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 ESPN live from Phoenix, AZ
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Welcome to my breakdown of UFC Fight Night from Phoenix, Arizona! This is the first card that’s going to be aired on the main channel of ESPN. The other cards were aired on ESPN+. The preliminary fights will still be on ESPN+ but the main card will be on ESPN. Last week was a good week for me. I had De La Rosa, Kang, Smith and Vanneta in my main lineup scoring 505 points, well above the cash line in the 440s. I had a top 10 GPP finish missing 1st place by only 2 points. Looking to keep it going this week.
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
- Personal analysis of the fighters.
Under each category, fighters are listed in order of how much I like them.
Elite Plays – Elite fighters are fighters that I expect to win their fights and exceed their value on DraftKings. They have high scoring floors due to their ability to score points in multiple ways. They also have high scoring ceilings due to their ability to finish the fight, score a lot of points or both. Elite fighters are great plays in both cash contests as well as GPP contests. They are fighters that you can build your lineups around and have lots of exposure to.
- Manny Bermudez – $9,100
- Scott Holtzman – $8,500
This is a very good stylistic matchup for Bermudez. Lopez fights a style that is going to put him in situations where he’s going to be in the clinch and that’s exactly where Bermudez wants to be. He’s got the 2nd highest inside the distance odds. I do have a concern that he could not meet value if he doesn’t get the submission though so keep that in mind. Holtzman is one of my favorite MMA plays. He’s always priced cheap, has over 100 upside even in a submission and is tough as nails. As long as he can survive the first round, he should win this match with no issues.
Good Plays – Good fighters are fighters that should do well. However, they have one or more issues that prevent them from being an Elite play. They could be priced too high. They could be an underdog. They could have a more limited scoring path to meeting value. Good fighters are fighters that you try to get into your lineup after you have gotten as many Elite fighters in.
- Vicente Luque – $9,400
- Kron Gracie – $9,300
- Cynthia Calvillo – $9,200
- Cain Velasquez – $9,000
- Alexandra Albu – $8,600
- Andre Fili – $7,400
- Francis Ngannou – $7,200
Luque is a strong cash play. I don’t see a path to victory for Barberena. However, Luque likely needs a finish to meet or exceed value and while he has the 3rd highest inside the distance odds, he’s basically a 50/50 play in terms of getting the finish or decision. Gracie should smash here. The only reason why he’s not an elite play is I don’t like playing debuting fighters as elite plays, especially fighters who are going to be targeted like I believe Gracie will. Calvillo is also a strong cash play. She has the same problem as Luque though, she needs a finish to meet value and she has even lower odds than Luque to win inside the distance. If you look strictly at the numbers Cain Velasquez is the number one fantasy play on the entire card. However, he has a tough opponent and has been away for a long time so he’s a GPP only play for me. Alexandra Albu is sloppy but she should be physically dominant in this one. It’s really close though, so I would stick to GPP with her. I think Fili loses to Jury but I also think this goes the distance and I think he can score well in a loss. Francis Ngannou is by far the best play in the value tier. While he’s the underdog he absolutely has a chance to win against Velasquez. He’s a much better GPP play than cash play but if you’re looking for a cash punt he’s definitely viable as a cash punt.
Fair Plays – These are fighters that you can use to round out your lineups. You need one or two more picks and you can’t fit anymore Elite or good fighters? This is where you go next. Here you have fighters that should win but might be priced too high. You also have mid-priced fighters who are in really close matchups with not as high of an upside. Finally, you have cheap fighters that are either live underdogs or are worth a punt to make room for more Elite or Good fighters.
- Andrea Lee – $8,900
- Myles Jury – $8,800
- Luke Sanders – $8,700
- Jessica Penne – $8,400
- Jimmie Rivera – $8,300
- Paul Felder – $8,200
- James Vick – $8,000
- Aljamain Sterling – $7,900
- Jodie Esquibel – $7,800
- Nik Lentz – $7,700
- Emily Whitmire – $7,600
- Renan Barao – $7,500
- Ashlee Evans-Smith – $7,300
- Benito Lopez – $7,100
- Courtney Casey – $7,000
I’m not going to go over every single play here but some things to point out. James Vick has slight odds value at his price. He’s a small favorite but is priced as a small underdog. Lee, Jury and Lentz have the most wrestling upside, although I hate Lentz’s matchup. Felder has the highest inside the distance odds out of the fair plays.
Poor Plays – These are fighters that are either very unlikely to win or they are very unlikely to meet value. They should not be played at all if you are playing less than 20 lineups. If you are playing more than 20 and you want to play any of them, they should be the lowest owned fighters in your player pool.
- Alex Caceres – $6,900
- Bryan Barberena – $6,800