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UFC 195 DraftKings Preview

Photo Courtesy of AP

The UFC engineered the perfect card to kick-start 2016. UFC 195 is chockfull of violence-guaranteeing fights pitting one striker against another. In the main event, “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler looks to fight off “Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit in what should be a bloodbath with a memorable finish. Setting it up are a pair of other barnburners like striking machine Albert Tumenov taking on the resurgent Lorenz Larkin, while red-hot prospect Brian Ortega fights the always-dangerous Diego Brandao. Heavyweight contenders, Stipe Miocic and Andrei Arlovski also meet.

Below is the UFC 195 DraftKings Preview. New to this series are the tags “DOG” and “DEAL”. Dog indicates an underdog prized fighter worth drafting while Deal indicates a very good dollar per points potential fighter.



Robbie Lawler ($9,800) vs. Carlos Condit ($9,600)
UFC Welterweight Championship (170 lbs)

This fight will offer plenty of violence, blood and fantasy points. The only question is who. As the pick’em odds now indicate, it’s anyone’s guess who comes out on top. Both Lawler and Condit are phenomenal strikers who have seen their fair share of wars.

Lawler is more of a boxer who chips away at his opponents over time but Condit is the more versatile striker with a more dangerous ground game. Condit seemingly has more ways to win the fight and win it early but Lawler’s toughness and ferocity may just carry him through especially considering Condit’s notorious slow first round.

It’s a personal preference who to draft here with price ranges so close. But either one should be on the team since in a five-round affair even a decision victory could yield lots of points.

Play: Draft Either but draft one!

Andrei Arlovski ($8,900) vs. Stipe Miocic ($10,500)  – DOG
Heavyweight Bout (206-265 lbs)

A battle of two finely honed heavyweight strikers. This is one to watch from a technical perspective but that may not translate well from a fantasy perspective. Miocic is wrestle-boxer who prefers to wear out his opponents but doesn’t have that explosive power. Arlovski has more knockout power but won’t force it. Under Greg Jackson, Arlovski has become a more patient and defensive fighter. Arlovski is a very good dog play but finishing the fight is being optimistic.

Play: Draft Arlovski or Pass

Albert Tumenov ($10,100) vs. Lorenz Larkin ($9,300)
Welterweight Bout (170 lbs)

On paper this has the recipe to steal the show even in light of the main event. In actuality, this fight could also be a staring contest with plenty of clinching. Whenever two killer strikers meet they can get tentative out of respect. But should the leather start flying, Tumenov has the better chance to outlast Larkin as “Einstein” has that Anderson Silva-like technicality in picking apart his opponents. Larkin’s power should warrant caution in drafting Tumenov though.

Play: Draft Tumenov or Pass

Brian Ortega ($10,300) vs. Diego Brandao ($9,100)
Featherweight Bout (145 lbs)

Highly-touted prospect, Ortega is getting the Brandao gatekeeper test like he did against Thiago Tavares. Brandao is a fast starter and has good jiu-jitsu and could be a live dog in this fight especially early but Ortega has been improving by leaps and bounds and has the most lethal guard in the division. This fight is likely being finished and the lean is Ortega pulling it out after a heated scrap.

Play: Draft Ortega or Pass

Abel Trujillo ($10,000) vs. Tony Sims ($9,400) – DOG
Featherweight Bout (145 lbs)

A potential slugfest with prices that are flipped on betting odds. Sims is priced as the dog here but has been bet into being a favorite and it’s likely due to how Trujillo’s looked lately. The Blackzilian has been often injured and coming off of two stoppage losses but he’s got that fight-ending power. Sims has very good boxing and knockout power in his own right and as the cheaper fighter he’s the better play.

Play: Draft Sims or Pass



Michael McDonald ($11,000) vs. Masanori Kanehara ($8,400)
Bantamweight Bout (135 lbs)

McDonald is the most expensive fighter on the card for a reason. Despite a two-year layoff, the kid is only 24 with already eight Zuffa fights under his belt. His only losses have come against former Zuffa champions and he has that rare one-punch knockout power for a 135er. Kanehara is being spoon-fed here as the journeyman doesn’t pose much of a threat beyond out-pointing him. Drafting McDonald seems like a must but he’ll be the most owned fighter not giving much of an advantage.

Play: Draft McDonald or Pass

Kyle Noke ($8,500) vs. Alex Morono ($8,500) – DEAL
Welterweight Bout (170 lbs)

DraftKings may adjust Noke’s price but as of publication he’s at a really low cost of $8,500 as a 3-1 favorite. Morono is a great grappler but fighting on short notice and Noke can do it anywhere. He may not finish Morono but he’s more than likely the winner and at a really low price he may be good to stash on a top-heavy fantasy team.

Play: Draft Noke or Pass

Justine Kish ($10,700) vs. Nina Ansaroff ($8,700)
Women’s Strawweight Bout (115 lbs)

It’s set up to look like Kish is going to beat Ansaroff and she should do so soundly. However, a finish is unlikely even if Ansaroff comes in looking like a ghost (coming off a last-minute drop out due to getting sick). And if you’re paying top dollar for a fighter — like Kish — they better finish.

Play: Pass

Scott Holtzman ($10,400) vs. Drew Dober ($9,000)
Lightweight Bout (155 lbs)

Dober has some weird voodoo going on. His only UFC win came off a self-knockout by Jamie Varner after he botched a suplex attempt and he has a NC to Leandro Silva for being falsely submitted by a guillotine choke. But he has shown a vulnerability to submissions and that’s Holtzman’s specialty. Although Dober is tough as nails and it took Holtzman three rounds to submit a much inferior Anthony Christodolou. Squeezing fantasy points here is a tough sell.

Play: Pass



Joe Duffy ($10,600) vs. Dustin Poirier ($8,800) – DOG
Lightweight Bout (155 lbs)

Poirier is being criminally underrated in this fight. “The Diamond” has been revitalized since moving back to lightweight, flashing a stronger and more explosive striking game. Duffy has looked like the smoother fighter and his movement is a thing of beauty. On paper, Duffy, the more polished fighter, should handily win this. But in a fight that will get testy, Poirier is a very live dog whose mettle has been hardened more. Poirier is a very good underdog play here.

Play: Draft Poirier

Michinori Tanaka ($9,700) vs. Joe Soto ($9,700)
Bantamweight Bout (135 lbs)

A great real-life fight but a tricky fantasy fight. On paper, this fight seems destined for decision. Neither Soto or Tanaka have the power in their fists and are both well-versed in grappling to warrant any submissions. On the ground it’ll be a back-and-forth fight for position but on the feet there’s an outside chance Tanaka can hurt Soto enough to put him away. But a decision is still more likely.

Play: Pass

Sheldon Westcott ($10,200) vs. Edgar Garcia ($9,200)
Welterweight Bout (170 lbs)

Based off of their last performances, neither fighter inspires much confidence to win or finish impressively at that. Westcott ripped through the competition in The Ultimate Fighter so he has shown that potentially but had to hold on for dear life in his last bout. Garcia is a well-rounded fighter but is prone to mistakes and can get submitted. Westcott could get it done here but that’s a huge gamble.

Play: Draft Westcott or Pass

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