The UFC 244 fight card is an interesting fight card without any overwhelming favorites. With five matchups on the main card featuring some of the UFC’s most exciting finishers, every fight on the card is expected to be a hard-fought contest between (relatively) evenly matched opponents. Headlined by a matchup between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal for the UFC’s new ‘BMF’ Belt, the night features four former title challengers along with a few of the sport’s most exciting up and comers.
UFC 244 takes place Saturday, November 2 at 10 p.m. ET at Madison Square Garden. It will air as a pay-per-view on ESPN+.
Nate Diaz vs Jorge Masvidal Betting Prediction, Pick & Top DraftKings DFS Plays
Betting Line – Masvidal (-185), Diaz (+150)
DFS Cost – Masvidal $8,800/Diaz $7,400
Diaz and Masvidal square off in a battle for the ‘BMF’ belt. Masvidal, the third-ranked welterweight in the world, has a slight edge in the eyes of oddsmakers compared to Diaz, who is one fight removed from nearly a three-year hiatus from the sport. Both men are incredibly tough to finish, with only five combined stoppages coming over the course of a collective 78 fights between the two fighters.
Expect this fight to be incredibly tightly contested and to most likely go the distance. While there is good reason Masvidal is listed as the favorite, Diaz offers some surprisingly good value on a card devoid of any true big underdogs. Diaz should be an exceptionally valuable play in DFS formats as his price reflects his underdog status. Diaz’s ability to extend the fight should give him plenty of time to pile up points and establish a relatively safe floor even in the event of a loss.
Pick: Diaz +150
Darren Till vs Kelvin Gastelum Betting Prediction, Pick & Top DraftKings DFS Plays
Betting Line – Gastelum (-200), Till (+160)
DFS Cost – Gastelum $9,200/Till $7,000
Although Gastelum is the heaviest favorite on the main card, Darren Till brings some dangerous power in his hands and is more than capable of ending the fight at a moment’s notice. Gastelum looks to have a sizeable advantage over Till on the ground and will likely be looking to put Till on his back early and often. Till is taking a step up to 185 pounds and Gastelum offers him a stiff stylistic test. If Till can keep the fight standing he should have a major advantage, however, that is a big if. Gastelum was an elite high school wrestler and is regarded as one of the sport’s premier power ground games.
While Till’s power is certainly going to be in play, the far safer bet seems to be Gastelum, though at -200 odds this seems to be a fight worth staying away from if possible. Till doesn’t provide enough underdog value while Gastelum’s payout doesn’t really offset his risk as the favorite. Gastelum should win but should only be considered in parlays. As for the DFS side of things, Gastelum should be a fairly safe play as despite his price, he seems likely to either pick up an early finish or pile up some takedowns on the way to a decision victory.
Pick: Gastelum -200
Stephen Thompson vs Vicente Luque Betting Prediction, Pick & Top DraftKings DFS Plays
Betting Line – Thompson (-135), Luque (+105)
DFS Cost – Thompson $8,500/Luque $7,700
Vicente Luque looks to be an absolutely terrible matchup for Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson on paper. A relentless striker who should be expected to pressure Thompson around the cage, Luque won’t give Thompson much room to set up and utilize his flashy karate-based standup game. Though Thompson was able to get past Jorge Masvidal’s relentless pressure at UFC 217, he has come up short in fights against Darren Till, Tyronn Woodley, and Anthony Pettis – going just 1-3-1 over his last five fights.
Luque seems to be on a different trajectory as the winner in six of his last seven UFC bouts. Expect Luque to take the fight to Thompson early and often before finishing him on the feet. While Thompson undoubtedly has the skill to pull off the win – he pushed former champion Woodley to his limits in their draw – Luque has simply looked the part of the better fighter recently. For both DFS and betting purposes, Luque seems to be one of the best value plays across the entire main card.
Pick: Luque +105
UFC 244 airs November 2 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+. You can order it here.
Derrick Lewis vs Blagoy Ivanov Betting Prediction, Pick & Top DraftKings DFS Plays
Betting Line – Ivanov (-135), Lewis (+105)
DFS Cost – Ivanov $8,200/Lewis $8,000
Although Derrick Lewis is the more notable of the two fighters, Blagoy Ivanov is coming off a career-defining win. Taking out highly-touted heavyweight prospect Tai Tuivasa in an extremely well-rounded performance, Ivanov sent a message to the UFC’s paper-thin heavyweight division that he means business. Lewis provides his first major step up in competition and despite coming off back to back losses, those losses were at the hands of Daniel Cormier and Junior Dos Santos – both former heavyweight champions.
Given the nature of heavyweight fights, they’re incredibly unpredictable. The fact that Lewis now finds himself as the underdog makes him seem to be the safest bet. Lewis’ experience is something that should not be discounted heading into this fight as Ivanov is taking a big step up in competition. Lewis fought Cormier for the heavyweight belt almost one year ago to the day and despite his subsequent loss to Dos Santos, remains one of the division’s best fighters who has fought the best of the best. Look at Lewis to be the play in both DFS and traditional betting formats.
Pick: Lewis +105
Kevin Lee vs Gregor Gillespie Betting Prediction, Pick & Top DraftKings DFS Plays
Betting Line – Gillespie (-165), Lee (+135)
DFS Cost – Gillespie $9,100/Lee $7,100
Gregor Gillespie has been on a tear in the UFC recently, picking up a signature win over Yancy Medeiros in his last fight. With an undefeated 13-0 record, the former Division 1 national champion wrestler has shown off an extremely well-rounded skill set so far. With heavy hands for a 155 pounder and some of the best wrestling in the division, Gillespie poses a difficult stylistic matchup for just about any fighter in the division.
Meanwhile, Kevin Lee was fighting for the interim lightweight belt only two years ago, yet has fallen on some hard times going just 1-2 since losing that fight to Tony Ferguson. Lee brings an extremely well-rounded style of fighting to the table and should offer a good test to see just how legitimate of a prospect Gillespie actually is. That said, if Gillespie is anything like his previous performances indicate, he should have his way with Lee on Saturday night. Only one of Gillespie’s UFC fights has gone the distance to lock him in as one of the must-play DFS options despite a steep price.
Pick: Gillespie -165