This is one of the biggest nights in Daily Fantasy Sports if you are a UFC fan. UFC 189 has some of the biggest prize pools attached to the card and there are a ton of big prizes up for grabs on both Kountermove and DraftKings to get you started if you are interested in the sport.
In terms of actual fights this card seems to have it all and is one of the strongest from top to bottom I have seen in a while. There’s two belts on the line and some pretty strong undercard action as well. Obviously the main event had to be altered with Jose Aldo getting injured but Chad Mendes is actually a very worthy replacement and the main event is no less intriguing than it was before. Most people will be flocking to see this fight and watch the great (or so he says) Conor McGregor in action. McGregor likes to run his mouth about everyone and we finally get to see if he can live up to the hype against a worthy opponent. As always, make sure if you are going after some those big gpp prizes that you really focus on choosing fighters who have a great shot at getting you a quick finish as that is where the really big fantasy points are had.
McGregor (-180) v Mendes (+160)
Kountermove: 5200 v 5400
DraftKings: 10100 v 9600
Even with Aldo’s departure this main event is going to be a good one and also one that will be hard to predict. Many pundits seem to like Mendes and his wrestling pedigree over McGregor and honestly I can see Mendes winning this fight. He does not throw a huge amount of volume but he does throw with power and accuracy. Mendes lost an incredibly close fight to Jose Aldo about a year ago and is easily the second best fighter in the division. However, he is coming into this fight on short notice and is fighting somewhat of an unknown in Conor McGregor. McGregor has won most of his fights with huge KO’s or strikes but has yet to truly be tested. Mendes will test Conor in more ways than one as he was able to go the distance against Aldo, arguably the best pound for pound fighter on the planet. Given the hype, odds, price and Conor’s very high ownership levels I think the clear choice here for DFS is Mendes. Conor may score the KO at some point but the more likely scenario is a close 5 round battle and in that scenario Mendes has the edge.
Odds to win: -170
Even with all the hype around the main event the best value on the board this week is likely Brandon Thatch. Thatch is an excellent young fighter who lost a very entertaining fight his last time out to Benson Henderson. This week however he takes on a much different, more one-dimensional fighter and I think he’ll dominate. Thatch is an excellent striker and grappler who puts a lot of pressure on his opponents and works at a high pace. He’s extremely exciting because of the different ways he can attack his opponents. The Vegas odds have him as a huge favorite and I like the fight to end in under 2 rounds. I agree and think Thatch wins before the final bell.
Odds to win: -600
Even though his price is rather high on both sites I can’t not recommend Garbrandt this week. He has the lowest odds of all the favorites and his fight is also predicted to end before the end of the second round. Garbrandt is a very talent, rising prospect whose opponent is simply not on his level. Grabrandt is also a striker by trade and a very good one, I think he will end this fight early and likely in semi-spectacular fashion. Even though he’s priced high it’s debatable whether the average fan will use Garbrandt much so he may offer some sneaky low ownership too. I’d recommend paying up for him when you can, he has the most upside of any favorite.
Odds to win: -400
Gracia is yet another favorite who I expect to have a large athletic advantage on Saturday and to dominate his fight. Not only is Garcia better at literally everything than his opponent but he will be fighting someone in Swick is fast approaching 40, and is also coming off an over two-year layoff. There’s not much else that needs to be said. Vegas has this fight slated to end before round 2 and I doubt many casual players will use Garcia since they aren’t familiar with him. I think he makes for a great fantasy play and someone who could land you a bushel of quick points.
Odds to win: -110
Howard is taking on Cathal Pendred, who likes to have long grinding (boring) fights as he wears his opponent down with grappling and attempted takedowns. Howard often likes to employ the same style and there’s the possibility for this fight to quite frankly, suck. However Howard has a lot more explosiveness in his hands and if he can match Pendred’s strength in grappling that might turn this fight into a striking affair where Howard has the edge. I like Howard as an underdog pick this week because if he wins it’s likely by KO, meaning big fantasy production.
Odds to win: +175
This is a pure gpp play and a move based on the potential for big points. If Stephens is going to win this fight it’s almost certainly going to be by TKO/KO. He is outclassed in most other areas but has the power to put his opponent on his back. There are not a lot of great underdog plays this week and picking and choosing which one will score is going to be key. I’m fine rolling the dice with Stephens. If he wins it will be by KO and if he loses there’s a good chance you get 2 or 3 rounds of points from him anyways.