UFC on ESPN+ 2: Assuncao vs Moraes 2
Saturday, February 2nd, 2019 5:00 pm EST
Breaking down this UFC card wasn’t very difficult but some pricing issues have presented themselves. The pricing structure in relation to DraftKings scoring and the odds value have made this card tricky. Consider this:
- The four highest priced fighters are in fights that may not finish: Bibulatov $9.4K, Walker $9.2K, Souza $9.1K, and Griffin $9K.
- Significant odds value has already presented itself: Ramos, Teymur, Colares
- More odds value is forming: Albini, Borella
- Neither the main event nor the co-main event is favored to finish.
This presents some very unique situations in both cash and GPPs. I have played dozens of cards over the years and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a card similar to this collection of 13 fights. I expect the midrange to be very popular this week and the guys with odds value will also be popular as always.
The Main Event: Raphael Assuncao $7.4K vs Marlon Moraes $8.8K
This is a rematch and Assuncao took the first fight via decision. It was a three-round fight and for DraftKings purposes, it was a very low scoring decision. This was Moraes’ first UFC fight when he took on Assuncao the first time and it was a low volume striking match. If this fight plays out to a similar pace over five rounds, it still may not be worth stacking in cash. I am more comfortable with Assuncao in cash at his price. Assuncao is playable in all GPP formats strictly because of his price. Moraes is a very tough play if the pace remains the same as the first fight. He is more likely to get the finish if that happens, but this fight is favored to go to a decision, so it is not the likely outcome. I advise only playing Moraes in multi-entry GPPs.
The Co-Main Event: Renato Moicano $8.3K vs Jose Aldo $7.9K
This fight is huge for Moicano’s immediate title chances. I fully expect him to get a chance to fight for the title with a win here versus Jose Aldo. I favor Moicano in this fight and he is playable in all formats. This is one of those mid-level fights I alluded to earlier and whoever gets these fights right stands to cash a lot of lineups. Moicano has really outstruck every opponent he has faced. Aldo is his toughest task to date. I expect Aldo to come out strong early in this fight and fade. Aldo does not want to be the main event at this point in his career so he doesn’t have to fight for five rounds; instead, he prefers three-round fights. I like Moicano to win Round 3 here as long as he doesn’t take much damage. That puts all the pressure on Aldo to win the first and second round. I think Moicano will feel out Aldo in Round 1 and that round could go to Aldo. I expect to see Moicano out volume Aldo in Round 2 and really pressure him with his well rounded striking. Moicano will have the height and reach advantage versus Aldo so he must earn a decision win with volume and pace in Rounds 2 and 3. Aldo is a GPP play for me. I am firmly on Moicano to win this fight. This fight is favored to go to decision.
GPP Fight: Demian Maia $8.7K vs Lyman Good $7.5K
This fight has the second highest finish prop on the card. This is likely either Maia via submission or Good via KO/TKO. Demian Maia only needs one takedown to finish this fight because his BJJ work on the ground is that good. If Maia can secure a takedown with over a minute to go, I would be surprised if Lyman Good can defend long enough to outlast Maia. Lyman Good has a chance at a knockout because he has power in his hands but he needs to get in the pocket to exchange leather with Maia and that will allow Maia to get his hands on Lyman Good; very dangerous! I recommend playing this fight 70-20 in favor of Maia in GPPs.
GPP Fight: Junior Albini $8.1K vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik $8.1K
There are three possible outcomes for this fight. Scenario No. 1, Rozenstruik has big power with a speed advantage and can catch Albini for an early KO/TKO which will score very well on DraftKings. Scenario No. 2, since Albini knows Rozenstruik has big power in his hands, Albini clinches him up early and secures a takedown and uses top control to zap his energy level and eliminating/limiting that risk. With good top control, Albini can score a finish at any time or grind out a decision win and that should pay off his price tag. Scenario No. 3, these guys both blow their gas tanks early and they just try not to get knocked out for most of Rounds 2 and 3. What I’m trying to say here is Junior Albini has been disappointing in his last 2 fights and I can’t trust him to execute that gameplan. This is also Rozenstruik’s UFC debut in Brazil and he has very little MMA experience. His gas tank and get up ability are questionable. Rozenstruik did weigh in lighter than normal, which may help with his conditioning. I wouldn’t play this in cash because of the volatility but either guy is a GPP option.
Sneaky GPP Fight: Livia Renata Souza $9.1K vs Sarah Frota $7.1K
This fight should be lined closer in my opinion and Sarah Frota weighed in seven pounds over the 115-pound limit. Souza is a small 115-pounder, so Frota coming in at 123 pounds is a problem to Souza, whose game is to use her wrestling and BJJ. If the weight difference limits Souza’s effectiveness on the ground, this could be a pick’em. I liked Frota before she botched her weight cut and now I’m up in the air because I don’t know the particulars. The fight will go on and I tend to like Frota even more at this point. She has power in her hands and her straight left is a missile that can do damage. I also expect this fight to be fast paced so Frota obviously stopped her weight cut to be ready for this pace. Souza is GPP only, I like Frota in all formats at that price.
