Okay gonna put out my view on tomorrows card (Aussie time) from a fantasy perspective and see how you guys think its gonna play out. If you havent checked out kountermove its a fantasy mma site where you get points based on performance rather than just the final result (points for strikes, takedowns etc.) and means you want to take fighters who are gonna throw everything at their opponent to get the finish. You get $25000 to draft 5 fighters that are priced according to how they are predicted to score, ranging from about $4000 for a heavy underdog to $6000 for a fighter who tipped to come across little resistance.
To kick things off I'll go through the fighters who have the best chance to bring home the highly sought after triple digit win!
THE ESSENTIALS -
1. Renan Barao $5700 -
Its always good to have a main event fighter in your team due to the decreased risk of a low scoring decision since a 5 round fight will give more time to score if an early finish doesnt occur. In my mind Renan Barao possesses the more complete stand up game with his array of slick knees and kicks while Mcdonald will favour his hands to get the job done. Mcdonalds power will be a threat early but i expect Renan to land more in the exchanges and rack up points that way although i dont expect him to put Mcdonald away on the feet, Renans oppurtunity for a finish will come from his superior jiu jitsu which I think will play a part in the later rounds as he may have an easier time bringing the fight to the floor since there is a question mark on Mcdonalds cardio as this is his first 5 rounder. Overall I think this a high percentage fight for Barao to take a dominant decision or a late submission and he showed he can rack up points if it goes the distance with his 82.5 in his title win over Faber. Be sure to make room in your salary cap to accomodate his high price.
2. James Te-Huna $4700
Te-Huna is fighting Ryan Jimmo on the main card and I think he is excellent value due to his propensity for a big finish. Jimmo is coming off a 7 second knockout over Anthony Perosh and while it was an impressive achievement Im hesitant to get on the Jimmo bandwagon due to Perosh likely being the least skilled striker in the division. Te-Huna on the other hand is an animal in the stand up department with vicious power, something you definately need in your team. I expect Te- Huna to have a strength advantage and be able to keep this fight on the feet early and that'll be enough for him to find an oppurtunity land the clean shot that would put down 95% of the division.
3. Che Mills $4500 -
Bit surprised at Mills being priced as low as he is as he takes on Matt Riddle. I don't recall tipping Riddell in any of his fights now that I think about it and today is going to be no different. Mills is a bad match up stylistically for Riddell who is known to often getting into (very) scrappy brawls with his opponent and shouldnt bring anything too surprising to this fight that Mills won't be able to handle. Mills possesses a quality stand up game with which he will be able to land often on Riddells chin as I think he will happily oblige to being apart of a stand up battle. Mills has the power to put Riddell away early and is excellent value at $4500 that will free up some space for the bigger names on the card.
THE VALUE BET-
Danny Castillo $4300 -
Can't imagine why he is priced so low in a match up where he has a stylistic advantage over expert submission artist Paul Sass. Castillo has a strong wrestling base which if he fights smart will allow him to keep this fight standing and he can show his superior stand up skills. Castillo is coming off a KO loss to Michael Johnson but in the opening round Castillo was able to handle himself well against the elite striking of Johnson and even land a big shot that badly hurt him. Sass is not on the level of Johnson in the stand up so if he isnt able to bring the fight down early then it will be a short night for the "Sassangle".
THE FILLER -
Other potential big players who have a decent shot at the century.
1. Terry Etim $5600 -
If you have room in your salary cap Etim can be a handy addition with his excellent submission skills and high finishing rate. After the brutal KO loss to Edson Barboza it will be interesting to see how he comes back from the 13 month lay off which sees him coming up against Renee Forte who is coming off a submission loss in his octagon debut to Sergio Moraes. This is a step down in competition for Etim who actually handled himself very well for 2 and a half rounds against Barboza before succumbing to the wheel kick heard around the world and while they are both well rounded fighters Etim seems to have the edge in both striking and grappling which he will use to his advantage to score a submission win.
2. Jimi Manuwa $5000 -
Manuwa is a hot prospect in the UFC who is coming a doctor stoppage win over Kyle Kingsbury but is now taking on a much better striker in Cyrille Diabate. This is a hard match up to call as Diabate has only been TKO'd once in his career and even that was via foot stomps so it will be difficult for Manuwa for finish the fight there. He has finished all 12 of his fight with 11 wins by knockout and 1 via sub and I believe at the end of the day he should be able to find a win on the ground if the stand up doesnt go his way, as grappling has long been a chink in Diabates armor that could very well be expolited despite a question mark Manuwa's TDD that Kingsbury briefly put the spotlight on. Overall a Manuwa win will likely lead to big points but you just never know how a Cyrille Diabate fight will play out.
3. Josh Grispi $4600 -
Josh Grispi has been the bane of my betting life since he came to the UFC but you know what im gonna put my faith in him one last time! He strung together a few impressive wins in his time in the WEC and I think that there is still some of that hunger in him to get him over the line against Andy Ogle. The only reason I would consider putting Grispi in my team at this stage is because of his opponent. There isnt any particular holes in his game he just seems to have slightly below average skills in all areas at this stage of his career. I know Grispi still has the ability to put a low level fighter away so if you have little money left for your last pick then Grispi might be worth it.