The Haymaker – UFC FN 100: Picks and Analysis
Hey fight fans, welcome back to another edition of The Haymaker. This is the second of two cards that the UFC is having this Saturday. It kicks off at 6pm EST from Sao Paulo, Brazil once the Fight Night 99 card is over. As I mentioned in the FN99 breakdown, the prize pools on DraftKings are slightly larger for this card, but the payout structure is flatter and the first place prize is lower in each contest. With 12 fights on the card, there are a lot of options to choose from on DK, so I will narrow down the field to some of my favorite individual plays for each format.
Top Play: Thomas Almeida ($9,700)
Thomas Almeida is the most expensive fighter on the card and is a -315 favorite over relative newcomer Albert Morales. Almeida is a known finisher with 20 of his 21 victories coming by way of stoppage and is reflected in his inside the distance prop of -153, which is the highest on the card. He is coming off a KO loss to Cody Garbrandt, but before that loss he looked like he was on his way to title contention. He is a very aggressive striker which sometimes results in him leaving his defenses down. But he has such a diverse striking arsenal with lightning fast hands and varying combos which makes it tough to fight through. He tends to start slow but really picks it up once he gets hit. Morales is similarly a pressure fighter but has faced much lower level competition and this is a massive step up for him. Almeida should make quick work of Morales and likely finish him in the first round. He has the most upside of any fighter on the card and is great in either format if you can afford him.
Cash Game Plays
For cash games you want to seek out fighters with high floors. This means selecting fighters that strike at a high output or score lots of takedowns. I generally look to get as many favorites as possible into my lineups as you need to get wins. 3-4 wins are generally enough to cash in most double ups and 50/50s.
Claudia Gadelha ($9,200)
Gadelha is the heaviest favorite on the card at -430 over Cortney Casey and is only the third most expensive fighter. She is coming off a strong showing against champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk where she dominated the first couple of rounds before fading late. In a 3 round fight that won’t be as big of a concern. Gadelha has decent striking and submissions but is not a big finisher. Her finish prop reflects this as it is low relative to her direct odds, but she should be able to score takedowns and passes which give her a solid floor. As a result I think that she makes for a better cash play than tournament play.
Thales Leites ($8,300)
Thales Leites can be a somewhat boring fighter but he is a BJJ black belt and has an elite ground game. He is a -160 favorite over Krzysztof Jotko and is only average priced giving him excellent odds value. Leites only uses his striking to set up the clinch where he is dominant in securing takedowns. From there he likes to grind guys down and wear them out with big ground and pound. He does not have huge upside but is relatively safe considering that Jotko is not a known finisher despite coming off a KO win against Tamdan McCrory. He also has the potential for a late finish with a decent ITD prop of +179.
The key to tournaments is to select fighters with high upside. On DraftKings, that means seeking out early finishes and fighters that land a high number of significant strikes. With the new DK scoring system you can also find a high ceiling with grapplers who score lots of takedowns and are active on the ground. It’s fine to have some popular plays but it will usually take one or two low owned plays to win a tournament.
Luis Henrique ($9,000)
Heavyweight fights are always a big target of mine in GPPs because of the huge potential for early finishes. Luis Henrique is a big -260 favorite over Christian Colombo who looked bad against Jarjis Danho in his UFC debut. Putting it into perspective, Danho is one of the worst Heavyweights on the roster, so Henrique is in a great spot here. He is the more athletic and well-rounded fighter here and has the advantage in almost every area. Henrique has excellent muay thai and is a talented wrestler and also has a brown belt in BJJ. He will most likely try to get it to the ground and lock in a submission. With a -105 ITD prop Vegas thinks it is very likely to happen. I will have a lot of exposure to Henrique in tournaments, but if you are making multiple lineups I think it makes sense to have one or two shares of Colombo because this is Heavyweight MMA and these guys pack some power.
Warrley Alves ($7,400)
In order to fit some of the high priced studs into your lineups such as Almeida or Bader, you will need to find some salary relief at the lower pricing tier. There is not a lot to like at the bottom but Alves has the most upside out of any of them. He is currently a +185 underdog against Kamaru Usman and has the better ITD prop of the two. Usman is a wrestler who will try to take Alves down and grind out a decision. Alves on the other hand, is really aggressive early in fights and looks to blitz his opponents. He is a dynamic finisher and is always trying to lock in a guillotine but tends to fade if he is unsuccessful. He doesn’t have a great chance of getting a victory but his style makes him an ideal GPP target and he will be my highest owned fighter in this pricing tier.
Marcos Rogerio de Lima ($8,500) vs Gadzhimmurad Antigulov ($7,700)
Odds: de Lima (-150) Antigulov (+140)
Odds to finish: -425
With a -425 chance of finishing within the distance, this is my favorite fight to target for GPPs. I will likely be all in on this fight with my ownership split between the two fighters. De Lima is a heavy handed boxer who likes to storm out of the gates. He is aggressive and wants to close the distance in order to knock his opponent’s heads off. This leaves him susceptible to counters and takedowns which are his biggest weakness. De Lima has been finished before and has a questionable gas tank.
Antigulov is making his UFC debut and also has big power in his hands. He likes to get guys up against the fence and wear on them. Antigulov is very strong and has good head movement which helps him to avoid the majority of strikes. His best bet is to wear de Lima down and get him to the ground where he has excellent top control and ground and pound. Given the price discount I will likely be slightly heavier on Antigulov in GPPs.