Sneaky GPP Fight: Anthony Hernandez $8.9K vs Markus Perez $7.3K
Odds value is moving in favor of Markus Perez. Anthony Hernandez should be the favorite here for his ability to win a decision or finish on the feet. Perez is dangerous because he has a good BJJ ground game and uses high risk/high reward strikes that can get him a finish or land him in a tough spot. I think Hernandez wins a decision here. When I watch Markus Perez I can’t get over the fact he looks like he’s more interested in entertaining the audience than he is interested in winning the fight. If Perez wins this fight it will be via finish, so he is live for GPP consideration. I would only play Hernandez in GPPs.
Sneaky GPP Fight: Magomed Bibulatov $9.4K vs Rogerio Bontorin $6.8K
Bibulatov entered the UFC with a lot of hype and has disappointed so far. The fact he missed the 125-pound limit by a pound tells me he tried to make weight up to the last second and most likely drained himself and still missed. He is coming off a 15-month layoff after a knockout loss at the hands of John Moraga and I expected his preparation to be on point. He has a heavy kicking attack and closes the distance to clinch up and secure takedowns, but he did not have a good takedown average versus Jenel Lausa, who is mediocre at best. Rogerio Bontorin is dropping to 125 pounds for this fight, so he could be the bigger fighter when they rehydrate. Bontorin has a bunch of finishes to his credit and most are via submission. Bontorin is a great GPP punt who can get that submission finish. If this goes to decision, I expect Bibulatov to win because of his pace, but I am not a huge fan of that $9.4K price. GPP options here.
Top Tier Leans ($9.4K-$8.6K):.
- Johnny Walker $9.2K – I have a strong lean toward Johnny Walker in this fight. I was all over Justin Ledet in his last fight versus Rakic and he was very ineffective. Ledet had three wins at HW before dropping down to LHW and I don’t think his skill translates well to this division. Ledet was able to use his educated jab at HW to keep his lower level opponents at a distance because the HW fighters he fought don’t move their heads much. Ledet wasn’t able to land much of anything versus Rakic. He also got outmuscled by Rakic, which was alarming to me. Ledet has a BJJ background but couldn’t mount much of an attack off his back versus Rakic and couldn’t get up from the bottom. Ledet started Round 2 and 3 throwing a left/right two-punch combo after losing Round 1, and I’m just not sure he has anything else to go to at this point. Walker on the other hand showed power in the clinch with an impressive first-round KO/TKO via elbows. I think Walker has more tools to win the fight and to potentially finish. He is live in GPPs and cash.
- Max Griffin $9K – Griffin takes on Thiago Alves in what I think is a really bad stylistic matchup for Alves. In previous fights, we have seen Alves struggle with length and that is the challenge that Griffin presents. Griffin will have a 3 inch height advantage and a six-inch reach advantage. Alves has some great leg kicks, but I expect to see a counter overhand right from Griffin every time Alves plants to execute a low leg kick. Griffin can fight behind his jab and pick his spots to unleash his right hand. This fight is favored to go to a decision so it may not pay off the price tag.
Mid Tier Leans ($8.5K-$7.8K): This is a great midtier week. This can be our bread and butter to cash this week. There is also a lot of odds value in these midtier fights so you’ll know who the field will be on.
- Charles Oliveira $8.5K vs David Teymur $7.7K -Oliveira pays off his price if he can get Teymur to the ground and submit him. That outcome may happen, but I can’t help but remember when Teymur fought Drakkar Klose and got on his bike so Klose couldn’t put his hands on him. Klose was yelling at Teymur to engage and the referee also told the fighters to engage at one point. I can see Teymur using that game plan to outstrike Oliveira in a low volume decision win. Teymur has odds value at this point and may even go off as the favorite if this line keeps moving. Even at $7.7K, Teymur probably doesn’t pay off his price in a three-round decision win. Oliveira is a GPP option. Teymur will be highly owned by odds value players and highly owned in cash.
- Felipe Colares $7.8K – I think this fight goes to decision and I favor the guy who normally fights at this weight class. Colares also has the gameplan to use that size advantage if in fact there is an advantage. There is not much tape on these guys but de Freitas and Colares both fight in two of Brazil’s higher level MMA promotions. If Colares can string together his clinch game into takedowns, he can win and pay off his score.
- Ricardo Ramos $8K – Ramos struggled with Kang in his last fight and got taken down a few times. Said Nurmagomedov struggled with Scoggins on the feet in his last fight at 125 pounds. Stylistically Ramos should have the advantage on the feet and Said should be able to secure a few takedowns. A deeper look leads me to believe Ramos is very dangerous on the ground with his elbows from bottom and BJJ work that he may be able to finish Said if he makes a mistake and chases the takedown. I also think Ramos will have a size advantage in this fight. I like Ramos in all formats and there is significant odds value on Ramos. Said is only a GPP option if he can secure the takedowns and possibly win via decision.
Bottom Tier Leans ($7.7K-$6.8K):
- Mara Romero Borella $7.6K – I have stated earlier that I was surprised at some of the lines on this card. I am most surprised by this line. I fully expected Borella to be the favorite in this fight. Borella is very strong and has two UFC fights under her belt. Borella should be able to use that strength advantage to muscle Santos down to the mat and work her ground attack. Santos is the better striker with a solid Muay Thai background so Borella is going to want to put Santos on her back early and grind her. I like Borella in all formats here. Santos can win a decision if this fight stays standing.