This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
UFC Boston will treat fight fans to what essentially amounts to two main events this weekend. The scheduled matchup between Chris Weidman and Dominick Reyes will headline the card, but preceding that bout will be a rematch from a UFC Mexico City fight gone wrong between Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens. That fight was originally ruled a no-contest due to an inadvertent eye poke just seconds into the fight, but the two will get to settle the score on FRIDAY night. Fantasy players will essentially get to treat this card like a pay-per-view, as DraftKings is putting out a $25,000 top prize in the $15 MMA Throwdown, with $100,000 total up for grabs.
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 - Light Heavyweight
Chris Weidman (14-4-0) v. Dominick Reyes (11-0-0)
DK Salaries: Weidman ($7,400), Reyes ($8,800)
Vegas Odds: Weidman (+165), Reyes (-145)
Odds to Finish: -350
It's been rumored for years, but Weidman will finally be making the trek up to 205 pounds after his time at 185 pounds had run its course. Chris was widely viewed as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world not all that long ago, but is somehow sporting a 1-4 record in his last five fights dating back to December 2015. Now, the losses have come to quality competition (Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero, Gegard Mousasi, Jacare Souza) and Weidman has been the victim of some bad luck and circumstances, but you are what your record says you are in this sport, and Chris's record has been abysmal of late.
Reyes has began his UFC career with a perfect 5-0 record. After winning his first three bouts via stoppage, Reyes has picked up a pair of decision victories (Volkan Oezdemir, Ovince Saint Preux) in his last two fights. "The Devastator" has a massive frame (6-foot-4) for the light heavyweight division and he does an excellent job of throwing a ton of kicks and varying his offensive attack. Weidman was a big middleweight, but he's going to be giving up some size to Reyes at 205 pounds. Dominick remains one of the few legitimate prospects in a very thin division.
The way I see it, Weidman has two issues here. First is the fact he's seemingly never healthy. Chris has fought just once since July 2017. He has had countless surgeries and all those procedures have played a role in his inability to cut back down to 185 pounds. Second is the fact Weidman gets hit way too much on the feet. He's not a power puncher, but he would always try to engage his opposition in brawls. That didn't work at middleweight and it certainly won't at light heavyweight.
Weidman will probably try to lean on his wrestling here, but Reyes's takedown defense is an excellent 85 percent. We will have to see how he does against a legitimate former Division I All-American in Weidman, but the early returns are positive.
All in all, this just seems like a bad matchup for Chris. I think he has a lot left in the tank and I can certainly see him making a run at 205 pounds, but going up against a long, power puncher who won't give up the easy takedown is pretty much a worse-case scenario for Weidman at this point. Throw in the fact I always avoid picking a fighter competing in a new weight class whenever possible, and you have an easy decision here. Maybe you take a shot on Weidman if you're making multiple lineups simply because fighters with his pedigree are rarely priced so cheaply, but I don't think he wins.
THE PICK: Reyes
Co-Main Event - Featherweight
Yair Rodriguez (12-2-0, 1NC) v. Jeremy Stephens (28-16-0, 1NC)
DK Salaries: Rodriguez ($8,100), Stephens ($8,100)
Vegas Odds: Rodriguez (-110), Stephens (-110)
Odds to Finish: +125
These two men competed against each other four weeks ago in Mexico City in a fight in which Stephens was left unable to continue after just 15 seconds due to an accidental eye poke. The breakdown of the fight is below. Assuming Stephens is fully recovered from his injury, nothing below has changed....
Coming off a fight in which he scored the most improbable victory in the history of the company – a blind elbow with one second remaining in a fight he was certainly to lose to Chan Sung Jung on the judge's scorecards – Rodriguez returns against a tough customer in Stephens. It's not a stretch to say that Yair is one of the most innovative offensive minds in the sport today, and to see him going up against a true knockout artist in Stephens should make for entertaining television. Rodriguez has lost just once in his past 10 fights and that came via doctor's stoppage against Frankie Edgar. He's been around seemingly forever, but Rodriguez won't turn 27 years old until next month.
