UFC 192 features a light heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson. Below are my studs and value plays for UFC 192 to help fill out your DraftKings lineups:
StudsBest Plays on the Card
Daniel Cormier ($11,000) vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Gustafsson will be a popular play because of his low salary but I’m going the other way with Cormier.
Fights are based on matchups and situations. Even though Gustafsson gave Jon Jones a tougher time than Cormier, I believe DC is the second best light heavyweight fighter in the world. Cormier likely won’t be highly owned because of his salary but there’s a good chance he’ll get a finish.
Gustafsson has a seven inch reach advantage in this fight but Cormier is one of the best fighters in the world at closing the distance. If he does, Gustafsson will be in all kinds of trouble. Gustafsson is a bad defensive fighter and he only connects on 37 percent of his strikes.
Gustafsson is a very skilled fighter and he’s been able to win with his style because his height and long reach make him a difficult matchup for any opponent. However, as we saw with Rumble Johnson, when a bigger fighter can close the distance against Gustafsson, his defensive deficiencies become an issue.
Cormier is a former heavyweight with a lot of power. Some are talking about Cormier having trouble with Gustafsson because he’s the bigger fighter. I see it the exact opposite way.
Gustafsson was overmatched against the bigger Johnson and I see it being the same here versus Cormier. I like Cormier to win by stoppage.
Julianna Pena ($10,700) vs. Jessica Eye
Pena has been a machine in her first two fights. She has attempted over 16 strikes per minute, while connecting on 46 percent of those strikes.
Eye is no slouch herself. She has attempted over 12 strikes per minute. The chances of this fight being a standup battle are pretty good and if that’s the case, Pena has the advantage.
Eye is a good fighter and as we saw against Miesha Tate, she can take a punch. However, Pena is in a different class than eye. Pena is a more accurate striker and she has more power.
Pena is averaging 124 fantasy points in her first two UFC fights. Eye is a step up in class but Pena will reward owners with another finish.
Sage Northcutt ($10,500) vs. Francisco Trevino
Northcutt is making his UFC debut but he’s a talented 19-year old prospect that the organization is expecting big things from in the future.
Northcutt is 5-0 with five finishes. Four of those finishes have come in the first round. If you watch Northcutt’s fights online one thing you’ll see is he’s a smart fighter for being only 19. He shows a knack for immediately taking advantage of an opponent’s weakness.
Trevino is 12-1 but his record is a little misleading. He’s 1-1 in the UFC. Trevino only attempts 6.4 strikes per minute and has a weak takedown defense. Overall, he hasn’t been impressive in his two UFC fights.
This is a set up fight. Trevino has a good record but he’s being set up for Northcutt. It’s always a risk to take a fighter making his UFC debut because nerves can be a factor but Northcutt is clearly the more talented fighter here. He should get an easy win.
Value PlaysBest Plays for the Price
Ryan Bader ($9,300) vs. Rashad Evans
Evans hasn’t fought since 2013. He took time off while getting surgeries on his knees and now he’s 36-years old. So a 36-year-old with bad knees who hasn’t fought in two years is a favorite? I have to take a shot on Bader at $9,300.
Even going back to 2013 Evans’ last two wins are over Dan Henderson (split decision) and Chael Sonnen. Bader, meanwhile, is riding a four-fight winning streak with wins over Phil Davis and Ovince St. Preux during that span.
Evans has always been a strong grappler but Bader is just as good in that department, so it takes away Evans’ advantage. Bader does have a suspect chin and Evans has seven wins by knockout.
There’s always a chance Bader could catch a big punch but overall I like his chances of winning the fight at this price. There are just too many things working against Evans, especially the long layoff.
Tyron Woodley ($8,600) vs. Johnny Hendricks
I really like Woodley in this fight. He lost to Rory MacDonald but since Woodley has become a more aggressive fighter, he’s become a more dangerous fighter.
Earlier in his career, Woodley depended primarily on his wrestling to grind out wins. However, he’s won four of his last five fights by stoppage. In his last fight against Kelvin Gastelum, Woodley won by split decision but he broke his foot in the first round.
Hendricks has gone in the opposite direction of Woodley. Once known for his big power, Hendricks’ last five fights have gone to decision. In his defense, they’ve all been tough fights. It will be interesting to see who the aggressor is on Saturday night but I see this as a pretty even matchup.
I think Woodley is coming into this fight at the right time. I like him in this spot and I love his price. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Hendricks wins but Woodley is an excellent value play with a great chance to pull the upset.