This article is part of our DraftKings MMA series.
UFC Vegas 68 takes place Saturday in Las Vegas, and Jon Litterine is back to break down the top fights, plus offer his DFS picks and predictions for the key matchups on the card.
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, including a $400k UFC Throwdown with $100k to first place. Players get a $50,000 budget to select six fighters, and the scoring rules are noted at the bottom of the column. Let's get to the action...
Main Event - Heavyweight
Derrick Lewis (26-10-0, 1NC) v. Sergey Spivac (15-3-0)
DK Salaries: Lewis ($7,400), Spivac ($8,800)
Vegas Odds: Lewis (+195), Spivac (-230)
Odds to Finish: -800
This fight was scheduled to headline a Fight Night card this past November before Lewis pulled out the day of the event due to a non-COVID illness.
Set to turn 38 years of age this coming February, time has essentially run out for Lewis in terms of him being any sort of legitimate contender in the heavyweight division. That said, because of his immense popularity, he is still getting main event fights such as this one. Lewis is 1-3 in his last four bouts, with all ending via knockout. His two most recent setbacks -- to Sergei Pavlovich and Tai Tuivasa -- were extremely concerning.
Spivac is a pretty boring fighter, and he hasn't fought much quality competition over the course of his UFC run, but it's difficult to argue with the results. He's 5-1 in his last half-dozen fights, with three of those wins coming via knockout. Of course, those five victories came against Augusto Sakai, Greg Hardy, Aleksei Oleinik, Jared Vanderaa and Carlos Felipe. The one time Spivac fought a high-end opponent (Tom Aspinall), Spivac was knocked out in less than three minutes.
It shouldn't come as much of a shock that Lewis is beginning to struggle. He's a one-dimensional knockout artist with zero secondary offensive skills. The power is still there, but I'd go as far as to say Lewis is nothing more than a fringe-roster fighter if these recent durability issues are here to stay. Between the advanced age, his limited skill set and the fact he has been injured over the course of his career, I have little faith the "old" Lewis will be returning.
Spivac is going to have a massive edge in terms of grappling. He's averaging 4.09 takedowns per 15 minutes, while Lewis defends the takedown at a paltry 56 percent clip. Sergei should shoot over and over, if for no other reason than to limit Lewis' ability to fire off unanswered power shots. In short, Spivac should win this fight going away as long as he avoids getting knocked out.
All that said, Lewis looks like a halfway decent value play here given his extremely cheap salary. He seems quite likely to be massively rostered in large tournaments because the potential payoff is huge.
Spivac is almost exactly a decade younger, an immensely better athlete and has multiple ways to win, so he's the pick, but I don't feel as great about it as I would like given the gap in overall talent between the two. "The Black Beast" is a live underdog.
THE PICK: Spivac
Co-Main Event - Light Heavyweight
Devin Clark (13-7-0) v. Da Un Jung (15-3-1)
DK Salaries: Clark ($7,500), Jung ($8,700)
Vegas Odds: Clark (+195), Jung (-230)
Odds to Finish: -175
Now 32 years of age and a loser of three of his past four fights dating back to November 2020, there's a non-zero chance Clark will be fighting for his job on Saturday. Clark has always been an underrated athlete with some power, but his durability is a serious concern, and his fight IQ has never really improved over the course of his six and a half years with the company. A sudden breakthrough seems highly unlikely.
Jung quietly went undefeated (4-0-1) in his first five bouts with the company before being knocked out by Dustin Jacoby in just over three minutes last July in a fight at UBS Arena on Long Island. Standing 6-foot-4 and built like a tank, Jung could easily fight at heavyweight, which he did briefly early in his career.
While Clark's main issue is a lack of durability, the concern regarding Jung is his inability to generate secondary offense if his power shots aren't landing. Yes, he averages 2.43 takedowns per 15 minutes, but that's simply the result of landing eight successful tries in a win over William Knight in April 2021. Other than that, he hasn't landed a single takedown in any of his other fights with the company.
It's imperative Clark move his feet and not make for a stationary target. He has more to offer offensively than Jung, but Jung's power is far more significant than anything Devin brings to the table. He'd be smart to try and wrestle in this fight. Even if the attempts don't land they will give Jung -- who has been notoriously tough to get to the mat thus far (88 percent) -- something to think about.
Jung is a good $300-$400 more than I would prefer, but Clark is a clear fade until we see some improvement. If that improvement doesn't come here, his time with the company could be over. I'm uncomfortably rolling with Jung in this one.
THE PICK: Jung
Blagoy Ivanov (19-4-0, 1NC) v. Marcin Tybura (23-7-0)
DK Salaries: Ivanov ($7,900), Tybura ($8,300)
Vegas Odds: Ivanov (+125), Tybura (-145)
Odds to Finish: +150
Literally one of the toughest men walking planet Earth today, Ivanov, the former longtime PFL/WSOF Heavyweight Champion, will be making his seventh UFC appearance. He's only 3-3, although a pair of the defeats have come via split decision. Ivanov could have easily entered on a five-fight win streak. There isn't a ton of upside here for a guy that turned 36 years of age this past October, but Blagoy is a heck of a lot of fun to watch.
Tybura has shown far more good than bad of late, in addition to being a bit lucky. He ran off five straight wins from February 2020 to June 2021. He then dropped a unanimous decision to Alexander Volkov before being gifted a majority decision over Alexandr Romanov last August. That fight should have been scored a draw. The turn of events keeps Tybura on the fringes of the top-10 at heavyweight.
