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DraftKings MMA, UFC DFS Lineup Picks - UFC Orlando: Thompson vs. Holland

The UFC is back on our schedule after a two-week hiatus and entering a three-week sprint leading up to Christmas. It's going to be a mixture of events in that span with Fight Night subpar events taking place in Orlando and Las Vegas and a proper numbered one (UFC 282) happening in LV sandwiched between the other two.

Starting with the first of those three outings, we're in for a nice Welterweight one between Holland and Thompson, a contender and a former title challenger not at the peak of their powers these days. Good for us watchers, though, there are plenty of fireworks waiting to happen and spread over the full card of matchups, headlined by a clash between Sergei Pavlovich, and Tai Tuivasa.

In this article, I will be providing you with my fantasy MMA lineup picks for UFC Orlando: Thompson vs. Holland on 12/03/22. Give me a follow on Twitter @chapulana. Good luck!

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DraftKings MMA Welterweight - UFC DFS Lineup Picks 

Kevin Holland, $8500 - vs. Stephen Thompson

Thompson fought for the title a couple of times against Tyron Woodley around six years ago but he never truly recovered from that draw-and-loss series of whiffs keeping him from lifting the belt. Thompson is 3-4 since then and 2-3 since Nov. 2019 in a span of three years. He's coming off back-to-back losses, both in 2021.

Holland, while better of late, is definitely not as menacing as he was in the first half of his career after posting a 7-3 record from his debut in Aug. 2018 to the end of 2020. In the past two years, he's 2-3-1 although he's defeated two of his 2022 foes only losing one fight last September to title-contending (and inevitable future champion) Khamzat Chimaev.

Thompson has either lose or win his last five fights via decision spending 15 minutes inside the Octagon four times and 25 the other one (a headliner in Dec. 2020). Prior to that, there was a KO defeat (second round) but Thompson can be considered a full-distance fighter. Holland differs from that profile, though. His last three fights finished in two submissions (one win, one loss) and a knockout (victory).

None of these two are going to give you takedown points in fantasy contests, so you can forget about that. When it comes to striking things look pretty much the same. That's correct, this fight might suck for real and fantasy-life purposes.

Thompson had a 400+ SSA outing as recently as Dec. 2020 landing 171 of those attempted SS, but other than that he just landed 19 in back-to-back fights against Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad. He finished those two bouts with 9.5 FP each.

Holland hasn't been much better, but he has something Thompson has not: finishing prowess. And that's the only thing making me favor him entering the Octagon this weekend. If you are risk-averse and/or smart, you will probably want to avoid these two entirely and fade them from your lineups.


DraftKings MMA Welterweight - UFC DFS Lineup Picks 

Rafael dos Anjos, $9600 - vs. Bryan Barberena

As many times as Barberena has stepped inside an Octagon (15), dos Anjos more than doubles that count with 31 fights under his UFC belt already. A former champ, dos Anjos will fight for the third time in this calendar year alone entering Saturday with a 1-1 record in 2022, no fights last year, and a split in 2020 for a combined 2-2 record in the past three years.

Barberena is less experienced and way younger than RdA, but that doesn't mean he hasn't gone through a lot already. He's currently riding a three-fight winning streak and he's 4-1 since the start of 2020. His only loss came (surprisingly) against Jason Witt back in July 2021 but other than that he's been great of late.

Historically, Barberena was always a KO-or-get-KO'd type of fighter. That has changed recently as he's gone the distance in four of his last five fights. He KO'd Robbie Lawler the last time he fought last July, though, earning himself a second-round W and a fantasy bounty of 143.5 DKFP. It's been seven fights in a row for Barberena attempting 100+ SSA and three straight with 211+ SSA in each of those. He's also landed 108+ SS in the past three fights.

Dos Anjos comes with the bonus of having a fantastic ground skill set having (intelligently) chased 53 (!) takedowns over his last three fights combined. He landed 13 of those attempts and in the two fights of those three that he ended up winning (both via decision, so no early-finish points went this way) he reached gaudy 121.2 and 139.5 DKFP.

