Daily Fantasy MMA Picks for UFC Fight Night 82 - 2/6/16
Editor's Note: Welcome MMA contributor Shaun Ihasz. Give him a follow on Twitter @ShaunEyeHas
Fantasy MMA is active for a second straight week! Our picks are here just in time for Ryan Bader to read them – assuming he’s woken up from the nap he took on Saturday
thanks to Rumble Johnson.
Anyway, UFC Fight Night 82 was supposed to be a PPV (UFC 196) but injuries have changed the card more times than we can count. What’s left is a Fox Sports 1 event with massive favorites and from a DFS perspective, very limited value plays. This intro has already lasted longer than the Johnson/Bader main event so let’s just get down to business.
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Vegas Favorites ($10,500+)
Misha Cirkunov ($11,000)
The biggest favorite (almost -875 at time of writing!) and most expensive fighter available is a must-play. It’s simple really, Cirkunov consistently hits the jackpot for DFS players, first-round finishes. In his last five fights, the Lativan has stopped all of his opponents inside of five minutes. Better yet, he’s fighting Alex Nicholson, a kid making his UFC debut with no experience fighting anywhere other than Florida or Georgia. I can smell a first round TKO, the only downside is Cirkunov will probably be the highest owned fighter in any format. Play him or you will probably be starting in a hole.
Ovince St. Preux ($10,700)
I love watching “OSP” fight and just like Cirkunov he has a habit of finishing people. The Knoxville MMA product is 5-2 in his last seven fights with, you guessed it, all of those wins coming via stoppage. Those two losses were to Glover Texiera and the still groggy Ryan Bader, who in all seriousness are two of the top guys in the LHW division. St. Preux steps into the cage with Rafael Cavalcante, 1-3 in his last four fights and a guy whose ranking of #13 at Light Heavyweight is as rational as an Ozzy Osbourne sentence.
Caution: I’m staying away from Joseph Benavidez. Yes, his only two losses are against the (IMO) best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet in Demetrious Johnson. But, it’s a flyweight fight and Benavidez fits the stereotype of the division – fast action, no finishes. He should win, but I don’t like the fantasy value for his $10,800 salary.
Mid-Range Targets ($9,000-$10,400)
Derrick Lewis ($9,700)
This is where things get dicey. “The Black Beast” is raw horsepower and should turn in an entertaining fight. Lewis is a monster, plain and simple, and he’s going to try and run through Damian Grabowski. We’ve seen it so many times; regardless of age, your UFC debut can mess with your head. Grabovski is a veteran with 20 wins but this is his first UFC fight. Any kind of adrenaline dump or slow start and “The Polish Pitbull” will end up as a chew toy.
Artem Lobov ($9,800)
I guess. Seriously, that’s the most excited I can get about this pick. He massively underperformed last time out in the TUF finale. But Lobov has power and a fighting style you just can’t prepare for. “The Russian Hammer” is likely in a win or you’re fired scenario so he should come out with some type of urgency. He takes on Alex White, loser of back-to-back fights and someone who looks like he might be out of his league against UFC caliber opponents. I like Lobov and he has plenty of upside, but this pick is so bland I can’t even think of a snappy way to end this write-up.
Upset Alert (Under $9,000)
Jared Rosholt ($9,200)
Stop following your heart. Stop it right now, because I’m going to break it. Roy Nelson is done. I know we all love “Big Country” jumping onto the cage and rubbing his belly after a win, but that hasn’t happened lately. He’s 1-5 in his last six fights and Rosholt has won three straight, including a decision over the literal “Skyscraper” Stefan Struve. Nelson has bricks in his gloves and could end the fight with one punch. But as long as I haven’t been punched in the head, I can’t pass up a $9,200 price tag for a guy on a three-fight win streak against a slumping fighter.
Stephen Thompson ($9,000)
This isn’t a desperation pick, but it’s close. You have to find salary to fit the big favorites and “Wonderboy” is riding a five fight win streak. Thanks to the shuffling on this card, Thompson finds himself in the main event with a real shot to make a name for himself. He takes on Johny Hendricks and while “Bigg Rigg” packs plenty of power, the former champ has been to the judges score card in seven straight fights. You have to take underdogs somewhere, so I’m going with the young gun to at score some fantasy points and possibly pull the upset.
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- UFC_74_Respect_Bout: By Lee Brimelow (cropped from DSC_0029) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons