This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
It's the last chance for DFS players to get some MMA action until UFC Stockholm, as the UFC is headed for a one-week break after Saturday's card. Fortunately, GPPs are approaching the levels of last week's pay-per-view, as the $15 MMA Throwdown offers a $25,000 top prize.
Important Card Update: A scheduled fight between Vicente Luque ($9,400) and Neil Magny ($6,800) was called off after Magny withdrew due to undisclosed reasons. DraftKings may or may not add Luque's replacement opponent, should the promotion succeed in finding one on short notice.
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 - Welterweight
The last time we saw dos Anjos in November, he was being steamrolled by since-minted UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman. We saw what Usman did to former champ Tyron Woodley when he won the belt so we know how good the new title holder is, but RDA's performance in that fight was highly concerning. The former UFC Lightweight Champion offered nothing offensively in that bout and his takedown defense was non-existent. RDA was not one of those massive lightweights who was forced to move up to 170 pounds because of the weight cut. And while his run at welterweight began with three straight impressive victories (Robbie Lawler, Neil Magny, Tarec Saffiedine), his back-to-back losses to Usman and Colby Covington have left him at a career crossroads. I think RDA has plenty left in the tank at age 34, but I'm far less interested in him at welterweight than I was at lightweight
Lee will be making his welterweight debut. Unlike dos Anjos, Lee has missed weight at 155 pounds in the past. Lee stated he intends to return to lightweight at some point, but his future for the moment is firmly at 170 pounds. Lee is an exceptional athlete and an accomplished mat specialist. He has enough power to at least threaten his opposition on the feet, and he's durable. There is a lot to like about Lee's game and he won't turn 27 years old until September. I think he's much better equipped to succeed long term at welterweight than RDA
While I generally try to avoid picking fighters debuting in a new weight class, I have much more confidence in Lee than dos Anjos these days. The toughness and physicality RDA displayed at lightweight has been missing at welterweight of late. Could that simply have been the result of facing elite competition such as Usman and Covington? Possibly, but I need to see dos Anjos defeat another talented opponent at 170 pounds before I jump back on the bandwagon.
THE PICK: Lee
Anderson's brief UFC tenure has not gone as hoped. She entered the company with a lot of hype, but her offensive arsenal has proven to be quite basic. After being steamrolled by Holly Holm in her debut last June, Megan "earned" a TKO victory over Cat Zingano in December after an eye injury forced the bout to be halted. Anderson has a terrific frame for the division at 6-feet tall, and she's an excellent striker, but the rest of her game could charitably be termed a work in progress.
Spencer, undefeated as a professional, has spent her entire MMA career with Invicta. She is a highly accomplished mat specialist, with three of her six victories coming via submission. The question here, is how will Spencer deal with the length of Anderson? If she can keep this fight in tight or on the mat, I think she has a decent chance of pulling the upset. If it becomes a kickboxing match at distance, Anderson wins all day long.
On a card in which I don't see many underdogs I like to win out right, I'm going to take Spencer in a minor upset. I'm looking forward to seeing how much improvement Anderson has made with her grappling during her six months on the sidelines, because it's ultimately going to determine whether she's a legitimate contender at 145 pounds or just another run-of-the-mill fighter.
THE PICK: Spencer
This is a rematch of a May 2015 bout which Oliveira won via third-round guillotine choke, which followed up a June 2011 fight that was ruled a no-contest after Lentz delivered an illegal knee.
A winner of four straight bouts – all of them via submission – Oliveira deserves a higher-ranked opponent than Lentz. The Brazilian is legitimately one of the most decorated ground specialists in the history of the sport. Oliveira's striking game remains inconsistent, and he has missed weight no less than four times in his UFC career, so there are concerns moving forward, but he can tap out any man in the division in the blink of an eye.
Closing in on a decade with the company, Lentz has been up and down for the past several years. He's plenty durable and an excellent wrestler, but like Eubanks (discussed below), Lentz struggles if he isn't landing takedowns on a consistent basis. He has averaged a whopping 3.58 takedowns per 15 minutes during his time with the UFC, although his takedown accuracy checks in at a paltry 34 percent. On the flip side, Lentz's cardio remains elite, and he hasn't been knocked out in more than seven years. If Lentz can avoid putting himself in compromising positions on the mat, he has a chance to win.
Lentz's issue is the fact his biggest strength (his wrestling) plays right into Oliveira's most pronounced strength (his submission game). Even if Lentz is able to get the Brazilian to the mat, he will be in a position to be immediately submitted, as Oliveira is a wizard off of his back. This was a highly intriguing matchup four years ago and nothing has changed since. It's also a fight both men have to have. I'm taking Oliveira in what should be a closely-contested contest. That being said, Lentz has value as an underdog and I'd be afraid to use Oliveira at such a high price tag.
THE PICK: Oliveira
Undefeated as a professional, Ladd has been a pleasant surprise since debuting in the UFC 18 months ago. She knocked out Tonya Evinger and Lina Lansberg in her first two fights with the company, and Ladd was scheduled to fight Holly Holm in March before UFC officials decided to go in a different direction. Ladd has displayed exceptional Octagon awareness for a such a young woman (24 years old). She hits hard moves well. If Ladd continues to develop, it's easy to envision her in the title conversation in the not-too-distant future.
For a woman who has barely fought in the UFC and has just six professional fights under her belt, Eubanks has caused quite a bit of controversy during her brief stay with the company. "Sarj" was forced to withdraw from the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 26 due to kidney failure, and after being linked to a UFC Flyweight Championship fight against Valentina Shevchenko last November, Eubanks was highly critical of the company's decision to insert Joanna Jedrzejczyk in that spot instead. Eubanks remained on that card and missed weight for her bout against Roxanne Modafferi, a fight in which she won via unanimous decision. Eubanks has a ridiculous amount of upper-body strength and not much else. She can grind her way to victories, but if she isn't going to land a bunch of takedowns, she's in a world of trouble.
This is a rematch of a January 2017 Invicta fight which Ladd took via unanimous decision. More than two years later, I see no reason to expect a different result. Ladd is two inches taller than Eubanks and while she can't match her opponent's pure strength, she has a much better all-around game and has displayed strong takedown defense. Eubanks has no chance of winning if she can't get Ladd to the mat. I'll take the younger, more athletic fighter.
THE PICK: Ladd
Vicente Luque (15-6-1) vs. Derrick Krantz (22-10)
DK Salaries: Luque ($9,400), Krantz (TBD)
Vegas Odds: TBD
Odds to Finish: TBD
Antonio Carlos Junior (10-2-0) v. Ian Heinisch (12-1-0)
DK Salaries: Carlos Junior ($8,700), Heinisch ($7,500)
Vegas Odds: Carlos Junior (-185), Heinisch (+160)
Odds to Finish: -195
THE PICK: Carlos Junior