UFC Fight Night 83 features a welterweight matchup between Donald Cerrone and Alex Oliveira. Below are the studs and value plays for UFC Fight Night 83 to help fill out your DraftKings lineups:
Best Plays on the Card
Derek Brunson ($11,100) vs. Roan Carneiro
Brunson is one of my favorite fighters in the UFC right now. I don’t think his ranking (No.13) represents how dangerous he is in the middleweight division.
Brunson has always been an aggressive wrestler but his striking has improved since he’s been in the UFC. Brunson is 5-1 in the UFC. He’s won his last two fights over Ed Herman and Sam Alvey by first-round knockout. Brunson is averaging over six strikes per minute and he has the ability to finish an opponent once they get into trouble.
Brunson averages 9.55 takedowns per 15 minutes. In his 10 career fights in the UFC and Strikeforce, he’s yet to be taken down. Brunson’s strong wresting will be a big problem for Carneiro. Grappling is his strength as well. Carneiro isn’t much of a striker. Instead he relies on taking his opponents down and submitting him. Ten of Carneiro’s 20 career wins have come by submission.
Brunson has a major advantage if this fight stays standing. That’s a likely scenario considering the last time Brunson was taken down in a fight was 2010. Brunson has 10 finishes in 14 career wins. Make it 11. Brunson’s aggressive striking will be too much for Carneiro. He’s well worth his high salary.
Donald Cerrone ($10,600) vs. Alex Oliveira
Cerrone is coming off a first-round KO loss to Rafael dos Anjos and now makes his debut at welterweight. Dos Anjos is an elite fighter and the only guy to beat Cerrone over the last two years. Cerrone is 8-2 in his last 10 fights with both losses coming to dos Anjos.
Oliveira is a tough opponent but he’ll be moving up in competition against Cerrone after stepping in for the suspended Tim Means. Oliveira is 3-1 in the UFC with wins over Piotr Hallman, Joe Merritt and K.J. Noons. Not exactly an impressive list.
This is the kind of fight Cerrone wins impressively. Cowboy is a great fighter but just a step below elite talents like dos Anjos. However, Cerrone has done a great job throughout his career of beating opponents he should beat.
Cerrone was an active striker at lightweight and that shouldn’t change with the step up in weight class. He averages over eight strikes per minute and Cowboy is always a threat to finish a fight by submission. Fifteen of Cerrone’s 28 career wins have come by submission. That could be a key element in this matchup. In Oliveira lone UFC loss, he was submitted by Gilbert Burns.
There’s always a minor concern when a fighter moves up in weight but Cerrone was a big lightweight. He should handle the move up fine. Oliveira is tempting because of his low salary but Cerrone is clearly the more skilled fighter who has more ways to finish. I’m rolling with the real Cowboy in this one.
Cody Garbrandt ($11,000) vs. Augusto Mendes
Mendes is taking this fight on less than a weeks’ notice. He’ll be making his UFC debut against the undefeated Garbrandt.
Mendes is 5-0 with all of his wins coming by stoppage but he’ll obviously be making a big step up in class here. Garbrandt is 7-0 and 2-0 in the UFC. Six of his wins have come by stoppage.
Garbrandt’s last fight against Henrique Briones went to decision but Briones is a crafty veteran who stayed away from Garbrandt’s power. Garbrandt went 32-1 as an amateur boxer and averages close to 10 strikes a minute in his two UFC fights. Mendes won’t offer near the resistance that Briones did the last time out.
Mendes has won world championships in Brazilian jiu jitsu but his striking is still a work in progress. Garbrandt is a solid wrestler, so as long as he can stay off the mat, this fight should be one-sided.
Mendes has a strong submission game but he’s still a developing fighter who only had a few days to prepare for this bout. Garbrandt will have little trouble getting a finish in this one.
Best Value Plays for the Price
Tatsuya Kawajiri ($8,600) vs. Dennis Bermudez
Bermudez was riding high on a seven-fight winning streak. Since then he’s been finished by Ricardo Lamas and Jeremy Stephens. For that reason, I’m taking a shot on Kawajiri.
Kawajiri isn’t at the level of Lamas but he does have 10 submission wins is his career. Bermudez just hasn’t looked good enough to me in his last two fights to warrant being this big of a favorite. Kawajiri is the fourth biggest underdog on the card. Compared to the fighters with a lower salary than Kawajiri, he has a much better chance of winning his fight than the other three.
Bermudez attempts over 10 strikes per minute but he’s sloppy. He only connects at a 42 percent clip and that undisciplined striking has gotten him into trouble recently. On the other hand, Kawajiri isn’t as aggressive as Bermudez but he picks his spots and is a more efficient striker.
Kawajiri uses his striking to set up takedowns but that will be a challenge in this matchup. Bermudez has an impressive 92 percent takedown defense rate. If Kawajiri can get Bermudez to the mat, he’s vulnerable. Four of Bermudez’s five career losses have come by submission.
This is a pretty even matchup in my view. Kawajiri’s chances of winning are much better than his salary suggests. He’s worth a shot as a low-salary option in your lineup.