The Haymaker: UFC FN 99 – Picks and Analysis (Early)
The Haymaker: UFC FN 99: Picks and Analysis
Hey fight fans, welcome back to another edition of The Haymaker. This is the first of two cards that the UFC is having this Saturday. The card kicks off at 12:30pm EST from Belfast, Ireland so make sure you get your lineups in early for this one. The prize pools on DraftKings are slightly larger for the later card, but this one has more top heavy payouts. With 13 fights on the card there are a lot of options to choose from on DK, so I will narrow down the field to some of my favorite individual plays for each format.
Top Play: Gegard Mousasi ($9,600)
Gegard Mousasi gets a chance to avenge his last loss in the UFC against Uriah Hall who landed a spinning heel kick for a surprise KO in the first bout. Mousasi dominated the first round in that fight with excellent grappling control and the KO was a bit of a fluke. The Vegas line reflects this take as Mousasi is the heaviest favorite on the card at -550. He also has the second biggest inside the distance prop on the card of -180, so there is a great chance he gets the finish here. Since the loss to Hall, Mousasi has looked amazing inside the Octagon, winning two fights with impressive finishes over Thiago Santos and Vitor Belfort. Mousasi’s striking is crisp but his main advantage in this one is his grappling. Hall’s only real chance of winning this fight is to land another flash KO and I don’t think it’s very likely that lightning will strike twice. Mousasi makes for an excellent play in both formats. He has the upside of a stoppage victory, and if the fight goes the full five rounds he should be able to score several takedowns and passes on the ground, which means lots of points scored under the new DK system. Mousasi will be the highest owned fighter on the card, but that won’t matter as long as you differentiate elsewhere in tournaments. As the most expensive fighter on the card the only issue is whether you can afford him while still liking the rest of your lineup.
Cash Game Plays
For cash games you want to seek out fighters with high floors. This means selecting fighters that strike at a high output or score lots of takedowns. I generally look to get as many favorites as possible into my lineups as you need to get wins. 3-4 wins are generally enough to cash in most double ups and 50/50s.
Teruto Ishihara ($8,900)
Teruto Ishihara is a fast and talented striker who fights with a very aggressive style. He has shown some power with early stoppage victories in his last couple fights, albeit against lesser competition. He is a -225 favorite over Artem Lobov who is best known for being a training partner of Conor McGregor. Ishihara has a 5” reach advantage in this matchup, but probably won’t take advantage of it as he likes to be aggressive and close the distance. Lobov is not the most skilled fighter but he makes up for that in toughness and durability. He’s only been TKO’d once in over 25 career fights. Lobov can also be inactive at times so even if he doesn’t get finished, I like Ishihara to land way more significant strikes and perhaps score a couple of knockdowns in the process. When you combine this with Lobov’s lack of finishing ability, it gives Ishihara a pretty nice floor. I am hesitant to have too much exposure to Ishihara in tournaments because I think he will be the second highest owned fighter on the card and he is not a lock to get the finish.
Stevie Ray ($7,700)
Stevie Ray is in an even money matchup with Ross Pearson, yet is priced at $800 cheaper, which gives him excellent odds value. In the past, both guys have complained about facing opponents who only want to take them down, so I expect this one to play out on the feet. Pearson is fighting for the 7th time in the last 14 months and he has taken some beatings recently. He is more experienced than Ray and very tough, but has shown to be very hittable. Pearson only has a +390 ITD prop so the chances of Ray getting finished here are pretty low. Ray should be able to land a decent amount of significant strikes in this one, giving him a nice floor, combined with the upside of a victory.
The key to tournaments is to select fighters with high upside. On DraftKings, that means seeking out early finishes and fighters that land a high number of significant strikes. With the new DK scoring system you can also find a high ceiling with grapplers who score lots of takedowns and are active on the ground. It’s fine to have some popular plays but it will usually take one or two low owned plays to win a tournament.
Abdul Razak Alhassan ($9,400)
This fight has the best odds on the card for a finish and it is going to be a big target of mine in GPPs. Both guys are making their UFC debut, but Alhassan is a judo black belt who has just been destroying guys in the Octagon. He has an average fight time of 1:26 in 6 pro fights and seems to be on another level from his opponent Charlie Ward. Ward is not very good and is probably only on this Ireland card because he also trains with McGregor’s team. Ward is a brawler who likes to shoot for takedowns but has no ground grappling skills. Alhassan loves to use the outside leg kick which forces guys to try to take him down, but they have a very hard time because of his judo skills. This one should play out on the feet where Alhassan should have the advantage. Alhassan has the best finish prop on the card at -190, yet he should not be that highly owned considering that he has never fought in the UFC before and is priced so close to Mousasi.
Magnus Cedenblad ($8,800)
Much like Alhassan, Magnus Cedenblad is a strong pivot play for me in GPPs from the high ownership of Ishihara. Cedenblad is a very versatile fighter who has good striking and is good on the ground. He comes into this one against Jack Marshman with a 5” height and 6” reach advantage. Marshman is a Welsh boxer who throws a lot of punches, but Cedenblad has shown a great chin and seems to be making improvements each time out. Cedenblad can handle himself on the feet but if he can get this one to the ground, he should have a great chance at a finish.
Justin Ledet ($8,200) vs Mark Godbeer ($8,000)
Odds: Ledet (-155) Godbeer (+135)
Odds to finish: -210
Heavyweight fights are always great to target in GPPs because of their high chance of finishing early. Ledet is a former pro boxer with a great jab and moves well in order to set up his punches. He can take a shot but hasn’t shown a ton of power. Godbeer on the other hand, is slower but his punches pack more power. He does not have a great chin as he was finished by an aging Chieck Kongo who doesn’t KO anybody. Ledet is my favorite play here because of his striking advantage and better chin, but I will definitely have some exposure to Godbeer for his upside. Underdogs in Heavyweight fights always go under-owned, which is a mistake – especially when they have a reasonable chance at a KO.