Drake's Takes: UFC 266 Volkanovski vs Ortega

Drake's Takes: UFC 266 Volkanovski vs Ortega

This article is part of our Drake's Takes series.

Jonathan Pearce (10-4-0) v. Omar Morales (11-1-0)

- Pearce is grappler with ever-improving striking. He uses quick jab-hook combo backed by powerful low and round kicks. He uses a lot of pressure and level changes to control where the fight goes. His hands are often too low, making him hittable, but he does have a good counter and power in his hands. The Fight Ready MMA prospect thrives on the mat. He has great strength and can chain takedowns very quickly causing quick exhaustion for his opponents. He will hunt for submissions when he can take the back but finishes a lot of his fights in top control, throwing massive ground and pound.

-  Morales is a low-volume decision machine with good power. He is an explosive fighter with nasty calf kicks and a massive counter. He will feint and bait you in and then unload a monster shot. He does not attack in combos often, instead throwing hard jabs or hooks and backing out. The Venezuelan showed decent takedowns in his last fight but does not often go for them. He has good takedown defense and proficient scrambling when he is taken down. 

DFS Perspective:  I like this fight if Pearce wins. If the fight goes in Pearce's favor, he will lock up plenty of takedowns and control time, and possibly a finish. If Morales controls the right and wins, it will likely be a low-scoring decision, as all his UFC fights have gone to a decision with a high score under 75.

My Pick:  Pearce

Matthew Semelsberger (8-3-0) v. Martin Sano (4-2-1)

- Semelsberger took a tough-luck loss against a great fighter last time out and looks to get back on track with a quick win. He is an explosive, volume fighter with fast hands and big power. He throws quick jab-cross combos while mixing in kicks to back his opponent up. In the clinch, he will mix in deadly elbows and knees. "Semi the Jedi" has improving grappling but does not go for takedowns often. He has decent get-ups but struggles off his back. In top control, he will throw dangerous ground and pound looking to end the fight early.

-  Sano returns to the ring after over three years and makes his long-awaited UFC debut. He is a pressure fighter with a quick one-two. He likes to brawl in the pocket or tie things up and move to the clinch where he can throw knees. The California native does not offer for takedowns often and needs work on his defense. He has shown he is taken down and controlled easily. 

DFS Perspective:  It is hard to know where Sano is at after all these years, or why he is even getting this chance. He was horrible back then and is likely horrible now. This should be a cakewalk early finish for Semelsberger. Lock him in Cash and GPP 

My Pick:  Semelsberger

Uros Medic (7-0-0) v. Jalin Turner (9-5-0)

- Medic was outstanding in his debut with a first-round knockout, making it seven in a row for the prospect. He is fast, explosive fighter with fantastic movement, pressure and ring control. He has a great jab-cross and deadly right hook. He will also throw strong low kicks and trade in the pocket, throwing heavy uppercuts. The Serbian born fighter has not attempted a takedown in the UFC or DWCS but has shown great takedown defense. His work on the mat is relatively unknown. 

-  Turner sits at 3-2 in his stint in the UFC with four for those fights ending by finish, including all three of his wins. He is a rangy fighter who stands tall and has fast hands. He will jump in, throw a jab-cross or jab-hook, and jump back out. He will throw low and round kicks and looks to level change often. "The Tarantula" sports a decent ground game. He has good takedowns and has displayed good control on the mat. He will pass guard into top control and throw ground and pound or look to take the back for a choke.

DFS Perspective:  Turner is going to have a size advantage here. I expect this to primarily to take place on the feet, and if he can use his range, he will be successful. Medic is swift and quick which will give Turner fits on the feet. Taking Medic down will be difficult, and I see Medic just fighting his way into the pocket and eventually rocking Turner for an early finish. An early knockout would make great value for both guys.

My Pick:  Medic

Roxanne Modafferi (25-19-0) v. Taila Santos (16-1-0)

- Modafferi has alternated wins and losses for the last nine fights and must be feeling some pressure. Her striking is much improved from years prior, as is her footwork. She strikes from range using a lot of quick jabs and crosses mixed with leg kicks. She will throw with low and high kicks – attacking all parts of the body – and puts out a decent overall volume. The veteran out of Syndicate MMA is an established grappler and a black belt in judo and BJJ. She is strong in the clinch and has excellent takedowns. She has great control, amazing ground and pound and can find submissions with the best of them.

