On Saturday, a legend of MMA will compete for possibly the last time when Anderson Silva takes on Uriah Hall in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Silva. Once again, we have a card that looks a bit lackluster as far as name value goes (outside of the headliner), but if history has told us anything, it’s that excitement is frequently found without the accompaniment of notoriety. There has been a steady flow of excellent fights coming from the most modest-seeming cards, so I have no doubt that this one will provide plenty of action, and let’s not overlook that co-main event, which is also a bona fide banger, so if the headliner isn’t your cup of tea, the co-main event is ripe for fireworks.
When events feature a new crop of talent, it can make selecting lineups for fantasy DraftKings contests quite a chore. This post is to help you determine which fighters are worth their expensive price tags and which ones are the best bargains. Let’s take a look at our five fighters this week on DraftKings.
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Uriah Hall, $8,600
Uriah Hall gets to be the guy to either hand Anderson Silva yet another loss, possibly ending his career, or he gets to lose to a 45-year old legend. It’s a tough out to fight someone you’ve idolized for your entire career, but Hall is certainly up to the task and seems to be laser focused on making a serious run at the middleweight title. Since moving to Fortis MMA last year, Uriah has looked so much better and appears to be making more thoughtful decisions in fights, as well. We’ve all been through it with Hall winning a fight all the way up until a silly and totally avoidable mistake derails him. His battle with Antonio Carlos Junior demonstrated the strides he’s made under the tutelage of his new trainers and coaches. Hall is an orthodox striker who carries legitimate KO power in his hands and is a dynamic kicker with great head kicks, body kicks and leg kicks. There once was a time when he would become inactive in fights, almost like he couldn’t be bothered with throwing if you gave him too much space, but those days are thankfully behind him (hopefully!). He should have this fight well and truly sewn up, but even at 45, Anderson Silva might still prove to be a very dangerous opponent.
Bobby Green, $9,000
Bobby Green has been looking so fresh lately, it’s hard for me to pick against him, no matter the opponent. His striking is crispy, his takedown defense is sharp, and his grappling is very effective. He’s got tons of fight experience and against the 26-year-old Thiago Moises ($7,200), that’s the kind of craft you want, considering the young Brazilian has a hot hand and excellent grappling. Green’s movement should be a boon as Moises’ striking is still very raw, and his aggression and cage control will likely be very effective, as Thiago is pretty easily steered around the cage. The one place where Green will really need to keep his wits about him is on the ground. Young Moises is quite the stud there and it’s dangerous territory for anyone, including a savvy veteran like Bobby. That said, Mr. Green should have this fight locked up.
Adrian Yanez, $9,200
Adrian Yanez is a hot prospect hailing from La Porte, Texas. The bantamweight enters the UFC after a dynamite performance on the Contender Series where he knocked out Brady Huang just two months ago. Yanez fights from the orthodox stance and is an absolute beast on the feet. He’s an aggressive, technical boxer with a long reach, making it easy for him to potshot at range. He doesn’t have the wrestling chops to fend off the ground wizards at the top end of the division, but he’s young and hopefully can learn along the way. Besides, it’s not like Victor Rodriguez (late replacement for Aaron Phillips) is Cael Sanderson, so I think Yanez will be okay in that regard. Rodriguez is a game opponent though, and we’ve seen lots of regional guys provide shocking upsets, but I think the hype around Yanez is warranted and he should come out the “victor” (see what I did there?).
Andre Fili, $7,700
Andre Fili has been a longtime source of frustration for me because of his poor decision making in fights. I am still mad about that Michael Johnson fight, but that’s a conversation for another day. Right now, let’s take a look at some of the factors that make him a good candidate for scoring an upset. Somewhere over the last 3-4 years, Fili turned a corner and became much more defensively responsible (not rock solid but much better), his striking became sharper, crisper, and his grappling got much better (not that it was bad). He’ll have his hands full with the hyper aggressive grappling force that is Bryce Mitchell ($8,500), but his striking is much more technical and polished than Bryce’s, and his takedown defense is very good. The mental strides Fili has made are the most important improvements to his game. He doesn’t level change at inopportune times anymore. He fights more at range now and makes the most of the length advantage he usually enjoys over his opponents. I know this is going to be a real task for Andre, but I’ve got a feeling he can be the one to take away Bryce Mitchell’s 0.
Cole Williams, $7,900
Cole Williams is an orthodox regional fighter stepping into the octagon for the first time in over a year after a loss to Claudio Silva on short notice. Williams is a good striker with plenty of sting on his jabs and a good bit of pop on his power shots, too. Jason Witt ($8,300) has a historically soft chin, so therein lies my reasoning for choosing Williams. Cole will enjoy a 2-inch height and 3-inch reach advantage as well, and while he’s not exactly a pressure fighter, he does know how to use his size to dictate the range. Both Williams and Witt are coming off losses, and both of those losses were to style assassins: Claudio Silva is a submission ace and Takashi Sato is knockout machine. This is a pretty well-matched bout, and it could go either way, but I think there’s more upside with Williams’ striking than there is with Witt’s subpar grappling and incredibly porous defense.
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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. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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