Drake's Takes: UFC 298 Volkanovski vs. Topuria

Drake's Takes: UFC 298 Volkanovski vs. Topuria

This article is part of our Drake's Takes series.

The top MMA betting and DFS plays for this weekend's UFC 298 card are up and courtesy of Drake Burden, who breaks down betting and lineup strategy, as well as offers predictions for the entire event.

Andrea Lee (13-8-0) v. Miranda Maverick (12-5-0)

Andrea Lee - Height: 5'6" - Reach: 69" - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 8 finishes in 13 wins

Miranda Maverick - Height: 5'3" - Reach: 65" – Southpaw
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 8 finishes in 12 wins

DFS Perspective: Lee has lost three in a row and will likely see a fourth consecutive loss. Maverick should be better everywhere and control every aspect of the fight. She also scores well in wins, making her a solid play for cash and GPP contests. 

UFC 298 Pick: Maverick

Val Woodburn (7-1-0) v. Oban Elliott (9-2-0)

Val Woodburn - Height: 5'8" - Reach: 74" - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 5 finishes in 9 wins

Oban Elliott - Height: 6'0" - Reach: 72" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 5 finishes in 7 wins

DFS Perspective: Woodburn is taking his second UFC fight after getting knocked out in under a minute in his debut. Elliott is making his UFC debut after a dominant win in his Contender Series fight. It was said in his debut that Woodburn was not even close to UFC-caliber, and it showed. I do not understand why he is getting another fight, but he does have insane power and could record a knockout if he lands flush. Elliott will have a significant edge everywhere and should record a win in his first UFC fight. 

UFC 298 Pick: Elliott

Josh Quinlan (6-1-0) v. Danny Barlow (7-0-0)

Josh Quinlan - Height: 6'0" - Reach: 72" - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 6 finishes in 6 wins

Danny Barlow - Height: 6'2" - Reach: 79" – Southpaw
~ High volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 5 finishes in 7 wins

DFS Perspective: This will be an excellent fight to target for GPP contests, as both guys have a high finish rate. Barlow is making his UFC debut after an exciting knockout on the Contender Series, while Quinlan is coming in off of a decision loss, moving to 1-1 in the promotion. Barlow has a massive reach advantage; he could make this fight pretty easy if he uses it. I expect Quinlan's overall body of work to be better and for him to work this to the mat where he should have the edge.

UFC 298 Pick: Quinlan

Mingyang Zhang (16-6-0) v. Brendson Ribeiro (15-5-0)

Zhang Mingyang - Height: 6'2" - Reach: 75" - Orthodox
~ High volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 16 finishes in 16 wins

Brendson Ribeiro - Height: 6'3" - Reach: 81" – Orthodox
~ High volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 15 finishes in 15 wins

DFS Perspective: Another likely must-target fight for GPP contests. Each fighter has recorded a finish in every win, with the majority ending in the first round. These guys come out hot, and I do not expect that to change in this one. Both fighters are making their UFC debuts, and I expect it to be a banger. 

UFC 298 Pick: Zhang

Rinya Nakamura (8-0-0) v. Carlos Vera (11-3-0)

Rinya Nakamura - Height: 5'7" - Reach: 68" - Southpaw
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 6 finishes in 8 wins

Carlos Vera - Height: 5'7" - Reach: 69" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 6 finishes in 11 wins

DFS Perspective: Vera is making his UFC debut at 36 years old. His most recent fight was on The Ultimate Fighter, where he lost a decision. Nakamura has had two UFC fights and has dominated both. I expect his dominance to continue here. 

UFC 298 Pick: Nakamura

Marcos Rogerio de Lima (21-9-1) v. Justin Tafa (7-3-0)

Marcos Rogerio de Lima - Height: 6'1" - Reach: 75" - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 17 finishes in 21 wins

Justin Tafa - Height: 6'0" - Reach: 74" – Southpaw
~ High volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 7 finishes in 7 wins

DFS Perspective: This is another fight that likely will not see the judges' scorecards. It will either be Rogerio de Lima by sub or Tafa by knockout. I can never seem to get Tafa right, but I will go with him to record another first-round knockout. 

UFC 298 Pick: Tafa

Amanda Lemos (13-3-1) v. Mackenzie Dern (13-4-0)

Amanda Lemos - Height: 5'4" - Reach: 65" - Southpaw
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 11 finishes in 13 wins

Mackenzie Dern - Height: 5'4" - Reach: 63" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 7 finishes in 13 wins

DFS Perspective: Both ladies are coming off tough losses where they were dominated on the feet. Lemos will have the edge on the feet, while Dern will have the edge on the mat. After getting knocked down four times in less than two rounds, Dern is hard to trust just three months later against another strong striker. Lemos will overwhelm her quickly if she cannot get this down early. 

