Last week was a week of near misses for me. Even though I scored correctly on almost all of my picks (hold the applause) my roster cards just didn’t have the right combo to take down anything significant. Still last week was a good card I thought but one where there was a large number of heavy favourites who all came through for victories. This weekend though is an entirely different story. There are loads of live underdogs on this card and numerous close fights that are going to be hard to predict. This is a week where going with a DFS roster full of underdog picks might actually win you a “shipload of money”.
Hardcore fight fans will probably not get too excited about the main event this week but in all honesty it should be wide open, exciting and good for fantasy purposes. That is the theme of the week. There are numerous fights on this card that you absolutely have to target for fantasy purposes because the chance of a knockout and huge fantasy score from one of the fighters is just so high. I’ve outlined which fights to target, along with some other good favourites and underdogs you can use to fill out your rosters with.
Boestch (-200) v Henderson (+180)
Kountermove: 5500 v 5000
DraftKings: 10400 v 9000
After the bout between Daniel Cormier v Ryan Bader was scrapped this fight became the “main event” of this card. Dan Henderson is well on his last legs in terms of his fighting career. He’s well past 40 now and has looked slow and very beatable in his last 3 or 4 fights. He still carries knockout power but his speed has let him down and he now has trouble landing as often as he used to. Boestch is a much lesser fighter than Henderson talent wise but is much younger and does carry KO power as well. Both of these fighters need a win if they want to keep fighting in the UFC and I expect the fighter who loses to possible be released or retire in Hendo’s case. I expect this fight to be a wide open power striking affair with both guys swinging for the fences. Boestch is the favourite and rightfully so but even at his advanced age Hendo is more than capable of KO’ing a less talented fighter like Boestch. Both fighters are in play for me this weekend and one will probably walk with large points. In recent fights Henderson has shown his chin isn’t what it used to be, so I’m more confident in Boestch winning but it’s a very low confidence level to say the least.
Matt Mitrone (-185) v Ben Rothwell (+165)
Kountermove: 5200 v 4400
DraftKings: 10500 v 9100
This is the first of two heavyweight fights on this card. Vegas odds have this fight at right around even money to finish before the halfway point which means the likelihood of this fight seeing the judge’s scorecards is very low. Both guys like to stand and bang, with Mitrone being the much more agile, quicker and higher volume striker of the two. Rothwell has serious, serious power though and has proven he can take a punch, or two or ten. Once again, both fighters are in play. I personally like Rothwell a little more because I think he’ll be able to absorb some punches and land one of his own which is likely all it will take for him to score a KO. But Mitrone has also finished 8 of his 9 wins by KO or TKO. I lean Rothwell and really like his reduced price on Kountermove and DraftKings but once again, either fighter could walk out a winner and bag you well over 100 fantasy points.
Shawn Jordan (-107) v Derrick Lewis (-102)
Kountermove: 5000 v 4600
DraftKings: 9700 v 9700
Don’t blink too much Saturday night, cause if you do you’ll probably miss this fight. Vegas has this fight at +145 to go past the halfway point, which means it’s basically even money as to whether this fight even advances past the first round. The last 5 fights for each fighter has resulted in either wins or losses by TKO or KO. Safe to say the judges will not be involved in this fight. Lewis is scary strong and if he catches Jordan early it will end early. But Jordan is the more polished striker and better all-around athlete. Vegas has this fight as essentially a pick em’ right now and that’s probably correct for betting purposes. I’d lean Jordan if someone put a gun to my head but I’ll have exposure to both of these fighters for fantasy. There’s zero doubt this fight ends before 3 rounds and it might not even last past the 3 minute mark.
Odds to win: -180
Amoung the favourites who are not in the three fights from above Abreu has the best odds to score you a quick KO and get you a ton of fantasy points in the process. Vegas has this fight as about even money to reach the halfway point and if the fight ends quickly it’s almost certainly going to be in Abreu’s favour. Abreu’s an extremely big and athletic striker who’s already shown great power in his past fights. His opponent will be looking to grind it out with him on the mat but is likely going to be overwhelmed by a bigger more powerful opponent in Abreu. Unless Abreu punches himself out early he should score you an early win here. He’s my favourite under the radar favorite play this week.
Odds to win: -110
Riviera is the favourite in another fight that Vegas thinks will not go the distance. Riviera is a striker who likes to throw bombs. He’s big and physical and can also dominate in the grappling department. His opponent is also a decent striker who is known for his great movement and creative striking skills. I think this one ends before round three and I really like Riviera’s chances here to land a big score. He’s coming off two controversial losses and will be looking to make a statement on Saturday.
Odds to win: -190
Proctor is a fairly large favourite in his fight this week and someone I think you can target for fantasy. He’s a big, young lightweight who is going to carry a considerable power and youth advantage in this fight. I think he can score you a pretty dominant victory and will have a good chance of finishing before the final bell. Very solid pick for fantasy although his potential of a first round TKO/KO might be less than some of the other top plays.
Odds to win: +155
While there’s some good underdog plays to take advantage of in my Best Fight section above, I also think Yancy Medeiros makes for an interesting play. Medeiros is a big lanky fighter with great strength and power for the division. He’s a great athlete for his size and has immense potential in the sport but has yet to really put together any significant wins. Still, he’s riding a two fight win streak and might be about to come into his own. He’s fighting a very quality opponent in Poirier, but one who is also hittable (as Connor McGregor showed us in his win over Poirier). This is a more even fight than people realize and one I think Medeiros could take by some kind of stoppage or decision.