Justin’s Pick: Jared Gordon
I don’t necessarily think Joaquim Silva is a bad fighter, but he was somewhat exposed in his last fight against Vinc Pichel. I feel Jared Gordon will have the advantage throughout this fight, as well. He is one of the most active strikers in the UFC, and should feature a relatively significant advantage on the feet. Gordon also has the grappling to control this fight, and while Silva is a black-belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he’ll likely struggle off of his back once again. Gordon has scored 139 and 103 DK points in his two wins in the UFC, one of which was a decision. Gordon has the potential to finish this fight, but he’ll more likely than not win an impressive decision. His absurd activity inside of the octagon makes him an elite fantasy option, specifically for his price tag. The odds are a bit closer than I was anticipating, and I’m willing to take a risk on that this weekend.
Jason’s Reaction: Gordon is an extremely active fighter, and I really like him for his price in this matchup.
Jason’s Pick: Kevin Lee
Kevin Lee is the best fantasy option on the card this Saturday in both tournaments and cash games. He is a massive favorite over Al Iaquinta, in what should be a rather exciting wrestling matchup. His floor is a five-round decision, but he also owns -152 odds to finish inside of distance, which is great for his price tag, especially when considering the additional points for takedowns and advances. Perhaps, fantasy owners are concerned with how few times Khabib Nurmagomedov was able to get Iaquinta to the mat, but they shouldn’t be. Khabib was working his standup in that fight, and at no point in time was he in danger of losing. Lee might also test his stand-up against Iaquinta, but if the fight gets competitive, he will plant the 31-year-old New Yorker on his back. Iaquinta does not have too many viable paths to victory, and Lee has all options open. Roster him in all leagues.
Justin’s Reaction: Lee is also my favorite play on the entire card. $9K is too cheap for his floor/ceiling combination. I’ll be rostering in all lineups.
Justin’s Pick: Dan Hooker
Dan Hooker struggled early in his MMA career, but he has been fighting at an extremely high level recently, and he’s coming off an absurdly impressive TKO of Gilbert Burns. It’s difficult to know if Edson Barboza’s career is coming to an end, as he has only fought elite level competition recently. He has lost each of his last two fights, although they have been to Kevin Lee and Khabib Nurmagomedov. I feel the majority of this fight will take place on the feet, and it comes down to which fighters striking you side with. While I love watching Barboza, he has recorded only one knockout (flying knee) since 2014. Hooker, on the other hand, has finished each of his wins since 2011. Specifically for fantasy, I’ll side with the fighter that has the finishing potential when they are similar price tags. For what it’s worth, I lean Hooker relatively heavily to win this fight, as well.
Jason’s Reaction: I also believe Hooker has elite potential to finish this fight, and he’s the better option of the two for their prices.
Jason’s Pick: Rob Font
Both Rob Font and Sergio Pettis are coming off two wins and two loses in their last four fights. This is an interesting matchup and should have a significant impact on the UFC batamweight division. Pettis is fighting up because the UFC is getting rid of the men’s flyweight division, so he will be forced to adapt to the new weight or find a new promotion. That additional weight spells problems for Pettis’s fight this Saturday. Font has a ton of power in his hands, and Pettis tends to out-point his opponents in decision victories. Font is going to pressure and make sure this fight does not go decision. When Font loses, it is because he cannot find a finish, but Pettis has been both knocked out and tapped out in the past. As far as fantasy is concerned, even if Pettis wins, he is not going to score a lot, but, if Font wins, expect over 100 fantasy points. He is worth taking a risk on at his mid-range price tag in tournaments.
Justin’s Reaction: Font is an absolute elite option for his price tag, but my only concerns are that this fight is set at -185 to go to decision. While I personally believe Font will find a finish in this fight, it will essentially be a toss up if it heads to decision.
Justin’s Pick: Jessica-Rose Clark
Jessica-Rose Clark broke onto the scene a bit out of nowhere, winning decisions over Bec Rawlings and Paige VanZant before losing a decision to Jessica Eye, who is seemingly making a run at the women’s flyweight division. Her opponent, Andrea Lee, is 1-0 in the UFC, but doesn’t truly have a great win in her career. JRC will be her toughest test to date, and I’m willing to take a risk on the UFC veteran for her price tag. I feel she throws enough volume to keep this fight close on the feet, but I’m worried about Clark’s takedown defense. Still, this fight will likely feature all three rounds, and I’m fine utilizing an active striker, who will see each of the three rounds this weekend.
NOTE: Jessica-Rose Clark has been pulled from the card. As a replacement, I’ll choose Bobby Green (for similar reasons).
Jason’s Reaction: I don’t mind Clark, but I’d rather take a chance on a cheaper fighter that comes with finishing potential.
Jason’s Pick: Mike Rodriguez
Sometimes, in tournaments, it is important to just find a live dog. By that, I mean find a fighter that has the chance to win and score big, even if that fighter is not technically better than his or her opponent. That fighter, this week, is Mike Rodriguez. After an impressive flying knee knockout on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Rodriguez earned a contract with the UFC. He promptly lost to Devin Clark at UFC 223 via an unanimous decision. Fortunately for fantasy owners, he is a knockout artist, which means he possesses the ability to beat fighters that are technically better strikers or grapplers. Insert Adam Milstead. Milstead entered the UFC with a great TKO victory over Chris de la Rocha back in 2016. Since then, he lost a brutal contest to Curtis Blaydes (which was overturned due to nonsense marijuana rules) and a split-decision to Jordan Johnson. Johnson has found a ton of success in the UFC, so a split-decision loss is not a ‘bad’ loss. Milstead, like Rodriguez, will be hunting for a finish. Both fighters are nearly equal as far as finishing odds are concerned, and Rodriguez is much cheaper. If this fight goes the distance, it will likely be Milstead on the winning side. He is the better fighter, but Rodriguez has a very real chance to find a knockout, and that, much like Font, is a risk worth taking in tournaments.
Justin’s Reaction: I think Rodriguez makes a fine tournament option on this slate. He comes with power, but I don’t believe he’s a solid UFC fighter. Still, you can plug him in, but know that Milstead likely walks away from this fight with a finish.