UFC 268 takes place on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and the card is headlined by a rematch between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington for the UFC welterweight title.
Usman and Covington first fought at UFC 245 in December 2019, and Usman won late in the fight by TKO. The co-main event is also a title fight rematch, as Rose Namajunas defends the women’s strawweight title against Zhang Weili.
Below, we examine some of the UFC betting offerings for the event by DraftKings Sportsbook and give bets to consider.
- Kamaru Usman (-320) vs. Colby Covington (+250)
- Rose Namajunas (-105) vs. Zhang Weili (-115)
- Justin Gaethje (-200) vs. Michael Chandler (+175)
- Billy Quarantillo (+170) vs. Shane Burgos (-200)
- Frankie Edgar (+145) vs. Marlon Vera (-165)
Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler
There are two bets for this fight that stick out as appealing plays. The first bet to consider is the Michael Chandler moneyline at plus money. Chandler’s opponent, Justin Gaethje, is currently about a -200 favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook, but this fight is probably closer to 50/50 than the odds indicate, which potentially creates some value on Chandler at +175.
Despite this only being his third UFC fight, Michael Chandler is one of the most experienced lightweights in the sport. Chandler is an excellent wrestler who is fast, athletic and has big power in his hands. Chandler’s wrestling credentials include being an All-American in college, and he has one-punch knockout power, which he has showcased recently. All three of his most recent wins have been first-round knockouts, and Chandler was very close to knocking out UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira in his last fight before losing via KO/TKO. Chandler’s skills match up very well against Gaethje, and this has the looks of a fairly even matchup.
The second bet to consider is taking this fight to be finished by KO/TKO. Both Chandler and Gaethje are strong wrestlers who have big power in their hands and like to go headhunting. Chandler and Gaethje’s wrestling appears primed to offset each other and turn this into primarily a striking match on the feet. If that happens, there’s a good chance that someone will end this fight via KO/TKO.
Gaethje has historically been fine with trading punches and has absorbed a ton of strikes, taking roughly eight significant strikes per minute, an extremely high number. Gaethje has also been finished via strikes twice. If Gaethje is content to let Chandler tee off on him in exchanges, Chandler has the KO power to put his lights out. On the flip side, Chandler does not have the best chin and has been knocked out four times in his career, including in his most recent fight.
Picking the fight to be finished by KO/TKO is appealing because it gives us margin for error on picking the winner, because it doesn’t matter who wins—it just matters that either Chandler or Gaethje wins by KO/TKO.
Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington
Statistically, this matchup is close on paper. Both Usman and Covington have each landed around 4.5 significant strikes per minute and both have absorbed about 2.5 significant strikes per minute. Both Usman and Covington have strong wrestling and each has averaged over three takedowns per 15 minutes, with Covington’s number at a heavy 4.6 per 15 minutes.
However, despite the stats being close, this is a poor matchup for Covington. Usman is a better wrestler and better striker, so Covington will likely struggle to out-point Usman on the feet and struggle to get the fight to the ground. In their first fight, Covington generated no control time and no takedowns, which sheds light on how strong Usman’s wrestling is. Covington has very few paths to victory in this matchup, and his best chance is probably a one-punch knockout, which is unlikely because Usman has a strong chin.
In their first fight, Usman out-landed Covington 175 to 143 in total significant strikes and Usman’s striking has improved since that fight. Usman has finished both Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal with strikes since then and appears to keep improving his stand-up skills. Usman knocked Covington down twice in their first fight and will have a good chance to finish this fight again with strikes on the feet with his improved striking.
Billy Quarantillo vs. Shane Burgos
Quarantillo is the underdog in this matchup, but taking him to win via KO/TKO at plus money is appealing. Both Quarantillo and Burgos are high-volume strikers, each landing about seven significant strikes per minute. Burgos’ high activity has contributed to him absorbing a ton of strikes, absorbing about six significant strikes per minute. Burgos has been finished by KO/TKO twice in three UFC losses, and Quarantillo has the power to finish this fight via strikes. Quarantillo has won three of his six UFC fights by KO/TKO and more than half of his UFC wins are by KO/TKO.
DraftKings Fantasy MMA
Rose Namajunas ($8,200) vs. Zhang Weili ($8,000)
In their first fight in April 2021, Namajunas stunned Weili with a high kick early in the fight and won via KO/TKO to take the belt from Weili. Namajunas’ head kick came from her lead leg, which is a little unusual, and it caught Weili by surprise. Weili should be more prepared this time around and is in a good position to rebound.
Playing Weili in DraftKings DFS contests is appealing. Weili is a high-volume striker, landing over six significant strikes per minute, and this is a five-round title fight, which can potentially create 10 more minutes for Weili to accumulate fantasy scoring. Weili has more appealing striking metrics, posting a better strikes landed to absorbed ratio—Namajunas’ strikes landed to absorbed ratio is unimpressive at about 1:1.
Kamaru Usman ($9,300) vs. Colby Covington ($6,900)
Covington has been an elite fantasy scorer, averaging 108 DKFP per fight, second-most on this slate. However, Covington generates a lot of his fantasy scoring through takedowns and control time, which will be incredibly difficult to generate against Usman. This matchup is not primed for Covington to be a high fantasy scorer despite his excellent fight log. Covington finished with 57 DKFP in his first fight against Usman after recording no control time and no takedowns.
Usman is one of the highest DraftKings fantasy scorers in the entire UFC and is the best play to build around on this fantasy UFC slate. Usman is averaging a slate-high 122 DraftKings fantasy points (DKFP) per fight and scored 130 DKFP in his first fight against Covington.
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