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UFC on ESPN+18 in Copenhagen: DraftKings and Betting Breakdown

We get a daytime card in Denmark on Saturday at 11AM EST, and they have assembled a fun card for both viewing and DFS purposes. The smallest inside the distance line on the card is +140 — we can look forward to fun finishes and big DK scores. This card is so much better than last week’s Mexico City fiasco and one to have fun with on the tournament side of things. My early lean is cash on this card is playing with fire as we need to attack ceilings and not floors here, and there are multiple fights with an attainable ceiling on either side.

A reminder the new format for tournament deployment.

I will take each fight and assign it to one of five categories for tournament deployment. Those categories are:

  • “Lock It In” – This will be for fights that the build should have at or near 100% exposure.
  • “Over The Field” – This will be for fights that are attractive and likely to see the winner to the optimal, but not quite at the “Lock It In” level. These fights should be deployed at approximately 80% total fight exposure.
  • “Stance Fight” – This will be for fights that we have a real expectation on one fighter winning and being probable for the optimal. The exposure level will vary. I’ll explain both the level of exposure of our stance fighter and whether their opponent is a fade or low-level exposure.
  • “Defensive Fight” – This will be for fights that are middle of the road for the optimal and have a wide range of outcomes. We will generally deploy the total fight exposure at 35-5.
  • “Ugly Fight” – This will be for fights in which the winner is unlikely for the optimal.

There are many favorites to love here, and it will be a challenge to sort exposures on them. We will navigate as we can early in the week and update after weigh ins with cash, single entry picks and bets and potentially adjust exposures.

**Update** All 26 fighters are on weight and our card is a full go!

Lock It In Fights

There aren’t any on this card due the sheer volume of ceilings. The fun thing is, there aren’t any ugly fights either.

Over The Field

Jack Hermansson, -240, 9200 vs Jared Cannonier, +195, 7000

Fight is five rounds at 185 lbs and is -410 to end inside the distance.

This fight was in a tie for the closest one we had to a “Lock It In” fight, and should have a minimum of 80% total exposure, but we cannot consider 100% given the scoring ceilings of so many other fights and fighters on the card.

Both fighters are certainly peaking in their careers, but as the line suggests, Jack Hermansson is peaking higher than Jared Cannonier. Hermansson isn’t a one-shot-kill striker, but has pop and keeps the volume high. His bread and butter is his grappling as both his wrestling and BJJ are strengths. He will have a massive grappling advantage in this fight and can finish on the floor via either ground and pound or submission. This is a spot where he will not have to worry about defensive grappling and gives him quite an advantage in gameplan. Cannonier has big power in his hands and is quite capable of a one shot KO, but that ends the list of his advantages in this fight. Cannonier doesn’t have the best movement on his feet and he doesn’t throw in high volume. His path to victory is simply landing the correct power shot before Hermansson wears him down grappling or finishes him. Exposures should be around 20-30% on Cannonier and 50-60% on Hermannson.

Ion Cutelaba, +100, 7800 vs Khalil Rountree, -130, 8400

Fight is at 205 lbs and is -325 to end inside the distance.

We get two exciting fighters clashing in this one, and this is one to circle for the optimal given the middling pricing on the fight.

Khalil Rountree went to Thailand to train and add an element to his game prior to his last fight. Leg kicks were new, and he dominated the fight with them in a lopsided decision win. Without the element of surprise on his side, we are highly likely to revert back to the outcomes of his previous six fights in the promotion, five of which ended in the first round. Speaking of the first round, his opponent, Ion Cutelaba, has finished 13 of his 14 wins, which most notably includes 12 first-round finishes. If Rountree’s last fight is the new normal, he will want to dictate a slower pace while Cutelaba will force the issue immediately. Both guys have real power here and a one-shot KO can come from either side. Cutelaba’s style likely makes this happen, but he has a massive grappling advantage as well. The gap is wide in the wrestling department and Cutelaba will have quite the advantage on the floor, which is another reason for him to force his way inside to either strike or clinch. Both fighters can be worn down from a cardio perspective, which is the reason we aren’t locking the fight in, as it could be slower and uglier should it wear on. We want a minimum of 80% exposure on this one and I want roughly 45-50% on Cutelaba with 35-45% on Rountree. The first to land heavy is likely the victor, and in the optimal.