-  Santos is an emerging talent fighting for her spot in the top ten. She is an excellent striker with quick hands and fantastic footwork. She throws fast with strong jabs, crosses and looping hooks. She is high volume with good power and will look to mix in leg kicks to change levels. The Brazil native has a great ground game to go with her stand-up. Her strength allows for easy takedowns and control on the mat. She is not much of a submission threat, instead passing guard into top control where she can unload a flurry of deadly strikes to end the fight early. 

DFS Perspective:  Modafferi is getting up there in age and you have to wonder how much is left in the tank. She still has decent striking, and if she can sit in top control for two rounds, she could steal a decision. I am not sure she will be able to muscle her way through Santos though. Santos will have more volume, as well as more takedowns and control time. A knockout is also possible for Santos. 

My Pick:  Santos

Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-5-0) v. Chris Daukaus (11-3-0)

- Abdurakhimov last fought two years ago and is finally making his way back to the ring for what could be his final fight. He is a low-volume striker with reasonable power. He circles the ring with good footwork looking to jump in, throw and jump back out. He has amazing strength in the clinch and looks to throw big shots against the cage. "Abrek" looks for takedowns early and often. He has good entries and uses a lot of trips to get it there. On the mat, he looks to control and move into top control where he can lay on heavy ground and pound.

-  Daukaus has shined in his three UFC fights, earning first-round knockouts in all of them. He is as explosive a heavyweight as you will find. He has incredible foot and hand speed, and comes out throwing as soon as the round starts. He bull rushes with jabs and crosses and will finish them with powerful high kicks. The Pennsylvania product has not attempted a takedown in the UFC and has shown perfect takedown defense. He has shown good grappling and strength in the clinch and throws massive power shots in it. 

DFS Perspective:  Aside from a lucky knockout shot, I do not see how Abdurakhimov wins here. Daukaus is going to explode out the gate and apply immediate pressure. He will be better anywhere this goes, and I see another quick, first-round knockout coming here. Daukaus is a lock for me. 

My Pick:  Daukaus

Dan Hooker (20-10-0) v. Nasrat Haqparast (13-3-0)

- Hooker is coming off two hard-fought losses where he took big punishment and needs to get back in the win column. He is a well-rounded fighter with great striking and movement. He has an excellent jab and great movement around the ring to keep fighters at range. He will switch stances and throw jabs off each switch. He will also use powerful low and round kicks to all parts of the body. "The Hangman" has strong grappling and works very well in the clinch. He can shoot for takedowns but does not display the best control on the mat.

-  Haqparast gets a big bump in competition and looks to make it three in a row. He is a high-volume striker with excellent movement and defense. He throws quick one-twos and has a mean jab-hook combo. He works at range and uses his movement to control the ring. The prospect out of Tristar Gym does not offer much on the mat. He rarely attempts takedowns and has phenomenal takedown defense himself. When he has been taken down, he has shown good scrambling and an ability to get back up quickly. 

DFS Perspective:  This will likely be 15 minutes of striking. Hooker could attempt a takedown but will have a hard time getting it to the mat against Haqparast. I expect this to be won with volume or a knockout. I do not think either scores very well in a decision, but a knockout would be nice.

My Pick:  Haqparast

Marlon Moraes (23-7-1) v. Merab Dvalishvili (13-4-0)

- Moraes has now lost three of his last four fights, all by knockout. He is a technical striker with big power. He uses forward pressure, attacking with multiples jabs down the middle and hooks to the body. He will mix in deadly leg kicks to the legs and head while darting in and out of the pocket. "Magic" Moraes has good takedowns when he attempts them, and great control on the mat. He can rain down massive ground and pound from the top or hunt for a choke to get an early submission.

-  Dvalishvili is a beast with a great all-around game. He is a great striker with big power and excellent speed. He has a nice jab and will follow it up with a roaring uppercut, heavy kicks or spinning attacks. He constantly is moving, darting in and out, and puts out a ridiculous pace. "The Machine" is a phenomenal wrestler and will chain takedowns over and over. He can shoot for single or double legs, body locks, trips, or just drag them down and control them there. He does not often hunt for submissions, instead looking to control every round and sweep a decision.

