Justin’s Pick: Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson is nothing short of a gamer. He has taken some of the most difficult fights in the world, and he’s completely open to taking fights on short notice. Johnson only features a 2-5 record over his last seven fights, but he has strictly lost to elite competition – Darren Elkins, Justin Gaethje, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Nate Diaz, and Beneil Dariush. His opponent this weekend, Artem Lobov, is far from an elite fighter. There are some people that believe Lobov would be out of the UFC at this point if he wasn’t training partners with Conor McGregor. Regardless, this will be Johnson’s easiest matchup in quite some time. I feel he has the advantage wherever this fight takes place, and Johnson can use either strikes in a fire fight or takedowns to score fantasy points. He’s one of the safest options on the slate, but he also comes with plenty of upside.
Jason’s Reaction: This recommendation is a no-brainer. Roster Johnson, and move on.
Jason’s Pick: Andre Soukhamthath
Forget about being able to roster all the higher priced options this weekend. There are far too many lopsided fights to not find value somewhere. Andre Soukhamthath comes with top-level upside, but his price tag is closer to the middle range. He has struggled in the UFC to start his career, but with loses to fighters like Albert Morales, Alejandro Perez, and Sean O’Malley, fantasy owners should not be too concerned. Jonathan Martinez has yet to step foot in the UFC octagon, and it looks like the UFC wants Soukhamthath to win this fight. Martinez has crazy finish potential, but Soukhamthath should be able to avoid the submission attempts and flying knees. He has good takedown defense and solid striking defense to match. This should be an uptempo fight, which bodes well for fantasy owners, as most of Saturday’s action will be slower.
Justin’s Reaction: I actually like both sides of this fight in DFS. Martinez is a bit of a prospect, and I wouldn’t be overly surprised if he wins this fight. Soukhamthath is one of the more talented fighters in this division, but his fight IQ is arguably the worst in the UFC. I mean, he lost to a guy with a broken leg. I wouldn’t be mad at anyone for rostering him, though.
Justin’s Pick: Volkan Oezdemir
This is a fun matchup that should end in a violent fashion. Oezdemir surprised Ovince Saint Preux for his first UFC win, before knocking out Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa in impressive fashion. His grappling was then exposed by Daniel Cormier in a one-sided fight. Anthony Smith has quickly worked his way up the ranks at light-heavyweight, but his only two wins have come against Rashad Evans and Mauricio Rua. While I don’t believe Oezdemir is a world-beater of a fighter, I also don’t believe Smith is. They’re both fun strikers, but I’m siding heavily with the fighter that features much more impressive wins. Oezdemir also features -140 odds to win inside of distance, and he still comes with a cheap price tag.
Jason’s Reaction: Oezdemir is my favorite fighter on DraftKings this weekend.
Jason’s Pick: Nordine Taleb
Regardless of who fantasy owners roster this weekend, this is a great fight to target. Both Nordine Taleb and Sean Strickland have finishing potential, and due to the very close Vegas odds, both fighters are reasonably priced on DraftKings. Taleb has slightly better takedown offense, but Strickland has better takedown defense. Taleb has slightly better striking defense and accuracy, but Strickland throws at a higher volume. This is a complicated fight, but Taleb gets the slight edge because fighters with better defense that are willing to wait on their opponent to engage first tend to find the power shot. Strickland might get the edge in a decision, however, due to his high output. This is a guessing game, but one worth taking the guess.
Justin’s Reaction: I completely agree with this. I also lean slightly with Taleb, but I mean the lean is very slight. Both sides can be used, though.
Justin’s Pick: Patrick Cummins
I don’t love many cheap fighters on this card, but Cummins is one that stands out. While I believe Misha Cirkunov should be the favorite in this fight, the odds are entirely too wide. Cirkunov was a top prospect, but he has since lost his last two fights via (T)KO. Cummins isn’t known as an overly powerful fighter, but he does enter this fight with four (T)KO victories. Most importantly, Cummins is a wrestler at heart, and Cirkunov has struggled to stop takedowns in the UFC. The most likely scenario is that Cirkunov finishes this fight early, but Cummins is too cheap to be completely ignored in tournaments.
Jason’s Reaction: I don’t love Cummins, but I also don’t hate him. I think you can use both sides of this fight depending on your lineup construction.
Jason’s Pick: Marcelo Golm
I’ll preface this recommendation by saying that Arjan Singh Bhullar is one of my favorite fighters. He is just a likeable dude. That said, he has shown that he is susceptible to submissions, and Marcelo Golm has some of those in his arsenal. Bhullar is too slow to roster him at his price tag on DraftKings, but Golm has great upside due to his lower price tag. He has the ability to end this fight in two different ways – don’t forget about the power in his hands. He has a slight reach advantage, and despite Bhullar’s wrestling background, Golm should pose enough of a threat on the ground to keep Bhullar at distance, and even if not, he has the takedown defense to stuff a majority of Bhullar’s shots. His lower price tag will help with lineup construction, as well.
Justin’s Reaction: I really like this pick. I don’t particularly love any of the lower priced options in terms of them being likely to win, but Golm is a live dog for a cheap price.