UFC 192 MMA DFS picks
It’s time for UFC 192 from Houston, Texas, and some breaking news as Johny Hendricks was rushed to the emergency room Friday due to weight-cutting issues and his co-headliner bout with Tyron Woodley is now off. Hendricks said in an interview recently that he has had weight-cutting issues for the length of his career, and he also made news when he parted ways with his nutritionist earlier in the year. Hopefully Hendricks, one of the brightest stars of the middleweight division, gets well and is able to resume his career with only a brief delay.
The loss of the Hendricks-Woodley fight should not tamp down expectations for an exciting card, however, as there are still 12 bouts set to go off Saturday night in H-Town. We have a much-anticipated debut, as lightweight Sage Northcutt looks to successfully burst onto the scene against Francisco Trevino. The flyweight battle between Chris Cariaso and Sergio Pettis should be a war, and the welterweight bout featuring Alan Jouban and Albert Tumenov should be a good one. The women’s bantamweight battle between Jessica Eye and Julianna Pena will be a must-see also, and the light heavyweight scrap pitting Ryan Bader and Rashad Evans should be a good one. It all culminates with Alexander Gustafsson looking to get on track against the tough Daniel Cormier in what is now the standalone main event. If that’s not enough action for you, then you really just do not care for MMA.
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Joseph Benavidez ($5,400 vs. Ali Bagautinov): Benavidez was hoping for a bout against Henry Cejudo in this spot, and comes in rather ornery having to bide his time in what is viewed as a lesser opponent. As long as Benavidez doesn’t come out cocky and overlook Bagautinov, this one could be a quick bout. Bagautinov might be a little rusty after a one-year suspension for a banned performance enhancer. Benavidez worked out Tim Elliott at UFC 172 after losing to Demetrious Johnson in a title fight Dec. 14, 2013, and he has unanimous decision wins over Dustin Ortiz and John Moraga since. He is champing at the bit trying to get to a third title bout Mighty Mouse, but he must take care of the business at hand. He will do just that Saturday night in Houston, perhaps as early as Round 2.
Daniel Cormier ($5,600 vs. Alexander Gustafsson): Cormier heads into this bout against Gustafsson, who is looking to atone after a crushing loss on home soil at UFC on FOX Jan. 24, 2015 to Anthony Johnson in Sweden. He has lost two of his past three bouts, although setbacks against Johnson and Jon Jones aren’t exactly anything to be embarrassed about. A loss to Cormier isn’t embarrassing, either, and that’s exactly what is coming for the Swede. In 17 professional bouts, the only setback for Cormier is a unanimous decision loss to Jon Jones for the belt at UFC 182. He claimed the belt at UFC 187 from Anthony Johnson May 23, 2015, and puts it on the line against Gustafsson Saturday. This one will be very anti-climactic on the heels of the Hendricks-Woodley bout, which would have been a brawl. The Cormier-Gustafsson fight is a mismatch, and if it lasts longer than two rounds it would be shocking.
PLENTY OF UPSIDE
Albert Tumenov ($4,800 vs. Alan Jouban): Tumenov (-260) is a heavy favorite according to Vegas, yet you can sneak him into your DFS lineup at a cut-rate price. Take advantage of that. ‘Einstein’ is a hammer who has a three-bout winning streak, with two coming by KO/TKO in the first round. The southpaw Jouban comes in with wins over Matt Dwyer and Richard Walsh since his last setback Nov. 8, 2014, but the welterweight is in a bad spot against the much younger Tumenov. He has won 11 of his past 12 bouts, with nine of them coming via KO/TKO. The young Russian has been flapping his gums about how he will dominate this fight, and he just might do that. He is younger and quicker than Jouban.
Sage Northcutt ($4,700 vs. Francisco Trevino): Northcutt will make his UFC debut after being signed following his win at Legacy FC 44. Northcutt is just 19 years old, so you can obviously expect him to be a little raw. Vegas has obviously bought into the hype of the teen, installing Northcutt as the heaviest favorite on the board (-475) as of Friday afternoon. Northcutt has barely broken a sweat in his early career, winning four bouts in the first round, and once going to the second before ending it on a rear-naked choke against Rocky Long at Legacy FC 44. Trevino represents a big step up in competition, but Long was a solid veteran and Northcutt took care of him with ease. Look for Northcutt to successfully debut with a submission win in this one.
Yair Rodriguez ($4,500 vs. Daniel Hooker): The featherweight Rodriguez doesn’t have a ton of experience, but he is 2-for-2 in his UFC career, and ‘El Pantera’ looks to get back to his knockout ways which had him on the fast track earlier in this career. Hooker is from New Zealand, and is no pushover. He has 12 wins to his name, and 11 have happened before going to the judges. If Rodriguez is to be victorious, he needs to remain upright and avoid being on the mat or up against the fence. If that occurs, this thing could go south in a hurry. Going toe-to-toe, Rodriguez is the more superior fighter. In a ground game it is a coin flip. Still, at this price level, you’re getting a tremendous fighter.