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The Haymaker – UFC Fight Night 140




The UFC is in Buenos Aires, Argentina this weekend with a Fight Night card on Saturday evening (7:00pm EST lock). The card is headlined by local favorite, Santiago Ponzinibbio, taking on Neil Magny in a 5-round matchup at Welterweight. This card is a bit tricky for DFS as it features several low-level and inexperienced fighters, so I find myself hedging a lot in tournaments. “Stars and scrubs” seems like the best approach in cash games in order to focus on the more reliable fighters. There are only 12 fights on the card and I’m keeping a close eye on the Botelho/Calvillo fight as Calvillo appeared to have a bad weight cut. As usual, I will highlight my favorite plays in each format to help narrow down your decisions.

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Main Event

Santiago Ponzinibbio ($9000)(-215) vs Neil Magny ($7200)(+195) – Ponzinibbio is the hometown favorite in the Main Event and he gets a good matchup against Neil Magny, who is well-rounded but not particularly dangerous. Magny is tall and lanky and will have a massive 7” reach advantage, but Ponzinibbio is the better striker as he lands in more volume and has much more power. He’s shored up his takedown defense which should give him opportunities to finish the fight on the feet but also has a solid ground game if it ends up there. Ponzinibbio has a -144 finish prop, which is the best mark on the card and makes him a very strong play in both formats. The main concern with Ponzinibbio is that he’s never been in a 5-round fight before and could slow down in the later rounds. Magny has excellent cardio but he’s not a big finisher and he’ll have a hard time earning a decision win over Ponzinibbio in Argentina, so I’ll have limited exposure to him in tournaments. Stacking is a decent option in cash games but not necessary like on most cards, although it will give you insurance in case Ponzinibbio can’t finish.


Cash Game Plays

Alexandre Pantoja ($9300)(-305) and Nad Narimani ($9100)(-345) – Paying up in cash games and avoiding the risky mid-range is the preferred roster construction this week and Pantoja and Narimani are the biggest favorites on the card. Pantoja gets a favorable stylistic matchup against Ulka Sasaki, who is a lanky submission grappler. Pantoja strikes at a much higher volume than Sasaki on the feet and is better on the ground, so he has very little risk of being submitted. This gives him a solid floor, but his finish prop is only +140 (which isn’t bad but there are better ones for cheaper), so he seems like a safer option for cash games than tournaments this weekend.

Narimani is the biggest favorite on the card at -345 and is taking on Anderson dos Santos, who is making his UFC debut on only one week’s notice. Santos is an experienced submission grappler but will have a tough time getting the fight to the ground as Narimani is a strong wrestler and will be the bigger fighter. Narimani isn’t a big finisher and only has a +165 chance of winning inside the distance, but he should have the advantage on the feet and could land a few takedowns to seal rounds. He also has the potential to pile up the volume towards the end of the fight if Santos gasses due to the short-notice call-up. But much like Pantoja, Narimani doesn’t appear to have as much upside as fighter’s priced below him, so he is better suited to cash games.

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Bartosz Fabinski ($7600)(+115) and Darren Elkins ($7500)(+150) – A couple of safer fighters below 8k are Fabinski and Elkins. Both fighters have seen their betting lines improve throughout the week and neither are big risks of being finished. They are taking on more skilled opponents in Michel Prazares and Ricardo Lamas, which is why they are still underdogs, but they both have paths to decision victories through volume and durability.

Prazares is a skilled submission grappler and is the better striker than Fabinski but is moving up from 155 to 170 and will be the much smaller fighter. Prazares is short and stocky, which could make him difficult to get down, but Fabinski is a takedown machine and should have a strength advantage so I could see him wearing out Prazares throughout the fight.

Elkins is rarely more talented than his opponents, but he is incredibly durable and always seems to find ways to win. Lamas is a well-rounded opponent, with solid striking and wrestling, but he doesn’t have the best output and hasn’t been as durable lately. I can see a close fight here, and while I think Lamas should probably pick up the win, Elkins should be able to survive and possibly steal another decision win.

Other Cash Options: Jesus Pineda ($8500), Poliana Botelho ($8300)


GPP Plays

Khalil Rountree ($8800)(-170) vs Johnny Walker ($7400)(+160) – This fight has the best finish prop on the card at -485 which makes it an obvious target for GPPs. Rountree is a powerful striker who is coming off a big KO win over kickboxing legend, Gokhan Saki. He’s taking on a newcomer in Johnny Walker who has several KO victories on the regional scene but has also been KO’d a couple times himself. I consider Walker to be a lower-level fighter and think Rountree should be able to get the early KO, so he will be one of my higher owned fighters in tournaments. However, Walker is the much bigger fighter in this matchup (with a 4” height and 6” reach advantage) and Rountree has not been the most reliable option in the past, so I think this is a reasonable spot to hedge with a few shares of Walker. The other issue with this fight is that both fighters have poor cardio, so there is slight dud potential if it gets out of the first round. It should be a popular target overall, so I think it makes sense to play it heavily in smaller-field tournaments, but you could consider fading it in a couple lineups in large-field GPPs if making multiple lineups.

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Cezar Ferreira ($8400)(-170) vs Ian Heinisch ($7800)(+150) – While the “stars and scrubs” approach is safer for cash games this week, the midrange is much more appealing for GPPs. My favorite of these options is the fight between Ferreira and Heinisch, which is -245 to end inside the distance. Heinisch has a wrestling background and some power in his hands, but he is inexperienced and is taking the fight on just one week’s notice, which is why Ferreira is a sizable favorite. Ferreira is a high-level submission grappler with a good takedown game, so his path to victory is very appealing for DK scoring. Ferreira is the preferred play for his early finish potential, but he’s known for having a questionable chin and could be in trouble if he can’t get the fight to the ground. I don’t have high expectations for Heinisch given the circumstances of his debut, but he’s worth having a bit of exposure to if playing multiple lineups, as he will be live for the KO if he can keep the fight standing.

Laureano Staropoli ($8200)(+105) vs Hector Aldana ($8000)(-115) – This fight is my least confident as far as picking a winner since both are low-level fighters without a lot of tape on them. But both fighters are cheap, and it’s expected to end in a finish, so I think it makes for a strong target in tournaments. Staropoli is a local fighter with a lot of power but is very wild on the feet and leaves openings defensively. He’s finished opponents on the regional scene, but his level of competition has been very weak. Aldana is a heavy striker himself and seems to be a bit more technical on the feet. He also has a limited resume, but at least we’ve seen him make an appearance in the UFC (2nd round KO loss to Kenan Song, but looked decent early). Staropoli opened as a massive favorite but the line has been bet all the way down in Aldana’s direction, so I will side with him in this matchup for the slight savings and overall betting confidence. This is a high-variance spot however, so I recommend having exposure to both sides of this matchup.

Other GPP Options: Marlon Vera ($9200), Humberto Bandenay ($8900), Cynthia Calvillo ($7900), Austin Arnett ($7300)

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