially if you can get him as a No. 3 or 4 option in your lineup. East has the ability to drop Harris with a punch, or he could rock him to sleep on the mat. ‘The Freight Train’ has plenty of TKO and submission wins at LFC and KOTC, and now he’ll get his first bout at the big time and he will not disappoint.
Glaico Franca ($8,500 vs. James Vick): Vick;s record is unblemished in UFC, but this is a great spot to bet on the underdog, especially for DFS purposes. Glaico Franca Moreira is a well-rounded fighter who mixes in punches and a strong grappling ability. If he can get Vick on the ground while gaining top position, this one could end sooner than anticipated. Franca will score DFS players plenty of takedowns and significant strikes. Takedowns are very important at DraftKings, as you receiver two points each. Vick has faced plenty of tomato cans to bolster his record, and this will be his best test to date. Expect him to walk off shaking his head while the ‘Nego’ picks up the victory.