Alen Amedovski, -120, 8200 vs John Phillips, -110, 8000

Fight is at 185 lbs and is -215 to end inside the distance.

This is something like a heavyweight fight at middleweight. We get two fighters who are completely strikers with real power in a head on collision. Alen Amedovski is dangerous at the onset of fights, when the one-shot power is on full display. The first couple minutes will see him as the more dangerous of two very dangerous knockout hunters. Every minute after that will see the advantage gradually go to John Phillips on the cardio side. Both fighters have seen opponents unwilling to stand in front of them and trade, and both have been dominated in the grappling department. That is a near certainty to change here with one of these fighters walking away with another first-round KO. If there were to be any grappling in this fight, it would be Amedovski initiating it, most likely out of desperation. I will give a slight exposure edge to Phillips in this one, but I want a minimum of 35% on each fighter with room for total fight exposure up to 85-90%.

Stance Fights

Gunnar Nelson, +110, 7900 vs Gilbert Burns, -140, 8300

Fight is at 170 lbs and is +155 to end inside the distance.

Gunnar Nelson is a high-level BJJ grappler, and that is his bread and butter inside the octagon. His last six wins and seven of eight inside the octagon have all come via submission. He is a karate striker, though not a dangerous one, and has not won a fight via KO in 11 years, and never inside the octagon. This is problematic for him as his opponent Gilbert Burns is a world class BJJ grappler, but one with real KO power in his hands. Nelson has been beaten up in his last three fights, but was able to cinch a submission after barely surviving a first-round beating in one of those fights. This line should be much wider as it is difficult to identify a path to victory for Nelson. If we give him the edge in technical striking, he is facing a real power disadvantage. On the floor, he faces one of the few opponents he could see who is more credentialed. He doesn’t have an identifiable path to victory outside of eking out a decision, which brings no ceiling. If these two end up striking, the most likely outcome is Burns knocking Nelson out. Burns should be in builds between 30-40% while Nelson is fade candidate.

Michal Oleksiejczuk, -240, 9100 vs Ovince Saint Preaux, +195, 7100

Fight is at 205 lbs and is -325 to end inside the distance.

Michal Oleksiejczuk gets a step up in competition after a pair of first-round KOs against lower level competition, albeit against a declining fighter in Ovince “OSP” Saint Preaux. Olekseijczuk is a powerful, smart and technical boxer. He picks his shots well and is effective at mixing in shots to the body. He will have the striking advantage here and will need to keep the fight on the feet. He has shown grappling competence but will be at a disadvantage on the floor in this fight and at risk of being submitted. OSP has lost the quickness he once had in the striking department and has become hittable without effective counters. With both fighters being southpaws, the kicks OSP has utilized against orthodox fighters will be less effective. This fight isn’t a true striker vs grappler matchup, but the grappling will be necessary for OSP. If he can’t get to that grappling, he will be knocked out. OSP isn’t a fade as he has a path to victory and a ceiling, but he should be just in the 15% range. Olekseijczuk should see at least 40% exposure with room for plenty more if you can fit the salary.

Alessio Di Chirico, +125, 7600 vs Makhmud Muradov, -155, 8600

Fight is at 185 lbs and is +110 to end inside the distance.

Makhmud Muradov makes his UFC debut, and has a skill set to be excited about. He has KO power on the feet and has great ground and pound once he gets the fight to the floor. His cardio is great and he throws explosive strikes throughout a fight. He’s also shown sound takedown defense. It’s not easy to say a debuting fighter has every advantage in a fight, but in this one, Muradov just might. Alessio Di Chirico is the UFC epitome of “just a guy.” He is not at all a finisher, instead wanting to grind out decisions. The only true threat he’s shown is landing knees in the clinch, and don’t be surprised if he tries to force a great deal of clinching in this one. The scoring ceiling belongs to Muradov and he is in play anywhere between 30-45%. Di Chirico is a fade candidate, but it’s reasonable to play any vet against a newcomer in the case of jitters.

Macy Chiasson, -430, 9400 vs Lina Lansberg, +325, 6800

Fight is at 135 lbs and is -150 to end inside the distance.

