To win big money in large field GPP tournaments on DraftKings, you need to find high upside targets that give you leverage over much of the field. While I have never won a large field GPP, I have cashed in pretty big a few times.

When I do take down a GPP, I would prefer to not split the top prize with 2,000 other people. With a limited number of lineups, the goal is to find a healthy balance between high upside targets with low ownership projections.

Every slate is different, however, and sometimes it is just as important to recognize which fighters to fade as it is which fighters to roster. In this article, I will give my favorite leverage play and my favorite fighter to fade for this week’s slate.

Favorite GPP Play of the Week

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Ariane Lipski $7,700         

Ariane Lipski has had a very interesting redemption arc in the UFC. As a fairly hyped prospect coming from KSW and carrying the “Queen of Violence” moniker, she was very underwhelming during her first couple years within the promotion.

Lipski went 3-5 in her first 8 UFC bouts with losses to Joane (Calder)Wood, Molly McCann, Antonina Shevchenko, Montana De La Rosa, and Priscilla Cachoeira. She found out pretty quickly that she wasn’t always going to get her preferred style of fight with the level of talent in the UFC. Lipski prefers to strike at range and had a lot of success with her Muay Thai base on the regional scene, but her grappling game was certainly audited in most of the aforementioned losses.

Fortunately for her, she seems to have improved leaps and bounds with respect to her takedown defense and overall positional grappling and is currently riding a three-fight win streak within the promotion. At 30 years of age, I believe that she is in her fighting prime and with her newfound grappling chops, is a problem for most of the women in the UFC flyweight division.

Her opponent this weekend is Karine Silva who is an absolute stud for the first 5-7 minutes of her fights. Karine has won her last eight fights and has six first-round finishes in that span. Silva has a good right hand that carries a lot of power while she is fresh, but she really excels with a power submission game. She has a tremendous guillotine and is also very dangerous with leg locks.

The last time we saw her outside of round one, however, she looked very labored despite snatching up a fight-ending guillotine in round two on her Contender Series bout. Based on how her body language was looking coupled with the dramatic drop off in pace, I believe that guillotine was a bit of a “Hail Mary”. Silva carries a lot of muscle relative to many other women in the Flyweight division and operates primarily on fast-twitch, explosive movements.

I definitely think that Silva is live to find a finish in the first round of this fight, which makes this an excellent bout to target as a whole, but I am expecting Lipski to survive the early storm and boatrace Silva for the remainder. Ariane’s takedown defense is really solid these days and I think that she is the better striker with more process to her game, especially as the fight gets extended. The fight is lined -180 to not go the distance, which is pretty rare for WMMA flyweight bouts. The winner should put up a lot of points and I love Ariane Lipski this week on DraftKings.

Official Prediction: Ariane Lipski TKO round 3

Favorite GPP FADE of the Week

Matheus Nicolau $8,700

Matheus Nicolau is currently a -185 favorite in his upcoming bout against Alex Perez and the favorites in the main event tend to get a lot of ownership on DraftKings. I will certainly look to be underweight to Nicolau this weekend for a couple of reasons.

While I respect his skills, Matheus just doesn’t do enough in his fights for my liking. In his last four wins, he only eclipsed the 100-point mark one time, which came against the highly volatile Matt Schnell. In the other three wins in recent years, he only averaged approximately 68 points per fight, which is just not going to get anything done in a large-field GPP.

He does have the main event slot this weekend, which works in his favor given the potential for an extra ten minutes to accumulate points, but I just don’t think his ceiling matches his potential ownership this week. His opponent, Alex Perez, has proven to be very flaky over the years, but I am still a believer in his skill set and he recently did well enough to stifle much of Muhammad Mokaev’s offense albeit in a decision loss.

Perez has been finished in the first round three times in his UFC tenure, so I do think it is worth having some exposure to Nicolau this week, but I don’t think that he has the type of dynamic finishing ability as some of the other fighters that have given Perez problems early in fights. I think the bout probably gets extended and results in a lackluster decision where neither fighter ends up on the optimal lineup.

Official Prediction: Matheus Nicolau by Split Decision

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