UFC 191 is headlined by a flyweight title fight rematch between Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson. This matchup should feature a lot of fast-paced action that produces plenty of fantasy points. Below are my studs and value plays for UFC 191 to help fill out your DraftKings lineups:
Best Plays on the Card
Anthony Johnson ($11,500) vs. Jimi Manuwa
Johnson (19-5, 16-5 UFC) is coming off a loss to Daniel Cormier but he has a much better matchup on Saturday night.
Cormier is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. It’s a testament to Jon Jones’ greatness that he handled Cormier so easily.
Johnson is a powerful striker but in his losses he’s had trouble with conditioning. That was the issue against Cormier. Cormier used his wrestling to control Rumble. Johnson gassed out and was submitted in the third round.
Manuwa (15-1, 4-1 UFC) is an excellent fighter in his own right but he hasn’t fought the same level of competition as Johnson. The one time Manuwa stepped up to fight someone in Johnson’s class he was knocked out in the second round by Alexander Gustafsson.
The problem in this matchup for Manuwa is his strengths are also Johnson’s strengths and Rumble is better in those areas.
Both fighters are aggressive strikers with power but Johnson is more aggressive with more power. Rumble is also the better wrestler of the two, so if the fight goes to the ground, he has the advantage. However, this fight likely won’t go to the ground.
Manuwa has 13 knockouts in 16 career fights, while 13 of Johnson’s 19 wins have come by knockout. Manuwa has the power to finish but the style of this fight really plays into Johnson’s strengths. Look for Rumble to get the knockout win in an entertaining bout.
Paul Felder ($11,200) vs. Ross Pearson
I took Edson Barboza against Felder (10-1, 2-1 UFC) in his last fight when he came in on short notice. Felder lost by decision but I was impressed with him. Barboza used his reach and leg kicks to keep Felder on the outside but Felder also ate some big shots in that fight.
I made a mental note that if Felder had a good matchup in his next fight I would pounce. He couldn’t have asked for a better opponent to make a statement against than Pearson.
Pearson (17-9, 10-6-1 UFC) is coming off a bad loss to Evan Dunham. He’s now 1-2 in his last three fights. Pearson’s only win over that span is a knockout of Sam Stout. Stout just retired because he said he can no longer compete at a high level.
Felder has a big power advantage over Pearson. He’s knocked out seven of his 11 opponents. Neither of these two fighters thinks about taking anyone down, so it should remain standing throughout.
This is a quick turnaround for both fighters. If you look at the fight stats, they’re all pretty close. However, if you watched these two recently, there’s a pretty significant talent gap. That’s why Felder is a -400 favorite.
I feel like the Barboza fight was a good learning experience for Felder and he’s ready to explode onto the UFC‘s lightweight division. I’m jumping on Felder and predicting he wins in impressive fashion.
Best Value Plays for the Price
Corey Anderson ($9,300) vs. Jan Blachowicz
Anderson (6-1, 2-1 UFC) is coming off a loss to Gian Villante where he really had no defense for Villante’s leg kicks. Villante landed 111 significant strikes in that fight before eventually finishing Anderson in the third round.
Anderson has a good chance to rebound in this matchup because he has a big advantage over Blachowicz (18-4, 1-1 UFC): wrestling. Anderson is an excellent grappler, while Blachowicz has had trouble against stronger wrestlers in the past.
Blachowicz hasn’t been taken down yet in the UFC but he scored a first-round knockout in his first fight and then fought Manuwa, a striker, his second time out. This will be Blachowicz’s first real test in the UFC against a strong wrestler, which is why Anderson is a nice value play at his price.
Anderson needs to show better defense than he did in his last fight because Blachowicz is a kickboxer. He’ll certainly look to copy Villante’s successful gameplan. However, the fact that Anderson averages over nine takedowns per 15 minutes could be crucial in this matchup.
Anderson is a high-volume fighter who likes to put pressure his opponents. If Blachowicz can’t keep Anderson off him and stop is early takedown attempts, it will be a long night. If Blachowicz can slow the fight down and land those hard leg kicks, Anderson will be the one in trouble.
This matchup looks good for Anderson and the price is right. I believe he has a better than average chance to pull the upset.
Frank Mir ($9,100) vs. Andrei Arlovski
This fight will likely be a brawl. It’s likely going to end early. If you play multiple cards, it’s probably a good idea to use both fighters. If you want one pick, I’ll go with Mir (18-9, 16-9 UFC).
The way I see this fight is it’s a coin flip between two older fighters with questionable chins. Yes, Arlovski (24-10-1, 13-4 UFC) took a lot of shots against Travis Browne but he’s always had a suspect chin and it doesn’t improve when a fighter gets closer to 40.
Mir is my choice because of his lower salary and I’ve really been impressed with his boxing since his year layoff. There’s no question Arlovski can land a big punch and put Mir to sleep in 20 seconds. There’s also no question Mir can do the same to Arlovski at a lower salary.
There’s a chance Mir tries to take Arlovski down and submit him but Arlovski has never been submitted. More than likely, these two 36-year-olds come out swinging until one hits the mat. I’m going with Mir’s improved boxing and more attractive salary.
John Dodson ($8,000) vs. Demetrious Johnson
Johnson (22-2-1, 9-1-1 UFC) is one of the most dominant fighters on the planet. He’s never lost as a flyweight and he probably won’t lose on Saturday. However, his chances of losing are as high as they’re going to be in a long time and Dodson’s salary offers incredible value.
Johnson has few, if any, weaknesses but if there’s one guy who can beat him; it’s Dodson (17-6, 6-1 UFC).
Dodson has incredible power for a flyweight and almost as few holes in his game as Johnson. Dodson floored Johnson in their first fight and was doing well in the first two rounds. Then Johnson adjusted, Dodson’s cardio gave out and he lost a decision. The rematch has a chance to be epic.
There’s no reason to give out a bunch of stats and numbers. These are the two best flyweights in the world. Johnson is arguably the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. It should be one of the best fights of the year.
I’m giving out Dodson as a value play because there’s a real chance he either pulls the upset or lasts five rounds, so he racks up enough points to make him worth playing at his low salary. Remember, Dodson landed 57 significant strikes in their first fight.
You won’t get rich picking against Johnson but if there’s one time to take a shot, it’s with Dodson. Win or lose, he should score enough points to justify the play.