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Justin’s Pick: Vicente Luque
Vicente Luque could be the most obvious play on the slate, but that doesn’t mean he’s the wrong one. He was originally expected to fight Neil Magny, who has since been forced from this matchup. Instead, he’ll take on Derrick Krantz, who is a veteran of the regional scene. He enters this fight with a 23-10 record, although he has lost to some UFC competition prior to their signing with the organization. Still, this fight is more or less a formality. Luque is an up-and-coming fighter in the UFC, who has posted a 8-2 record since joining the promotion. He has also finished each of his eight wins. Overall, Luque is averaging 113.3 fantasy points per win, while scoring 100+ fantasy points in seven of those eight wins. He currently owns -215 odds to finish this fight inside the distance, and it wouldn’t be overly shocking if he moves to the largest favorite on the card. He makes an elite option in all leagues on this card.
Jason’s Reaction: I don’t see him moving beyond Julio Arce’s odds discrepency, but his finishing odds are better, his DraftKings upside is higher, and his price tag is lower. For those reasons, I agree.
Jason’s Pick: Davi Ramos
Davi Ramos is scheduled to square off against UFC newcomer Austin Hubbard this Saturday. Hubbard fights out of Elevation Fight Team, and he is not a fighter to take lightly, but Ramos simply has a better skill set. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Cesar Guimaraes, and his grappling background has allowed him to get fights to the ground rather easily. In his last three fights, he has seven takedowns, five of which came in a three-round submission victory, and two of which came in two first-round submission victories. He took down both Nick Hein and John Gunther, advanced twice, and ended the fight. That is definitely a possibility for Ramos this weekend. He is nearing a -500 favorite to win, and his inside distance odds are set at -165. Charles Oliveira makes for an interesting option right around Ramos price tag, but if the extra 100 dollars matters to fantasy owners, Ramos has similar upside, and he is safer.
Justin’s Reaction: Ramos makes an outstanding option, but I’d rather Luque this weekend.
Justin’s Pick: Kevin Lee
This fight is about as close as it gets, and I don’t necessarily know if I’d bet one way or the other. In terms of DraftKings, though, this is extremely clear. Kevin Lee is an extremely active striker, who has a wrestling background to fall on. Rafael Dos Anjos has struggled with wrestlers in each of his last two fights, and while Lee doesn’t have the skills of Colby Covington or Kamaru Usman, it’s still worrisome for Dos Anjos. Lee will be forced to wrestle, as RDA should have a relatively clear advantage on the feet. With that being said, while the fight is standing, Lee will still use volume to try to score with the judge’s. While I’m not overly confident in Lee winning this fight, he comes with significantly more upside on DraftKings. He’s also the cheaper fighter, although it’s only by $200. On a card without many great underdogs, every dollar matters.
Jason’s Reaction: There is nothing worse than rostering a heavy-handed, technically-better striker and watching him or her get taken down or pushed into the cage over and over again. Lee could lose this fight, but RDA will have to stop his wrestling first and foremost, so even in a win, he might not score all that well.
Jason’s Pick: Antonio Carlos Jr.
Antonio Carlos Jr. (ACJ) is another high-upside BJJ artist. Most importantly, however, it seems that most of the MMA community is leaning toward Ian Heinisch to win this fight. If that is the case, ACJ could come in under-owned this weekend. After getting knocked out by Daniel Kelly, ACJ went on a five-fight winning streak, knocking off impressive opponents including Eric Spicely, Jack Marshman, and Tim Boetsch. He is fighting out of American Top Team, so his leaps in skill make sense. He has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Helder Medeiros, and he also trains Muay Thai. Heinisch trains Muay Thai, as well, and just recently defeated Cezar Ferreira. If this fight gets to the ground, however, ACJ has a huge advantage. The problem with Heinisch’s fighting style is that he will have to get close to ACJ, opening himself up to takedowns. ACJ has -120 odds to finish inside distance, and if most fantasy owners lean toward Heinsch, that finish could be huge in tournaments. With 95+ fantasy points in three consecutive fights, ACJ makes sense at his price tag.
Justin’s Reaction: Mid-priced? I’m not sure. But count me in.
Justin’s Pick: Felicia Spencer
This is a seemingly simple matchup between two former Invicta FC Featherweight champions. Megan Anderson is known for her striking, while Felicia Spencer will have the advantage in the grappling department. Since joining the UFC, Anderson has failed to impress. She struggled with the wrestling of Holly Holm, who is a known striker. In her second fight, she won because of an eye injury on a head kick. Spencer has a strong wrestling base, while also possessing black belts in Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She’s undefeated with a 6-0 record in Invicta FC, while scoring a fourth-round submission over Pam Sorenson for the Featherweight championship in her last fight. I don’t expect Spencer to be able to stick with Anderson on the feet, but she likely won’t have to. There’s a chance that Anderson’s wrestling has improved since her fight against Holm, but it would need to improve drastically for her to keep this fight standing for three rounds. Both sides of this fight are interesting, as I don’t expect it to go to decision, but I’ll take the underdog with grappling upside.
Jason’s Reaction: I understand the logic, but I still think Anderson wins this fight. On DraftKings, it makes sense to get exposure to Spencer for her finishing potential as an underdog, though.
Jason’s Pick: Grant Dawson
Grant Dawson had a very impressive UFC debut against Julian Erosa in his last fight. With six takedowns and five advances, he scored over 100 fantasy points in a decision victory. Mike Trizano also tends to go decision, but he scores significantly less. Dawson is basically a wrestler, and Trizano is going to want to keep this fight standing, as his training at Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts gives him an edge in striking. Dawson is not going to allow that to happen. He is a pressure fighter, and his gas tank is superb. The 25-year-old is going to continue to get better as time progresses, and his wrestling skill set is problematic for almost anyone in his division. Dawson is priced as an underdog, but he has a much higher upside than Trizano, and he has a very realistic, if not probabilistic, path to victory this weekend.
Justin’s Reaction: I don’t believe Dawson wins this fight, but he’s one of the better underdogs on the card.
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