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UFC Fight Night 98 DraftKings preview

Tony Ferguson
(Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire)

UFC Fight Night 98 takes place this Saturday night in Mexico City. The card features an excellent main event in the Lightweight division.

Thirteen fights in all will be shown to the crowd in Arena Ciudad de Mexico while the prelims and main card will be televised on FOX Sports 1. Should you be entertaining the thought of selecting a DraftKings lineup for this event, we’re here to help. Whether it’s to tell you the fighters that have the most value or the fighters you want to avoid, this guide is for you.

The strategy for this guide distinguishes between Guaranteed Prize Pools and cash games (Head-to-Head, Multipliers, 50/50s etc.). The GPP strategy is playing a lot riskier by going for fighters who are likely to score based on a finish while with cash games it’s about minimizing risk and picking the most reliable fighters. Details on how the scoring works can be found here.

PRELIMS

Enrique Barzola ($9,500) vs. Chris Avila ($6,700)

The biggest mismatch on the card in terms of fighter salaries is the one that will kick the night off.

Chris Avila is always going to be a sleeper pick due to his relationship with the Diaz brothers. However, his UFC debut against Artem Lobov showed that he may have been called up too soon. Enrique Barzola will be no walk in the park and though Avila is tough to finish, I see Barzola picking him apart en route to an easy decision win.

Unless you want to roll with Avila for the upset, I’d stay away from this one.

Recommended Play: Pass

Polo Reyes ($8,900) vs. Jason Novelli ($7,300)

This is going to be a war between two guys who should be willing to slug it out from the opening bell. Jason Novelli was knocked out in his last fight and Polo Reyes may have heavier hands, and better technique. His salary is a little high, but I’d side with Reyes here. His 121.9-point average on DraftKings is pretty enticing too.

Recommended Play: Pick Reyes in GPP

Sam Alvey ($9,100) vs. Alex Nicholson ($7,100)

Another fight where fans should be ready for a brawl, Alex Nicholson has the power and the ability to pull the upset. Wait a minute, is Sam Alvey really fighting again? It seems like this guy is on every card.

Alvey will be fighting for the fifth time in 2016, and after losing back-to-back fights, he’s won two in a row. As long as he can weather the initial storm of Nicholson, look for Alvey to land some big blows and make it a short night. He averages 71.8 fantasy points per fight, which is more than all but six fighters on this card.

Recommended Play: Pick Alvey in either format

Douglas Silva de Andrade ($8,600) vs. Henry Briones ($7,600)

This is a really tough fight to call, as both men have KO power and could put a big fantasy score on the board for your team. Douglas Andrade has only lost once in his career and though his salary will cost you another $1,000, he’s a good play.

But I have a feeling about Briones here. He is the only man to have gone the distance with Cody Garbrandt and that $1,000 will make a difference in filling out the rest of your lineup. Take a shot on Briones here.

Recommended Play: Pick Briones in GPP

Max Griffin ($8,800) vs. Erick Montano ($7,400)

This is possibly the easiest fight on the card for me to pick a winner in, and if you have room for Max Griffin’s price tag, you should strongly consider him. Erick Montano is just 7-4 in his career and will be in over his head in this fight.

Recommended Play: Pick Griffin in either format

Joe Soto ($8,500) vs. Marco Beltran ($7,700)

Joe Soto takes this fight on less than a week notice, and it won’t be an easy feat to take out Marco Beltran. This is a fight I’d likely steer clear of, even considering Beltran’s average of 68.4 fantasy points per fight. There is no way I’d put $8,500 on Soto.

Recommended Play: Pass

Erik Perez ($8,700) vs. Felipe Arantes ($7,500)

This is an excellent fight to wrap up the prelims, one with two proven finishers.

Erik Perez is a tough fighter to figure out. He’s had some spectacular performances, and then he’s had terrible performances, like he did against Bryan Caraway and Takeya Mizugaki. Still, he averages 79.4 fantasy points per fight.

Since moving to the bantamweight division, Felipe Arantes has won both of his fights via armbar. With a much lower salary, I’d put him in my lineup confident that he can do it again.

