Looking for advice on who to play in your MMA lineups? In today’s edition of MMA Roosevelt’s Scouting Report I break down Saturday’s slate for UFC Fight Night!
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UFC Fight Night makes its debut in Moscow, Russia with a Main Event featuring Mark Hunt vs Aleksei Oleinik. This is a really interesting card from a fantasy standpoint. You have a lot of fights with huge odds for or against a fighter. However, many of the favorite fighters have paths to victory where they could not score well enough to justify their price. So in this event it’s really going to come down to picking the strong favorites that exceed value and then nailing the mid range and value range.
Last weekend I did well. My cash lineup put up 510 which was low on a card where there were scores in the 700s but still good enough to cash in all formats including GPPs. Half my GPP lineups cashed as well. While I wasn’t able to crush it I was able to basically double my entry fees.
Once again I’m playing lighter than I normally would with football here. Had a bad week last week in NFL so really going to need a good weekend so that I can increase my MMA playing.
How I Rank Fighters
My rankings are based on the following criteria
- Odds to win the fight.
- DraftKings scoring average last 5 fights
- Draftkings career scoring average.
- Odds to win inside the distance.
- Fight Matrix weight class ranking
- Significant strikes landed per minute
- Average takedowns landed per fight
I have a spreadsheet with a formula that I built based on these factors. Each fighter has an overall rank from 1 to 24. Top 6 fighters go in the Elite category. 7-12 are in the Good category. 13-19 are in the Fair category. 20-26 go in the Fade/High Risk category. Most of my recommendations will come from my rankings but I also factor in my own thoughts based on my analysis of the fight.
Here are my rankings:
Elite Plays – Fighters good for all formats and good for lots of exposure to.
- Petr Yan $9,600 – He’s expensive but he’s really one of the only guys in the top tier that I have a lot of confidence in winning and scoring well. He’s the biggest odds favorite and the biggest inside the distance odds favorite on the entire card. He also lands significant strikes at a big rate and has fought much higher level of competition. He’s a lock for me in cash games and the only thing that could stop me from locking him in GPP is the high price tag.
- Jordan Johnson $8,700 – While he’s taking this fight on short notice I like this spot for him. He’s a solid wrestler who should not gas out taking on an opponent who hasn’t fought in 3 years and when he did fought he fought nobodies. I expect Johnson To easily win by decision bare minimum and he has strong odds to win inside the distance as well. He’s almost a lock for me in cash and I’ll have massive exposure in GPP.
Good Plays – Fighters good for all formats but less exposure than the elite plays. Also can serve as GPP pivots from elite fighters who should be higher owned.
- Merab Dvalishvili $9,200 – I like Dvalishvili for both formats this weekend. He’s a big favorite to win at a lower price in the top tier options. He has ridiculous wrestling upside which makes him a wonderful GPP play. He did lose like a knucklehead against Ricky Simon getting submitted at the VERY end of a fight he was most likely winning and that’s probably the main reason why I can’t consider him an Elite play. However he’s a strong play in both cash and GPP.
- Mairbek Taisumov $8,900 – I like Taisumov for cash especially at this price point. I think he wins this fight and is never in any real danger of losing it. I also like him in GPP. He definitely has finishing upside. However his opponent is very strong defensively and has not been finished in the UFC. I could very easily see Taisumov getting the win but scoring too low to win us a GPP. So my GPP exposure will be limited.
- Nikita Krylov $8,200 – There are two fights that I believe are going to be the key to unlocking this entire card. This fight is one of them. I will have 100% exposure to this fight and I like Krylov in this spot. He lands significant strikes at a much higher rate and is a more accurate striker than Blachowicz. While he’s not a big takedown guy he is very dangerous on the ground far more dangerous than Blachowicz. While I think this fight is close I think Krylov has far more upside so I like him in both cash and GPP.
- Aleksei Oleinik $7,600 – On a card like this with very few underdogs that have a legitimate shot to win Oleinik becomes a must play in cash. That’s not exactly comforting when you are talking about a 41 year old Heavyweight. However he by FAR has the best odds to win down in that price range. He also has more paths to victory than Hunt. He’s the more accurate striker. He can get takedowns. He’s also the better submission specialist.If he wasn’t so old he would be an Elite play for me. However, he is that old so you have to factor it in. I’m not a fan of stacking the Main Event in cash this week. I expect only a little over 100 points between both fighters so just pick a side. For cash, i will side with Oleinik and I will also have a greater share of him over Hunt in GPP as well.
- Magomed Ankalaev $9,100 – He will probably be the guy I have the most ownership to in GPP in the 9k range with the possible exception of Yan. He lands significant strikes at the highest rate out of any fighter in this range besides Yan. He’s not as big of a favorite as the other fighters in this range. However, he still has strong inside the distance odds. He’s the better striker and the better defensive fighter and I like his chances at a finish.
