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When searching for high upside targets in the low salary range on Draftkings, it is important to remember that we must operate on an IF/THEN basis. IF (Fighter A) wins THEN I expect him to score well. To take down a large-field GPP, you need to be unique and score a ton of points. In this column, I will be focusing on fighters who will be saving you salary, are projected to be lower owned in our ownership projections, and most importantly have high upside in a victory.

Justin Tafa $6,900         

I fully expect Karl Williams to plant Justin Tafa on his back early on in this fight and I do not think Tafa will be able to offer much resistance from the ground, nor do I think he will be well-equipped to work back to his feet. I certainly favor Karl Williams to use his offensive wrestling to win this fight, so I think this is a great fight to target overall. However, if Justin Tafa wins this fight, then I expect it to come via a round 1-2 KO and potentially even see him rack up the first-minute bonus.

First of all, this is a heavyweight matchup in a small octagon, so anything can happen once these two start hurling limbs at one another. I appreciate Karl Williams offensive wrestling that he has demonstrated in the past and he has proven that he can sustain a pretty significant offensive wrestling pace for the duration of a fight, which is a rare commodity in the heavyweight division. However, Karl Williams has been a bit inactive and had surgery following his bout against Chase Sherman in May of 2023. (Perhaps this is already being baked into the betting line)

I am generally not a fan of Justin Tafa’s overall MMA game, but it is no secret that he can absolutely crack on the feet. He has won three fights in the UFC and all of them have come via first round stoppage. If Tafa gets it done on Saturday as a moderate underdog, I expect another first-round KO against his opponent that should make him competitive for the optimal lineup.

One of our MMA Experts has a 2 Unit bet on the Williams vs Tafa fight… See what the pick is.

Igor Severino $7,200

Not a lot of casual players know who Igor Severino and/or Andre Lima are because they are both making their UFC debuts. There is no data on Draftkings for either fighter and given that Severino is sandwiched between Julian Erosa and Amanda Ribas, I don’t expect him to be highly rostered.

This flyweight bout has the potential to be fought at a very high pace and I expect these two to battle for front foot position early which could lead to some heavy pocket exchanges early and often. Both guys are undefeated in MMA with only a combined 15 fights between them, but Lima has a ridiculous amount of kickboxing experience despite only being 25 years of age.

I expect the fight to probably go the distance given that they are two very young flyweights, but it should be fought at a high pace and there could definitely be some sweaty moments for over bettors. Severino is currently sitting at around (+150) to win the fight across the betting market, but I think he is a very live underdog. Severino’s (+275) ITD line is not bad considering his price here and I do think he has the potential to score 80-90 points even in a decision win.

Jarno Errens $6,800

This one came as a surprise even to me. Jarno has had two UFC fights to this point in his career and had two lackluster decision losses that do not inspire much confidence towards his staying power at the UFC level.

Here’s the thing though, he is most certainly fighting for his job here, is matched up against a UFC debutant in Steven Nguyen (2-1 record on DWCS), has only been finished one time in his 19-fight career and will likely be one of the lowest-owned fighters on the slate despite only being around (+145) to win the fight.

This is a unique slate in a sense because there are so many closely lined fights this week. Typically, we see Draftkings listing fighters below $7,000 who are massive underdogs. That is not the case with Errens vs. Nguyen and the betting market certainly would not be shocked to see Errens pull off the upset. So what does a win look like for Errens? His striking is pretty “meat and potatoes” and he hasn’t landed a takedown in his UFC career through two fights, but he did attempt six of them.

His opponent, Steven Nguyen is most certainly the better athlete and has shown pretty competent takedown defense in recent fights, but Theo Rlayang did land two of the five takedowns he attempted against Nguyen in their 2021 DWCS fight. Errens may have a grappling path to victory here, which could see him far exceed value in a win considering how cheap he is.

I am definitely not a big fan of Erren’s overall MMA game, but he knows he needs to find a way to win on Saturday night. As a 29-year old featherweight having not won a fight since August of 2022, this is likely his last chance to extend his professional MMA career within the promotion.

These are just a few of the potential underdogs to target this week. On a slate where multiple underdogs are barking, these three could have the sharpest bite.

It pays to be contrarian.