DraftKings MMA: UFC Busan Preview

DraftKings MMA: UFC Busan Preview

This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.

Following one of the biggest pay-per-views of the year, the UFC is headed to Korea for its final event of the decade. Make sure to lock lineups before your head hits the pillow Friday, as the early prelims are scheduled for a 2:00 a.m. EST start time Saturday.

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.)

Moves Scoring
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

Scoring Notes
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 - Featherweight

Frankie Edgar (22-7-1) v. Chan Sung Jung (15-5-0)
DK Salaries: Edgar ($7,200), Jung ($9,000)
Vegas Odds: Edgar (+155), Jung (-180)
Odds to Finish: -140

This was scheduled to be Brian Ortega v. Jung, but "T-City" was forced to withdraw in early December with a partially torn ACL. As a result, Edgar, who was due to make his bantamweight debut against Cory Sandhagen in late-January, will stay at featherweight for one more bout. 

The potential move to bantamweight would have been an awkward one for Edgar at this stage of his career. He turned 38 years of age in October and clearly has some gas left in the tank, but Frankie has struggled against the very best the featherweight division has to offer of late and perhaps he thought dropping down to 135 pounds was his quickest path back to title contention. I don't think the late opponent change will impact Frankie's performance all that much, but it's something to monitor. Editor's Note: Edgar still plans to follow through on his commitment to fight Sandhagen, though it will depend on how his medicals check out after this fight. 

Jung rebounded from his heartbreaking last second loss to Yair Rodriguez last November with a highly impressive, 58-second Performance of the Night knockout win over an underrated Renato Moicano this past June. Jung has looked as sharp as ever following his near four-year layoff due to his required mandatory military service for his native South Korea. Jung is also ridiculously tough. He's looked quite good of late despite the fact he has fought just three times since August 2013. Ortega does his best work on the mat, while Frankie is primarily a boxer, so this opponent change has the potential to impact the Zombie. 

Jung's cardio isn't an issue, but any five-round fight immediately favors Edgar. He possesses one of the greatest gas tanks in the history of the sport. The Zombie is an inch taller and sports a four-inch reach edge, while I imagine Edgar will be the slightly quicker of the two men. My biggest concern for Edgar isn't the opponent change itself, but the fact he had to end his training camp about seven weeks early and now has to fly all the way around the world for a fight on 14 days' notice. These are not ideal circumstances. 

This is close to a pick 'em for me. I'm giving a slight edge to Jung due to the circumstances mentioned above, but that doesn't explain the massive gap in salaries between the two men. I can't for the life of me figured out why Frankie is priced so cheaply. Even if you don't think Edgar is going win, he should still be the staple of a good percentage of DraftKings lineups at just $7,200. It should be noted that these salaries came out on Tuesday afternoon – nearly a full day earlier than usual – so perhaps that was part of the reason. Frankie is so cheap that it almost looks as if the people at DraftKings headquarters made an error.

THE PICK: Jung
 

Co-Main Event - Light Heavyweight

Volkan Oezdemir (16-4-0) v. Aleksandar Rakic (12-1-0)
DK Salaries: Oezdemir ($7,600), Rakic ($8,600)
Vegas Odds: Oezdemir (+130), Rakic (-150)
Odds to Finish: -195

Oezdemir likely saved his job with a Performance of the Night knockout victory over Ilir Latifi in August. "No Time" entered that bout on a three-fight losing streak, and although all the setbacks came against elite competition (Daniel Cormier, Anthony Smith, Dominick Reyes), it's nearly impossible for a fighter who drops four straight to rebound these days. Volkan's offensive arsenal is extremely, extremely limited. He has ridiculous one-punch knockout power and little else. He's not particularly athletic and he gets hit too much on the feet. In short, he is precisely the type of fighter who you would expect to struggle when the competition level rises, and that has been exactly the case.

Rakic remains a virtual unknown despite sporting a perfect 4-0 record with the UFC. Rakic has won 12-straight fights since dropping his pro debut back in October 2011. Rakic is very similar to Oezdemir in the sense virtually all of his offense comes via strikes. I've really liked what I've seen from him in his short time with the company, but many of the long-term concerns regarding Volkan apply to Rakic as well. 

On paper, this looks like a pretty nice match up for Rakic. He's two inches taller, owns a three-inch reach edge, and is about 2.5 years younger. I also have more faith in his ability to defend himself than I do that of Oezdemir. When Volkan is in trouble, he simply bites down on the mouthpiece and starts to throw harder, looping shots. 

That, combined with his power, makes him a reasonable "Hail Mary" DraftKings play, but it's difficult to pick him to win outright. The one concern regarding Rakic is the subpar competition he has faced. We should know a lot about Rakic by the time this fight is over. Any competitor who struggles against Oezdemir and his one-dimensional offensive attack typically has a bleak future ahead of them. 

THE PICK: Rakic
 

Heavyweight

Cyril Gane (5-0-0) v. Tanner Boser (17-5-1)
DK Salaries: Gane ($9,600), Boser ($6,600)
Vegas Odds: Gane (-750), Boser (+525)
Odds to Finish: -300

The sample size is ridiculously small, but the UFC may have found something in Gane. The 29-year-old Frenchman has scored a pair of impressive submission victories in his first two bouts with the company. The competition (Don'Tale Mayes and Raphael Pessoa) has been subpar, but Gane moves well for a man who checks in at 6-foot-4. The biggest concern regarding Gane is his overall inexperience. He will turn 30 years of age this coming April, but has just five professional fights under his belt. He's a at least a good 8-to-10 fights behind where he should be at this point and that's not something you can simulate no matter how hard you train in the gym.

