UFC on FOX 19 MMA DFS Picks
The UFC is back on United States soil after a few international cards, as UFC on FOX 19 takes place at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. Saturday. It will be a busy week for the maintenance staff at Amalie, as they’ll quickly start breaking down the ice rink after Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning after the game Friday night for the quick turnaround.
Front and center on this card will be the light heavyweight slugfest between Rashad Evans and Glover Teixeira, as these fighters have combined for 43 career victories and a total of four defeats for each. Some might be overlooking the middleweight fight between grizzled veteran Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida, especially since ‘The Dragon’ Machida comes in on a two-bout skid, and loser in three of his past four. But that figures to be a war between two guys who have done it a ton of times before. They’ll put on a show (EDITORS NOTE: The fight between Henderson and Machida has been cancelled). Add in a couple of strong women’s bouts between Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunas, as well as Raquel Pennington and Bethe Correia, and this card has the chance to be very good. And if it’s not, hey, you get what you pay for! (It’s free this weekend on FOX!)
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(DraftKings.com salaries in parentheses) (all times ET).
John Dodson ($11,200 vs. Manny Gamburyan): Dodson (-450) is a giant favorite in this bantamweight battle, as Dodson returns to the weight class after a four-year run as a flyweight. You might remember his run on Season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) when he knocked out TJ Dillashaw in the first round of that season’s finale. He is lightning quick and will stun Gamburyan, as he’ll not have seen this type of speed before. He is a good striker who is also strong on takedown defense. In all facets, Dodson is superior and will win this one well over ‘The Anvil’ well before it goes to the judges. It’s a lay-up for Dodson against Gamburyan, who ranks third among lightweights in strikes absorbed per minute at 1.52.
Khabib Nurmagomedov ($11,400 vs. Darrell Horcher): Nurmagomedov was expected to tussle in the main event, but Tony Ferguson was forced to pull out due to injury. Now, Nurmagomedov will face Horcher on short notice. He is a top-notch grappler and wrestler, and you can expect ‘The Eagle’ to be very interested in picking apart his prey despite the disappointment of dropping down to second fight on the main card. He took care of Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on FOX 11 last time we saw him April 19, 2014, and he has been waiting a while to get back into the limelight after several of his own injuries. Don’t expect a lot of rust, though. Look for a fighter with a huge chip on his shoulder looking to put away Horcher early with a blitzkrieg of fists and elbows. He has landed 35 takedowns at the lightweight level, and he’ll add to that total Saturday.
Drew Dober ($8,800 vs. Islam Makhachev): Dober bounced back from his guillotine choke setback against Efrain Escudero at UFC 188 to top Scott Holtzman with a unanimous decision win at UFC 195. Now, he looks for his first two-bout win streak since bumping up to UFC with Makhachev standing in his way. Dober is a tremendous striker, and he can also absorbs strikes and keep on ticking. If he is to be successful Dober will need to stay on his feet and bring the fight to Makhachev upright. The Russian is a top-notch wrestler who can make you go night-night quickly in the ground game. Still, Dober is a strong No. 5 fighter for DFS players and his inclusion will help you afford two of the no-brainer options up top.
Michael Graves ($9,000 vs. Randy Brown): Graves is a welterweight prospect who is going places, and if his ascension is to continue he’ll need to put Brown down. He is an above-average wrestler who prefers to do his work on the ground, while Brown could like to have the duo stay on their feet and box it out. Whomever is able to get the other to fight their style will win this one. Graves is the more attractive of the two, especially for his takedown points. If he gets Brown to the mat, this one has a chance to end via submission. If Brown can stay on his feet, it will likely head to the judges for a decision. Graves has way more upside for DFS players, and is a nice No. 4 or 5 fighter in a high-low strategy.
Court McGee ($9,300 vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio): This welterweight bout might be the most underrated fight on the card, as McGee takes on the Argentine Ponzinibbio. The latter is a tremendous striker with a 3-2 record since bumping up to the top level. Two of those wins have ended in successful KO/TKO, but he was also knocked out by Lorenz Larkin at UFC Fight Night June 27, 2015. McGee is more of a grind-it-out kind of guy, the one who doesn’t get points for flash, but for skill and grappling. McGee should be able to score several takedowns, and if he is able to assume top position against Ponzinibbio it’s over. While ‘The Crusher’ has had decisions in each of his past seven bouts, expect a submission via either arm triangle or guillotine over Ponzinibbio, who isn’t as adept on the ground as he is on his feet.