Macy Chiasson is a prospect the promotion loves, but are bringing along slowly, and this leads to some lopsided matchups for her. This is one of those fights, as Lina Lansberg doesn’t really have a path to victory. Chiasson will have a 2-inch height and 6.5-inch reach advantage and is the superior and more powerful striker. The most likely outcome is a KO win for Chiasson, and she has the highest personal ITD line on the card. The scoring worry for Chiasson is Lansberg is a fighter who loves to clinch and make fights unwatchable, but Chiasson has shown prowess in the clinch as well and has dangerous knees and elbows to offer. Lansberg is the best fade candidate on the card while Chiasson’s floor exposure is 40% with room for more. Her salary, with the $200 gap above Hermansson and Olekseijczyk, is more prohibitive, otherwise we’d be mashing more exposure in there.

Jack Shore -170, 8900 vs Nohelin Hernandez, +140, 7300

Fight is at 135 lbs and is -165 to end inside the distance.

Jack Shore makes his debut and is a polished fighter for one debuting at just 24 years old. His striking is sound, but his grappling is where he will win this fight. He’s capable of securing takedowns and the top game is very sound and polished once on the floor. While Nohelin Hernandez will have the slight advantage in the standup, he lacks one shot power and the gap in the overall grappling between the two is much wider. For Hernandez to win, he will need to show vastly improved takedown defense and keep this a predominantly standup affair, which feels a longer shot than the odds are crediting. On the floor Shore is capable of either a submission or ground and pound finish and has a ceiling there, or can cruise to an easy decision. Hernandez isn’t a fade, but just a low exposure in the 10-15% range, while Shore offers no value on salary vs betting line, but has a ceiling and should be played in the 30-40% range.

Defensive Fights

Mark O. Madsen, -600, 9500 vs Danilo Belluardo, +445, 6700

Fight is at 155 lbs and is +100 to end inside the distance.

Mark O. Madsen is an undefeated MMA fighter and former Olympic wrestler making his UFC debut. His wrestling is as good as one would think and doesn’t need to be touched upon. He has real power in his hands, but has little technicality to his striking — that remains a work in progress. There is a worry with him in this fight as he’s never had his chin tested and is cutting to 155 lbs for the first time in his career. This raises chin and cardio questions. Danilo Belluardo is just a guy as far as UFC talent goes. He is a more seasoned striker and has some early finishes on his resume. He will be at a power disadvantage on the feet and will need to be calculated. He will also have to bring his A-game for takedown defense and systematically pick his less seasoned opponent apart. Madsen brings a ceiling and can finish quickly, but that ceiling is a lower percentage than his next closest salary pricing piers — he should be limited to just a 20-30% exposure. Belluardo needs to be included in builds against a debuting fighter who has never had his chin tested (Te Edwards anyone?). Get 15-20% on him.

Nicolas Dalby, +120, 7400 vs Alex Oliveira, -150, 8800

Fight is at 170 lbs and is -130 to end inside the distance.

Nicolas Dalby is a UFC vet who has been re-signed to the promotion after a three-year absence and is a hometown fighter for this card. His cardio and activity will be his biggest advantage in this fight and surviving the first half of the fight will be the key for him so he can win the fight in the second half. He is a complete fighter, but he won’t be able to keep up in ability in the early stages of this fight. Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira is a dangerous and rounded offensive fighter who goes for the finish in the first half of fights and will empty the gas tank to get it. The ceiling is huge for Cowboy and he should be in builds in the 25-40% range. Dalby has a clear path to victory and perhaps a late finish if he’s able to survive and cannot be faded. He should be in the 15-30% range.

Sayir Bahadurazada, +150, 7200 vs Ismael Naudiev, -180, 9000

Fight is at 170 lbs and is +120 to end inside the distance.

The exposure in this one will have symptoms of being a stance fight, but that has much more to do with the card as a whole than it does this specific fight. Sayir Bahadurazada is finally healthy and fighting for the first time in 2019. He’s a rounded fighter who seeks finishes and is a fighter that is extremely difficult to finish. He isn’t a high level grappler, but is competent enough to keep that disadvantage in this fight from leading to him being submitted. Ismail Naurdiev worked on his grappling on the last year and has likely passed Bahadurazada in that aspect, but he’s still a young prospect with limited fight IQ and is not consistent. Naurdiev is a striker first and throws heavy but slows as fights wears on and isn’t quite as dangerous after the first round, but is capable of KOs with kicks or punches. Bahadurazada is quite a durable vet that has never been knocked out. He throws heavy shots throughout and is always looking for a finish. Naurdiev is the more hittable of the two and I would say this line should be a little bit tighter than it is. Both fighters have an attainable ceiling, but Nuardiev is the least likely to do so of all of the high priced fighters on this card, and this keeps him in just the 10-20% range. Bahadurazada has a ceiling at a small price and should see at least double the exposure of Naurdiev.

