UFC 190 takes place in Brazil. It features Ronda Rousey defending her women’s bantamweight title and the finals from the Ultimate Fighter Brazil 4. I don’t love this card in terms of competitive fights but it still offers some opportunities to find mismatches and value for your lineups.
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Best Plays on the Card
Ronda Rousey ($12,200) vs. Bethe Correia
Rousey (11-0, 6-0 UFC) has a huge salary and will be heavily owned but I can’t have a studs section without putting the most dominant fighter in the UFC right now on it.
Rousey has finished all 11 of her opponents. Her last four wins have come in a total of 2:34. Rousey usually works up more of a sweat shadow boxing in her dressing room than she does fighting in the octagon.
Correia (9-0, 3-0 UFC) has talked a good game and I don’t believe the moment is too big for her. However, she’s simply not in Rousey’s league. She’s not even close.
Correia got this fight because she beat Rousey’s two friends – Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler – then taunted the champ after each win. The problem is either of those women are top quality fighters. They’re better known for being part of the Four Horsewomen with Rousey than their talents inside the octagon.
Correia is undefeated but has only finished two opponents. She’s a grinder and that plays right into Rousey’s hands. I don’t want to hear about Rousey making this fight last longer because she wants to punish Correia for personal things she’s said in the media either. That’s easy to say before a fight but once the bell sounds, instincts take over and Rousey will be looking to finish.
This fight is just a setup to the main course. Chris “Cyborg” Santos will be in the audience and after Rousey wins my guess is she’ll call out Cyborg or Cyborg will come after her. This will set the groundwork for the mega fight everyone has been waiting to see, probably in the summer of 2016.
If you take Rousey and her enormous salary, you’ll have to pair her with some of the lower priced fighters. The only problem with that strategy is I don’t love a lot of the underdogs on this card. I give you a couple of options below.
The plus with Rousey is she’s pretty much a guaranteed early finish win. The down side is Rousey has a huge salary and she’ll be heavily owned. My advice is to play a few cards; some with Rousey and some without her.
Dileno Lopes ($11,300) vs. Reginaldo Vieira
This is one of the TUF Brazil finales between two exciting bantamweights. Lopes is 18-1 and Vieira is 12-3. Out of their 30 combined fights, the two have only gone to a decision three times.
Lopes has the much higher salary in this matchup and there’s a reason for it. He’s the more refined fighter at this point in his career. Both Lopes and Vieira have talent to make noise in the UFC but right now, Lopes’ all-around game is simply further along.
Vieira tends to get wild with his punches, while Lopes is a much more patient and accurate striker. Both fighters have strong submissions on the ground but I give Lopes a big advantage if the fight stays standing, where I expected it to take place.
Taking relatively unknown fighters at such a high salary is risky but I see Lopes being patient and capitalizing on a Vieira mistake. I like Lopes to win by either knockout or submission.
Hugo Viana ($10,900) vs. Guido Cannetti
This is the first fight on the card but don’t let it fool you. One fighter has a clear advantage and it’s Viana (8-2, 3-2 UFC).
Cannetti (6-3, 0-1 UFC) is the least-talented fighter on this card. I have to wonder if he got a second fight in the UFC only because the organization wants to give Viana an easy win in his native Brazil.
Cannetti comes straight forward, usually leading with his face. He absorbs close to five significant strikes per minute, while Viana attempts just fewer than 10 per minute. Cannetti throws and lands a lot of significant strikes himself, so this should be a fast-paced, stand-up fight.
Viana is 2-2 in his last four fights but one loss was to TJ Dillashaw and the other was to the undefeated Aljamain Sterling. Dillashaw is one of the best fighters on the planet right now and Sterling is a top prospect, so those were both “good” losses. Viana was simple outclassed by both of those fighters.
Viana has a high salary but that’s because he’s a superior fighter to Cannetti. The Brazilian only has one knockout in 10 career fights, although Cannetti’s style and weak chin sets up for Viana to win this fight by stoppage.
I like the Wolverine to get the finish over Cannetti in the first or second round.
Stefan Struve ($10,800) vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Struve (25-7, 9-5 UFC) hasn’t been impressive recently but I really like him to win in dominate fashion over Nogueira (34-9, 5-5 UFC) Saturday night.
Big Nog is one of the all-time legends of the sport but he just looks done at this point in his career. Nogueira has only one win since 2011. Once impossible to finish, Minotauro has been stopped in three of his last four fights.
Nogueira is now 39 and he’s facing a fighter in Struve who is not only 12 years younger but seven-feet tall. Struve is an excellent striker and is tied with Jon Jones for the longest reach in the UFC. He’s going to present a lot of problems for Minotauro with punches, knees and head kicks.
