The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale
For this fight week, I am doing things a little different than the normal article since there is a fight night on Friday and another on Saturday. Steve and I focused our attention of the podcast all on Saturday’s fight card, so in this article, I will be giving a brief breakdown of each fight on the Friday night card and giving my advice for how to attack each fight from a DraftKings perspective.
This card, in particular, is one that I do not think will have many stoppages, so it is going to be very important to nail down some key value plays and not to pay up for fighters that won’t get those stoppages or at least a route to scoring a good amount.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Kamaru Usman
As long as Usman doesn’t try to test himself on the feet with Dos Anjos this should be a pretty straightforward fight. Usman will look to dominate in the clinch and use his far superior wrestling game to bring this fight to his world and grind out a decision. In a five-round fight with Usman having such an aggressive wrestling game, he has a nice upside. I am going to have a lot of exposure to Usman and he will likely be my most owned fighter on the slate. He will also likely be the most owned fighter in GPP and cash games across the board.
Justin Frazier vs. Juan Francisco Dieppa
Unlike the women’s finale, this is a terrible fight between two fighters who likely will not end up even being gatekeepers in the UFC. Dieppa is a grappler and Frazier is a wrestler, so this will likely end up being contested on the ground where I trust Dieppa slightly more. I will have some exposure to both sides because heavyweight fights have the tendency to end more by stoppage than other weights but I am not confident on either side.
Pannie Kianzad vs. Macy Chiasson
This fight is very interesting and one I am excited for as a fan. Chiasson is a beast standing so if the fight stays there she will be a big problem and will likely walk away as the TUF Women’s Featherweight winner. Kianzad has a big advantage in the grappling aspect of this fight but she has been unwilling to use her wrestling in her past few fights. This fight is essentially a toss up but for fantasy purposes, it likely will not be high scoring so I am going to be fading it and just enjoying the show.
Pedro Munhoz vs. Bryan Caraway
Munoz is the better fighter on the ground by far and is the faster and more efficient striker. I feel confident that he will win but it will likely be a decision victory. I am finding myself have some exposure to him put most of them are on lineups that I am not rolling the expensive fighters on. Munhoz is a safe play but be aware of lineup construction when using him because his $8,800 price tag is limiting.
Darren Stewart vs. Edmen Shahbazyan
This is another fight where I don’t understand the matchmaking. Edmen has looked good in his short MMA career, but he has only faced one fighter with a winning record and now he is matched up with a solid veteran that has the tools to give and an inexperienced fighter a ton of problems. Because of Edmen’s price tag and my lack of confidence in him outside of a big punch landing, I can’t find myself paying his $8,300 price tag when there are a lot of other fighters at higher prices that I would key in over him and use the other spots for value plays. That being said, I will have modest ownership of Stewart just because I think this is a spot where he can pick up the 30 point win bonus as an underdog and possibly get a stoppage.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Alex Perez-
I have been trying all week to talk myself off of Perez because I live right down the street from Team Alpha Male and always like to root for the local CA guys, but Perez looks to be in a prime spot to continue the break out that he started versus shorty Torres at UFC 227. I will be having a good amount of Perez in GPPs for his price value and upside, I am having a hard time getting Benavidez in my lineups because even if he wins it will be low scoring for him.
Rick Glenn vs. Kevin Aguilar
Aguilar didn’t really live up to the hype in his contender’s series fight but make no mistake he is a really good fighter. Glenn missed weight at today’s weigh-ins but I do not expect that to deter his ownership as I expect Glenn to be one of the most owned fighters on the slate because of his near even odds and lofty $7,800 price tag. I do not think Aguilar has much of a problem winning by decision here but he likely won’t get the stoppage so I won’t be paying his $8,400 salary. That being said I will be fading the chalky Glenn but if you are playing cash, I wouldn’t blame you for playing the odds and differentiating in another spot.
Tim Means vs. Ricky Rainey
I really do not understand why the UFC made this fight but this seems like a smash spot for Means to pick up an easy win and a stoppage victory. I look for Means to hurt Rainey on the feet and either knock him down or take him down and finish the fight via Ground and Pound in the 1st. Means is my Favorite play of the $9,000+ fighters.
Ji Yeon Kim vs. Antonina Shevchenko
When Steve and I briefly discussed this fight on the podcast, I thought Schevchenko was facing another with a similar name and I am glad we had that discussion because I research into Kim after the show and she is a good striker that will be able to make this a fight. Both fighters are very high volume and seem to have a very technical brawling style. In cash games, I do not hate the idea of stacking this fight and even though I think Shevchenko wins the fight I will have a lot more exposure to Kim because of her $6,900 price tag and scoring ability.
Michel Batista vs Maurice Green
This fight is as straightforward in game plans as can be for two fighters. Green wants to use his 6-foot-7 frame to stay standing and turn this into a kickboxing match whereas Batista wants to use his Olympic wrestling background to get this fight straight to the ground. Because of Green’s size and a huge advantage on the feet, I expect Green to be a popular play on Friday night, however, do not rule out Batista as being a viable GPP play at his $7,500 price tag. I expect Batista to waste no time getting this fight to the ground and dragging Green into his world. Batista should be able to get a few takedowns in this fight with a possible ground and pound stoppage, to top it off he should be relatively low owned.
Roosevelt Roberts vs. Darrell Horcher
Roosevelt Roberts is a prospect that I am excited to see make his debut, in his Contender’s Series fight he looked talented in all aspects of the fight and had some really nice little intricacies that make him a good up-and-coming prospect in the 155-pound division. Roberts is 6-foot-2 and uses his long frame to his advantage, he had some nice trips from the clinch position and once he was on the ground he used fake attempts at submissions to get better angles on his ground and pound. Horcher is in for a rough fight here and I expect a stoppage victory for Roberts making him a good fighter to target at his $9,200 price tag.
Julija Stoliarenko vs. Leah Letson
I am not a fan of either fighter in this spot. Letson should be able to use her brawling style striking to make this fight fun to watch but her $8,900 price tag is unappealing. Stoliarenko, on the other hand, will likely be looking to get this fight to the ground, she is outclassed in the fight but it is a possibility that she could lock in a submission against the semi-reckless Letson. At a $7,300 price tag, I do not mind a little exposure to her in multi-entry GPP even though I think Letson wins a decision.
Raoni Barcelos vs. Chris Gutierrez-
Barcelos comes into this fight as one the highest priced fighter on the card and for good reason. He is a dynamic fighter that is talented on the ground and doesn’t mind striking exchanges. Barcelos has many avenues to score well and is dropping in weight so he will have the power edge too. I am not a fan of his price tag because it limits your ability to get in some good underdogs but he is relatively safe in this spot. If Gutierrez can keep this fight standing he will try to keep range to work his kicking game and limit volume, personally, I would look other places for a punt play.