DraftKings Chalkboard: UFC Vegas 88
Gerald Meerschaert

Last week was both amazing and terrible at the same time for me, and I have come to peace with that. The plan of fading O’Malley in cash and only rostering Chito was the terrible part obviously, as O’Malley had a career best DFS performance and we got the same Chito that showed up to the Sandhagen fight. Live and learn. Tournaments went better for me, no big wins but plenty of min cash showings to make up for the cash losses. I enjoyed watching O’Malley put on a master class regardless, so all was not lost.

After the energy and excitement of a Miami Florida event, we are heading back to Vegas and everyone’s favorite place, The Apex, for UFC Vegas 88. The main event is a heavyweight battle between fan favorite Tai Tuivasa and Mr. Middle of the Road Marcin Tybura. We have a few solid prospects showing up on the undercard, but for the most part it is loaded up with debuts and WMMA fights. Not the most exciting slate in the world, but we press on.

For anyone that hasn’t read this article before, The Chalk Board is a DraftKings Daily Fantasy Sports article where I attempt to navigate the $9000+ salary range by offering you insight into who I will be using, considering, or fading from my personal lineups. In turn, this can help navigate the lower salary range as well by design. If you choose to alter your lineups based on my statements in this article, please understand that I am not a professional gambler or DFS player, so that decision is yours. Live with the results YOU get from the decisions YOU make.

The article is written for cash games and single entry tournaments, however you may see a large field or MME reference from time to time. It is split into three very distinctive sections. The first is the “Lock Them In” section which features the fighters in the salary range that I think will make a perfect addition to cash and small-field single entry lineups. The second section of the article is “Roll The Dice” which provides information on fighters that could be great for your lineup but come with added risk that make them more comfortable for GPP lineups than cash lineups. The third and final section of the article is “Stay Away” and that is exactly what it sounds like, these fighters should be avoided at all cost for single entry tournaments and cash games. You may still want to use them for larger tournaments however, and potentially for mass multiple entry contests as well where complete fades are less frequent.



KENNEDY NZECHUKWU – $9500 (-510)

Kennedy Nzechukwu is back in the octagon following his last fight which resulted in a loss by knockout to Dustin Jacoby. This time around he is fighting veteran Ovince St. Preux. OSP is not exactly the most dangerous man these days, his only path in his fights is basically a prayer submission if his opponents get sloppy. OSP has also made getting finished part of his fight style at this late stage in his career. That means that as long as Kennedy keeps this at range in a striking battle he should roll to an easy knockout. 

Unfortunately Nzechukwu and fight IQ don’t always go hand in hand and he has seemed to fall in love with wrestling and grappling in his last few fights, so that could get him in trouble if he isn’t very aware of what's happening to him on the ground. Ultimately I have faith that Kennedy will keep this clean and stay striking both at distance and in the clinch, which should make him an ideal play this week for both cash and small field tournaments.



We still don’t have salary information on Thiago Moises yet, but I have to imagine that he comes in at $9300 – anything more and Kennedy is the better play, and anything less and Moises becomes the best play on the slate. Thiago is fighting UFC debutant Mitch Ramirez. Ramirez is getting this fight on about a week’s notice, so I expect this to look like the typical Thiago fight with heavy wrestling and grappling. My prediction is Moises by submission sometime in the first two rounds, but even if this extends to a decision there should be enough grappling to make the score worth it for both cash and small field tournaments.




MIKE DAVIS – $9200 (-325)

I was pretty sold on Mike Davis being a cash piece this week right up until about this very second. The line on Moises has widened which is leading me to believe that Moises will be safer in most contests – ownership pending – and then PickGPT picked his opponent, Natan Levy, which has me a bit concerned as well. I still believe that the wrestling upside coupled with the monstrous advantage I expect Davis to have over Levy in the striking make him a good play, but I might be limiting him to tournaments only at this point.



Meerschaert is one of my favorite tournament plays on the slate. Of course my asshole will pucker pretty tightly everytime a punch comes in the general direction of his head due to the chinniness of Gm3, but when Bryan Barberena is on the slate and his opponent has any kind of wrestling or grappling, you play the opponent. Gm3 is that opponent this week. I believe that he will secure a takedown at some point due to Barberena’s poor takedown defense, and then its just a matter of time until he finds the submission in my opinion. I will be limiting this to tournaments only due to the inherent risks involved with trusting Meerschaert, but I think we see a pretty impressive score this week from him.




MACY CHIASSON – $9000 (-240)

To be perfectly clear, I actually don’t hate playing Chiasson in tournaments or cash this week. When she wins she tends to score in the realm of 100 points and that's a solid score anyway you spell it. The real fades this week are in the 8k range in my opinion, but Chiasson might not win this fight and that is why I have listed her here. The larger the tournament the more I would consider going over the field on her.

I think that there is a big cloud of recency bias involved surrounding Chiasson’s opponent, Pannie Kianzad, due to how easily she was taken down by her last opponent, Ketlen Veira. Personally I don’t think that Chiasson is anywhere near as skilled with, or committed to, the takedowns as Veira and believe that this fight stays standing for the most part. In the standup Kianzad is just better, assuming of course that she can manage the massive size difference.

So while it's not a complete stay away from Chiasson, there is a bit of uneasiness about playing her that I cannot shake. It could be misplaced faith in Kianzad, or maybe an underestimation of Chiasson’s wrestling ability.



This event should be pretty fun despite lacking the star power that UFC 299 may have just spoiled us with. There are at least a handful of fights that I am really looking forward to, and of course there is always the added fun of playing DraftKings to help increase the excitement level of every slate.

Hopefully, this Chalk Board article has helped you at least reduce the number of options in the upper salary range, and in turn isolate a few dogs you feel good about. I would like to take this time to again remind you to make YOUR OWN decisions. Don’t buy into anything I say unless it makes sense to you as well.

Good luck this week! If you need any help with your DraftKings entries you can join the free Discord server which has loads of very capable DFS players and I am sure you will find an opinion that will give you the confirmation bias that most people seek. If you need additional help then reach out to @WeWantPicks on Twitter. Thanks for reading, see you guys next week.