The Haymaker – UFC Fight Night 111: Picks and Analysis

Hey fight fans, welcome back to another edition of The Haymaker. The UFC has another Fight Night card this Saturday morning from Kallang, Singapore. The start time is important to note as lineups will lock at 4:45am EST, so make sure that you check in on the latest news before you go to bed in case you are unable to be awake during lock. As always, I will make sure to post any relevant updates in our premium chat leading up to the event, so hop in there for the latest info and strategy talk. The UFC has made an unusual choice for the main event of this card, with Holly Holm looking to end a 3-fight losing streak against Bethe Correia. There is not a lot of value on the rest of the card as there are several heavy favorites at -200 or greater, making lineup construction somewhat tricky this week. With the tougher pricing structure, I will go over my favorite DFS targets in each format to help make these decisions a little easier.

Main Event: Holly Holm ($9,600) vs Bethe Correia ($6,600)

Odds: Holm (-600) Correia (+450)
Odds to Finish: -160

This is probably the least interesting main event we’ve had in a long time, but hey, it’s more fights so we can’t complain too much. Holly Holm has lost 3 straight fights since upsetting Ronda Rousey for the UFC title and looks to be given an easy fight here to get back in the win column against Bethe Correia, who is coming off a draw and 2 split-decisions against lower level competition. Holm looked good for most of the fight against Tate before getting caught by a late submission, and then had a couple of lacklustre performances against Shevchenko and de Randamie, where she didn’t really commit to her strikes. She threw a lot of strikes in those two fights, but landed such a low percentage of them that she was unable to capitalize. Holm will have a massive 3” height and 5” reach advantage over Correia though, so I like her chances of landing those strikes much better this time around. Holm will be the faster fighter and have the better cardio in this matchup as she has gone the distance in multiple 5-round fights lately, while Correia has yet to go past the third round in her UFC career. Holm’s finish prop has climbed all the way to -120, so I expect her to pick Correia apart from the outside for the first few rounds before possibly earning a late stoppage due to accumulation of strikes.

Looking at this fight in a vacuum, Holm looks like a very solid play in both formats, as she has a very high floor and decent upside, but her astronomical price could be an issue, as it will likely hurt the rest of your lineup construction. If there are no high scoring upsets from the big underdogs, then it might not matter what Holm scores, as it will be hard for her to be in the winning lineup at that price. As a result, I don’t think I will have much exposure to this fight in GPPs, as I would prefer to go with a more balanced lineup, than “stars and scrubs”. In cash games, I think it is a little trickier, as you can make an argument for stacking the fight or even just using Correia as a punt, as you might be OK with getting just 20 points from her at that incredibly low price. Correia is very unlikely to get the win here and does not have much power, but she does strike at a high volume and may be able to rack up a few significant strikes before it’s over.

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.

Colby Covington ($8,500)

At only $8500, Covington comes in as one of the best overall values on the entire card, as he is a sizable -325 favorite over the veteran Dong Hyun Kim (not to be confused with the Dong Hyun Kim from last week’s card, who is much worse). Covington is a former NCAA wrestling champion and is one of the best young wrestlers in the UFC. Over his last 3 fights, he has landed 23 takedowns and 21 advances which have led to DraftKings scores of 108, 124, and 137. Covington is 6-1 in his UFC career and has scored over 100 DK points in 5 of those 7 fights, making him a strong DFS target every time he sets foot inside the Octagon. Covington has fought mostly lower level competition and gets his toughest test to date against Kim. Kim has only lost 3 times in his 10-year UFC career and that was against the best of the best in the division (Woodley, Maia, Condit – all wrestlers though). Kim has a Judo background, which makes him difficult to take down, but he has struggled in that department lately as he was taken down twice by Tarec Saffiedine last fight, and he is more of a stand-up specialist. On the feet, Kim has KO power but he is more of a brawler and not very technical. He has been super aggressive lately, which should lead to a high paced fight, but he does not have a great gas tank and Covington should have the advantage in the later rounds as he has excellent cardio. The aggression of Kim combined with the bad gas tank should provide several opportunities for Covington to land takedowns throughout the fight. Covington has also really improved his striking lately, as he has been training a lot with Jorge Masvidal, so he still has a good chance of putting up some points if the fight stays standing. On a card without many fighters in the middle pricing tier, I am going to have a lot of exposure to Covington in both formats, has his high output style gives him a nice floor and an excellent ceiling. Unfortunately, I expect him to be the highest owned fighter on the card in GPPs (in a spot similar to Tim Elliott from last week), so I don’t mind taking a shot or two on Kim as a leverage play on the chance that the veteran can pull off the upset with an early KO.

