UFC Fight Night 84 DFS Playbook: value picks, who to avoid

It’s another fight week for the UFC as the Octagon heads over to London, England on Saturday for UFC Fight Night 84, headlined by a five-round middleweight bout as former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva takes on long-time contender Michael Bisping. It is another chance to earn some money playing fantasy MMA, and below are our studs, value plays and fighters to avoid when making your daily fantasy line-up for Saturday’s event.

STUDS

Tom Breese ($11,400)

Tom Breese has the highest salary of all 26 fighters on the UFC Fight Night 84 card, making him the top play for this event, and for a real good reason. Breese is a perfect 9-0 in his career, with all nine wins coming by stoppage. He has six first-round finishes, and both of his UFC wins have come by TKO in the first round. He is a rising prospect in the welterweight division who comes from a top camp, the Tristar Gym in Montreal, and he has heavy hands and good submissions. He also has an opponent he is expected to run through in Keita Nakamura. Nakamura is riding a five-fight win streak and is coming off his first UFC win in September, but he is just 1-3 inside the Octagon. Nakamura was actually losing his last fight until pulling out a late submission. This is a fight to build up Breese even further, and I fully expect another first-round stoppage win for him. Play him as your top play.

Makwan Amirkhani ($10,200)

Makwan Amirkhani made a big splash in his first year in the UFC in 2015. He fought just twice, but won both fights in the first round, and has spent less than two minutes inside the Octagon over those two fights. His UFC debut was a seven-second knockout win, and he followed that up with a submission win in 1:41. The man dubbed “Mr.Finland” is a fighter to keep an eye on, and he has a solid track record. He is 12-2 in his career, so he has proven to be beatable, but ten of his 12 wins have come by stoppage. He has also moved to the SBG Ireland camp in preparation for this fight, training alongside the likes of Conor McGregor. He will have the best coaching he has experienced thus far, and he’s fighting an opponent he doesn’t seem to particularly like in Mike Wilkinson. That will add fuel to the fire. Wilkinson is 9-1 in his career, but hasn’t fought since October 2014. This one is made for Amirkhani to get another finish win.

VALUE PLAYS

Michael Bisping ($8,600)

I’m going to start off by saying, as you will see below, I have his opponent, Anderson Silva, on my roster, which says how I think the fight will go. However, at his salary, in a five-round fight, Bisping is a very interesting play. Silva hasn’t fought since January 2015, and is coming off a suspension following his horrific leg break in December 2013. He is getting older, and there are questions as to whether Silva has any left. Having Bisping on your team is banking on the fact you, as a fight fan, think Silva is a shot fighter. Many feel this way. Bisping may not finish Silva with one punch, but what he has is volume. He lands a lot, and this fight could drag on for five rounds, giving him more opportunities to add on to your point total. I’m not playing him on my roster, but his salary is excellent value, and would allow you to spend up on some higher-priced fighters.

Thales Leites ($8,400)

Thales Leites is an interesting play as I see his salary just too low. He is very undervalued in his fight against Gegard Mousasi, and I see Mousasi at $11,000 being too high. This is why Leites makes my value play list. Leites is 5-1 since returning to the UFC, and his lone loss came to Michael Bisping in a very close fight in July. He also has the fight style that has given Mousasi a lot of trouble in the past- a solid striker with an excellent submission game. He could give Mousasi fits, and Mousasi is coming off the first knockout loss of his career in his last fight. Leites has just too low of a salary to not consider him being on your roster. He will be on mine, and he is a solid value play.

FIGHTERS TO AVOID

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Krzysztof Jotko ($10,100)

Krzysztof Jotko is an impressive 16-1 in his career, and 3-1 inside the Octagon. However, of those 16 wins, only six have come by stoppage, and he hasn’t finished an opponent since September 2012. He doesn’t rack up a lot of points either, outside of his dominant win over Tor Troeng, and he tends to have close fights. He has a solid opponent in Bradley Scott, who is tough to finish and has been a finisher himself in his career, as all of his wins have come by finish. Scott is actually a solid play for the event himself. Jotko just doesn’t strike me as a fighter looking to finish, just one who wants a win. There are a lot of finishers on this event, thus making Jotko an easy fighter to avoid.