Stephens is in need of a victory in the worst way following back-to-back losses to Jose Aldo and Zabit Magomedsharipov. Stephens has been on the fringes of title contention for years, but he has come up short in virtually every big fight in his career. He has plenty of impressive wins on his resume – Josh Emmett, Renan Barao, Dennis Bermudez, Rafael dos Anjos – but that one career-defining victory has always eluded him. Stephens' biggest issue is that he's a one-dimensional power puncher. He hits as hard as any fighter in the division and is ridiculously tough, but the very best opponents can negate a fighter who only does one thing well. Stephens will probably have a job after Saturday even if he loses because he is so entertaining to watch, but his chances of ever entering the title picture once again at 145 pounds will have evaporated.
Rodriguez is impossible to train for because no one in the sport fights like he does, but it's not as if Stephens is a big "game planner" anyway. All he does is walk across the cage and throw bombs over and over. It works more often than not, but I don't think it's going to work here. I'm far more willing to be on Yair's creativity over the pure power of Stephens. That being said, Stephens have definite value as an underdog. He can turn your lights out in an instant. I expect a close, competitive fight, and I also expect a Rodriguez win.
THE PICK: Rodriguez
Joe Lauzon (27-16-0) v. Jonathan Pearce (8-3-0)
DK Salaries: Lauzon ($7,700), Pearce ($8,500)
Vegas Odds: Lauzon (+120), Pearce (-140)
Odds to Finish: -265
Now 35 years old and 18 months removed from his most recent bout, Lauzon is a shell of his former self and I have zero interest in seeing him fight again. He is sporting a 1-4 record in his past five bouts and has one victory in the past 3.5 years. Lauzon remains an elite mat specialist, but those skills are negated by the fact he can't eat a punch anymore. This fight doesn't making any sense on the surface and I think there is something else in play, which I'll get to momentarily.
Pearce will be making his official company debut after earning a contract on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series in July. The 27-year-old clearly has some pop in his hands, but two of his three career losses have come via submission. If he can keep this fight standing, he'll be fine. If it ends up on the mat for any extended period time, he's almost certainly done. Surely Pearce knows this, and it's not as if Lauzon retains the athleticism he featured in the early portion of his long career.
Lauzon is a smart guy. He has a young family and is involved in coaching other fighters. Considering this fight is taking place in his native Massachusetts, my prediction here is that he retires regardless of the result. It just makes too much sense. Joe has to know he can't compete with even an average UFC fighter these days, and he has plenty of interests outside the Octagon. I have no inside information, that's just my prediction for what happens here. I also don't think he's going to win. Regardless of if you think Pearce is any good or not – and we don't really have an answer to that question yet – Lauzon is legitimately one of the weaker lightweights on the roster at this point.
THE PICK: Pearce
Maycee Barber (7-0-0) v. Gillian Robertson (7-3-0)
DK Salaries: Barber ($8,300), Robertson ($7,900)
Vegas Odds: Barber (-135), Robertson (+115)
Odds to Finish: -225
There is room for an substantial immediate advancement in the UFC's thinnest division and the winner of this bout will be in prime position to fly up the rankings.
Barber is widely considered to be the division's brightest prospect. Heck, her nickname is "The Future," so she better be good. And she is good, but I don't think she's great – at least not yet. Maycee has knocked out J.J. Aldrich and Hannah Cifers in her first two UFC bouts. Barber's power is evident, but the rest of her game remains a work in progress. Of course, since she turned just 21 years old in May, so she has plenty of time to work out the kinks. Barber has solid technical skills, but she looks most comfortable in a brawl in the early stages of her career. I imagine that will change over time.
Robertson is 4-1 in the UFC. All five of her fights have ended via stoppage. She averages nearly four takedowns (3.77) per 15 minutes despite connecting on just 53 percent of her attempts. While not nearly as young as Barber, Robertson is just 24 years old. There's some legitimate concern that Robertson has made a name for herself beating up sub-par competition – her UFC victories have come against Emily Whitmire, Molly McCann, Veronica Macedo, and Sarah Frota – but Robertson is tough as nails and trains with American Top Team, an elite camp.
