Saturday, March 3, 2018

MMA UFC Plays - UFC 222

Cris Cyborg headlines the Main Event in UFC 222!

By Sailormars657 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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We have a 12 fight card tonight on UFC 222 live from Las Vegas, Nevada starting at 7:00pm! For this article, I want to spend more time talking about the fighters that I like and why I have exposure to them rather than just providing a list of fighters. This way, you can see what stats I'm looking at and do your own research. There may be certain things that you value more than I do and in that case there may be certain fighters that you would like more than I like that fighter.

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I always begin my research with Vegas odds, not just for UFC but for EVERY fantasy sport. It is my belief that Vegas tends to know and account for a lot more than we do. They are a powerful syndicate and while they are not omniscient, I think it's foolish not to take their multi-millions of dollars of research and analysis into the equation. You can find the latest odds at http://bestfightodds.com

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Next, I look at DraftKings logs. I want to know how that fighter has done on DraftKings in the past. Just because they are a favorite and have a winning record that doesn't mean that they are a good DraftKings play. Generally speaking, you need at least 600 points to take down a tournament. With a team of 6 fighters, that's at least 100 points per fighter on average. With a $50,000 salary pool on average you are looking for about 83 points per fighter to have a shot at winning a GPP. So I'm looking at how many points have they scored on average in the past. If they have less than 5 fights in the UFC, I don't weigh that as high as someone who has had 5 or more fights in the UFC. For me an average of less than 50 points is bad, 50 to 70 is mediocre, 70 to 90 is good and 90 or more is excellent.

Next, I look at matchup statistics, to identify areas that I believe a fighter can exploit. So for instance, if a fighter throws a lot of significant strikes and their opponent has a low significant strikes defensive percentage, that's an area that can be exploited. If a fighter has a high takedown average and high takedown accuracy and their opponent has a low takedown percentage that's another area that can be exploited. You can find matchup statistics right at http://ufc.com. Scroll down to the box that has all of the matches and then click on the match that you want to analyze.

Finally, I look at who the average UFC fan is picking and how they are expecting the fight to go. I do this to get a general consensus of what most people are believing will be the final result of the match. I also do this to get an idea of what ownership is going to be. If you have a fighter who 80% of the fans think he or she is going to win and they think it's going to be an early round knockout or submission and that fighter is $8,000, that's going to be an insanely high owned fighter.

So with that, let's take a look at the fighters that I like on this card tonight! Keep in mind I only play GPP so these are all GPP plays. If you're looking for cash plays, look for fighters who are heavy favorites. Look for fighters whose price is lower than what their odds reflect. So for instance, if a fighter is less than $8,200 but has favorite odds to win, that's an example of a good cash play. Look for fighters who have consistent high DraftKings logs. Finally, look for underdogs who are fighting in fights where the Vegas odds have an over/under that is favorite to go over 2.5 rounds. That means the fight is likely to go the distance and that gives them a better chance to score points.

Fighters I Like Tonight

Cris Cyborg $9,700 - It is NOT a question of whether I'm playing Cris Cyborg tonight. The only question is how much of her I'm going to own tonight. She is the largest favorite on the card tonight by far! So large that even the high price doesn't reflect how large of a favorite she is. Her opponent Yana Kunitskaya has never fought in the UFC before. She does have 3 fights at Invicta and is the Bantamweight Champ down there, which is like the next level below UFC for women MMA fighters. She won her last fight by decision, lost the fight before by submission and won the fight before that by submission. However that fight result was changed to a no contest because the referee warned her opponent about a maneuver that was actually a legal one. I'll have anywhere between 50 and 100% of Cyborg tonight. I have no concerns about her losing. My only question is at $9,700 will she score high enough to be in the winning lineup and allow me to build a good team of fighters with her taking up over 19% of my salary.

Brian Ortega $7,500 - I'll definitely have some shares of his opponent Frankie Edgar as well. However, Ortega is an outstanding GPP play on this card tonight. He's $7,500 on DraftKings but only a 140 underdog. Go $200 less to Mike Pyle and that jumps to a 260 underdog. So we are getting some value here. UFC fans are only picking Ortega to win 39% compared to 61% for Frankie. However, 71% of those picking him to win expect him to win by submission. The risk that we have here is although Ortega is undefeated, his most likely path to victory is a submission win. If this fight goes the distance, Frankie Edgar is significantly more likely to win this. The problem with that path is Frankie Edgar has never been submitted before. I'll take my chances, especially in Cyborg lineups where I'm going to need to save salary somewhere to build a decent team.

Andre Soukhamthath $8,200 - I like Sean O'Malley. The kid has heart. I will even have some lineups with him. However, Soukhamthath is the better GPP play to me. The UFC fans are ALL over O'Malley picking him at 76% to win. DraftKings has this fight as a very close to an even fight with the slight edge to Soukhamthath when you look at the pricing. Vegas has this as completely even with both fighters at a -105 odds to win. With O'Malley having the lower price and with so many people expecting him to win, I expect for him to be highly owned. So from a GPP standpoint, it makes complete sense to have more of Soukhamthath, who I believe has an excellent chance to win this fight. Plus I can get him at lower ownership as well.

Stefan Struve $8,800 - I'm going to have as much Struve as I can afford. Arlovski is old and washed up. I don't know how he won his last fight by decision. I believe that win is going to put more people on him than there should be. Especially people who are looking for salary savings to try to afford Cyborg. Fine with me. 100% fade on Arlovski for me and as much Struve as I can afford in my lineups. I am even willing to play him 100% if I can fit him in 100% of my lineups. The only thing I will say is it is a heavyweight fight and in those fights anything can happen. I'll take my chances and if an Arlovski win kills my lineups tonight, so be it, on to next week.

Pedro Munhoz $7,600 - This is another fight where I think the fans have it wrong and I'm going to take the opposing side. The fans are picking Dodson over 86% to win. Vegas only has him at a -140 to win though. Munhoz has great recent form. He's won 4 out of his last 5 fights, including 4 straight victories. 3 out of 4 have been finishes and the one decision he scored 81 points. Dodson has had terrible recent form. He's LOST 3 out of 5 fights. I'll have excellent exposure to Munhoz and will be fading Dodson today.

So those are some of my favorite plays on the card today. Also to help you out, I'll list the fighters that I will be avoiding today. They are as follows:

Fighters I Hate Tonight

Yana Kunitskaya - $6,500
Andrei Arlovski - $7,400
John Dodson - $8,600
Ashley Yoder - $7,200
Alexander Hernandez - $7,000
Zak Ottow - $8,900

So when you are building your lineup, I think the most important thing is to avoid all the fighters that I hate tonight. They either have a very low chance of winning based on my analysis OR in the case of Dodson and Ottow they are severely overpriced. I think that as long as you avoid those fighters, you got a good chance at cashing tonight. 

Next, get decent exposure to the fighters that I like. They may not all win, but with the lower priced fighters especially I believe if they do win you have an excellent shot at winning a GPP. 

Finally, the fighters who I didn't list in either section, feel free to put them in where they make sense salary wise. I'm not as high on them as I am on the fighters that I listed above. However, there's nothing wrong with getting some exposure to them.

Good luck tonight!

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