UFC Fight Night 78 features a welterweight battle between title hopefuls Kelvin Gastelum and Neil Magny. Below are the studs and value plays for UFC Fight Night 78 to help fill out your DraftKings lineups:
Best Plays on the Card
Kelvin Gastelum ($10,900) vs. Neil Magny
Magny is taking this fight on short notice after Matt Brown was forced out with an injury. Magny is an active fighter. This will be his fifth fight of 2015, so he’ll be in shape, but it’s still difficult to prepare for any opponent without a full camp. It’s even harder when the opponent is as talented as Gastelum.
Gastelum is a strong striker with an underrated ground game. On paper, these two are evenly matched. Gastelum attempts nine strikes per minute, while Magny attempts eight, so both fighters like to force the action.
Magny has a nine inch reach advantage in this fight but he doesn’t always use that reach. He often likes to get inside and clinch with his opponents. When Magny boxes and stays on the outside, he’s a much more effective fighter.
Gastelum’s only loss was a close split-decision defeat to Tyron Woodley. The bottom line here is I think Gastelum is the more talented fighter. He’s quicker than Magny and Gastelum is a more powerful striker.
Gastelum may not finish this fight in Round 1 but sooner or later Magny will make a mistake and he’ll pay for it. Even if Gastelum doesn’t get a finish and the fight goes five rounds, his active style will rack up a lot of points. Gastelum gets a decisive win here.
Ricardo Lamas ($11,200) vs. Diego Sanchez
Sanchez will come to the ring, yell and look crazy, but the fact is he’s 5-5 over his last 10 fights. Actually, he’s 4-6 over his last 10 fights because he didn’t beat Ross Pearson. That’s not my opinion. The decision was such a joke that Dana White said after the UFC would treat the fight as a win for Pearson.
Take away the Pearson robbery and Sanchez’s only victory since 2011 is a split-decision win over Takanori Gomi. The one thing about Sanchez though is he’s tough to finish. He’s only been knocked out once in 32 career fights.
Lamas is a counter striker who has eight finishes in his 15 career wins. Four of those finishes have come by submission. Sanchez’s problem in this fight is he’s going to get picked apart and once he gets into trouble, Lamas has the ability to submit him.
Lamas is the biggest favorite on the card (-600) and he should be. Sanchez is way past his prime and his pre-fight antics are more interesting than what he does inside the Octagon. Lamas will dominate him Saturday night.
Best Value Plays for the Price
Taylor Lapilus ($9,400) vs. Erik Perez
Lapilus is a live underdog play. He’s a promising prospect who has won his first two fights in the UFC impressively.
Lapilus is only 23-years old and will be stepping up in competition but he’s shown to be a dangerous striker in his first two UFC fights. Lapilus comes right after his opponents and is landing over five strikes per minute.
Perez is 1-2 in his last three fights. He was submitted by Brian Caraway in his last fight. Perez does attempt over seven takedowns per 15 minutes and could test the younger Lapilus’ ground game. However, so far Lapilus has a takedown defense rate of 87 percent.
This is a matchup where I see one fighter on the way down and the other on the way up. Lapilus has more advantages and if he can stuff Perez’s takedowns, I see him winning and making a big statement. I’ll take the value here with his modest salary.