While Barberena has a slight edge in SSA/SSL per minute over dos Anjos, there is a no-contest battle when it comes to grappling between these two. Dos Anjos was KO'd in his most recent fight but he only has suffered two knockouts since his debut (in 31 total fights) so it's now that he's made of glass.

I'd bet on Dos Anjos fending off Barberena's KO attempts and getting the larger DKFP tally next Saturday.


DraftKings MMA Flyweight - UFC DFS Lineup Picks 

Matheus Nicolau, $9400 - vs. Matt Schnell

While Nicolau is on a clear ascending path, Schnell is trying to bounce back a bit and trying to make a return to his early-career winning ways.

Nicolau has won his last three fights since a two-and-a-half-year hiatus from mid-2018 to March 2021 and he's 5-1 overall since debuting in 2015. Schnell, who started his UFC run 4-1, has gone 2-3 since then while sandwiching two losses with two victories, one on each side of those back-to-back defeats.

While neither of these two is a true legend of the mat, at least Nicolau tries to work the grappling game a bit: he's attempted 20 takedowns through his six UFC fights and 12 in his last three (all from March 2021 on). He's landed three of those 12 attempts, which is definitely not so great. Forget about Schnell even trying to land a takedown.

Schnell, though, averages more strikes per minute (attempted and landed) though that's also a product of smaller samples as he's not reached the final buzzer most of his career.

None of these two is going to KO the other one most probably, and both come with submission prowess. Nicolau has been much better at connecting strikes and landing/attempting takedowns of late while carrying a long winning streak, so I'm siding with him.


DraftKings MMA Heavyweight - UFC DFS Lineup Picks 

Sergei Pavlovich, $9000 - vs. Tai Tuivasa

Perhaps the best fight in the main card, this one. Tuivasa and Pavlovich have combined to win nine of their last 10 fights in the UFC. Only Tuivasa has lost one of those, and he did the last time we watched him inside the Octagon last September facing the talented Cyril Gane. Other than that, these two have been sublime.

Tuivasa and Pavolivch do it all on pure striking without giving a damn about grappling. No problem, though, as they count their (recent) fights all by KOs for or against (this latter case only in Tuivasa's fight log).

This fight, as exciting as it might be, is very well a black/withe, all/nothing type of affair. One of these two is inevitably going to bite the dust after getting rocked and knocked out cold by the other fighter. It is what it is, and you hate that for fantasy contests, let alone when both men have virtually the same odds of making that happen.

If you have to forcefully put one of these two in your lineup, make him Pavolivich. If not, err on the safe side of the fantasy world, and don't risk swallowing a goose egg from the loser of this affair.


DraftKings MMA Middleweight - UFC DFS Lineup Picks 

Eryk Anders, $7100 - vs. Kyle Daukaus

Not the greatest of contestants, Anders and Daukaus. Anders has lost his last two fights (he's 1-2-1 since the start of 2021) and Daukaus is the same 1-2-1 in the same two-year span. Quite shaky, bouncy, and mediocre fighters with Anders ranking inside the 64th percentile of DKFP and Daukaus into the 46th.

Anders and Daukaus go for takedowns fairly often, having attempted 36 and 18 takedowns respectively since 2021 with landing rates of 17% and 22%. Not the greatest at it, but they both try and get some DKFP on that front.

The striking volume sucks incredibly with these two only topping 7.5 SSA/min once in their last seven fights combined. Anders went 65-of-142 in his latest outing, but even that was middling. He made up for it with three takedowns landed (24 attempted!) so I guess that fixed him a bit.

I would hate having to put one of these two in my lineup not because there is a chance of one of them getting finished but because even if they end up going the full 15-minute distance they probably boast some 50-DKFP ceiling. Not the greatest outlook, but I'd go with Anders here if forced to pick one of these men.


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