Justin’s Pick: Magomed Ankalaev
There are some many elite high-priced options this week that it’s difficult to only choose one. I opted for Magomed Ankalaev because I love his matchup and price tag. He dominated Paul Craig in his first UFC fight before being submitted with virtually no time left on the clock. He was far too content in that fight to win a decision, and I don’t feel he’ll make the same mistake twice. This weekend, he gets a matchup against Marcin Prachnio, who displayed very little striking defense in his first round knockout loss to Sam Alvey. In that fight, he walked at Alvey with his hands down after being rocked, resulting in a clean knockout. While I don’t believe he’ll do anything crazy like that again, Ankalaev features a -150 inside the distance line. He’s the fifth most expensive fighter on the card, even though he is a -440 favorite in this fight. Ankalaev should leave Moscow with another impressive finish on his record.
Jason’s Reaction: I completely agree. Ankalaev is one of the better high-priced options on the board this week (and there are a lot).
Jason’s Pick: Petr Yan
Well, this is rather obvious, but it needs to be said: Petr Yan has virtually a zero percent chance to lose this fight, and he has the ability to quickly knockout Jin Soo Son. Son has never fought in the UFC, so this will be his first real test in professional fighting. Yan, on the other hand, recently knocked out Teruto Ishihara in the first round. For a bantamweight, he has insane power. With over 120 fantasy points against Ishihara it should be obvious as to why his price tag is so high. While it is difficult to roster Yan due to that high price tag, there are some decent lower-priced options (see below).
Justin’s Reaction: Yan is extremely safe with upside, as he should finish early. The issue I have with him is his ridiculous price tag. It’s way too high, and even scoring around 100-110 points might not be value. Still, he’s likely the safest option on the card.
Justin’s Pick: CB Dollaway
I have very little faith in Dollaway’s chin at this point, but he still makes a solid option on a card without many value plays. He gets a matchup against Khalid Murtazaliev, who comes with tremendous power. Outside of his power, he has struggled at times with fighters who continue the range. It’s a very real possibility that Dollaway’s chin fails him once again and Murtazaliev walks away with an impressive victory, but Dollaway also comes with value in this fight. He should be able to work behind his jab, while also utilizing his wrestling to tire out Murtazaliev, who has gassed in the past. Excluding the “win” against Hector Lombard, Dollaway is averaging 96.2 DK points per win over his last five wins. If he can weather an early storm, this could be his fight to lose, and he has proven that he works at a high enough pace to warrant usage, even in a decision win.
Jason’s Reaction: CB Dollaway is one of few underdog fighters that actually stand a chance this weekend. If you’re going to use anyone, Dollaway is worth the risk for the upside.
Jason’s Pick: Jan Blachowicz
This is going to be a very interesting fight between Jan Blachowicz and Nikita Krylov, but due to the nature of this fight card’s pricing on DraftKings, one of these two fights MUST be used. Blachowicz is the underdog, but after three straight very impressive wins, it is difficult to see why. Krylov has a better ability to finish the fight early, but he has not fought the same level of competition has Blachowicz of recent, which should be a determining factor. Blachowicz should be able to keep Krylov from locking in a submission, and on the feet, Blachowicz wins nine times out of ten. He is slightly cheaper, which is a bonus on a card in which fantasy owners need all the salary cap possible.
Justin’s Reaction: I’m extremely high on Blachowicz, as you will see in our betting article, as well.
Justin’s Pick: Adam Yandiev
There doesn’t seem to be much value on this card. You could potentially take a sizeable underdog, who is expected to go to decision to get “guaranteed points” for a cheap price tag, but even that is a risky strategy that I generally don’t condone. Yandiev has a lot of controversy surrounding his name, but he is a massive fighter, who found plenty of success at light heavyweight, even though he was underweight for that division. Yandiev is a wild, powerful striker, who has a tight squeeze with his chokes. He gets a matchup against an undefeated Jordan Johnson, who will also be moving down a weight class. Johnson is 3-0 in the UFC, but looked far from elite in those fights. He’s a wrestler, who could struggle with Yandiev’s pressure if he cannot immediately get him to the ground. Yandiev will have the support of the hometown crowd, and his immediate pressure could pose a problem for Johnson. If he cannot find a way to finish this fight early, Yandiev will likely gas. It’s a risk worth taking in tournaments on this odd slate of fights.
Jason’s Reaction: I disagree here, but to be fair, there are not many underdogs that make a lot of sense. Johnson should be able to do enough to pick up the win here, but Yandiev is still worth consideration in tournaments.
Jason’s Pick: Thiago Alves
Since Aleksei Oleinik has already been recommended over on the betting article, Thiago Alves gets the nod here. He is a huge underdog against Alexey Kunchenko, which he honestly should be. However, Alves is a seasoned veteran, and Kunchenko is an up-and-coming prospect. He has yet to fight UFC-level competition, even if he is undefeated in other professional fighting league. Alves, on the other hand, has been around the block. Fighting in Russia will obviously be an advantage for Kunchenko, but Alves will not let the crowd impact his ability to perform. He has lost three of his last four fights, but against impressive competition. If Kunchenko defeats Alves, it proves that he deserves to be right in the mix of things in welterweight division. Alves is getting slightly overlooked, and he is someone worth betting on in tournaments.
Justin’s Reaction: It’s a terrible card for underdogs, but I guess Alves at least is live, right? I truthfully don’t like Alves much, but you have to pick someone cheap.