Boser took a unanimous decision from Daniel Spitz in his company debut in October. Spitz is among the weakest fighters in the UFC, so the win doesn't tell us a whole lot about Boser moving forward. Boser spent the good portion of the early part of his career on the Canadian regional scene before bouncing between promotions of late. He has some power and has displayed a strong chin in the past, but I don't think there's much to see here. Boser has never really fought anyone of note so it's difficult to gauge his potential at age 28.

I can't help but think this should be a cakewalk for Gane. He needs as many reps as possible inside the Octagon and this looks like an opportunity to get him another fight against a below-average opponent. Regardless, Gane makes for a risky fantasy play at such a hefty price tag. If you use him and even the slightest thing goes wrong, your lineup is sunk. He certainly deserves to be a massive favorite given what we have seen from him so far (and the apparent lack of long-term potential from Boser), but $9600 is peak Rousey, Jon Jones and Mighty Mouse territory. It might be best to look elsewhere.

THE PICK: Gane
 

Flyweight

Alexandre Pantoja (21-4-0) v. Matt Schnell (14-4-0)
DK Salaries: Pantoja ($9,100), Schnell ($7,100)
Vegas Odds: Pantoja (-220), Schnell (+180)
Odds to Finish: +115

Pantoja is one of the better flyweights that no one seems to ever talk about. Sporting an impressive 5-2 record in the UFC, Pantoja is coming off a unanimous decision loss against the excellent Deiveson Figueiredo in July. The Brazilian is intriguing because he has more pop in his hands than your typical 125-pounder. Pantoja has seven career wins via knockout. He also has eight career wins via submission. Pantoja is too old (30 next May) to be considered a legitimate prospect, but he's an all-around threat with fringe top-10 potential in a division that has quickly acquired some depth.

Schnell has run off four wins in a row on the heels of dropping his first two UFC bouts. He defeated his last two opponents (Jordan Espinosa and Louis Smolka) via Triangle Choke. Submissions are Schnell's bread and butter. He has virtually no power in his hands (two career knockout wins) and averages just 0.70 takedowns per 15 minutes. Relying on submissions to win fights is always a risky proposition, but Schnell has made it work of late. My concern is that Schnell is going to struggle to generate offense in a fight in which is opponent is competent in all areas. 

This isn't a particularly deep card and that means DraftKings owners are going to have to make their stand with fighters they aren't totally comfortable with. Pantoja appears to be one of the better bets of the bunch. I think there is a real chance his activity on the feet overwhelms Schnell. If his opponent gets him to the mat then all bets are of. I'm taking the favorite.

THE PICK: Pantoja
 

Other Fights

Featherweight
Doo Ho Choi (14-3-0) v. Charles Jourdain (9-2-0)
DK Salaries: Choi ($9,400), Jourdain ($6,800)
Vegas Odds: Choi (-290), Jourdain (+245)
Odds to Finish: -170
THE PICK: Choi

Light Heavyweight
Da-Un Jung (12-2-0) v. Mike Rodriguez (10-3-0, 1NC)
DK Salaries: Jung ($7,900), Rodriguez ($8,300)
Vegas Odds: Jung (+105), Rodriguez (-125)
Odds to Finish: -120
THE PICK: Jung

Middleweight
Jun Yong Park (10-4-0) v. Marc-Andre Barriault (11-3-0)
DK Salaries: Park ($7,700), Barriault ($8,500)
Vegas Odds: Park (+105), Barriault (-125)
Odds to Finish: +175
THE PICK: Barriault

Bantamweight
Kyung Ho Kang (16-8-0, 1NC) v. Liu Pingyuan (13-6-0)
DK Salaries: Kang ($9,200), Pingyuan ($7,000)
Vegas Odds: Kang (-250), Pingyuan (+210)
Odds to Finish: +100
THE PICK: Kang

Featherweight
Seung Woo Choi (7-3-0) v. Suman Mokhtarian (8-1-0)
DK Salaries: Choi ($9,300), Mokhtarian ($6,900)
Vegas Odds: Choi (-275), Mokhtarian (+235)
Odds to Finish: +100
THE PICK: Choi

Lightweight
Dong Hyun Ma (16-10-3) v. Omar Morales (8-0-0)
DK Salaries: Ma ($7,400), Morales ($8,800)
Vegas Odds: Ma (+165), Morales (-190)
Odds to Finish: -215
THE PICK: Morales

Bantamweight
Raoni Barcelos (14-1-0) v. Said Nurmagomedov (13-1-0)
DK Salaries: Barcelos ($8,400), Nurmagomedov ($7,800)
Vegas Odds: Barcelos (-130), Nurmagomedov (+110)
Odds to Finish: +125
THE PICK: Barcelos

Women's Strawweight
Miranda Granger (7-0-0) v. Amanda Lemos (6-1-1)
DK Salaries: Granger ($8,900), Lemos ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: Granger (-200), Lemos (+170)
Odds to Finish: +140
THE PICK: Granger

Bantamweight
Heili Alateng (13-7-1) v. Ryan Benoit (10-5-0)
DK Salaries: Alateng ($8,000), Benoit ($8,200)
Vegas Odds: Alateng (+100), Benoit (-120)
Odds to Finish: +140
THE PICK: Alateng

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Jon Litterine plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: JLitterine.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jon Litterine
Jon Litterine is RotoWire's lead MMA Writer and MMA Editor. He has covered numerous MMA events live. He's also RW's NHL Prospect Analyst. Jon has been writing for RotoWire since 2005. He is a graduate of U Mass-Lowell.
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