DFS Perspective:  This is a step up in competition for Dvalishvili, and I think he handles it with ease. Moraes could catch him with a shot and knock him out and score well because of it. Dvalishvili will likely control the fight, get numerous takedowns and knock out a winded Moraes (or earn another high-scoring decision victory). 

My Pick:  Dvalishvili

Jessica Andrade (21-9-0) v. Cynthia Calvillo (9-1-1)

- Andrade lost another title fight and is now going to try working her way back in, starting with a big win here. She is a well-rounded fighter loaded with power. She applies constant pressure working her way into the pocket throwing bombs. She has a great jab-hook combo and powerful overhand. The 2019 strawweight champion also has a great ground game to go with her striking. She has good takedowns and uses her strength to get herself into top control, where she can lay down nasty ground and pound. 

-  Calvillo comes in off a tough-luck loss looking to work her way back to a title shot. She is a good all-around fighter with quick hands and movement. She is a technical striker with a great jab-cross combo and nice hook. She will mix in low kicks to the calves and some round kicks to the upper body. The Cali native also features great takedowns and control on the mat. She can pass guard and mount up or take the back when her opponent tries to get up and work in a choke.

DFS Perspective:  I think this is a good fight for both ladies. Without a finish, I do not think it scores high, however. Andrade has massive power and is always a threat to end a fight early, and she will need it to hit value. If Calvillo can avoid the power and either strike from range, or control Andrade on the mat, she has a great chance at an upset. 

My Pick:  Andrade

Curtis Blaydes (14-3-0, 1NC) v. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-2-0)

- Blaydes will come out hungry, coming off his setback knockout loss in February. He has much improved striking and footwork. He throws multiple jabs combined with a good hook and strong kicks to the head and body. He pressures his opponents back into the cage and unleashes a flurry of strikes with extreme power. "Razor" Blaydes has an excellent ground game and is one of the best heavyweight wrestlers to ever fight. He can shoot for takedowns when fighters are off balance, slam with a body lock and find a quick trip. Once on the mat, he works to top control, where he becomes extremely dangerous and unleashes deadly elbows.

-  Rozenstruik got back into the win column with a big knockout in his last fight and looks to carry that forward for two in a row here. He is a lower-volume striker, instead picking his shots and unleashing massive power with them. He has a nasty jab-hook combo that he will follow up with an uppercut or counter hook. He is great on his feet and closes the gap quickly, mixing in head kicks and flying knees. "Bigi Boy" has questionable takedown defense at times but has improved greatly. He does not attempt takedowns himself, preferring to keep the fight standing. When taken down, he can be controlled, and he does have issues getting off his back. If he can reverse and get into top control, he can lay down ground and pound and end it early.

DFS Perspective:  I will target this fight heavily and more so on the dog. Blaydes has an obvious path to victory, get Rozenstruik to the ground and control or finish him. If he can chain takedowns or finish early, he can hit value. Rozenstruik has a blueprint for this fight courtesy of Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou: keep the fight on the feet and keep landing vicious power shots. There is a ton of value on Roz here with an early knockout at his price.

My Pick:  Rozenstruik

Nick Diaz (26-10-0, 1NC) v. Robbie Lawler (28-14-0, 1NC)

- Diaz is back after over six years, and the excitement is real. He is a high-volume striker with elite movement and speed. He throws from multiple angles using jabs, crosses, hooks and overhands. He will gladly stand in the pocket trading blows but also has great striking defense. The Cali native also features a high-octane ground game and will attempt takedowns at any moment. On the mat, he can control for long periods of time, fire off some heavy ground and pound or position himself for a submission attempt.

-  Lawler agreed to move up a weight class upon Diaz's request and enters on a poor, four-fight losing streak. He is a technical striker with great power. He has a great jab-hook combo and powerful leg kicks he uses to cut off his opponent or back them into the cage. He is strong in the clinch and will heave big knees to the body. The past Welterweight champ does not offer much on the mat anymore. He does not often shoot for takedowns and gets taken down almost at will. He is controlled easily and does not have the best scrambling.

DFS Perspective:  It is hard to know what we will get from Diaz with how long he has been out of the game, but Lawler has just looked terrible recently, and I am not sure he has anything left. For him, it seems more like a money fight. Diaz will likely being able to dominate this fight again and win easily making him a great value play. 