This is my upset pick. I'm taking Robertson. I like Barber and acknowledge she has a ton going for her and a bright, bright future, but she's still very young and many of the mistakes she makes, while fixable over time, are clear cut and potentially devastating. Robertson is legitimately talented enough to make Barber pay for those errors. A loss for Barber at this stage of her career means literally nothing in the grand scheme of things, and I'm actually more interested to see if she can continue to improve her all-around game as opposed to whether she actually wins or loses.
THE PICK: Robertson
Manny Bermudez (14-1-0) v. Charles Rosa (11-3-0)
DK Salaries: Bermudez ($8,700), Rosa ($7,500)
Vegas Odds: Bermudez (-150), Rosa (+130)
Odds to Finish: -155
While this is a fight that has little to no impact on the rankings at 145 pounds, it does feature a pair of Massachusetts natives and should result in an entertaining, high energy bout.
Saturday's bout will end more than 2.5 years on the sidelines for Rosa. He last fought April 8, 2017 in a Fight of the Night knockout loss at the hands of Shane Burgos. Rosa has been scheduled to fight just once since then – a January 2018 bout against Dan Ige – which Rosa was forced to withdraw from due to injury. Rosa is a durable mat specialist with a limited amount of power. He has scored seven submission victories in his career and the Burgos loss was the only time he has ever been knocked out. Rosa has also scored three Fight of the Night bonuses in just five UFC bouts. Rosa may not always win, but it won't be due to a lack of activity and effort.
Bermudez had his undefeated professional record snapped in August following a unanimous decision loss to Casey Kenney. Bermudez had won his first 14 professional fights prior to that setback including 11 via submission and his first three with the UFC. Like Rosa, Bermudez makes his living on the mat. Bermudez is going to be the slightly bigger and stronger man, but I doubt that has an impact on a fight in which both men clearly do their best work on the ground.
Bermudez and Rosa have both been around, but this is a difficult fight to pick. It's always hard when you have two competitors to employ similar styles and all the more difficult when those two men rely on their respective ground games to be successful. In the end, I like the versatility and athleticism or Bermudez just a bit more. Don't be surprised if this fight sees the final bell.
THE PICK: Bermudez
Greg Hardy (5-1-0) v. Ben Sosoli (7-2-0, 1NC)
DK Salaries: Hardy ($9,300), Sosoli ($6,900)
Vegas Odds: Hardy (-280), Sosoli (+240)
Odds to Finish: -505
THE PICK: Hardy
Deron Winn (6-0-0) v. Darren Stewart (10-4-0, 1NC)
DK Salaries: Winn ($8,200), Stewart ($8,000)
Vegas Odds: Winn (-115), Stewart (-105)
Odds to Finish: +140
THE PICK: Winn
Molly McCann (9-2-0) v. Diana Belbita (13-4-0)
DK Salaries: McCann ($9,400), Belbita ($6,800)
Vegas Odds: McCann (-450), Belbita (+360)
Odds to Finish: +140
THE PICK: McCann
Kyle Bochniak (8-4-0) v. Sean Woodson (6-0-0)
DK Salaries: Bochniak ($8,400), Woodson ($7,800)
Vegas Odds: Bochniak (-135), Woodson (+115)
Odds to Finish: +155
THE PICK: Woodson
Randy Costa (4-1-0) v. Boston Salmon (6-2-0)
DK Salaries: Costa ($7,200), Salmon ($9,000)
Vegas Odds: Costa (+150), Salmon (-170)
Odds to Finish: -125
THE PICK: Salmon
Court McGee (20-8-0) v. Sean Brady (10-0-0)
DK Salaries: McGee ($7,000), Brady ($9,200)
Vegas Odds: McGee (+195), Brady (-235)
Odds to Finish: +175
THE PICK: Brady
Daniel Spitz (6-2-0) v. Tanner Boser (16-5-1)
DK Salaries: Spitz ($7,600), Boser ($8,600)
Vegas Odds: Spitz (+115), Boser (-135)
Odds to Finish: +110
THE PICK: Boser
Brendan Allen (12-3-0) v. Kevin Holland (16-4-0)
DK Salaries: Allen (7,300), Holland ($8,900)
Vegas Odds: Allen (+145), Holland (-165)
Odds to Finish: +130
THE PICK: Holland