Justin’s Pick: Daniel Cormier
This fight is pretty straight forward. Cormier is a significantly more talented fighter, while Derrick Lewis is a powerful fighter with a puncher’s chance. If Cormier can avoid Lewis’ striking, it is easily his fight to lose. He can utilize his wrestling, although he’ll be at a size disadvantage. Cormier does come with his own power, though, and that was on full display in his last fight against Stipe Miocic. The major key in this fight is Cormier’s camp/corner and their gameplan. Cormier generally enters fights with the best gameplans in the UFC, and I expect that to be the case again this weekend. I will say that I also like Lewis in tournaments because of his KO power, but Cormier should be able to score multiple grappling stats in a relatively easy win.
Jason’s Reaction: I want to preface this by confirming that Cormier should win this fight. That said, Lewis is far bigger and stronger, and if Cormier cannot get him to the ground, Lewis is a huge upset alert in a five-round fight with his KO power.
Jason’s Pick: Lyman Good
Ben Saunders is an irritating opponent for most, but his opposition this Saturday is far too good (no pun intended) for this fight to not end early. Lyman Good has elite-level striking, and if he does get in trouble, he can take the fight to the ground. Saunders chin is starting to give up on his willpower, as he has been knocked out in two of his last three loses. In the other fight, he lost via submission to Sergio Moraes. In fact, the only fight Saunders won in his last four scraps was against Jake Ellenberger, a fighter that should have retired a couple of years ago. Saunders is a huge underdog this weekend, and for good reason. Good should be able to finish this fight by the second round at the latest. He is the top pick on the card.
Justin’s Reaction: Good is in an elite spot this weekend. He comes with power, and should end this fight early. He isn’t going to come cheap, but there’s little to no reason to believe he loses this fight.
Justin’s Pick: Adam Wieczorek
I don’t particularly love Wieczorek as a fighter, but it’s difficult to argue with his record. He’s 10-1 with his only loss coming to Marcin Tybura. While he hasn’t fought the highest level of competition, Wieczorek does come with tremendous submission skills for a heavyweight. He gets a matchup against Marcos Rogerio de Lima, who is moving up from light-heavyweight. Wieczorek should have the size advantage in this fight, and Rogerio de Lima has struggled with his submission defense. He has lost three of his last five fights by submission at light-heavyweight. Rogerio de Lima does come with quite a bit of power, and he has real knockout power against Wieczorek, who has struggled with his striking. I find this to be a true grappler versus striker in terms of who gets the finish, and I’m siding heavily with the grappler in this fight.
Jason’s Reaction: It is so odd seeing a fighter priced so high in the mid-priced section, but the fights on this card are so lopsided that it just works out that way. Wieczorek should win this fight, but if he does not find that submission, he likely won’t hit value.
Jason’s Pick: Brian Kelleher
I’m going to go out on a limb for our readers and recommend a fighter that is not a favorite at the mid-priced section. On some cards, Brian Kelleher’s price tag would be see as low-priced or value, but not this Saturday. It is almost impossible to roster more than three favorites, so fantasy owners are going to need some high-upside underdogs. Kelleher is exactly that. He is barely an underdog via MyBookie, and honestly, the line might move in his favor before Saturday. Luckily, his DraftKings’ price will remain the same. Montel Jackson is no slouch in the octagon. He is a well-rounded fighter that performs exceptionally well on his feet. He does not take a lot of damage, and he has a dangerous takedown offense. However, Kelleher has a chin of steel, and his takedown defense is extraordinary. I do not expect this fight to find its way to the ground, and Kelleher has the knockout power to end this one quick. Jackson, despite being a solid prospect, has not fought even close to the level of competition that Kelleher has, and Kelleher is winning half of those fights. His price tag makes him close to a must play this weekend.
Justin’s Reaction: I like Kelleher quite a bit for his price tag, but only because he has such a good finish rate. He can find a submission or knockout at any point in the fight, and I’m willing to take a shot on that in an underdog.
Justin’s Pick: Roxanne Modafferi
There are a lot of heavy favorites on this card, meaning there are a plethora of cheap and expensive options without much of a mid-range. Modafferi is a massive underdog, but this fight is -285 to go the distance, meaning she should get three full rounds to record stats. Modafferi is an experienced fighter, who lost a split decision for the Invicta FC Flyweight Championship in 2016. She has finished each of her last three wins, and she has a few impressive wins under her belt. Her opponent, Sijara Eubanks is a significantly less battle-tested fighter, who is 3-2 with two losses to UFC fighters. She was on her way to fighting for the flyweight championship before being forced from her bout at the Ultimate Fighter finale. During the show, Eubanks won a unanimous decision against Modafferi, but as we know, the show is much different than an entire fight camp. If this fight had happened before the show, Modafferi would have been a sizeable favorite. I’m willing to take a shot on these odds, and Modafferi is active enough that she may hit value even in a loss at her current price tag.
Jason’s Reaction: Modafferi is definitely worth consideration in tournaments, as her low price tag allows for the more expensive fighters to be rostered.
Jason’s Pick: Jared Cannonier
Let it be known that Derrick Lewis is most likely the best underdog on the card this weekend, but since Justin wants to roster Daniel Cormier, for the sake of contradiction, I’m recommending another great tournament option, Jared Cannonier. David Branch is ranked seventh in the world at his weight class, and he has earned every bit of that distinction. The only fight he has lost in his last 13 bouts was against Luke Rockhold. That said, Rockhold no longer looks to be in elite condition, and Branch showed holes in his game. Cannonier has lost three of his last four fights, but his losses came to Glover Teixeira, Jan Blanchowicz, and Dominick Reyes. He has proven that he can stand in the octagon with elite-level competition, and he has fantastic striking both offensively and defensively. It is going to be a challenge for Branch to find a clean shot. If Cannonier can avoid the takedown, he is a very live dog for a very low price on DraftKings. The result of this fight is most likely a Branch victory, but with so many lopsided fights on one card, live dogs are a must in any lineup.
Justin’s Reaction: I completely agree with this. I believe Branch wins this fight, but underdogs are hard to come by on this card, making Cannonier an option to be considered.