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Justin’s Pick: Mirsad Bektic
The line to this fight is far too close, which has created a relatively cheap price tag for Mirsad Bektic. He owns a 6-1 record in the UFC, and his only loss came from a desperation knockout in the third round to Darren Elkins. Bektic was easily on his way to winning that fight, and he scored a total of 74 fantasy points in the loss. Overall, he’s averaging 91.1 fantasy points per fight, and a large sum of those points come from his high-level grappling. Josh Emmett continues to be one of the more overrated fighters in this division. He broke out with a vicious knockout against Ricardo Lamas after taking the fight on short notice and missing weight. In his first true test after that, he was brutally knocked out by Jeremy Stephens. In his first fight back from that knockout, he was losing his fight against Michael Johnson before finding a knockout with less than a minute left in the third. Outside of fight-changing power, I don’t find Emmett to be an overly impressive fighter. Bektic has outstanding wrestling, which will allow him to negate that power. Expect another impressive victory for Bektic, as he continues to make his way through this division.
Jason’s Reaction: Odd – I definitely expected to see Ricky Simon mentioned here. Bektic gets a tough matchup, and he has not been overly impressive throughout his career. I like Emmett much better for his upside and price. Bektic is a glorified tournament option at best.
Jason’s Pick: Mike Rodriguez
Mike Rodriguez is currently sporting -410 odds to win against John Allan this weekend. Allan is making his UFC debut, and he offers little in terms of resistance toward Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a very powerful striker, and his only loss in the UFC came against Devin Clark, a fighter with solid wrestling credentials. Allan, on the other hand, just recently lost to Vinicius Moreira via triangle choke on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender series. Most importantly, especially from a DraftKings’ perspective, Rodriguez has -170 odds to win inside the distance. Those odds are better than most fighter’s odds to win, period. Without too many straightforward fights this weekend, Rodriguez can be rostered in both cash games and tournaments.
Justin’s Reaction: Imagine a card in which we’re likely to have chalk Mike Rodriguez. How scary is that? With that being said, you basically have to play him.
Justin’s Pick: Ryan Hall
This is probably the weirdest fight on the entire card. I don’t really know how to project it, but I know if Ryan Hall picks up the win, it’s likely by submission. Hall is the master of leg locks, and he owns a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Felipe Costa. His opponent, Darren Elkins, owns a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but is truly known for his pressure, grit, and toughness. The main problem for Elkins is that as soon as he gets close to Hall, he’s going to drop for a leg. It’s easy to know it’s coming, but it’s extremely difficult to defend against someone as good as Hall at his or her craft. It wouldn’t necessarily shock me if Elkins can close the gap quick enough to avoid that, but then he has to spend three rounds with Hall on the ground. This is far from a foregone conclusion, but for his price tag, I love Hall’s chance for a finish.
Jason’s Reaction: Hall is one of my favorite fighters on this Saturday’s Fight Night 155 card. He has elite-level grappling, and Darren Elkins has very few ways to win this fight.
Jason’s Pick: Livinha Souza
Livinha Souza is currently a +105 betting underdog against Brianna Van Buren, but she should win this fight outright. Originally supposed to take place between Souza and Cynthia Calvillo, this fight saw Calvillo pull out due to a broken foot. BVB took her place. The Invicta Phoenix Rising winner is definitely a well-rounded fighter, but she comes with obvious disadvantages. First, she’s five-foot tall, making her the shortest UFC fighter in history. Souza will possess quite a reach advantage, which should help her to keep distance and neutralize BVB’s wrestling. Next, her wrestling and ground-and-pound are her best weapons, which should be neutralized by Souza’s black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Vinicius and Kleber Maximo. If this fight ends up on the ground, even with Souza on her back, she likely has an advantage. With more ways to win, Souza is the pick, especially as an underdog.
Justin’s Reaction: I’m a bit shocked that Souza is the underdog, as I favor her in this fight. She’s a great play.
Justin’s Pick: Wellington Turman
Jason put me on Wellington Turman a little earlier in the week, and here we are. The most likely scenario is that Karl Roberson keeps Turman on the outside and finishes him inside the distance, as the latter doesn’t have UFC-level distance striking. With that being said, he has solid clinch work to go along with good Brazilian jiu-jitsu. If Turnman can close the distance, he could potentially get this fight to the ground and find a finish. We’ve seen Roberson gas before and lose by submission. While Turman isn’t at the overall level of Glover Teixeira or Cezar Ferreira, he has never been finished, and his chances grow the deeper this fight goes. For his price tag, Turman is the type of tournament option that can net you first place, as the majority of fantasy players will likely be rostering Roberson on this slate.
Jason’s Reaction: Turman has better grappling and trips than most people are giving him credit for. I think he challenges Roberson is quite a few ways.
Jason’s Pick: Josh Emmett
Josh Emmett has more than a puncher’s chance this weekend against Mirsad Bektic. Bektic has been impressive in his UFC wins, but he has yet to fight someone with the striking of Emmett. Ricardo Lamas took Bektic to a split decision, but Emmett knocked him out in the first round. No, MMA math never works, but Emmett has very solid wrestling credentials, and he should be able to at least slow the pace of Bektic’s takedowns. He also has sneaky Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which should allow him to utilize sweeps to stand up, if he does find himself back-down on the mat. Like Justin alluded to, Emmett also has fight-changing power, and Bektic tends to gas toward the late-second or third round. On DraftKings, for his price tag, Emmett makes a lot of sense for his finishing potential.
Justin’s Reaction: I outlined why I don’t like Emmett above. Essentially, he has a puncher’s chance. With that being said, you have to take underdogs, and he comes with quite a bit of upside. You could do worse in tournaments.