UFC 209: Where in the World is Khabib Nurmagomedov?

Fans of mixed martial arts were hit right in the gonads earlier this afternoon when the marquis lightweight bout between #1 contenders Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson was scratched due to a vicious weight cut for the Dagistani sambo master.

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Yeah, Mr. Eckhart, that’s how we feel too…

But hey, we still have the rematch between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson for the welterweight championship, and several other fights that should promise some entertaining action *cough* Vannata vs. Teymur *cough*.

Rather than just go through the main card and pick the winners, I’m going to change this up and instead look at the entire card through the lens of daily fantasy sports, specifically Draft Kings. I would like to clarify, though, that these fighters are not necessarily the ones I would pick in a straight up pick ’em. Daily fantasy is a different beast altogether and you have to balance value with locks.

Rules of the game: You essentially have a salary cap under which you must stay as you construct a roster of six fighters.  Each fighter has their own cost (based on previous performances), and points are scored by such activities as landing significant strikes, takedowns, knockdowns, etc.  Additional points are awarded based on the round in which the fighter wins – for example, more points are scored by a first round finish than a decision victory. For a complete breakdown of the rules, you can check out the DraftKings page here. Also, if you do not yet have an account, you can sign up here.

Alright, let’s move on to the real stuff.

First of all, I would stay away from the main event.  While neither fighter is particularly expensive (especially the champ, surprisingly), I believe that the fight is too much of a coin flip to risk.  After all, their last outing did result in a draw.

Lando Vannata will be a popular pick on Saturday based off of his first two UFC fights.  He is also expensive. His opponent, on the other hand, has been nearly as impressive and also clocks in as one of the least expensive fighters on the card.  David Teymur is a great value pick as Vannata has shown himself to be hittable and Teymur throws with excellent technique.

The main card heavyweight matchup between Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem also provides us with a good value.  Mark Hunt is surprisingly cheap despite his penchant for knocking people out.  And we all know that Overeem has a penchant for getting knocked out.  And we all know that Hunt is in a foul mood…

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The undercard heavyweight matchup is also intriguing. While Luis Henrique is a promising young athlete, his opponent is most likely simply too skilled on the feet for him to pose a real threat at this point. The Pole Marcin Tybura is your pick here.

Mirsad Bektic is the most expensive fighter on the card, but rightly so.  Darren Elkins does provide a good test for the prospect, but Bektic is simply too good in every facet of the fight, on top of being a phenomenal athlete. Look for a decisive win here.

Another fighter with great finishing power is Iuri Alcantara. His opponent might be undefeated, and might be a wrestle-boxer (Alcantara’s main weakness is wrestlers), but the Alcantara that we’ve seen over the last few fights has looked much improved. Early KOs are great for scoring purposes, and Alcantara can definitely accomplish that feat.

I know that Paul Craig is bro and easy to root for, but his matchup here against Tyson Pedro isn’t a good one for the Scotsman. Both fighters are most comfortable on the ground, but the blue-chip Australian has the edge as the stronger and more aggressive fighter.

Remember, sign up for DraftKings here, and go make it rain.

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