DFS Picks for UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Neal
There’s no getting around the smashing success UFC 256 was. It was probably the most star-studded MMA event of the year and one of the most entertaining sporting events of 2020 in general.
The Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno fight went the distance and understandably did not disappoint. The bout between Tony Ferguson and Charles Oliveira was also good, while last weekend saw numerous strong performances from some quality MMA talents.
The only thing that could have made it better was a win in daily fantasy MMA or seeing some of your bets convert.
If you went with my MMA DFS picks, at least, for the most part, you had a really good shot at cashing. I had Figueiredo, Oliveira, and Kevin Holland as my core MMA DFS picks, and they all got wins.
The only real issue was that Holland was the only guy in that trio to get a finish.
My daily fantasy lineup also consisted of Cyril Gane, who finished Junio dos Santos. Four out of six isn’t bad, but Billy Quarantillo and Virna Jandiroba (Decisions losses) couldn’t make it a clean sweep.
Had you pivoted off of those two and used my other daily fantasy MMA picks, however, last Saturday could have been a special night.
Here’s to hoping for more like that as I break down my top MMA DFS picks for UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Neal.
Geoff Neal ($8.4k)
GamblingSites.com has a terrific in-house MMA betting expert in Adam Haynes, and he’s taken the liberty of breaking down this entire UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Neal event.
If you want to bet on this weekend’s fight card, hit up his UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Neal Predictions.
Sadly, I don’t agree with him when it comes to the headlining act, though. Not the logic, just that going with the younger, rising Neal makes way more sense for daily fantasy MMA.
Stephen Thompson is a terrific fighter with a strong resume, but he is 37 and hasn’t knocked anyone out since 2016. Anthony Pettis was able to finish him in March of 2019, too, and he’s just 2-3 over his last five bouts.
Does any of that ensure he’ll get rocked by Geoff Neal? No, but Neal is a surging 30-year old who is on quite the tear.
The question, of course, is if he’s ready to take it to the next level.
UFC Real or not: Geoff Neal's moment has arrived; is 'Wonderboy' a gatekeeper? https://t.co/tYe0GH5Piy— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) December 16, 2020
Neal is 13-2 with eight career KOs, and three of them have come in his last four fights. He’s riding a nice seven-fight winning streak, in which he’s registered some type of finish six times.
His last loss came to the nasty Kevin Holland, and that was in 2017.
He doesn’t have an easy opponent in Thompson, who is an elite defender and a gifted striker in his own right. At this point, though, Neal is the more explosive knockout artist, and especially for DFS, he simply offers more upside.
Thompson’s most likely path to a win is via Decision in this matchup, but with both of these guys likely fine with standing up and enhancing blows, I’ll bet Neal gets the better of it and scores DFS players a 100+ point victory.
Khaos Williams ($7.9k)
Here’s a little value for you. You’re going to need some, as I plan on sliding two guys priced over $9k into my MMA DFS lineups this weekend.
Williams should probably be more expensive. He has raw KO power that not everyone on this slate possesses, and he did this in his last bout.
He’s 2-0 in the UFC, with both fights ending in the first round. The dude is brutal. I’m pretty surprised all of his fights haven’t been KO wins, but he’s still 11-1 for his career with six KOs, and he hasn’t lost in two years.
Michael Pereira is not an easy matchup at all. He hasn’t truly “lost” since getting KO’d in 2018. That fight showed his vulnerability if he’s not careful, but since then, he’s gone 4-2 and generated four wins by stoppage.
Pereira can also end this thing early, but Williams is going to swing for the fences. If this thing goes beyond the first round, then yeah, betting on Khaos could prove to be a mistake.
But if I’m right, Williams ends another fighter early, gets you 100+ fantasy points, and continues his ascent as a feared fighter in the UFC.
Marlon Moraes ($9k)
Moraes gets downgraded from a headlining loss to Cory Sandhagen, but that isn’t something to be ashamed of.
He’s lost two of his last three fights, but they’ve come against powerhouse fighters, with a KO defeat by the hands of Henry Cejudo being the other.
I am willing to kind of ignore those losses here, as Moraes is also a guy who handled Jose Aldo, submitted Raphael Assuncao, and knocked out Jimmie Rivera (the only KO loss of his career).
Moraes is a dangerous dude with 16 career finishes and the toughness and skill-set to go the distance if need be. I like his chances to find a way to win here, provided he can overcome Rob Font’s size and reach.
Top MMA DFS Lineup for UFC Fight Night
- Geoff Neal ($8.4k)
- Khaos Williams ($7.9k)
- Marlon Moraes ($9k)
- Marlon Vera ($7.6k)
- Tafon Nchukwi ($9.4k)
- Marcin Tybura ($7.7k)
Wins are very important when considering who to select for MMA DFS picks, but quite often, you can have a winning fighter score somewhere between 60-80 fantasy points.
That isn’t going to keep you from cashing (if all of your fighters win), but it probably will keep you from taking down a GPP.
In comes the risk and reward of aiming high, which is precisely the plan with guys like Neal and Williams. They’re good fighters who have a real shot at winning, but it’s their likely method of win that is so alluring.
There is risk with them, but I think it’s necessary for most MMA DFS contests. They start things off for me, while the skilled and seasoned Moraes – regardless of how he gets the win – feels like a fairly safe play.
Nobody else here is safe, but Marlon Vera is another skilled fighter who could be overlooked and undervalued here. It all has to do with a matchup with the great Jose Aldo.
However, Aldo is not what he once was. He’s become much more hittable, and he hasn’t been able to finish consistently for years now. With three straight losses, I don’t see much reason not to bet against him.
Who doesn’t want to see Greg Hardy get knocked out? The alleged woman beater arguably has it coming. He’s a vicious fighter, but he leaves openings and takes some damage. Before long, he’s going to hit the mat, and Marcin Tybura is plenty capable of doing it to him.
Tybura isn’t especially known for his KO prowess, but he has a very strong resume, and he’s handled far better fighters in the past. I like taking a shot on him finishing Hardy here.
I’ll end on a high note, as Tafon Nchukwi is a total monster.
He kind of moves in slow motion, but it’s almost because of his supreme confidence and anticipation.
He can bombard opponents with his strength and close proximity striking, and he can surprise with high kicks. There is little to work with based on four fights (4-0 with 4 KOs), but so far, he seems like a devastating fighter.
The price is a tad egregious, but his KO upside and talent is plenty of reason to spend the money and chase the potential here.
Use this MMA DFS lineup this weekend, or pick your spots with some of these fighters at the top UFC sportsbooks.