Justin’s Pick: Cris Cyborg
This is an elite fight that is seemingly flying under the radar on this card. Cris Cyborg is arguably the most dominant woman in MMA history, winning 20 consecutive fights after losing in her first professional contest. She has also finished the majority of her fights via (T)KO, although she’s also a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to go along with her black belt in Muay Thai. Her opponent, Amanda Nunes, could cement herself as the best fighter in WMMA history with a win against Cyborg. She’s a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, while also possessing a brown belt in Judo. There is one major difference in this fight, though. Size. Cyborg will be the bigger fighter of the duo, and she’ll likely dictate where this fight takes place. She’s the more active and accurate striker, and she comes with a bit more power, as well. Furthermore, Cyborg has proven that she has the cardio to go five strong rounds, while Nunes has gassed in previous fights. This price tag is a bit low for Cyborg’s skills, and I feel the odds on this fight should be a bit wider.
Jason’s Reaction: I love Cyborg this weekend. She’s expensive, but she’s worth it, especially in cash games.
Jason’s Pick: Walt Harris
I’ll preface this recommendation by saying that there are quite a few good options above the $9,000 mark. Do not roster Ryan Hall, but Jon Jones and Cris Cyborg are both solid plays for their respective prices. However, Walt Harris has very high upside, especially considering the 20 percent off discount attached to him. He is only $8,600, and his odds to finish this fight are currently -104. That said, fighting Andrei Arlovski is risky; not because he has the potential to beat Harris (though, he may), but rather, he fights at such a slow pace of recent that it may frustrate Harris, and if Harris can’t find the finish, it’ll also frustrate fantasy owners. If Harris can pressure Arlovski enough to confuse his footwork, he will finish this fight early, and if he does, he is going to be a big part of the optimal tournament lineup. The risk is worth it.
Justin’s Reaction: I completely agree with virtually everything you said here. Harris is a bit too cheap for someone that could win via first round knockout. He’ll be one of my top tournament options on this slate.
Justin’s Pick: Alexander Volkanovski
Since Jason opted to use two mid-priced fighters, I’ll recommend two lower priced options here. Alexander Volkanovski has been one of the most impressive prospects in the UFC, and he gets a massive step up in competition this weekend. He’s coming off an impressive victory over Darren Elkins, scoring 100 DK points in a decision win. He displayed solid striking in that fight, which is what he’ll need to beat Chad Mendes this weekend. Mendes is the better wrestler of the two, but Volkanovski has featured great takedown defense throughout his career. If this fight plays out on the feet, Volkanovski is the significantly more active striker, and he could use that activity to win another impressive decision against Mendes. While Mendes’ last fight was extremely impressive against Myles Jury, I don’t necessarily know if I’m ready to fully state that he’s back, especially against someone as talented as Volkanovski. The latter has scored 100+ DK points in each of his UFC fights in his career, and he’s an elite option for a low price tag.
Jason’s Reaction: I think Volkanovski is a solid tournament option, but I also like the idea of having a piece of Chad Mendes. Both sides should perform well in this fight.
Jason’s Pick: Uriah Hall
Uriah Hall is a much better betting option this Saturday, but he is worth his price tag on DraftKings, as well, but only in tournaments. Bevon Lewis is the best odds value cash game option on the entire card, but as mentioned in our betting article, Hall should be the favorite. He is currently a +105 underdog on MyBookie, but his level of competition as compared to Lewis’s is on another planet. Hall defeated Krzysztof Jotko in the midst of a 1-4 skid beginning with a loss to Robert Whittaker in 2015. His remaining losses come against Derek Brunson, Gegard Mousasi, and Paulo Henrique Costa. Meanwhile, Lewis has never fought beyond Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. To be fair, he is training at Jackson-Wink MMA with Jon Jones, so the fight is justified. It will not be easy for Hall, but he has plenty of opportunity to pick up a finish that he desperately needs, if he wants to progress in his career at all prior to putting down the gloves. Lewis is going to be owned high on DraftKings because of his lower price tag, better Vegas line, and attachment to Jones, but in tournaments, he is a trap. If Hall finishes him, which is a very real possibility, fantasy owners can rejoice at the top of the tournament standings.
Justin’s Reaction: At this moment, I’ll likely be looking at Bevon Lewis in cash because of the odds value. With that being said, I personally feel Hall is in a great spot here, and he makes an elite tournament option for his price tag.
Justin’s Pick: Carlos Condit
This is a fight where each fighter has a relatively clear advantage. In other words, it’s a striker vs grappler matchup. Carlos Condit is nearing the end of his career, but he’s still an extremely talented striker. His opponent, Michael Chiesa, is known as a pure grappler, winning 10 of his 14 fights by submission. Condit has struggled throughout his career to stop takedowns, but he’s relatively good at getting back to his feet. He likely understands that his only way to win this fight is to keep it standing, although Condit’s Jiu-Jitsu is nothing to look past. Still, Condit has a clear path to victory, which isn’t always evident from someone with his price tag.
Jason’s Reaction: I’m not overly high on Condit, but I understand the reasoning for it.
Jason’s Pick: Nathaniel Wood
Nathaniel Wood and Andre Ewell meet this Saturday in what should be one of the more exciting fights on the card. Both fighters currently have a 1-0 record in the UFC, Ewell picking up a split-decision victory over Renan Barao, while Wood stopped Johnny Eduardo via a brabo choke. Wood is the younger fighter at 25-year-old, while Ewell is 30-years-old, which could indicate that Wood is going to learn more and develop at a faster rate. Ewell does, however, have a five inch height advantage, which could frustrate Wood in this fight. All in all, this is basically a toss up, but the slight edge has to go to the younger fighter that was more impressive in his UFC debut. Either way, this should be a high-action brawl with both grappling and striking. Wood has +209 odds to finish inside distance, and Ewell has +228. At their price tags, fantasy owners are going to have to make a decision here because avoiding this fight entirely is not a smart move. Good luck.
Justin’s Reaction: Low priced option? Just kidding. I like this pick a lot. I side with the competition Wood has fought, giving him a slight edge over Ewell in this meeting.