WATCH: TOMMY TOE HOLD – FIGHTER PICKS
The UFC returns this weekend in Fortaleza, Brazil with UFC Fight Night 106, which on paper is one of the better cards of the year. There are a number of exciting matchups on this card and after last weekend’s disappointing UFC 209 event, fans are hoping for a great night of fights to forget about it.
Here are my projected top-10 fighters at UFC Fight Night 106 based on how many fantasy points I expect them to accrue.
1. Kelvin Gastelum ($9,500)
Gastelum is coming off of a brutal third-round TKO over Tim Kennedy at UFC 206, the best win of his career to date. Beating a guy like Kennedy in the fashion he did proved that Gastelum can compete with the best middleweights in the world. His opponent Vitor Belfort is almost 40 and has been knocked out in three of his last four fights. I expect Gastelum to thrash Belfort and finish him in the first or second round.
2. Shogun Rua ($8,500)
Although Shogun is on the decline, he has a very favorable matchup here against Gian Villante, who will be willing to brawl with Shogun. Even though he’s not as durable as he once was, Shogun has the better chin of the two and he also has the better striking. Fighting in his home country of Brazil, I expect Shogun to have a vintage showing here and win this fight by knockout in the first or second round.
3. Tim Means ($9,000)
Means previously met his opponent Alex Oliveira at UFC 207. Means threw an illegal knee which knocked out Oliveira, but the fight was ruled a No Contest due to the illegal blow. However, even before that happened, Means was beating Oliveira up, and I expect him to do the same in the rematch. Means’ last four victories have come via stoppage, and I expect him to finish Oliveira once again, only this time within the rules. I’m looking for a great performance by Means and possibly a first-round knockout win which would be great for fantasy purposes.
4. Paulo Borrachinha ($9,100)
I would like to put Borrachinha at the top of this list because he’s fighting Garreth McLellan who I rate as one of the UFC’s weakest middleweights, but with Borrachinha making his UFC debut on short notice I placed more proven fighters above him. Still, I fully expect Borrachinha to win this fight via stoppage. All eight of his career wins are by stoppage, and McLellan has been finished multiple times, so I’m looking for Borrachinha to win this fight by knockout, perhaps in the first round.
5. Sergio Moraes ($8,800)
Moraes is taking on a short-notice opponent in Davi Ramos, and I expect him to win the fight. He’s on a six-fight unbeaten streak and that includes three finishes. I’m looking for Moraes to get this fight to the ground and win the fight by submission in the first few rounds, making him a solid fantasy play.
6. Rani Yahya ($8,600)
Yahya has looked fantastic in the last few years as he’s 4-0 over his last four outings and is quickly climbing the bantamweight top-15 ladder. His Brazilian jiu-jitsu game is brilliant, and with the newer fantasy MMA scoring rules being kinder to grapplers, I think Yahya is a solid play here against Joe Soto, who Yahya should be able to control on the ground and possibly secure a submission against.
7. Edson Barboza ($8,700)
Barboza is one of the most dangerous, technical strikers in the UFC and this matchup against Beneil Dariush should produce fireworks. Ultimately, I do like Barboza to win. His striking is better, and he should be able to light up Dariush with leg kicks throughout this fight, and it wouldn’t shock me if he got a knockout. Barboza has generally performed very well in front of the Brazil crowd, and I expect him to have a solid night out for fantasy purposes.
8. Michel Prazeres ($8,900)
Prazeres is one of the more underrated lightweights in the UFC but the problem with him is he generally doesn’t finish fights. However, he is excellent at racking up takedowns, and that could help him accrue a significant number of fantasy points against his opponent Josh Burkman, who has lost four of his last five fights. I’m looking for Prazeres to get a dominant decision win with a lot of takedowns and guard passes, with a slight possibility of winning by submission.
9. Francisco Trinaldo ($7,900)
Trinaldo is riding a seven-fight win streak and has looked like a destroyer, but his opponent Kevin Lee is really good and also much younger, which is why I couldn’t put Trinaldo higher on this list. Still, I like him here at this cheap price as I think he can land a high volume of strikes to gain significant fantasy points. There’s also an outside chance Trinaldo knocks out Lee, adding to his allure as a value pick.
10. Jeremy Kennedy ($8,100)
Kennedy is one of Canada’s top featherweight prospects, and while his opponent Rony Jason is a solid fighter, this is a winnable fight for Kennedy. Kennedy is undefeated and riding a nine-fight win streak, while Jason has only won one of his last five fights. I expect Kennedy to defeat Jason, but it’s more likely he does so by decision which is why he’s at the bottom of this list.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is MMAdamMartin) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.