The UFC heads to Boston for UFC 292: Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O’Malley, with Zhang Weili and Amanda Lemos fighting in the night’s co-main event. This card comes with some interesting angles for UFC DFS and features several fights with longer favorites. Let’s review some UFC DFS picks and value plays with the help of Stokastic’s UFC DFS projections and get into some UFC 292 DFS picks, predictions and more!
UFC 292 DFS Picks: Aljamain Sterling-Sean O’Malley
Andre Petroski, $8,800
The two five-round fights should take priority, but the UFC 292 card provides multiple opportunities for leverage. The Andre Petroski-Gerald Meerschaert bout provides one such opportunity. Petroski is a -240 favorite over the veteran Meerschaert. Now 4-0 in the UFC, Petroski most recently defeated Wellington Turman via unanimous decision in November of last year. Conversely, Meerschaert has traded wins and losses of late. Last time out, he lost to Joe Pyfer via knockout in April of this year.
This fight has the fifth-highest-projected pace, according to Stokastic’s UFC DFS projections.
Petroski has a 10-2 professional record. He comes from a college wrestling background, but he has four wins by knockout and another four by submission. In his losses, he has been knocked out once and submitted once, only leaving one fight to the judges. Within the Octagon, Petroski lands 3.64 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 2.28. His wrestling background appears in his 5.43 takedowns per bout, which paces the slate. He defends takedowns at 75%, but he has only faced four attempts in his career. This matchup presents a tricky stylistic matchup for Petroski against the submission game of Meerschaert.
The elder statesman, Meerschaert will make the UFC walk for the 19th time. He has an impressive 35-16 professional record with six knockouts and 27 submissions. In his losses, he has been knocked out four times and submitted eight. Only six of his 41 fights have reached the judges scorecards. Within the UFC, he lands 3.11 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 3.47. Meerschaert primarily uses his striking to set up takedowns, where he averages 2.12 per bout. He only defends takedowns at 27%, but he welcomes ground attacks where he can work his submissions.
With many people expected to target the more expensive fighters, Petroski provides a potential leverage spot. As long as he can avoid Meerschaert’s submissions, his wrestling-heavy game should score well for MMA DFS purposes.
Maryna Moroz, $7,900
Maryna Moroz is a +130 underdog against Karine Silva. After winning on the Dana White’s Contender Series, Silva has rattled off two straight victories, most recently submitting Ketlen Souza back in June. On the other side, Moroz lost her most recent bout against Jennifer Maia via decision in November of last year. This fight ranks sixth in pace, but Moroz’s line movement throughout the week makes her underpriced.
Moroz comes from a boxing background but only has one knockout among her 11 professional wins. She actually has six submission wins, speaking to the developments in her game. Moroz has never been finished in any of her four losses. Within the UFC, she lands 4.19 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 4.36, and on the mat, she averages 0.69 takedowns per bout while defending them at 47%. Eight of her 10 UFC fights have gone to decision.
Silva has a 16-4 professional record with nine knockouts and seven submissions. Among her losses, she has been knocked out once and submitted twice, with only one of her 20 fights reaching the judges. Silva lands 2.39 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 3.43. She only has 35% striking defense, but all three of her UFC fights finished early. She lands 2.24 takedowns per bout while defending at 0%, and though this is a small sample, Silva will often invite ground attacks to work her submission game. She embodies the “kill or be killed” philosophy.
Moroz has fought more difficult competition, only losing to the top of the division. She also has the weapons to best Silva wherever this fight plays out. As long as she can avoid the early submissions, Moroz should take home a victory.
Brad Tavares, $9,400
Making his triumphant return from a gruesome leg injury, Chris Weidman takes on Brad Tavares as a +210 underdog. Weidman has not fought since April of 2021. On top of the injury and subsequent layoff, Weidman is 2-6 in his last eight fights. Tavares also comes off two straight losses. He most recently lost to Bruno Silva via knockout in April of this year. For DFS purposes, this fight tops the slate in projected pace, making it a priority target.
Weidman comes from a high-level wrestling background. He lands 3.03 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 3.14, whereas he scores 3.92 takedowns per bout and has 65% takedown defense. Now 15-6 in his career, Weidman has six knockouts and four submission victories. Concerningly, he has been knocked out in all six of his defeats.
Tavares has an 18-9 professional record, and his wins feature five knockouts and a pair of submissions. He has been knocked out four times, raising durability concerns as well. Tavares lands 3.32 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 3.02. On the mat, he averages 0.85 takedowns per bout while defending them at 80%.
Stokastic’s UFC DFS projections give Tavares a 71.1% chance of winning this fight and a 52.1% chance of earning a finish. Given Weidman’s layoff and durability concerns, this makes Tavares a solid favorite to target. However, if Weidman can use a wrestling gameplay and pull off an upset, he should also score very well.