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TUF 22 Finale DraftKings Preview

Mendes McGregor
Photo Courtesy of AP

After a fantastic UFC Fight Night 80 that set the tables for the weekend, TUF 22 Finale brings a potential Fight of the Year. Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes are the best outside the champion and are no strangers to big fights and big wars.

Joining them are the finalists from TUF – Artem Lobov, a Conor McGregor protégé and Ryan Hall, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu wiz. Then there’s Tony Ferguson and Edson Barboza, who could make for sweet violence in the Octagon with a potential highlight-reel finish.

The second UFC event in three nights brings a lot of fun matchups that can provide back-and-forth action —all of which are entirely unpredictable. That’s both good and bad for fantasy. Here’s our TUF 22 Finale DraftKings Preview:

MAIN CARD (FOX SPORTS 1)

Frankie Edgar ($9,900) vs. Chad Mendes ($9,500)
Featherweight Bout (145 lbs)

Edgar and Mendes could very well be a championship fight in its own right. Both Edgar and Mendes are wrestle-boxers. Edgar throws more volume but with significantly less power. Mendes won’t land as much but will make his count. In the course of five rounds, there’s good chance for a ton of fantasy points.

Mendes has a very good chance to finish this fight especially if he hurts Edgar. But if he can’t finish Edgar, he might be in for a lot of trouble and Edgar could take over. If it’s Edgar, it’s by accumulation of strikes and a decision. Mendes will be a key fighter to have.

Play: Draft Mendes or both!

Artem Lobov ($10,600) vs. Ryan Hall ($8,800)
Lightweight Bout (155 lbs)

A clear-cut striker versus grappler fight. Lobov is a tough stocky fighter who is a pretty good counter-striker with powerful fists. Hall is a better striker than given credit for, but his real shot at the fight is by grappling Lobov and finding a submission. In all likelihood, Lobov knocks Hall out; but there’s a decent shot for a budget play on Hall.

Play: Draft Lobov or Hall as a Budget Lottery shot

Tony Ferguson ($10,300) vs. Edson Barboza ($9,100)
Lightweight Bout (155 lbs)

This is a fantastic fight pitting two high-level action fighters. Ferguson has been on a hot streak and constantly evolves having a well-rounded skillset and the ability to finish a fight anywhere but Barboza has the deadliest kicks in the division. The Muay Thai fighter is precise and fast but Ferguson can wrestle. Barboza could end the fight on the feet given any chance he’s possibly a high risk high reward budget play.

Play: Draft Ferguson or draft Barboza as a lottery shot

Evan Dunham ($10,500) vs. Joe Lauzon ($8,900)
Lightweight Bout (155 lbs)

Two UFC veterans and fan favorites are finally set to meet. Both fighters combined have 35 fights and 17 post-fight bonuses from the UFC, with Lauzon having 13 of those. They’re both well-rounded but Dunham gets a slight edge in striking and Lauzon on the grappling. Dunham can put away Lauzon with strikes and Lauzon can submit Dunham, but a likelier scenario is a fun back-and-forth that leads to a decision. Lauzon at a budget price has potential.

Play: Draft Lauzon or pass

Tatsuya Kawajiri ($10,800) vs. Jason Knight ($8,600)
Featherweight Bout (145 lbs)

Knight gets a really tough assignment as a late replacement. Had he a full camp he would’ve been a good budget play. The 21-year-old specializes in ending fights on the ground but “Crusher” has literally three times the experience and is the burlier fighter. He should win this handily but at such a steep price, he better guarantee a finish.That’s being optimistic though.

Play: Draft Kawajiri or Pass

Julian Erosa ($10,200) vs. Marcin Wrzosek ($9,200)
Lightweight Bout (155 lbs)

Once upon a time, Moraes submitted Neil Magny. The Brazilian is a very dangerous BJJ practitioner but does his best work from the top position — something he may have trouble finding against the sturdy Akhmedov who prefers ground and pound. The fight will likely end in a decision with Akhmedov winning.

Play: Pass

PRELIMS (FOX SPORTS 1)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiZ8ZVUUvAo&list=PLDvI34oKTNutGpMYLTaUJuS1BQQRNrIan

Konstantin Erokhin ($9,800) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga ($9,600)
Heavyweight Bout (265 lbs)

This bout is all but guaranteed to produce a violent finish. The only question is for whom? Gonzaga is a longtime UFC vet who has only gone the distance twice out of 26 fights and can end fights standing up or on the ground. His chin however is a liability. Erokhin is a more straightforward fighter: a rock’em-sock’em type who will swing until someone drops but virtually has nothing on the ground. Flip a coin and draft whoever is affordable.

Play: Draft Gonzaga, Erokhin or Pass

Ryan LaFlare ($10,700) vs. Mike Pierce ($8,700)
Welterweight Bout (170 lbs)

Two wrestlers from two different eras. Pierce is coming back from a long layoff and has been a UFC vet since 2009 while LaFlare debuted in 2013. LaFlare is the bigger fighter and the better athlete but Pierce’s toughness combined with LaFlare’s inability to finish fights makes this a likely a decision. LaFlare should win but not much fantasy potential.

Play: Pass

Joby Sanchez ($9,700) vs. Geane Herrera ($9,700)
Flyweight Bout (125 lbs)

A striker (Sanchez) versus grappler (Herrera) affair pitting two green prospects against the other. Sanchez trains under Greg Jackson so he should be well-prepared with a good gameplan. He’ll look to keep the fight standing and pick apart Herrera while “La Pulga” will try to get the fight to the ground for a chance to submit Sanchez. Chances are this is a back-and-forth affair with no finish and not much fantasy points.

Play: Pass

Chris Gruetzemacher ($10,400) vs. Abner Lloveras ($9,000)
Featherweight Bout (145 lbs)

Not much of an inspiring fight in terms of fantasy or reality. Both fighters don’t have much finishing ability and enjoy getting into closely contested scraps. In Gruetzemacher’s case, he enjoys the grind. Lloveras is better than his budget price but his points ceiling is not high enough for his really low floor.

Play: Pass

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