UFC on Fox 24 is going to be gangbusters. There are no two ways about it. The card is stacked from bottom to top with superb match-ups, ending with a co-main and main event worthy of any PPV, but we get it for free. Thank you, MMA gods!
On paper, it may look to be one of the more modest offerings, but it’s really one of the best bout sheets I’ve seen all year. With Demetrious Johnson poised to make history if he wins, the UFC kind of HAD to puff out the rest of the card with great fights, and to them, I say, “Thank you for a job well done.”
Now, on to the meat and potatoes of this post — the underdogs. As you’ve all come to recognize, my job is to present some alternative choices for your teams. These are the athletes that I feel will play the role of spoiler come Saturday night, so stick around, get educated and hopefully, your fantasy teams will find plenty of points with the victories of these mighty underdogs.
Let’s get started:
Rose Namajunas $8,200 / Michelle Waterson $8,000
Rose Namajunas is such a gifted striker. She’s fast and effective, and her footwork is incredible. Always sticking and moving, she makes herself a very difficult target to hit. She’s also got a nasty ground game and transitions well in scrambles.
Waterson is a range fighter who uses her kicks to even out the height disadvantage she often has. She’s quick, has excellent timing, and in the clinch, she’s a terror. Her style is aggressive, and when she is in grappling exchanges, she excels in the scrambles.
This wasn’t an easy fight to predict, but my gut keeps telling me that Waterson takes a hard-fought decision here.
Michelle Waterson via DEC
Jacare Souza $8,700 / Robert Whittaker $7,500
Jacare is a grappling gangster, we can all surely agree. But, he is 37 years old, and he has been competing for 14 of those years — a lifetime in sports years. He looked phenomenal in his last two fights, but they were against two men that are on the tail end of their careers (Belfort and Boetsch), so I hesitate to gauge his effectiveness based on those contests.
Whittaker has been cutting a swathe of destruction through the middleweight division and is on a six-fight hot streak right now, with all five of his bouts at 185 ending in victory. He’s fast and has beautiful footwork, which plays perfectly into his counterstriking game. His wrestling is top notch, and he hasn’t been taken down since his fight with Court McGee back in August of 2013.
Overall, Whittaker was the easiest underdog choice for me to make, simply by virtue of his youth, speed, power and the pace he will likely set. I think Jacare is in for a rough night.
Robert Whittaker via (T)KO
Jeremy Stephens $8,600 / Renato Moicano $7,600
Jeremy Stephens is no walk in the park. He’s durable, packs “turn the lights out” power (even if we haven’t seen it in a while), and he can launch that power very late in the fight (see Marcus Davis or Rafael dos Anjos fights), from the most ridiculous angles imaginable. The problem is, his aggressive style often leads him into trouble. He’s come a long way since his early days when brawling was his main calling card, but he still finds himself struggling in ground exchanges with good grapplers.
Speaking of good grapplers, hellooooo Renato Moicano! A big guy for 145, Moicano is startlingly fast and hyper aggressive. He has good standup but hasn’t demonstrated any real knockout power yet, so volume is what we get in its place. Stephens isn’t one to set a blazing pace, so that volume striking is a key factor here.
Moicano’s grappling is marvelous, and he has a nasty top game with solid ground-and-pound. He’s dangerous from any position and is great in scrambles. In short, he’s got the edge in most of the key areas of this fight, and I think his chances of winning are excellent.
Renato Moicano via DEC
Devin Clark $8,300 / Jake Collier $7,900
Devin Clark is a great prospect with very good standup. He’s quick as lightning and uses nice combinations. He’s got capable grappling with a pretty good blast double. He’ll give up three inches in height, and against Collier’s volume striking and long range kicks, this will present a problem.
Collier has a serviceable ground game and should be able to keep up with Clark if the action hits the canvas, but honestly, this fight will likely play out on the feet, and Collier has all the tools to snag the victory here.
Jake Collier via (T)KO
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is crooklyn949) 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.