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UFC 277 Fight Preview: UFC DFS Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel MMA Lineups | Pena vs. Nunes 2 | Saturday




The UFC is live at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Julianna Pena and Amanda Nunes will once again face off in the center of the Octagon for the UFC bantamweight title, only this time Nunes will be the one challenging Pena. Below are some UFC DFS picks and analyses with the help of Stokastic’s projections. Let’s see what’s on tap for UFC 277: Pena vs. Nunes 2.

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MMA DFS Picks: UFC 277 Pena vs. Nunes 2

Orion Cosce $8,800 vs. Blood Diamond $7,400

Orion Cosce

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5-foot-9
  • Weight: 170 lbs.
  • Reach: 71 ins
  • Record: 7-1-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 67%
  • Betting Odds: -215

It was a family affair on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2020 as brothers Orion Cosce and Louis Cosce both earned UFC contracts with highlight reel knockouts on the same night. Orion is the younger of the two brothers and seems to be a bit more well rounded. On the feet, Cosce has solid striking with big power, especially when he is fighting from range where he can more safely lead the pace of the fight. Cosce tends to be a headhunter and is always looking for the knockout blow. His biggest advantage in this fight over Blood Diamond will be his solid wrestling game and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Cosce will be relentless in getting this fight to the mat, where he will have a major edge and could find the finish quickly.

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Blood Diamond

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 5-foot-9
  • Weight: 170 lbs.
  • Reach: 76 ins
  • Record: 3-1-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 33%
  • Betting Odds: +164

Blood Diamond, real name Mike Mathetha, will be making his second walk to the Octagon. In his UFC debut, Jeremiah Wells quickly backed Diamond into the cage, nullifying his height advantage and limiting his kicking game; he was able to find the takedown and submitted Diamond in the first round. Diamond only has four MMA fights under his belt, which is extremely low given he recently turned 34 years old. He is a dangerous kickboxer with a poor wrestling game. On the feet, Diamond throws a mixture of punches and kicks with precision and power. That said, Diamond showed a real weakness in grappling in his debut and had zero answers once he hit the mat.

The pick on DraftKings and FanDuel MMA is Cosce. His relentless takedown attempts and pressure should lead to an early finish.

UFC DFS Pick: Orion Cosce via Second-Round Submission

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Derrick Lewis $8,000 vs. Sergei Pavlovich $8,200

Derrick Lewis

  • Age: 37
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 260 lbs.
  • Reach: 79 ins.
  • Record: 26-9-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 59%
  • Betting Odds: +112

Lewis is a dangerous heavyweight, and no matter how much he seems to be out of a fight, he can still find a finish. He is acting as the gatekeeper near the top of the heavyweight division, and this weekend he is taking on a young Sergei Pavlovich in a fight that should be full of excitement. Lewis has defeated some of the biggest names in the division, including Alexander Volkov, Curtis Blaydes and current heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. Lewis is coming into this matchup off a disappointing second-round knockout loss to Tai Tuivasa by way of a vicious elbow. Lewis will follow the same strategy in this fight, coming out hard with heavy kicks and throwing thunderous punches, looking for an immediate knockout.

Sergei Pavlovich

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 257 lbs.
  • Reach: 84 ins.
  • Record: 15-1-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 52%
  • Betting Odds: -142

Pavlovich is a young up-and-comer in the heavyweight division whose only loss came in his UFC debut against Alistair Overeem in November of 2018. He is currently riding a three-fight winning streak, all coming by way of knockout. In his previous fight, he dropped Shamil Abdurakhimov with a devastating right uppercut then finished him on the ground, which earned him a Performance of the Night bonus. Pavlovich is the former Fight Nights Global heavyweight champion; he has a background in Greco-Roman wrestling but has only relied on his striking in the UFC. This is a big step up in competition for Pavlovich, and Lewis is going to take advantage of that.