Giga Chikadze. +120, 7500 vs Brandon Davis, -150, 8700

Fight is at 145 lbs and is +110 to end inside the distance.

The most important statistical note in this fight is the level of competition faced by debuting  Giga Chikadze. It is as bad as we will see. The combined record of his opponents is 17-61 with the combined record of fighters he’s beaten being 3-57. Chikadze is a quick striker, and is dangerous on the feet, with his game being based on kicks and knees. While he’s capable of a KO, he simply is not a rounded fighter and has an extremely weak grappling skill set. One would think Brandon Davis is aware of this hole and would exploit it. Davis will be in danger on the feet but in no danger at all on the floor. Davis is a capable grappler and does have three submissions to his name including one in the UFC. The line probably isn’t wide enough to reflect the grappling gap. Salaries make this a tricky one for exposure. Chikadze has a ceiling  and underdog price but no floor at all and isn’t likely to win. Anywhere in the 10-25% range is good on him. Brandon Davis is middling priced favorite and is likely to win, with questions of whether he’s willing to and able to go get an early submission. He should be in the 20-30% range.

Marc Diakiese, -155, 8500 vs Lando Vannata, +125, 7700

Fight is at 155 lbs and is +130 to end inside the distance.

This fight has the widest range of outcomes of any fight on the entire card. It should be a fun striking battle, and a very close fight to call. Lando Vannata has a way of making his fights extremely close, regardless of level of competition. Marc Diakiese has more one-shot power, but both fighters have good chins and neither has ever been knocked out. The striking matchup is quite even, with Vannata having the volume advantage and probably a bit of a technical advantage, and Diakiese having the better power. Vannata is the better grappler in all facets but there is unlikely to be a large amount of grappling in this fight. This fight is just very close, but I believe the wrong fighter is favored. When considering salary, Diakiese is just a low exposure in the 10-15% range while Vannata’s more favorable salary should see roughly double to triple the Diakiese exposure.

Cash and Single Entry

I’ve warmed a bit to the idea of cash on this card and you can definitely fire into double ups this week. The cash lineup will start with jamming in three fighters over 9k in Joker, Chiasson and Olekseijczuk. We will stack the main with Cannonier for the sole sake of safety in those main event points. The next fighter that needs to be in is Cutelaba, who has become a salary value vs betting line, has a real ceiling and is a fighter who scores points with activity even in losses. The last slot is the trickiest one. The options are Chikadze, Dalby, Hernandez and Bahadurazada. I would prefer Bahadurazada as he has the least standing in his way of point output. The risk of Dalby being finished early is a far greater one than Bahadurazada. Chikadze and Hernandez, even if not finished are in danger of being smothered by grappling and their floors are tiny.

For single entry we will leave half of the lineup the same and make a three for three or two for two change for more ceiling. Cannonier and Chiasson are the two to take out, with the option on Bahadurazada as well. Note that one of the top three salaries must go and Olekseijczuk can be the one to go if you believe Chiasson must stay in. In the place of these two fighters we are entering our choice on the Phillips/Amedovski fight and then choice of favorite between Davis, Muradov and Burns. Any of these three options is sound.

Picks and Bets

Picks With Personal Confidence Percentage

  • Shore 80%
  • Vannata 55%
  • Chiasson 98%
  • Davis 69%
  • Naurdiev 60%
  • Muradov 78%
  • Phillips 60%
  • Oliveria 74%
  • Olekseiczyuk 92%
  • Cutelaba 59%
  • Burns 83%
  • Madsen 92%
  • Joker 92%

Bets

  • Shore -170
  • Vannata +125
  • Bahadurazada +165
  • Muradov -155
  • Olekseijczuk -245
  • Cutelaba -105
  • Burns -130
  • Joker ITD -140

Partial Unit Punts

  • Davis by submission +470
  • Phillips/Amedovski won’t start round 2 +170
  • Burns by KO +550

 

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