The Haymaker – UFC Fight Night 112: Picks and Analysis

Hey fight fans, welcome back to another edition of The Haymaker. The UFC has another Fight Night card this Sunday evening at 5:30pm EST from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The card is headlined by an exciting Lightweight matchup between Kevin Lee and Michael Chiesa. The rest of the card is average at best, but there are a few entertaining matchups and several live dogs. With 13 fights to choose from, I will go over my favorite DFS targets in each format to help narrow down your options.

Main Event: Kevin Lee ($8,200) vs Michael Chiesa ($8,000)

Odds: Lee (-130) Chiesa (+110)
Odds to Finish: -265

The main event of the evening is a close matchup between Lightweight contenders in Kevin Lee and Michael Chiesa, who will both be looking to move up the division rankings with a win. Both fighters come from wrestling backgrounds and are highly skilled at taking the back, so it’s hard to predict how this one will turn out when it hits the ground. Both have also shown steady improvements in the striking game, with Chiesa having the advantage at distance and Lee better in boxing range. Lee comes into this one as a slight favorite, winning 4 fights in a row with 3 straight finishes. Chiesa is on a 3-fight winning streak himself, but has not fought in over a year due to a back injury. Lee is the better athlete and has the more technical wrestling and striking game, but Chiesa is the grittier fighter and is one of the better scramblers in the UFC. Chiesa is more aggressive on the feet, but the layoff concerns me against a fighter like Lee, who has been on a roll and is fighting with a lot of confidence these days. Lee has been rocked a few times on the feet, including a surprising KO loss to Leo Santos back in 2015, but he’s displayed significant improvements to his footwork and head movement in recent fights.

For DFS purposes, I think this is a great fight to target heavily in both formats. Each fighter has grappling upside and it is the 2nd-most likely fight to end in a finish on the whole card according to Vegas. It’s a very close fight to call, so I think the obvious play in cash games is to stack the fight for safety and upside. Both fighters are priced below the average, so I will have 100% exposure to it in tournaments, as the winner is almost guaranteed to pay off their salary (barring any random No Contest outcome). I think it makes sense to have some of both guys if you are playing multiple lineups, but Lee is my preferred play since I think he is the better wrestler and more technical striker. Chiesa is still dangerous though and I would give him the advantage if I thought the fight were likely to go the distance, as his style often pays dividends in the later rounds. As it stands, my exposure will likely be somewhere in the 60/40 range in GPPs in favor of Lee.

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. 4 wins are generally enough to cash in most double ups and 50/50s.

Erik Koch ($8,600)

Koch is one of my favorite value plays on the whole card and I will have a lot of exposure to him in both formats. He is the 3rd biggest favorite on the card at -300 over the aging veteran, Clay Guida, who looks to be nearing the end of the road. Guida has long been known for his durability, but is 1-3 in his last 4 fights and has been finished in all 3 of those losses. Koch is a dangerous fighter with multiple KO and submission victories throughout his UFC career. He is a kick-boxer with heavy left-sided attacks and solid wrestling fundamentals. Koch had run into some injury issues over the past few years, but looked dominant in his return against Shane Campbell last fight, where he was able to take him down multiple times before submitting him in the 2nd round. Guida is a grinder who prefers to work his opponents up against the cage to land takedowns, but Koch is the bigger fighter with solid takedown defense and should be able to avoid these situations. Koch’s biggest weakness is that he doesn’t have a great chin, but luckily in this matchup, Guida is not a dangerous striker and doesn’t have much power. Guida has a +1300 finish prop, which is among the worst I’ve ever seen. This makes Koch a relatively safe play, plus he has the upside for an early finish.

