Justin’s Pick: Santiago Ponzinibbio
I want a piece of the main event this week, and I’m leaning heavily towards Ponzinibbio. He’s mainly a striker, who works at a fast pace, scoring 100 fantasy points in a three round decision in his last fight against Mike Perry. He somewhat easily dispatched of Gunnar Nelson with a first round knockout before that. His last loss was in 2015 against Lorenz Larkin, and he has since won six consecutive fights against higher level competition. His opponent, Neil Magny, is a well-rounded fighter, who has lost two of his last five fights. Those two losses have come against Lorenz Larkin and Rafael Dos Anjos, but his three wins have all come against less than elite competition. I don’t feel he has the striking to keep up with Ponzinibbio, and I would be shocked if the latter scores less than 100 fantasy points in a win this weekend.
Jason’s Reaction: This is a fight that fantasy owners need to get exposure to.
Jason’s Pick: Nad Narimani
This should be a rather straightforward fight. Anderson Dos Santos is making his UFC debut, while Nad Narimani has fought one time in the world’s biggest fighting organization. In his only fight, Narimani racked up six takedowns and an equal amount of advances, scoring over 100 fantasy points in a three-round decision victory. He does have the ability to finish fights, as he currently has five submission victories in his professional career. His floor should be somewhere around 80 fantasy points because of his great wrestling ability, and if he does find a finish, it would not be surprising to see around 120 fantasy points next to his name on DraftKings. Dos Santos is tricky on the ground, but ultimately, he is not going to be able to do much off of his back, especially if Narimani is passing his guard. Vegas has this fight as a blowout, and Narimani is playable in both tournaments and cash games.
Justin’s Reaction: There aren’t many fights on this card that I feel too confident about, but this is one of them. Narimani should relatively easily win this fight, and he fights at such a high pace that he can potentially hit value in a decision win.
Justin’s Pick: Khalil Rountree Jr.
I know this isn’t exactly a “mid-priced” fighter, but I absolutely needed to say get a piece of this fight. These are two finishers in a fight that is highly unlikely to get out of the first round. Rountree lost his first two UFC fights before winning his next three, which all resulted in a first round knockout. His most recent win against Gokhan Saki was extremely impressive, and it’s surprising he’s taking a “step back” in his next opponent. His opponent, Johnny Walker, is also known as a finisher, winning 13 of his 14 professional fights with a finish (11 (T)KOs, 2 submissions). He went to decision in his only UFC-level fight, though, beating Henrique da Silva, who struggled during his stint in the UFC, on DWTNCS: Brazil. I expect this fight to stay standing, and Rountree will have a massive edge because of his elite power. Walker also comes with more than enough power to end this fight early on, though, and there is absolutely no reason to avoid this fight in GPPs.
Jason’s Reaction: Lock in Khalil Rountree, if the money is available.
Jason’s Pick: Bartosz Fabinski
This recommendation is for tournaments only. It is entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that Bartosz Fabinski gets railed by Michel Prazeres. Both fighters have fantastic takedown offense, so it will be interesting to see who gets the better of the other. Fortunately for fantasy owners, due to their backgrounds, both fighters should be able to stand up rather easily in the beginning of this fight, which leads one to believe there will be plenty of fantasy point production. In his last three fights, Fabinski has 22 takedowns and 24 advances. He is averaging over 100 fantasy points per fight in three three-round decision victories. Prazeres is obviously the best competition he will face up to this point in his career, but “The Butcher” shows no signs of slowing down. This is perhaps not a great matchup stylistically for Prazeres, as he could wear down after securing takedown after takedown. As long as Fabinski can avoid the submission attempts when he does find himself on his back, he has the chance to pick up a huge win, and at his price tag, he is one of the top tournament options this Saturday. Either way, get exposure to this fight.
Justin’s Reaction: I actually side with Prazeres in this fight, but I can see why you would use Fabinski. This fight should basically come down to which fighter is able to land the takedown, as neither fighter is used to fighting off of their back. Prazeres has been doing this too long against too good of competition, but Fabinski is a fine GPP option, as well.
Justin’s Pick: Ian Heinisch
This fight is relatively simple. It will go only one of two ways. Cezar Ferreira gets this fight to the ground and wins via submission or Ian Heinisch keeps the fight on the feet and wins via knockout. Ferreira has been knocked out four times in his career, and Heinisch is coming off of three consecutive knockout victories. He has found success in LFA, suggesting he’s ready for the big stage, as well. I’m not overly confident Heinisch will be able to keep this fight standing, but I am willing to take the risk for his current price tag. History is on his side, as well, as Ferreira is aging with a questionable chin, making the knockout that much more likely.
Jason’s Reaction: Heinisch has the ability to win, but it is unlikely.
Jason’s Pick: Guido Cannetti
This fight is basically hand-picked for Marlon “Chito” Vera, but Guido Cannetti could give him some unexpected trouble. As far as favorites are concerned, Vera is just not all that talented, so for the price tag, Cannetti is worth a tournament flier. He is 2-2 in his UFC career, picking up wins over Diego Rivas and Hugo Viana. He has some power in his hands, as well as the ability to pick up a quick submission victory. Vera, on the other hand, does have an impressive victory against Brian Kelleher, but defeating Brad Pickett and Wuliji Buren is, for lack of a better word, ‘meh’. John Lineker and Douglas Silva de Andrade made quick work of the rising 25-year-old prospect, and the UFC is looking to get “Chito” back to his winning ways. The 38-year-old may be able to spoil that future this Saturday. This fight has all the makings of a big upset.
Justin’s Reaction: This was likely going to be my pick if you didn’t get to it first. The most likely outcome is Vera by submission, but I simply don’t feel he’s that good of a fighter. I think Cannetti is a live dog, and for the price tag/odds, he makes an outstanding play.