The UFC is hosting its last Vegas card from the APEX Center, as the next five events will be a part of the next Fight Island series in Abu Dhabi before the promotion returns to its stateside home. UFC Fight Night: Covington vs. Woodley is 14 fights deep and has a wealth of great bouts peppered throughout. With another early start time of 5:00 p.m. ET, we should be able to enjoy a great show and be in bed by a reasonable hour.
With so many quality fights on the bout sheet, it can be a difficult process sorting out which fighters belong in our DraftKings fantasy lineups. We’ve broken down some of the contests to illustrate who is worth their lofty price tag and who is flying under the radar as a bargain basement value. Let’s take a look at our five stars.
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Colby Covington, $9,300
Covington is a great wrestler and a very good technical striker, even if he doesn’t possess much in the way of knockout power. What he lacks in power, he makes up for with volume, and much like the sky is blue, “Chaos” throws punches in bunches. An orthodox striker (as is Woodley), Covington likes to fight on the outside at range, launching potshots and combinations from a distance. He is a busy bee, constantly moving with good footwork and level-changing with great timing. He averages a staggering 4.91 takedowns per 15 minutes and defends himself well against them, with a rate of 78%, so even Woodley’s vaunted wrestling might not find much purchase in this contest.
Against other strong wrestlers, Covington doesn’t waste a lot of time trying to maintain control, instead, he goes back to wearing his opponents down with a relentless pace. Colby could absolutely find himself on the receiving end of one of those huge overhand rights that Tyron has been known to land with devastating effect, but his fight IQ is sound and his conditioning is above reproach, not to mention his chin durability is also well above average, so it is my opinion that Covington’s pricing is more than justified here.
Mayra Bueno Silva, $9,000
Mayra Bueno Silva is a powerful striker with the added advantage of having submission chops and the gas tank to throw tons of volume without it taking a huge toll on her stamina. She’s an orthodox kickboxer coming off her first professional defeat, a unanimous decision loss to Maryna Moroz, however, her performance against Gillian Robertson was outstanding. Against the almost timid fighter Mara Romero Borella ($7,200) has become, she shouldn’t find it too difficult to get the fight to the ground where she can do her best work. Borella does have a chance, especially if previous examples of ladies being on a terrible losing skid then turning their fortunes around are to be the examples we look to (Eubanks, Dobson). If Myra keeps her wits about her, she should have this victory in the bag.
TJ Laramie, $9,200
Laramie is a top-notch wrestler with a ton of upside. He’s well-versed pretty much everywhere and has demonstrated solid fight IQ to go along with his physical gifts. Laramie is on a 4-fight win streak with his August win on the Contender Series being the propellant that landed him onto the UFC’s roster. In addition to his high-level wrestling, he has the hot hand and boasts seven knockouts. Darrick Minner ($7,000) isn’t as athletically enabled as Laramie, but he’s a legitimate ground threat, with 21 of his 24 wins being via submission. Minner happens to have very questionable cardio, which may make Laramie’s job that much easier. All told, it seems like a pretty comfortable call for Laramie to debut with a win.
Ryan Spann, $7,900
Ryan Spann being the underdog in this fight strikes me as odd, but considering Walker’s 14 knockouts, I can understand why. He’s a well-rounded, well-conditioned fighter with excellent grappling, legitimate power and the composure to hang tough under the firepower of Walker’s assault. Walker is undisciplined, a disadvantage Spann will be too happy to exploit, especially on the ground. If we go back in time to Johnny’s fight with Nikita Krylov, we’ll remember how thoroughly he was trounced, being pinned underneath Nikita for prolonged periods, trying everything he could to escape, huffing and puffing as his stamina faded. Ryan Spann can achieve the same result if the action hits the canvas (or even if it stays upright). It’s sink or swim time for Walker and I’m not sure if his water-treading will be up to snuff against “Superman” Spann.
Donald Cerrone, $7,700
Donald Cerrone at $7,700 is a steal! I know some of you have lost your faith in “Cowboy,” but you have to really examine his recent opponents before you write him off. Let’s start with his schedule, which has been insane. He’s had five fights in 16 months, starting back in May of last year with a win over a surging Al Iaquinta, who’d only lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov in a 7-fight span before facing Cerrone. Then came the four losses, and this is where it gets murky.
Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, Conor McGregor, back-to-back-to-back—a Murderer’s Row of Top 5 talent, then the fight with Anthony Pettis from this past May marked his fourth loss in a row. However, we must look at that fight as the proverbial salt in the wound of his previous three losses, because the eye poke from Pettis (that was missed by the ref) contributed heavily the outcome of that fight. Cerrone was doing very well before the poke, and it’s just so unfortunate it couldn’t have gone the distance to see its natural conclusion.
Niko Price ($8,500) is a wild thing, full of energy and impulse, able to turn around his misfortune from seemingly anywhere (see James Vick and Randy Brown fights). Price’s stand-and-bang style with little regard for defense is exactly the kind of meal Donald likes to enjoy in the octagon, though. This is the kind of opponent he routinely mops the floor with. Even with four losses in his immediate rear-view, it’s hard to pick against Cerrone here. Experience, patience and an incredibly varied skill set should see him ride off into the sunset with the win.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is crooklyn949) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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