Ivanov is the type of fighter that is willing to eat a strike in order to land two of his own. It's typically a terrible long-term strategy, particularly at heavyweight, but Blagoy's elite durability allows him to go that route. It's worked for him, for the most part.
Tybura has much better secondary offensive skills. He's better on the mat, more athletic, and will enter with a four-inch edge in height and five-inch edge in reach. Marcin needs to make Ivanov move his feet in hopes of tiring him out. Getting into a back-and-forth slugfest should be the last thing on Tybura's agenda.
We're only in the early days of February, but this could very easily go down as the thinnest card of the entire year when all is said and done. That makes finding playable underdogs particularly difficult. Ivanov, given his ridiculous toughness and durability, seems like as good a bet to pull an upset as anyone, assuming he is able to remain upright.
THE PICK: Ivanov
Doo Ho Choi (14-4-0) v. Kyle Nelson (13-5-0)
DK Salaries: Choi ($8,600), Nelson ($7,600)
Vegas Odds: Choi (-190), Nelson (+165)
Odds to Finish: -250
To say this is a must-win for Choi would be the understatement of the century. Now 31 years of age, Choi hasn't fought since December 2019 and hasn't won a fight since July 8, 2016. I openly admit to have zero idea what to expect from Choi after so long on the sidelines. Best I can tell, Choi had a single fight scheduled during his layoff. That was against Danny Chavez in July 2021 before Choi was forced to withdraw due to injury.
Nelson is theoretically in better shape, but not by much. He has only lost two straight instead of three like Choi. Another fighter that has rarely stepped into the Octagon in recent years, Kyle fought twice in 2019, once in 2020, not at all in 2021, and once in 2022. He's 1-4 in five career UFC bouts, bouncing between featherweight and lightweight.
It goes without saying this is the type of fight I would avoid nearly 100 percent of the time, but DraftKings players may not have such a luxury on this card, which, by the way, is scheduled for a 1:00 AM ET main card start.
Choi has legitimate power. 11 of his 14 career victories have come via knockout. He's comfortable in a fire fight, although it's worth noting that his last two defeats, to Charles Jourdain and Jeremy Stephens, came via knockout. The time away is obviously a concern for a fighter that began displaying durability issues prior to his hiatus. Choi has almost zero path to successive victories if his chin doesn't hold up.
As much as I don't want to pick a fighter that we've barely seen in recent years, it's not as if Nelson has been particularly active in his own right, and Kyle's durability issues are too much to get past. It's one thing to lose, it's another entirely to be finished repeatedly over and over. I'll close my eyes, cross my fingers, and pick Choi.
THE PICK: Choi
Yusaku Kinoshita (6-1-0) v. Adam Fugitt (8-3-0)
DK Salaries: Kinoshita ($9,100), Fugitt ($7,100)
Vegas Odds: Kinoshita (-305), Fugitt (+255)
Odds to Finish: -165
THE PICK: Kinoshita
Jeka Saragih (13-2-0) v. Anshul Jubli (6-0-0)
DK Salaries: Saragih ($8,000), Jubli ($8,200)
Vegas Odds: Saragih (-110), Jubli (-110)
Odds to Finish: -155
THE PICK: Saragih
Jeong Yeong Lee (9-1-0) v. Yi Zha (21-3-0)
DK Salaries: Lee ($8,900), Zha ($7,300)
Vegas Odds: Lee (-250), Zha (+210)
Odds to Finish: -300
THE PICK: Lee
Toshiomi Kazama (10-2-0) v. Rinya Nakamura (6-0-0)
DK Salaries: Kazama ($6,900), Nakamura ($9,400)
Vegas Odds: Kazama (+340), Nakamura (-425)
Odds to Finish: -210
THE PICK: Nakamura
Seung Guk Choi (6-1-0) v. Hyun Sung Park (7-0-0)
DK Salaries: Choi ($7,800), Park ($8,400)
Vegas Odds: Choi (+160), Park (-190)
Odds to Finish: +160
THE PICK: Park
Ji Yeon Kim (9-6-2) v. Mandy Bohm (7-2-0, 1NC)
DK Salaries: Kim ($9,000), Bohm ($7,200)
Vegas Odds: Kim (-265), Bohm (+225)
Odds to Finish: +245
THE PICK: Kim
Jun Yong Park (15-5-0) v. Denis Tiuliulin (11-6-0)
DK Salaries: Park ($8,500), Tiuliulin ($7,700)
Vegas Odds: Park (-200), Tiuliulin (+170)
Odds to Finish: -105
THE PICK: Tiuliulin
Tatsuro Taira (12-0-0) v. Jesus Aguilar (8-1-0)
DK Salaries: Taira ($9,600), Aguilar ($6,600)
Vegas Odds: Taira (-1150), Aguilar (+750)
Odds to Finish: -175
THE PICK: Taira
Note: All odds accurate as of time of posting, and taken from the DraftKings Sportsbook, if available, before searching elsewhere. Stay up to date for UFC Vegas 68 with more MMA betting content.
DraftKings MMA Scoring
Note: Scoring has been updated as of early-2021! Please review the scoring changes below.
Strikes: +0.2 PTS
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.2 PTS
Control Time: +0.03 PTS/SECOND
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
Quick Win Bonus: +25 PTS
(fight is finished in 60 seconds or less)
- Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
- A Significant Strike will count as both a strike and a significant strike and will be worth a total of 0.4 Pts
- Control Time is the time spent in the dominant position on the ground or in the clinch. +0.03 points are awarded per second.
- A Knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider an appreciable amount of time.
- A Quick Win Bonus is awarded to the winning fighter if they win in the first round in 60 seconds or less.