Justin’s Pick: Gregor Gillespie
How can you go against Gregor Gillespie at this point? He owns a 12-0 record in his professional career, including a 5-0 record in the UFC. He’s a cardio machine, who owns high level wrestling. Keep in mind, Gillespie also features improved striking. He has scored 100+ DK points in each of his fight UFC fights, including 128, 133, and 133 DK points in his last three fights. He gets a matchup against Yancy Medeiros, who is a tough outing for any opponent. He doesn’t truly own any bad UFC losses, but he has certainly had a few setbacks throughout his career. While I enjoy Medeiros as a fighter, there’s no reason to believe his skillset will be able to keep pace with Gillespie. There’s a reason the latter is a -550 favorite on some sites, and his -165 inside the distance line is simply icing on the cake.
Jason’s Reaction: Gillespie is one of my favorite options on the card this Saturday. It is going to be difficult to fit him and Hardy, though.
Jason’s Pick: Greg Hardy
As much as I’d love to see Greg Hardy get knocked out, it just is not going to happen. Allen Crowder has one fight in the UFC outside of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, and he lost via KO to Justin Willis. Willis is one of the better heavyweights in the division, so Crowder still has a chance to succeed in the premier MMA league, but Hardy is bound to put a roadblock in his path. According to Vegas, Hardy is a -350 favorite to win this fight inside of distance. That is almost a guaranteed knockout, and heavyweights tend to end fights in the first or second round. If that isn’t enough, he is training with American Top Team, which means he is only going to get exponentially better over each fight. He has yet to fight past the first minute of the first round. Hardy is very expensive this Saturday, but it will be worth it to pay up, as he is as close as it gets to a promised 100 plus fantasy point performance.
Justin’s Reaction: This is going to be a first round knockout for Hardy. The only question is how many fantasy points he will produce in that, as he truly has one punch knockout power. He’s more of a tournament option for me, though, as he isn’t very experienced, although he should relatively easily win.
Justin’s Pick: Karl Roberson
Karl Roberson owns a 2-1 UFC record with his only setback coming in a tough matchup against Cezar Ferreira. He has flashed throughout his career, though, and he gets a matchup against Glover Teixeira this weekend. Teixeira is still a high level talent, but he’s clearly in the downswing of his career. He has lost three of his last five fights, two losses coming via knockout. In a bittersweet interview, Teixeira admitted that he simply doesn’t have the chin it takes to stand and throw anymore, and that he’ll have to be smarter in his fights. It’s encouraging for Teixeira fans that he understands his vulnerability, but it’s also highly concerning that he admitted to a clear flaw in his attack, giving Roberson a target this weekend. This is a clear matchup of a striker vs a grappler, and whoever can work their game plan better will pick up the win. In terms of fantasy, I’m not overly sold that Teixeira will be able to get this to the ground and submit Roberson. I do believe that Roberson has the power for a knockout, though, and I’ll side with him for a slightly lower price tag.
Jason’s Reaction: I recommended Karl Roberson on the betting article, and I do think that he picks up the win this Saturday.
Jason’s Pick: Belal Muhammad
Belal Muhammad gets an interesting matchup this Saturday against Geoff Neal. According to Vegas, Neal is a fairly significant favorite, but Vegas odds have not derailed Muhammad in the past. Muhammad has decent odds to finish this fight inside the distance, but his most likely path to victory involves both wrestling and riding out the clock, something which he has done with great success in the UFC thus far. In his last four fights, he has decision victories over Chance Rencountre, Tim Means, Jordan Mein, and Randy Brown. Neal does not have great submission offense, so Muhammad will be free to utilize his entire tool set this weekend. With a knockout over Frank Camacho in his last fight, Neal has shown impressive power, but Muhammad is a smart fighter, and he will just need to avoid the one punch (or kick) that ends the fight early. Neal has yet to be tested with Muhammad-like competition, and for his lower price tag, Muhammad makes for a great option in both cash games and tournaments.
Justin’s Reaction: You absolutely love Muhammad. I don’t agree with this pick, though. Neal is an athletic, smart, and well-rounded fighter. He has multiple paths to victory in this fight, while Muhammad strictly will need to wrestle. Neal will use his length to keep Muhammad at distance, coming away with another impressive UFC win.
Justin’s Pick: Donald Cerrone
I don’t trust Donald Cerrone whatsoever at this point in his career, but similarly to the fight against Mike Perry, I’m willing to take a chance on his for this price tag. Alexander Hernandez is very similar to Perry in that he is a powerful young fighter, although I believe he’s more well rounded than Perry at this point. With that being said, Cerrone is the more skilled fighter, and has been tested against the elite of the elite. This pick essentially comes down to whether or not you believe Cerrone has the ability to take the early damage that Hernandez will put on him. While I’m not entirely sure about that, Cerrone is a smart fighter, who will likely limit that damage. I simply don’t mind taking a more skilled fighter for this low of a price tag, even when there is terrible risk involved.
Jason’s Reaction: I’m unconvinced that Cerrone will pick up the win against Hernandez, and I think Hernandez is a better fighter than Perry. That said, I do like his price point, especially with a ton of great high-end options.
Jason’s Pick: Henry Cejudo
Henry Cejudo is a great tournament option this weekend against T.J. Dillashaw. Dillashaw had an intense weight cut, and that could impact his ability to defend takedowns in the later rounds, as well as his chin’s ability to recover after big shots. Cejudo, on the other hand, looks massive. He is training harder than ever, and it shows. Over his last few fights, especially against Wilson Reis and Sergio Pettis, Cejudo has shown a much-improved striking offense. He is obviously an incredible wrestler, as well, so Dillashaw will need to be on guard for that. If he can utilize faints and takedown attempts to his advantage, it could throw Dillashaw off, and Cejudo could end up a two-division champion. All that said, Dillashaw is the better fighter. If this turns into a firefight, Cejudo will lose. Dillashaw is one of the smoothest strikers the UFC has ever seen, and if his weight cut turns out to be less of an issue than expected, he will get his hand raised. Even so, Cejudo is worth the gamble at his low price tag on a high-end heavy card this Saturday.
Justin’s Reaction: I don’t believe at this point that Dillashaw’s weight cut will be an issue. He looks a bit odd, but he’s essentially outlined what he’s been doing on social media and in interviews, and I don’t find any reasons to believe this weight cut was overly difficult. With that being said, I’m completely fine with Cejudo in tournaments. There are a plethora of elite high-priced options, and Cejudo is one of the better low-priced options on this slate.