UFC 194 MMA DFS Picks
The third and final day of the UFC’s three-day fighting event in Las Vegas is the most anticipated card. We’ll finally get the matchup between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor, with a co-main event of Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman. How’s that for an early holiday gift?
The card presents a lot of challenges for setting a DFS lineup, because both of the fighters on the main card are evenly matched and have high salaries, and a lot of preliminaries and other bouts feature potential blowouts. You’ll have to pick and choose your spots to play safe and take chances, but with our help below you should be able to negotiate big-salary pitfalls and find savings to help secure those high-priced safe plays.
I actually play to avoid both main events for DFS purposes. I am not confident in McGregor’s ability to knock out Aldo. One, that fight could go either way, and two, it could go to the judges. The longer the bout, the fewer the Fantasy points available. The same holds true for Rockhold-Weidman. While I think the underdog Rockhold has a more-than-good chance to win this bout, it might go the entire length.
The quick knockout is a good possibility for Max Holloway ($5,500), Kevin Lee ($5,300) and Magomed Mustafaev ($5,400), but you’ll have to be really creative with your lineup and sacrifice in other areas to squeeze them in. The folks at Kountermove have made UFC 194 a very challenging DFS event, and that’s a good thing. Easy is never fun.
As far as DraftKings is concerned, you’ll notice a couple of slight values as opposed to the Kountermove salary structure, but then again there are a couple of others with much higher price tags per Fantasy point. Tecia Torres ($10,700 – DK) is actually a much better value at DraftKings due to his knockout ability, especially as opposed to the other higher-priced male fighters on the board.
Play in Win a $500 Ticket to $25K Lawler vs. Condit Finale at Kountermove.com — If you’re feeling confident, for $25 you have a chance at $7,000 prize money. Build that bankroll up and start off 2016 right!
(Kountermove.com salaries in parentheses) (all times ET).
Magomed Mustafaev ($5,400 vs. Joe Proctor): Mustafaev enters this bout as a heavy favorite (-330), and for good reason. He has won nine straight bouts dating back to April 8, 2012, and each of his past two outings have been TKO’s with a doctor’s stoppage. He took care of Piotr Hallman in Round 2 at UFC Fight Night June 20 in his UFC debut. He is the more powerful fighter in this bout, and he has the speed advantage, too. Proctor is a good all-around fighter, but you just never know what you’re going to get from him. Sometimes he looks so good, and other times he is overpowered and way out of his league. That might be the case Saturday against the powerful Russian who could end the bout in Round 1 without breaking a sweat.
Court McGee ($5,100 vs. Marcio Alexandre Jr.): McGee, a.k.a. ‘The Crusher’, returns to the octagon for the first time since Dec. 14, 2013 after an absence of nearly two full years due to due a rash of injuries hampering the TUF Season 11 winner. He has plenty to prove, and he is finally fresh. He meets Alexandre, who comes in on a two-bout slide after being submitted by Warlley Alves at UFC TUF 3 Brazil, and then losing a split-decision bout with Tim Means at UFC Fight Night 58. Both of those events were in Brazil, now Alexandre will not have the home crowd with him. Look for McGee to make a triumphant return to the octagon, sloppy early, but stopping the unimpressive Alexandre late as long as McGee paces himself and doesn’t try to do too much early.
PLENTY OF UPSIDE
Warlley Alves ($4,800 vs. Colby Covington): This match is a toss-up, really, but you’ll need some mid-tier fighters if you’re going to afford the higher-end guys. As mentioned above, Alves has a submission win over Marcio Alexandre Jr., another fighter on this card. Now, he looks to add Covington to the mix. He has never tasted defeat, winning each of his nine career bouts, including an impressive Round 2 guillotine choke of Nordine Taleb last time out. However, he’ll do his best work going toe-to-toe with Covington, trying to tire him out in a boxing match before getting him to the ground. If Covington can get Alves against the fence and/or down to the mat early in the first round, that won’t bode well for Alves.
Jacare Souza ($5,000 vs. Yoel Romero): I like Jacare at both sites. While this bout features to be bloody, with each fighter taking a lot of damage, Jacare is a much better grappler and he is a power puncher as well. Souza also has much more stamina, so if he works Romero over with those tough blows early, it should pay dividends in the third round when he is working to submit the Cuban fighter. Unless Romero catches Jacare with one of his patented devastating punches, Jacare is the better all-around fighter, especially on the mat.
Gunnar Nelson ($4,700 vs. Demian Maya): Like the Alves pick above, you’ll have to take a bit of a leap of faith with Nelson, a slight underdog (+105). Maya is a decent boxer with subpar power, and as such Nelson won’t be overpowered and taken to the ground. And Nelson is an above-average kicker who will work the body and use his counterpunches to tire Maya when on their feet. This one might not be a very eventful bout, eventually going to the judges for their decision. Take Nelson for the win by split decision, which is about all you can ask for from your fifth fighter.