The pick on DraftKings and FanDuel is Lewis. He will come out fast and hard, looking to end Pavlovich’s night early. Stokastic’s MMA DFS projections give Lewis 48% win odds and a 41% chance of a knockout.

UFC DFS Pick: Derrick Lewis via. Second-Round KO/TKO

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Brandon Moreno $8,900 vs. Kai Kara-France $7,300

Brandon Moreno

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5-foot-6
  • Weight: 125 lbs.
  • Reach: 70 ins.
  • Record: 19-6-2
  • Striking Accuracy: 47%
  • Betting Odds: -220

Moreno initially relied on his grapple-first approach but has since developed into a complete technical striker as he’s matured in the UFC. His composure inside the Octagon is seemingly unshakable, and he is always looking to finish the fight more strongly than his opponent. Once the cage door closes, Moreno turns into a vicious and highly skilled fighter, throwing crisp combinations and using his nasty jab and aggressive boxing to hurt his opponents. He has excellent footwork, head movement, hand speed and power that can end his opponent’s night. Moreno will have the edge everywhere this fight goes, and his elite cardio has proven to carry him into deep waters.

Kai Kara-France

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5-foot-3
  • Weight: 185 lbs.
  • Reach: 69 ins.
  • Record: 24-9-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 44%
  • Betting Odds: +168

Kara-France has won four of his last five since the loss to Moreno, most impressively handing Askar Askarov his first defeat via decision. An aggressive striker and a strong kickboxer, Kara-France has scored three finishes in his last four. He initially started his martial arts career in the world of jiu-jitsu, yet he has evolved into a dangerous striker with lighting speed and big power. He will look to keep this fight on the feet, using solid footwork and feints to keep Moreno guessing. The big question in this fight will be how well Kara-France’s cardio will be able to hold up for a five-round banger.

The lean on DraftKings and FanDuel is Moreno. His cardio, speed and footwork should be too technical for Kara-France. Stokastic’s UFC DFS projections have Moreno as the sixth-projected fighter on the slate, with 67% win odds and 74 projected points on DraftKings.

UFC DFS Pick: Brandon Moreno via Unanimous Decision

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Juliana Pena $7,000 vs. Amanda Nunes $9,200

Juliana Pena

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5-foot-5
  • Weight: 135 lbs.
  • Reach: 69 ins.
  • Record: 12-4-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 67%
  • Betting Odds: +220

Pena changed the course of history in spectacular fashion by defeating Nunes via submission at UFC 269. She is grappling specialist who is at her best on the mat, but she did an excellent job of landing her jab and trading with Nunes in their first meeting. Pena’s only defeats have come against two of the best women in the UFC: Germaine de Randamie and current flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. In this fight, Pena would be foolish to think she had the best version of Nunes in front of her in their last meeting. Pena will stick with the same game plan, looking to get the fight to the mat, where she does her best work.

Amanda Nunes

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 5-foot-7
  • Weight: 135 lbs.
  • Reach: 69 ins.
  • Record: 21-5-0
  • Striking Accuracy: 57%
  • Betting Odds: +295

Nunes is absolutely the top pound-for-pound female fighter in the UFC. She is an extremely dangerous striker with powerful hands and vicious ground and pound. She will be looking to avenge that unforgettable loss to Pena and regain her bantamweight title. There are a couple things to consider from the first fight: For one, Nunes revealed a knee injury that prevented her from training at full capacity. But it’s the bout with COVID that pushed the original fight date that should raise the most questions about her performance. She handled Pena in the first round and almost found the finish, but she was completely spent heading into the second round. That said, Nunes should be a completely different fighter in this re-match, one that finds the finish early.

The lean on DraftKings and FanDuel is Nunes. Her high-level striking, power, footwork and elite cardio should be too technical for Pena. Stokastic’s projections agree, placing Nunes first on the slate with 73% win odds and 98.44 projected points on DraftKings.

UFC DFS Pick: Amanda Nunes via Second-Round KO/TKO

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