Last week’s recap was very simple for me, a lot went according to plan except for the final fight where Daniel Cormier ended up submitting Anthony Johnson. I wasn’t shocked Cormier won as he’s obviously a great fighter but really thought Johnson blew the fight as he had Cormier on the ropes early and often. Then he stupidly decided to get into a wrestling match with Cormier, then the fight was over. My underdog pick of the night Josh Burkman lost in similar fashion. He controlled the fight on his feet but kept getting into grappling exchanges with a better grappler/wrestler.
This week the card is much less spectacular but every bit as interesting. I think this week is going to be hard for fantasy purposes. There’s not a huge amount of fights with early finish props, meaning most fights are expected to go the distance. This is hard for fantasy as picking which fights to target becomes more difficult. There are some pricing errors by some of the sites though that we can take advantage of, and some huge favorites have been severely discounted. The card features no title fights and outside of the main event it is mainly a mix of second tier fighters. But there are some solid prospects fighting who could have big futures in the sport.
Carlos Condit (-250) vs Thiago Alves (+230)
Kountermove: 5500 v 5000
DraftKings: 11100 v 8300
3-4 years ago this fight might have had more meaning but given the recent resurgence of Alves it still holds a lot of intrigue. Condit is the heavy favourite in this fight but is coming off of a knee injury that sidelined him for well over a year. Both fighters are known for their stand up and Condit himself said he expected the fight to be “fast-paced” and “violent”. Condit is the more active and more accurate striker who generally overwhelms his opponents with his cardio and an array of strikes as the fight moves on. Alves is much shorter and likes a more toe-to-toe, head on approach. The longer the fight goes on the more it favours Condit, however I don’t think he deserves the huge favourite status he’s been given here. Alves’ has looked very good in his last few bouts and will be coming out ready and hungry for Condit. Given Condit’s ring rust and Alves own striking prowess it is possible we see Alves gain an advantage early and possibly even an early stoppage. For fantasy purposes I think both men are in play. If Condit wins he could have a huge score from striking points alone and Alves is certainly in play for an early stoppage. I do like Condit to win but am not as confident as the current odds indicate.
Odds to win: -470
Sometimes you need to take what the sites give you, and this week the sites are giving you a huge betting favourite at an underdog price tag. Mektic has now moved to an almost -500 betting favourite on many sites (absurdly big) yet is priced under 5k on Kountermove and under 10k on DraftKings. Bektic is an up and coming young fighter who has looked great in all facets of the game thus far. He’s an explosive athlete and has KO power. His opponent here is no slouch but I do think he’s walking into a hornets nest. Bektic will be in all my lineups this weekend. He’s simply priced too cheap for the power and possibility he brings to table. Take advantage where possible.
Odds to win: -380
Sometimes you need to take what the sites give you, and this week the sites are giving you a huge betting favourite at an underdog price tag (yes I just copied and pasted that). Dalby is now a near -400 betting favourite on many betting sites but is priced under 10k on DraftKings and under 5k on Kountermove. Dalby is undefeated in his MMA career and will be making his UFC debut against another UFC debutant in dos santos. This should actually be a good fight as both men are pure strikers but Dalby is simply the more active and more polished of the two. I expect he’ll be able to have his way if this feet stays upright, and possibly even if it doesn’t. There’s always the chance of opening night jitters getting the best of him but at Dalby’s pricetag I see zero reason to even contemplate not using him for fantasy. Another fantastically under-priced play.
Odds to win: -170
I know this is getting repetitive, but sometimes you need to take what the sites give you. Breese is a really good young welterweight prospect who is now closing in on being a -200 favourite status on many sites but who is priced at (you guessed it) under 10k on DraftKings and under 5k on Kountermove. Breese is making his UFC debt. He is pretty massive for his weight class and for all intents and purposes, looks like a plus athlete. I think there’s actually a high chance he scores a submission or stoppage in this fight and he rounds out three of the easiest picks I have ever made for fantasy purposes.
Odds to win: -250
If you’re looking for a good gpp favourite who might be able to score you a big early win look no further. The matchup of Oliviera v Lentz is actually a rematch of a fight that took place four years ago where Oliviera struck Lentz with an illegal knee and the bout was deemed a no contest. Oliviera has lost of some fights to high profiled competitors, like Frankie Edgar and Donald Cerrone, since then but has now reeled off three straight wins and is quite frankly a much more polished, all-around fighter at this point. His opponent is essentially a straight forward wrestler who will look to turn this fight into a grind-it-out type of affair. I don’t think he’ll be able to as Oliviera is simply way more talented in every other facet and should be out for some redemption. A win here would also put Oliviera in place for a high profile fight his next time out. Look for Oliviera to finish this fight early and possible be a great gpp play.
Wendell Oliviera (-110) v Darren Till (-105)
Kountermove: 4800 v 4800
DraftKings: 9900 v 9500
If you’re looking for a fight to target both sides of in gpps this is likely the one. Neither of these fighters are particularly high on defense and should be content to simply stand and bang for the majority of this fight. Till is a youngster and former muay Thai competitor who will be making his UFC debut. He’ll be looking to make an impression to stay with the UFC long-term and has the looks of a really high class striker, who also possess good speed and movement. Oliviera is coming off a two fight losing streak and needs a win bad to stay in the UFC. He’s extremely athletic and hits hard but is also open to being hit… hard. I think this fight carries good entertainment value and good fantasy value too as either fighter could land a first round KO and score you huge fantasy points.