Recommended Play: Pick Arantes in GPP

MAIN CARD 

Alexa Grasso ($9,300) vs. Heather Jo Clark ($6,900)

Alexa Grasso will be one of the fighters people tune into this event to see. The undefeated strawweight brings plenty of excitement and hype with her.

Heather Jo Clark is an average fighter, at best. She’s just 1-1 in the UFC and she shouldn’t pose much of a threat to the hype train of Grasso here, though Grasso’s price tag is a bit high.

Recommended Play: Pick Grasso in either format

Rashid Magomedov ($8,600) vs. Beneil Dariush ($7,800)

This is a great fight, but it may not be a great fight in terms of fantasy points.

Beneil Dariush has won six of his last seven fights, including a knockout victory over James Vick his last time out. On the other hand, Rashid Magomedov hasn’t lost since 2010. This will be a hard fought matchup that will likely go to the scorecards. Both men have had three fights go to decision in the UFC. Both men could have nice scores, but you should be able to find better ones.

Recommended Play: Pass

Martin Bravo ($8,200) vs. Claudio Puelles ($8,000)

This fight will represent the finals of TUF: Latin America. Martin Bravo is 10-0 in his career while Claudio Puelles is 7-1. Both fighters are capable of getting stoppages and though Puelles showed that on the show more, Bravo has eight stoppages in his career.

But the salaries of both men seem a bit high and it should be pretty easy to just skip right over this fight when setting your lineup.

Recommended Play: Pass

Ricardo Lamas ($8,100) vs. Charles Oliveira ($8,100)

A very even matchup and a very interesting fight, hence the equal salaries. I see this fight being contested predominantly on the mat. Few fighters can keep up with Charles Oliveira in the BJJ department, but Ricardo Lamas is a better wrestler.

For me, this one has decision written all over it. Fantasy points go way down in that case, so this isn’t a fight I would be in on, particularly with both guys commanding over $8,000 of your budget.

Recommended Play: Pass

Marcin Held ($9,000) vs. Diego Sanchez ($7,200)

After competing over in Bellator for the last five years, Marcin Held is going to make his UFC debut on Saturday night. The “Polish Prodigy” found plenty of success over there, going 11-3 in 14 fights. Of those three losses, two of them are to Michael Chandler and Will Brooks.

Held will look to continue his winning ways in UFC, but Diego Sanchez plans to give him a rude welcome. Sanchez, a veteran of 22 fights in the UFC, seems to be on the decline. That was evidenced when he was beaten in 26 seconds by Joe Lauzon back in July.

Sanchez is always a tough, gritty fighter. He averages about 59 fantasy points per fight, but Held, who is 10 years his junior, should be able to secure multiple takedowns and control this fight. If you want to pay $9,000 for that, go ahead, but it will hurt the rest of your picks because you won’t be able to afford them.

Recommended Play: Pass

Rafael dos Anjos ($8,300) vs. Tony Ferguson ($7,900)

Oh boy, what a fun fight. Most people are going to recognize the name of the former champion Rafael dos Anjos, but I am going to make the case here for Tony Ferguson.

Ferguson is 3 inches taller than RDA and will have a 6-inch reach advantage. He also lands a solid 4.56 strikers per minute, according to FightMetric. He also will bring a 78 percent takedown defense rate to the cage. In addition, a win would make him the first lightweight fighter in UFC history to win nine fights in a row.

All of that for $7,900? Give me Ferguson.

Recommended Play: Pick Ferguson in GPP

Sample Lineup: GPP

Sam Alvey $9,100
Polo Reyes $8,900
Henry Briones $7,600
Tony Ferguson $7,900
Felipe Arantes $7,500
Max Griffin $8,800
Total $49,800

Sample Lineup: Cash Games

Sam Alvey $9,100
Alexa Grasso $9,300
Max Griffin $8,800
Rafael dos Anjos $8,300
Jason Novelli $7,300
Diego Sanchez $7,200
Total $50,000

 

 

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