Saturday, April 23rd, is UFC 197, and some of the matchups look like they are much closer than expected. While this will inevitably lead to some exciting fights, it also leaves the door wide open for many daily fantasy MMA leagues. Here, we will break down some of the top fights, and give you the information you need to dominate your daily fantasy sports leagues by drafting the best roster you can.
Jon Jones vs. Ovince Saint Preux
This is the Interim Light Heavyweight Title fight, the headliner of the night. This will likely be the most heavily used fight within fantasy leagues, and this means that you need to have a good understanding of the matchup before you select a fighter from it. Jones is the favorite here, with a salary of $11,400, compared to Saint Preux’s $8,000. While Jones seems like the easy choice here, you need to take a look at the stats first. Jones has a 21-1 record, while Saint Preux is 19-7. However, Saint Preux has a significantly better KO/TKO percentage, and has won fewer matches by a decision. This indicates that when he wins, he wins with more fantasy points than Jones is likely to earn. He also has more decisive takedowns by a slight margin. There’s a good chance that Jones will win this fight, but because of the huge discount here, and because of the bigger point ceiling that Saint Preux has, spending $8,000 on him has far more point per dollar potential than you will find with Jones. We like that, especially as it gives us a lot of free room to draft whoever else we want for the rest of our roster.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejuda
Johnson, the defending Flyweight champion, goes against Cejuda in this title match. Johnson is the obvious favorite, with a salary of $11,000. Compared to Cejuda’s $8,400, Johnson looks pretty expensive. However, if you draft Saint Preux in the main event, then this price tag shouldn’t be a problem. The question is: should you do this? Cejuda has a higher KO/TKO percentage, with a rate of 40%, compared to Johnson’s 18%. Also, he has a higher decision rate, which indicates that he not only can win more, but he can go the distance well if need be. He’s 10-0, which shows a lack of experience to Johnson’s 22-2-1, but he also hasn’t lost yet. This will be a close fight, and Johnson has experience on his side. What we recommend is to either draft Saint Preux or Cejuda, but not both. If you draft one of these fighters, skip the other fight. Both have huge point potential and a lot of upset momentum, but drafting two underdogs in the two top ranked fights of the night is a bit risky for our liking. Go with one or the other.
Yair Rodriguez vs. Andre Fili
This fight looks a lot more interesting than it seems on the surface. For one, Fili is a lot cheaper, but is scoring more fantasy points per fight on average. He’s priced at $8,900, and is averaging 61.0 points per fight. Rodriguez will cost you $10,500, but is only putting up 55.3 points per fight. That tilts the odds in Fili’s favor. He has a 15-3 record, while Rodriguez is 7-1. Statistically, Rodriguez has the better average, but Fili has experience, and is a more proven fighter. He has a far better KO/TKO rate, wins by submission a bit more often, and let’s fewer fights go to decision. If it does go to decision, Rodriguez has the edge, but we don’t see that happening with this fight. We’re going with Fili here, taking our discount, and cashing it in elsewhere. Fili also has a reach of an extra 3 inches, which gives him the bigger potential for more successful strikes, so even if he loses, he could still score a lot of fantasy points here.