UFC 298 Pick: Lemos

Anthony Hernandez (11-2-0) v. Roman Kopylov (12-2-0)

Anthony Hernandez - Height: 6'0" - Reach: 75" - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 9 finishes in 11 wins

Roman Kopylov - Height: 6'0" - Reach: 75" – Southpaw
~ Moderate volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 11 finishes in 12 wins

DFS Perspective: This is a high-level fight between two rising prospects. Both fighters enter riding a four-fight winning streak and will be heavily tested in this one. Hernandez will have a significant edge on the mat if he can test the 90-plus percent takedown defense of Kopylov. The striking will be close, and both have considerable power. I expect this to be close unless Hernandez can get this to the mat, but he should ultimately pull through for the win.

UFC 298 Pick: Hernandez

Merab Dvalishvili (16-4-0) v. Henry Cejudo (16-3-0)

Merab Dvalishvili - Height: 5'6" - Reach: 68" - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 4 finishes in 16 wins

Henry Cejudo - Height: 5'4" - Reach: 64" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 8 finishes in 25 wins

DFS Perspective: Cejudo returned to the UFC and looked impressive in a close loss to then-champ Aljamain Sterling. Dvalishvili had his toughest fight to date in his most recent match and made it look easy, winning his ninth straight in dominant fashion. I expect Dvalishvili to continue his dominance and record his tenth straight win, adding another score well over 100 for DFS purposes.  

UFC 298 Pick: Dvalishvili

Geoff Neal (15-5-0) v. Ian Garry (13-0-0)

Geoff Neal - Height: 5'11" - Reach: 75" - Southpaw
~ High volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 11 finishes in 15 wins

Ian Garry - Height: 6'3" - Reach: 74" – Orthodox
~ High volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 8 finishes in 13 wins

DFS Perspective: Garry gets another step up in competition with Neal, who will be looking to end the hype train of the young prospect. The fight should come down to how much volume Neal throws, as I expect this to require the judges. Garry has quickly solved every fighter he has faced, particularly heavy strikers, which is precisely what Neal is. Neal will have every chance to record a knockout, but Garry should dominate on the scorecards and could record a finish of his own. 

UFC 298 Pick: Garry

Robert Whittaker (24-7-0) v. Paulo Costa (14-2-0)

Robert Whittaker - Height: 6'0" - Reach: 73" - Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 14 finishes in 24 wins

Paulo Costa - Height: 6'1" - Reach: 72" – Orthodox
~ High volume
~ Minimal wrestling/grappling
~ 12 finishes in 14 wins

DFS Perspective: Whittaker was knocked out for just the third time in 31 fights last July and is back to show he still has plenty left in the tank. Costa will return to the ring 18 months after his most recent win, losing out on some fights along the way due to injury. He has considerable power and could knock Whittaker out at any time, but I expect this to end with Whittaker getting his hand raised. Aside from raw power, which he has some of his own, Whittaker is better everywhere and should get back to winning ways in this one. 

UFC 298 Pick: Whittaker

Alexander Volkanovski (24-7-0) v. Ilia Topuria (14-0-0)

Alexander Volkanovski - Height: 5'6" - Reach: 71" - Orthodox
~ High volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 16 finishes in 26 wins

Ilia Topuria - Height: 5'7" - Reach: 69" – Orthodox
~ Moderate volume
~ Plus wrestling/grappling
~ 12 finishes in 14 wins

DFS Perspective: Topuria is 6-0 in the UFC and getting his first shot at the title. He is a complete fighter and has a tenacious fighting style. However, he has never fought anyone at the level of Volkanovski. Volk is returning to 145 to defend his belt, where he has never lost. His only two UFC losses have come at 155 against the current champ, and I do not see him losing here. While Topuria is dangerous and has the potential to take the belt, I expect to see the best version of Volkanovski, who has dominated everyone at 145. 

UFC 298 Pick: Volkanovski

 

For more MMA DFS-specific content, check out our UFC 298 DraftKings preview, or test your favorite combinations of fighters on our DFS MMA Lineup Optimizer.

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FANDUEL MMA SCORING

Moves Scoring
Significant Strikes = 0.6 pts
Takedown = 6 pts
Takedown Defense = 3 pts
Knockdown = 12 pts
Submission Attempt = 5 pts

Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win = 100 pts
2nd Round Win = 75 pts
3rd Round Win = 50 pts
4th Round Win = 35 pts
5th Round Win = 25 pts
Decision Win = 20 pts

Scoring Notes

  • Significant Strikes are distance strikes or clinch/ground strikes that are considered "power strikes" by official scorers.
  • A knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider a substantial time.

DRAFTKINGS MMA SCORING

Moves Scoring
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)

Scoring Notes

  • Significant Strikes are any distance strikes 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 time.
  • A Quick Win Bonus is awarded to the winning fighter if they win in the first round in 60 seconds or less.

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. Drake Burden plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Dburdz, DraftKings: Dburdz.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Drake Burden
Drake is a proven DFS winner with multiple four-figure paydays under his belt. He took an interest to writing MMA during the pandemic and is active in various Discords and other social media communities.
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