I thought I would have Amanda Nunes here, but opted for the “less obvious” play. Alonzo Menifield is a physical specimen. He holds a 9-0 MMA record, finishing all 9 fights. Menifield also has 7 first-round finishes and hasn’t fought more than 6 minutes in any fight. He posted 94 and 117 fantasy points in his first 2 UFC fights, ending each fight in the first round. Menifield is an exciting light-heavyweight prospect, and the UFC set him up for success this weekend.
Devin Clark enters this fight with a 5-4 UFC record. He has lost to a few outstanding prospects but doesn’t hold any great wins in the promotion. Clark has been finished in each of his losses, losing twice by knockout and twice by submission. This is another chance for Brown to stop a surging prospect.
Menifield is a -225 favorite with -165 odds to win inside the distance. He also has +155 odds to win in the first round. Clark has a path to victory with his wrestling. If he can survive Menifield early, we’ve never seen the latter’s cardio for three full rounds. That’s a lot easier said than done, though. Menifield is likely to find an early knockout, and his $9K price tag is what makes him arguably the most appealing high priced option on this slate.
It pains me to recommend anyone against Cory Sandhagen, but Ajamain Sterling makes an interesting option this weekend. He looked elite in his last 2 fights, landing 285 significant strikes in 30 minutes against Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera. Sterling possesses outstanding defensive striking to go along with his new volume, as well. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with plenty of wrestling to round out his grappling. He simply hasn’t needed that in recent fights.
Sandhagen is one of the best bantamweights in the world. He’s 5-0 in the UFC, coming off wins against Raphael Assuncao and John Lineker. Similarly to Sterling, Sandhagen is a volume striker, landing 120 significant strikes against Lineker and 62 significant strikes against a defensive Assuncao. Sandhagen has great grappling skills with a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Sterling is a -115 favorite at the moment, but the odds have been closing for Sandhagen. That suggests we could see Sandhagen receive the majority of ownership in this fight. Each fighter comes with tremendous upside, but Sterling is more likely to utilize his grappling than Sandhagen this weekend. This is a fight to target, regardless of which side you’re on. These two will likely find themselves in a rematch but with the Bantamweight championship on the line in the coming years. I’m simply recommending Sterling due to the fact that I believe Sandhagen will be the more popular option.
Brian Kelleher is a cheap option with tremendous upside. He fought less than a month ago, knocking Hunter Azure out as a +170 underdog. He’s an underdog again tonight, but that’s nothing new for Kelleher. He has finished 17 of his 21 career wins, including 4 of his 5 wins in the UFC. Kelleher has a slick Guillotine to go along with power in his hands. He’s a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and comes with plenty of upside because of his finishing potential.
Cody Stamann has looked good in his UFC career. He possesses a 4-1-1 record, losing only to Aljamain Sterling. He is coming off of a draw against Song Yadong that Stamann clearly felt he won. He’s only a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but possesses tremendous wrestling. Stamann is an active fighter, but he’s likely to rely heavily on his wrestling in this fight, similarly to what he has done throughout most of his UFC career.
Kelleher has two realistic paths to victory. He comes with plenty of power of the feet, and he could find a knockout if this fight stays upright. Stamann has solid striking defense but is far from untouchable on the feet. Kelleher could also lock up one of his famous Guillotines with Stamann’s game plan likely to be wrestling based. Kelleher is likely to be popular because of his upside as an underdog, but he should have three rounds to work even in a loss. He’s a solid option for being one of the cheapest fighters on the slate.