Norman Parke ($8,700)

Norman Parke has been in way too many close fights to my liking, and is an easy fighter to pass up on this event. His salary is tempting since it gives you some space to spend up on your roster, and let’s face it, you have to have a lower salary fighter on your team. However, he has a tough match-up against Rustam Khabilov, a strong takedown artist, and this is the type of fight Parke comes up short in. Parke has just one finish win in the UFC, which came against an opponent who is 0-5 in the UFC in his career. He isn’t going to finish Khabilov, and I don’t even see him getting the win. He is an easy one to pass on, and don’t get tempted by his low salary. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

OUR LINEUPS:

RYAN FREDERICK- Tom Breese ($11,400), Anderson Silva ($10,800), Makwan Amirkhani ($10,200), Marlon Vera ($8,900), Thales Leites ($8,400)

Tom Breese is the big play of the event and I’m having him on my roster. He is an excellent prospect, and you can’t go against someone who has won by finish in every one of his fights. He has an excellent match-up to get another finish. Next I have Anderson Silva. It does feel like a risky play at his salary, but if he hasn’t lost a step, I think he finishes Michael Bisping. The big question is making sure he isn’t a shot fighter at his age and after the rough past few years. Makwan Amirkhani is also on my team, and his UFC track record with two wins in a less than two combined minutes is hard to overlook. He also has an opponent he is motivated to put away quickly, and he is an excellent prospect. I’m rounding out my team with Marlon Vera and Thales Leites. Vera got a finish in his last fight, and he’s fighting Davey Grant, who hasn’t fought since November 2013 and is coming off being stopped in his lone UFC fight. Vera has a solid shot at the upset. Thales Leites’ salary is just too low, and he has a style to defeat Gegard Mousasi. I’m picking Mousasi to win the fight, but Leites has the ability to get the upset.

PAUL FONTAINE- Gegard Mousasi ($11,000), Anderson Silva ($10,800), Makwan Amirkhani ($10,200), Brad Pickett ($9,000), Marlon Vera ($8,900)

If my picks in recent weeks are any indication, your best bet is probably to pick the exact opposite of my team! But I will try and make a case here for why I’m going with these five. Silva is a points fighter who does have deceptive power. I don’t see any way that Bisping knocks out Silva. So this fight is either going to go the full five rounds, meaning Silva gets a lot of points for striking, or Silva finishes him at some point. Either way, he should rack up some point. Mousasi is a front runner who always looks great in fights against guys ranked below him as is the case her. He should dominate Leites on the way to an early finish. I’m taking a bit of a chance with Brad Pickett, who’s on a 3 fight losing streak but his opponent Rivera has been finished in each of his last two losses and Pickett does have finishing ability at 135. I’m really surprised Marlon Viera is an underdog against Davey Grant, who hasn’t found in 2 1/2 years. Vera is coming off a 2nd round submission win and the group of fighters that he came in with from the first season of TUF Latin America has done very well in UFC. I like him to score another stoppage win here. My last pick is Mr Finland, who I think is a lock to score an early finish. He could be the future of the Featherweight division as the man is extremely popular, oozes charisma and has scary finishing ability…the Finnish Conor if you will. 

PEACH MACHINE- Anderson Silva ($10,800), Davey Grant ($10,500), Francisco Rivera ($10,400), Bradley Scott ($9,300), Thales Leites ($8,400)

I like Anderson Silva. Bisping will be able to hang for a while and he’ll engage Silva and get knocked out late… I like Leites. Mousasi is coming off a bad KO, and hasn’t looked good… Rivera will KO Pickett but this should be a fun one round fight… I’m taking Scott more as a pick against Jotko who was not impressive last time I saw him… I’m taking Grant more as a pick against Vera, but I don’t know anything about either guy, I just hate Brandon Vera so much it extends to anyone with that last name. I went 4-1 last week but I’m not as confident this week. 

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