Justine Kish ($7,900)

Kish opened as a slight underdog against Felice Herrig, but the line has now moved to dead even. This is a close fight on paper, and I don’t think that Kish is a lock to get the win, but her price and fighting style make her an appealing play for DFS purposes. Kish is a super aggressive fighter that really likes to push the pace. She strikes at a high volume and is very strong which helps her wrestling and scrambling abilities. Herrig is the more technical striker and grappler, but she has struggled against pressure and was very hittable in fights against Paige VanZant and Alexa Grasso. Kish’s aggressiveness does add a bit of risk to this fight, as it sometimes puts her in vulnerable positions and Herrig is skilled at taking the back. However, in her previous UFC fights, Kish has used her strength and scrambling ability to simply power out of these dangerous spots. It may be worth having a share or two of Herrig in GPPs in case she can take advantage of a mistake, but overall I’m heavy on Kish in both formats because of her odds value and high output style.

Other cash options: Darrel Horcher ($9,200), Jared Gordon ($8,100), Johnny Case ($7,800)

 

Tournament Plays

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.

Tim Means ($9,000) vs Alex Garcia ($7,200)

Odds: Means (-250) Garcia (+210)
Odds to Finish: -285

This fight has the best finish prop on the whole card which makes it an excellent target for GPPs. Means is a dangerous striker who will be looking to bounce back from an upset loss to Alex Oliveira last fight. He is a well-rounded fighter who works at a very high pace, which is very conducive to DFS scoring. He is the taller and longer fighter (5” height and 3” reach advantage), but has most of his success in tight in the clinch, where he can land his devastating elbows. Means has great ring IQ and an excellent gas tank, which should give him a sizable advantage if the fight goes past the first round. But Means has been inconsistent lately and struggled to stop takedowns against Oliveira. His opponent, Alex Garcia, has not fought that often recently, but is coming off a dominant first-round KO of Mike Pyle in his most recent fight. Garcia has lots of power and throws big bombs, but he’s not very technical and only throws one strike at a time. His wrestling is a similar story, as he has very powerful takedowns but not much technique. Like most power guys, he doesn’t have great cardio and tends to fade in the later rounds.

From a DFS perspective, I think both guys are solid options in their respective pricing tiers, with Means being the heavier play due to his better all-around game and fewer weakness. He has multiple paths to victory and a clear advantage if the fight goes past the first round. Garcia is also worth a play at his price because of his early power and potential takedown upside.

Dominick Reyes ($9,300)

Dominick Reyes is making his UFC debut on short notice against Joachim Christensen, but is already a massive favorite due to the hype that his devastating KO’s on the regional scene have generated. You can check out some of these finishes on YouTube, but unfortunately he hasn’t had that many fights and he’s been finishing guys so early that there’s not a lot of tape on him. At 6’3”, Christensen has been the taller fighter in each of his UFC fights, but Reyes is even bigger at 6’4” and a bit of a reach advantage. Reyes is a former D1 football player and will be the faster and more athletic fighter in this one. Christensen is the more experienced fighter, but he only made his UFC debut last year at age 37, and has been finished on the ground in 2 of his 3 UFC fights. He is a BJJ black belt though, and should have the advantage on the ground in the matchup, but his takedowns aren’t great and he may have a hard time getting the fight there. On the feet, Christensen strikes at a high volume, but he doesn’t move well and is a little sloppy and easy to counter. He hasn’t been KO’d before but Reyes will put that to the test in this fight. There is a lot of uncertainty in this fight due to the inexperience of Reyes, but he has the best chance of getting a first-round finish on the whole card and I think that makes him a solid play in GPPs. On the other hand, I don’t mind taking a shot or two on Christensen in GPPs at min price in case the newcomer doesn’t live up to the hype.

Other GPP options: Marvin Vettori ($9,100), Josh Stansbury ($8,700)/Jeremey Kimball ($7,500), Joachim Christensen ($6,900)

Optimal Cash Game Plays:

  • Darrel Horcher ($9,200)
  • Erik Koch ($8,600)
  • Kevin Lee ($8,200)
  • Jared Gordon ($8,100)
  • Michael Chiesa ($8,000)
  • Justin Kish ($7,900)

Pivots:

  • For Gordon or Kish: Johnny Case ($7,800)