My Pick:  Diaz

Valentina Shevchenko (21-3-0) v. Lauren Murphy (15-4-0)

- Shevchenko is the current No. 2 pound-for-pound female fighter, and she is hungry for that top spot – a win here may give her that shot. She is a phenomenal striker with decent volume and big power. She has a strong jab-cross and some of the deadliest kicks in the division. She has quick movement and cuts off the ring very well. The current flyweight champion also features a fantastic ground game. She has great takedowns and attempts them early and often. She can control but will pass looking to take the back for a choke and chain takedowns to do it.

-  Murphy finds herself fighting for her first title shot and has absolutely earned her way here. She is a good striker with decent volume. She throws hard quick kicks to compliment her jabs. She makes good use of elbows and knees, both in and out of the clinch. "Lucky" Murphy's grappling is much improved, and it has shown in the last few fights. She mixes in takedowns after changing levels and keeps control on that ground. She can pass guard to top control and power down with ground and pound or look to take the back and attempt a choke. 

DFS Perspective:  Props to Murphy for getting here and a chance for the title, but unless she finds a lucky stroke or submission, she loses (and probably easily). Shevchenko should completely dominate this fight. Without an early finish, however, she likely does not hit value as the presumed highest-priced fighter on most DFS sites.

My Pick:  Shevchenko

Alexander Volkanovski (22-1-0) v. Brian Ortega (15-1-0, 1NC)

- Volkanovski is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in MMA and is looking to defend his belt for the second time. He is a complete fighter with exceptional striking, defense and ground game. He has fantastic movement and is light on his feet. He is high-volume, using a variety of strikes, including an exceptional jab-hook combo, and strong kicks. The current featherweight champ also has elite grappling and wrestling. He level changes well and has well-timed takedowns. On the mat, he keeps control in dominant positions working to top control for ground and pound. 

-  Ortega is a well-rounded fighter and comes in after a big win in his last fight. He has great movement and fast hands. He throws decent volume with a mix of jabs, hooks and front kicks to the head and body. The Black House MMA prospect excels with grappling, particularly throwing knees and elbows in the clinch. He has shown a willingness to attempt takedowns when his opponent is off balance or by shooting in for a double leg. He can throw heavy ground and pound, but excels hunting for submissions, especially chokes.

DFS Perspective:  Ortega is an elite grappler and is live for a submission at any time. Volkanovski is going to be better everywhere, is difficult to takedown and will throw more volume with more power. Volk should win this easily and score very well. I expect the winner to smash value in any scenario.

My Pick:  Volkanovski


Moves Scoring
Significant Strikes = 0.6pts
Takedown = 6pts
Takedown Defense = 3pts
Knockdown = 12pts
Submission Attempt = 5pts

Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win = 100pts
2nd Round Win = 75pts
3rd Round Win = 50pts
4th Round Win = 35 pts
5th Round Win = 25pts
Decision Win = 20pts

Scoring Notes

  • Significant Strikes are "Distance Strike" or "Clinch/Ground Strikes" that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
  • A knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider a substantial amount of time.


Moves Scoring
Strikes: +0.2 PTS
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
Control Time: +0.03 PTS/SECOND
Takedown (TD): +5 PTS
Reversal/Sweep (REV): +5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +10 PTS

Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win (1rW+): +90 PTS
2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rW+): +45 PTS
4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 PTS
5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 PTS
Decision Win (WBD+): +30 PTS
Quick Win Bonus: +25 PTS
(fight is finished in 60 seconds or less)

Scoring Notes

  • Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
  • A Significant Strike will count as both a strike and a significant strike and will be worth a total of 0.4 Pts
  • Control Time is the time spent in the dominant position on the ground or in the clinch. +0.03 points are awarded per second.
  • A Knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider an appreciable amount of time.
  • A Quick Win Bonus is awarded to the winning fighter if they win in the first round in 60 seconds or less.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Drake Burden plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Dburdz, DraftKings: Dburdz.
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Drake Burden
Drake is a proven DFS winner with multiple four-figure paydays under his belt. He took an interest to writing MMA during the pandemic and is active in various Discords and other social media communities.
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