The UFC heads to Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. for UFC on FOX 22. The old saying is that sometimes you get what you pay for, and Saturday’s card isn’t terribly overwhelming for an interest perspective just looking at it on paper. While there are a handful of uninteresting stinkers on the card, there are a few bouts that should not be overlooked.
Phenom Sage Northcutt and Mickey Gall will do battle, and they have just one loss between the two of them. And Urijah Faber is back in the octagon against Brad Pickett. ‘The California Kid’ is always worth watching, win or lose, and this bout has a ton of experience between the two fighters. Faber and Pickett have 80 total fights under their combined belts. And of course the women’s strawweight match between Michelle Waterson and Paige VanZant will be a bout worth watching. And, of course, the reason you are here is for DFS advice, and while some people will not even watch the card, they will play DFS trying to win that available money.
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On a personal note, this is my penultimate MMA column with DailyRoto.com, with UFC 207 as my final column in two weeks. I want to take a moment to thank everyone for their readership and following over the years, and you’re in tremendous hands going forward with the great and analytical minds at DailyRoto.com for DFS purposes, as well as the great Fantasy advice on RotoExperts.com and the FNTSY Sports Network.
Colby Covington ($8,900 vs. Bryan Barberena): Covington rolls into Sacramento with a 10-1 overall record, and a pair of victories since a submission setback at UFC 194 against Warlley Alves. Barberena is coming off a win against Alves, as well as a choke out of Sage Northcutt. He makes the jump to 170 pounds, and enters this fight as a huge underdog against the veteran Covington. He will be looking to take down ‘Bam Bam’ early and often, and Covington should be able to do just that. Barberena isn’t great on the mat, while Covington has recorded four victories via submission. Barberena is going to want to remain upright to have a chance, but Covington will not allow that to happen.
Urijah Faber ($9,600 vs. Brad Pickett): Faber is back in the octagon, and the classy and experienced fan favorite is a heavy favorite against the equally experienced Pickett. Faber is home in California and expected to retire barring a change of heart. He will go out with his arm raised, as Pickett has dropped four of his past five matches and is just hanging on at this point. Pickett is susceptible to the triangle choke, and he hasn’t been doing much to wow the judges should it go to a decision.
Sultan Aliev ($7,600 vs. Bojan Velickovic): Aliev is powerful and he is an outstanding wrestler, too, and that will see him through over the Serbian Velickovic. The only reason he is an underdog in this bout is because he has been absent since Jan. 24, 2015 since dealing with a wrist injury which bumped him out of UFC 202. Aliev has had difficulty in the past on defense, so that is the one concern about taking him. However, he is your best bet for a win out of your No. 6 DFS spot due to his strength, footwork and ability on the mat.
Alan Jouban ($7,700 vs. Mike Perry): Jouban-Perry is a coin flip bout, and it might be the hardest hitting fight on the card, too. Perry and Jouban will exchange fire early and often, and the fighter with the best stamina will have his arm raised. If anything, Jouban has proven in the past he can take a pounding and will not go down without a serious fight. Jouban also has a varied arsenal of strikes, tenderinzing his opponents before going in for the clinch. If he is able to work over Perry early with kicks, knees and elbows, tiring the powerful fighter, Jouban is going to win this fight. If this fight remains upright with Perry blasting him with heavy punches, that’s not good news.
James Moontasri ($7,800 vs. Alex Morono): Moontasri has split a pair of bouts at the 170-pound range, and looks for more consistency against Morono. ‘Moonwalker’ is outstanding on his feet, going toe-to-toe, and he has been impressive on the mat when it comes to that, winning twice by rear-naked choke since Jan. 2014. Morono won by split decision at UFC 195 over Kyle Noke, and looks to continue his winning ways. However, Moontasri is a multi-faceted fighter than Morono has yet to experience, and ‘Moonwalker’ will end Morono’s night before it goes to a decision.
Paige VanZant ($8,300 vs. Michelle Waterson): The ‘Karate Hottie’ is back in what is expected to be toss-up fight against Waterson. If PVZ fights like she did in August, dropping Bec Rawlings with a jumping switch kick at UFC Fight Night Aug. 27. It was an impressive rebound after being choked out by Rose Namajunas last December. Waterson (hand) is making her way back from an injury, and the difference in this bout should be rust. VanZant is a perfect 7-0 in her career against fighters outside of the Top 10 strawweight rankings, and Watson checks in 11th. She lands 3.5 significant strikes per minute to just 2.5 allowed.