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The Haymaker – UFC Fight Night 139

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UFC DraftKings MMA DFS Picks for UFC Fight Night Waterson vs Rodriguez with Donald Cerrone

The UFC is in Denver, Colorado this weekend with a Fight Night card on Saturday evening (7:00pm EST lock). The card is headlined by an exciting matchup at Featherweight between Yair Rodriguez and Chan Sung Jung (aka The Korean Zombie). With the card taking place in Denver, it’s worth noting that the elevation change can cause some fighters to gas more easily, but it’s difficult to predict exactly who it will impact and how much, so I don’t plan to factor it heavily into my analysis. On another housekeeping note, the Borg vs Benavidez fight was cancelled earlier in the week, so we are now down to 12 fights, but it remains a strong DFS card for both cash games and tournaments. As usual, I will highlight my favorite plays in each format to help narrow down your decisions.

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* Current betting odds and finish props can be found at BestFightOdds.com

 

Main Event

Chang Sung Jung ($8500)(+100) vs Yair Rodriguez ($7700)(-110) – The main event is a bit of a toss up as neither fighter has competed recently, and the betting line is down to a pick’em. Jung has only fought once in the last five years due to injuries and time spent in military service, while Yair hasn’t fought since May 2017 due to contract disputes with the UFC. While I have a hard time picking a winner, I do expect this fight to be very high-paced for as long as it lasts, which makes it a strong target in DFS.

Yair is a kick-based striker who is better at range, while Jung is the better boxer in close. Both can be a bit risky on the feet, with Jung leaving his hands down while pressuring aggressively and Yair throwing a lot of wild spinning kicks to entertain the crowd. Jung is an excellent grappler while Yair is underrated in that department and very opportunistic off his back.

Both have almost identical betting lines and finish props (+160) and with the variance of the matchup I think I makes sense to targets both sides heavily in all formats. This makes Yair the much better value at $800 less than Jung, so he would be my preferred option if only playing one lineup. But ownership should also be skewed in his favor, so Jung becomes more appealing in large-field GPPs given the similar projection on both fighters. I will most likely just take the easy approach and split my exposure down the middle in tournaments. In cash games, Yair would be the preferred target on a point-per-dollar basis but given the high-variance nature of the matchup, I think stacking the fight is the best approach.

 

Cash Game Plays

Davi Ramos ($9500)(-1000) – Ramos is far and away the best play on the card in both formats against John Gunther, who is barely UFC caliber. It’s a huge mismatch on paper as Ramos is a -1000 favorite and is -400 to win inside the distance. Ramos is a high-level submission grappler with power in his hands while Gunther is a low-level grinder who is extremely hittable. Gunther is constantly moving forward and usually eats a lot of punches while trying to get his opponent against the cage where he looks for takedowns. He has no head movement at all and has relied on his chin to get to the UFC, but that’s not going to hold up forever considering how much damage he takes. Gunther doesn’t have much of a ground game and if the fight hits the mat, Ramos should be able to find a submission easily.

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Bobby Moffett ($7800)(-110) – Moffett is a solid cash play on paper due to his odds value and grappling-based fighting style. He’s making his UFC debut against veteran, Chas Skelly, but comes into this matchup as a slight favorite at only $7800. Skelly is a grinder with a wrestling background and decent submission grappling. He should have a slight wrestling advantage, but he doesn’t land many takedowns and has been taken down multiple times himself. Moffett is a BJJ black belt who actively goes for takedowns and looks to advance position, which is what we want to target on DK. Neither fighter is known for their striking, so things should at least be competitive if the fight stays standing. Skelly is the more experienced fighter, but he’s getting older and is coming off a long layoff. He is not the most athletic fighter and already tends to fade in the later rounds, so I expect Moffett to have more success the longer the fight goes. Moffett is far from a lock in this matchup, but he’s your best bet to pick up the win of any fighter below 8k and comes with upside in the grappling game.

Other Cash Options: Maycee Barber ($9400), Mark De La Rosa ($9000), Thiago Moises ($7500), Michael Trizano ($6900)

 

GPP Plays

Mike Perry ($8900)(-185) vs Donald Cerrone ($7300)(+170) – If you’re playing single entry, 3-max, or other small-field tournaments, then this fight is a very strong target given the likelihood of action and an early finish. It’s not going to be a sneaky fight by any means, as both fighters are well known for their willingness to engage and put on a show. Perry is an aggressive striker with a lot of power and almost all his wins have come via KO (he’s coming off his first career decision win against Paul Felder, who is known for his durability). He’s struggled against more technical fighters who can strike at range and mix in some wrestling, which Cerrone is more than capable of.

Cerrone’s overall game is much more diverse than Perry’s, as he throws more kicks, uses his wrestling, and can threaten with submissions. The biggest question mark for him these days is his durability. Cerrone has fought so often and taken a lot of damage recently, having been KO’d in three of his last five losses. He’s also struggled against fighters who pressure him, which is what Perry does best.

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This fight has a wide range of outcomes and most of them should pay off on DK (aside from a Perry decision win, which is the least likely of outcomes), so I plan to have decent exposure to both sides of this matchup in tournaments. Cerrone has more paths to victory but if I had to choose just one fighter, it would be Perry because of the durability.

Devonte Smith ($9100)(-210) – There are several strong tournament options above Perry at 8.9k, but Smith stands out because of his -135 finish prop, which is the second best on the card. Smith is a talented striker who throws everything in combos and has power but appears to be a bit of a front runner. While he has a ton of upside in the striking department, he’s not the best defensive grappler and his cardio is a bit of a question mark. Smith is making his UFC debut against Julian Erosa, who is known to have durability issues, and has already been cut by the UFC once. He’s a decent striker with a competent grappling game, but he attacks in bursts and is easily countered on the way in. Erosa is more experienced and has faced the better competition so things could get interesting if Smith fails to put him away early. It’s not a bad idea to hedge with Erosa if playing multiple lineups, but I’m willing to bet on the younger, more athletic, and more powerful Smith.

Thiago Moises ($7500)(+135) – Beneil Dariush is coming off an upset KO loss to a young and talented short-notice replacement and he gets a very similar situation here against Moises, who is also making his UFC debut on short notice. Dariush is a well-rounded fighter with a very high fight IQ, so I don’t love picking against him, but his durability has become a serious issue after being brutally KO’d in two of his last three fights. Moises is a dynamic striker who throws a lot of spinning attacks and head kicks and has a slick submission game. He’s aggressive and durable so he should have a decent floor, even in a loss, as Dariush is not a big finisher (watch Dariush break the record for fastest finish now, lol). Dariush is the rightful favorite in this matchup, but Moises has the better finish prop and that makes him an interesting underdog target in GPPs.

Other GPP Options: Luis Pena ($9300), Mark De La Rosa ($9000), Ashley Yoder ($8600), Joseph Morales ($8000)

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