Struve does have a shaky chin. His last two fights have resulted in knockout loses to Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem. However, those two are bigger punchers than Nogueira. I don’t think the slower, less powerful Minotauro will be able to do as much damage if the fight stays standing.
Nogueira will have the crowd behind him and he’s still very dangerous on the ground but this is a farewell to a great warrior. The bottom line is Minotauro likely wouldn’t even be on a UFC card if it wasn’t in Brazil. Struve is my top pick of the night outside of Rousey.
Best Value Plays for the Price
Neil Magny ($9,000) vs. Demian Maia
I love Magny (15-3, 8-2 UFC) in this fight and I love his $9,000 salary even more. The only thing that doesn’t excite me is the probability of this fight ending in a finish.
Magny has won seven consecutive fights. The thing that impresses me about him the most is he’s always getting better. I’ve been a Magny fan for a while now but every time I watch him he’s improving in something to make him a more complete fighter, whether it’s striking, takedown defense, etc.
Magny will need to use his improved takedown defense against Maia (20-6, 15-6 UFC). Maia is one of the top jiu-jitsu specialists and ground fighters in all of MMA. If Maia gets an opponent down to the mat, he suffocates him. Magny will want to keep this fight standing, use his boxing, and exploit Maia’s weak striking.
Maia has won two fights in a row but I’ve always viewed him as a gatekeeper. I believe Magny is someone who is about to break through and become a contender in the welterweight division.
Magny has finished his last three opponents and I can see him knocking out Maia as well. However, Maia fights at a snail’s pace. Half of his 26 career fights have gone to the judges.
Maia is still a great grappler but he only has one submission win since 2009. Magny will have over a seven-inch reach advantage in this fight and I see him picking Maia apart. At $9,000, I think he represents the best value on the card. I’ll call for a third-round TKO.
Vitor Miranda ($9,100) vs. Clint Hester
I’m listing this fight because it will go one of two ways. If it goes one way, Miranda (10-4, 1-1 UFC) has no shot to win. If it goes another way, Miranda has a good chance to win. Because of that, Miranda has some value at his $9,100 salary. I’m actually going to play both fighters on my lineup cards.
The first way this fight can go in it will be a stand-up war. In this scenario, Miranda has a chance to knockout Hester (11-4, 3-1 UFC) and pull the upset.
Each of these fighters has seven knockout wins but go about getting their finishes in different ways.
Miranda is a more diverse striker. He has powerful head kicks and can strike from many different angles. Hester tends to get wild and prefers to brawl. This type of style has gotten Hester in trouble in the past, including his last fighter versus Robert Whittaker when he was knocked out.
If the fight goes down this road, I think Miranda has a very good chance to finish Hester. When Hester gets in slugfests he starts to throw big, wild punches and Miranda will be able to exploit it.
The big advantage Hester has in this matchup is his wrestling. Miranda has spent more time on his back in the UFC than a porn star. His takedown defense is a dismal 22 percent.
Hester is a big, strong 185-pounder with a ton of physical ability but he doesn’t always rely on his wrestling, instead opting to brawl. If Hester doesn’t get drawn into a stand-up war with Miranda and chooses to use his wrestling skills, he’ll win this fight.
I think this is an intriguing fight because becoming a contender has a lot to do with the mental part of the game. Not all fighters fight smart. If Hester doesn’t employ the proper gameplan, there’s a good chance he gets knocked out by the dangerous Miranda.
On a card lacking many enticing underdogs, Miranda is worth a shot, especially if you’re looking for a cheaper option to add to your Rousey lineups.
Jessica Aguilar ($8,200) vs. Claudia Gadelha
Aguilar (19-4, 0-0 UFC) is one of the top women strawweight fighters in the world and she is making her UFC debut against a very tough opponent in Gadelha (12-1, 1-1 UFC). The reason I have this as one of my value plays is because I see it as an even fight between two of the Top 5 female strawweight fighters in the world.
Aguilar has won ten fights in a row but she’s facing a big step up in completion against Gadelha. Gadelha’s only blemish is a split decision loss to strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and a lot of people thought she won that fight, including me.
This fight is going to be a contrast of styles. Gadelha will have a big advantage in striking. Aguilar can out-box inferior opponents but she often uses her striking as a way to set up her takedowns.
Gadelha is a strong wrestler is her own right. He has six wins by submission and against virtually anyone else would have the edge on the ground. However, Aguilar is an elite grappler and probably the best in the division. There’s no question Gadelha wants to keep this fight standing, while Aguilar wants to get the fight to the mat.
I can see either woman winning this fight, so there’s a lot of value in Aguilar’s $8,200 salary. I just don’t see much value in many of the other fighters on the card. If you’re playing Rousey or some of the other favorites and need a lower salary to fill out your lineup, Aguilar is definitely worth rostering. She has a better than average shot at winning this fight.