- Rustam Khabilov $9,500 – I feel confident that Khabilov gets the victory here. He should dominate Johnson and completely overwhelm him. My concern though is price. He’s got a strong wrestling game and should be able to score high even in a decision due to his wrestling. However, he doesn’t have as high inside the distance odds as I would expect for someone I have to pay $9,500 for. In cash I would much rather just pay the extra $100 for Yan. I’ll have some exposure in GPP due to his wrestling upside. However, because of price concerns I won’t have a lot of him.
Fair Plays – These fighters make good cash plays if they have a low salary ($7,700 or less). Otherwise, they should be used as GPP pivots only.
- Ramazan Emeev $9,300 – Once again we have another high odds high priced fighter who should win easily but may not score enough to justify the price tag. That seems to be the theme for this card. He doesn’t throw at a high rate and he’s not a knockout guy so his main paths to scoring well is either a submission or a wrestling based decision. Well his opponent has never been submitted and he can wrestle well also. I think Emeev is a lot better so he should win. However I won’t have a lot of him in GPP because I’m concerned about the upside at his price.
- Mark Hunt $8,600 – I think you need some exposure to Hunt if you’re playing 4 or more lineups. He’s the favorite in a Heavyweight Main Event and has significant odds to win by finish. I also think you have to have this fight because this is the second fight that I believe the winner will be on the winning GPP lineup. However, he is far from the must play people are hyping him up to be. He doesn’t land significant strikes at a high rate. He doesn’t land takedowns. He doesn’t get submissions. He’s basically a knockout or bust play and for $8,600 I have to limit my exposure to him with such a limited path to paying off value. I will have 100% exposure to that fight though so at the very least 1 out of every 4 of my lineups will have Hunt.
- Jan Blachowicz $8,000 – I definitely like Krylov more in this match however I will have exposure to Blachowicz as well. He’s on a 3 fight winning streak. Krylov hasn’t fought in the UFC in a while. He’s tough and he also could potentially have the advantage when it comes to takedowns. Like Hunt he will be in at least 1 out of 4 lineups and at least 5% of my lineups will have both Hunt and Blachowicz.
- Alexey Kunchenko $9,000 – Kunchenko clearly has the toughest competition out of all the fighters priced in the 9k range. He is also making his UFC debut. He’s undefeated and while he hasn’t fought in the UFC he has fought decent competition. I see him getting the victory here. However I don’t really see a lot of exposure to him when there are safer plays both above and below his price.
- Khalid Murtazaliev $8,400 – I would love this fight for him if he had a full camp. He’s a pretty decently sized favorite at his price point with really strong inside the distance odds. He’s very dangerous, sporting a 92% knockout rate. At a price tag of only $8,400 he will definitely be on at least some of my lineups. However, he’s taking this fight on only one weeks notice and that concerns me and will limit my exposure because of it.
- Andrei Arlovski $7,900 – Whenever you have two Heavyweights fighting they are almost always at least a fair play especially when they are priced in the mid range or lower. That’s because Heavyweight fights can and often do result in a knockout. However, they also can and often do result in a low scoring decision finish and that’s what I’m expecting out of this one. If you make me pick a side I will take Arlovski. However, the reality is Im fading this one personally. It’s playable if you want to take a shot at it. I just won’t be.
- Shamil Abdurakhimov $8,300 – See Arlovski entry.
- CB Dollaway $7,800 – Under normal circumstances he would probably be a fade for me in this fight. However, with his opponent taking the fight on one weeks notice on a card where there aren’t a whole lot of underdogs to consider he has to at least be on my radar.
- Thiago Alves $7,200 – I actually don’t mind this play. He could get completely crushed. However, you have to play somebody down here and he’s an experienced fighter who is a great test for a guy like Kunchenko who has been impressive but all outside the UFC. I don’t mind him as a cash punt although Green is a little more safer for cash. I especially don’t mind him as a GPP play.
- Desmond Green $7,300 – Don’t like his chances to win but he could potentially survive and put up enough points to help you cash. Especially in cash lineups.
Fades/High Risk Plays – Do not play any of these fighters in cash! Do not play any of these fighters if you are playing less than 20 GPP lineups. If you are playing more than 20 GPP lineups you can get low exposure if you want to but limit your exposure to the fighters listed here. I’m fading everyone on this list in my personal lineups.
- Marcin Parchino $7,100 – You can take a shot if you are playing more than 20 lineups otherwise I would fade.
- Stefan Sekulic $6,900 – He’s a fade but if you need a punt this low I don’t completely hate the play.
- Terrion Ware $7,000 – Decent fighter but somebody in the matchmaking department just doesn’t like him because they keep giving him really tough opponent.
- Adam Yandiev $7,500 – He’s fought inferior competition and has had controversy in that one of his opponents fought so bad they think the fight was fixed. I have absolutely zero interest in this play.
- Kajan Johnson $6,700 – Should lose fairly easily. Fade.
- Jin Soo Son $6,600 – Don’t even think about playing him.