Russell Doane ($7,600)

This card is difficult to find a lot of safe value in the lower pricing tier and Russell Doane offers one of the best options from a betting odds and stylistic perspective. Doane has struggled lately, as he has been on a 4-fight losing streak (albeit against some tough competition and some on short notice), but the betting line has been moving in his favor all week and he is now almost even money against Kwan Ho Kwak, who is making only his second appearance in the UFC. Kwak is skilled young striker who is not very technical on the feet but is still improving. He has some potential but still has several holes in his game – mainly his take down defense and cardio. In his UFC debut, Kwak was taken down 11 times by Brett Johns in only 3 rounds. Doane is not on the same level as Johns, but he is a decent wrestler and should have an advantage if he can get the fight to the ground. Doane is capable on the feet and with Kwak’s low finish prop (+410); I like his chances of surviving and potentially putting up some decent points in the grappling game, with a very reasonable chance of earning the win bonus.

Other cash options: Justin Scoggins ($9,300), Raphael Dos Anjos ($9,000), Lucie Pudilova ($8,200)/Ji Yeon Kim ($8,000)

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.

Jon Tuck ($8,800)

Jon Tuck is not usually the most appealing fighter to target for DFS purposes, but this pick is more about who he is fighting than anything else. Tuck is a -320 favorite against the aging veteran, Takanori Gomi, who has been dropped or taken down and finished early in 3 straight fights. Gomi is mainly a striker, but his chin is shot and he looks like a ghost of his former self. He has poor takedown defense and struggles to fight back once he hits the ground. The issue with Tuck is his inconsistency; he has lost two split-decisions in a row after an impressive victory against Tae Hyun Bang and looks to get back in the win column here. Tuck is a black belt in BJJ with explosive striking but has sometimes struggled to put it all together. He tends to come out strong and hurt guys early in fights, but he fades out in the later rounds and doesn’t make as much use of his BJJ skills has he could. Based on Gomi’s recent fights, I am not as worried about a late-round letdown from Tuck, and I expect him to make quick work of Gomi if he can drop him or take him down early. Tuck is tied for the 2nd-best finish prop on the card at -145, but comes at a nice discount to other expected finishers like Li Jingliang and Walt Harris. On a card without much value at the bottom, I like having more balanced lineups in GPPs and targeting fighters with upside like Tuck in the mid-range. Given the price and opponent, I think you can also make a case for using Tuck in cash games if you need the savings.

Marcin Tybura ($8,700)

Tybura is a strong GPP option for many of the same reasons as Tuck; he is fighting a guy in Andrei Arlovski who has been finished in 4 straight fights and is reaching the end of his career. I have more confidence in Tybura’s abilities than Tuck, but this is a Heavyweight fight and Arlovski is more dangerous than Gomi, so it sort of balances out for me between the two. Arlovski still has some power in his hands, but he only throws one strike at a time these days and doesn’t capitalize when he is able to connect on his opponents. Tybura came up as more of a grappler, with a brown belt in BJJ, but he has been working on his striking and has dangerous kicks. Tybura has great movement for a Heavyweight and is surprisingly light on his feet. He is also very durable and should have a distinct speed advantage, so I like his chances of landing more shots and earning the finish before Arlovski can hurt him.

Naoki Inoue ($8,900) vs Carls John De Thomas ($7,300)

Odds: Inoue (-275) De Thomas (+235)
Odds to Finish: -115

This fight is a sneaky one to target in GPPs as it features a pair of unknowns as both fighters are making their UFC debuts at just 20 years old. De Thomas missed weight by a whopping 5lbs, but they have agreed to give 30% of his purse to Inoue, so the fight should go on as scheduled. I would just make sure to keep an eye on this one closer to lock in case anything changes. Inoue has a 4” height and reach advantage and is the big favorite in this one. He is a skilled submission grappler with his longer frame giving him the advantage on the ground. Inoue has a solid +105 finish prop, compared to +695 for De Thomas, which gives him the most upside in this fight and makes him my preferred target of the two. Inoue does stand a bit too upright and the extra height makes him easier to take down if De Thomas can get inside on him. De Thomas does not have much upside, but he is the better-rounded fighter and has decent striking and wrestling so there is some potential for takedowns. If he can get the fight to the ground and end rounds on top (which the extra weight should help), De Thomas might be able to earn a low scoring victory which should help pay off his cheap salary. I think that makes De Thomas worth a shot or two in GPPs as a punt option since I am not in love with the rest of the bottom tier and he should have almost no ownership. But I will be heavier on Inoue on this one, since he is still dangerous on his back and can lock in a submission even if De Thomas can take him down. Inoue is also priced between other popular options like Harris, Dos Anjos, Tuck, and Tybura, which should keep his ownership low.

Other GPP options: Li Jingliang ($9,400), Walt Harris ($9,200), Dong Hyun Kim ($7,700)

Cash Game Optimal Plays

  • Holly Holm ($9,600)
  • Jon Tuck  ($8,800)
  • Marcin Tybura ($8,700)
  • Colby Covington ($8,500)
  • Russell Doane ($7,600)
  • Bethe Correia ($6,600)
  • Pivot – Justin Scoggins ($9,300)
  • Pivot – Raphael Dos Anjos ($9,000)