Not a member of Awesemo+? Sign up HERE to gain access to Awesemo’s industry leading MMA DFS Picks, fantasy and ownership projections. Let’s dive into the UFC 241 slate, with a Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic main attraction.
A rematch more than a year in the making. Daniel Cormier is here to defend his Heavyweight title for the second time. Meanwhile, Stipe Miocic is looking to regain the belt he defended more than any other heavyweight in UFC history. Ignoring the DFS aspects, I simply cannot wait to watch this fight.
Cormier enters the fight on a three fight winning streak. Excluding fights with Jon Jones, Cormier has never lost. He put up 100+ DK points in all three wins, one of which being a first round finish of Miocic to capture the belt. Outside of the Jones’ fights, Cormier has paid off his salary every time out. I love Cormier at $8500. I can’t see a scenario where he wins the fight and disappoints. I’ll be using him heavily in both GPPs and potentially in cash games.
On the other hand, Miocic has taken the past year to heal his body. He has not been in the cage since his KO loss to Cormier in July of last year. Prior to that, he had finished five straight fights with 100+ DK scores in each of them. You rarely see fighters with Miocic’s talent and pedigree at a $7700 price tag. Much like Cormier, it’s hard for him to fail at that price. I expect to have close to 100% exposure to this fight.
As for predictions, it’s a tough one. With each passing day, Cormier is closer to the end. At some point, Father Time simply doesn’t allow you to take the shots you once could. Miocic hits harder than Father Time. In the first first, Miocic actually looked good until the finish. He was able to land 24 significant strikes before Cormier caught him. I personally think he can do that again. For now, I am leaning toward a Stipe by KO call, but I’ll be watching the line all the way until fight time.
Diaz is making his return to the cage for the first time in three years. Standing across from him is a former UFC Lightweight champion and newly relevant welterweight, Anthony Pettis. Pettis is coming off of a knockout win against Stephen Thompson, which is honestly one of the more shocking outcomes given Thompson’s pedigree.
When digging into this fight, I was bit surprised to see Pettis’ strikes per minute stats. I assumed he was a bit more active than he truly is. Nate lands 60% more significant strikes per minute than Pettis, while absorbing a similar amount. I think that’s relevant for a three round fight. Nate can get there on volume. I’m not sure Pettis can do the same.
For example, in Diaz’s fight against Michael Johnson, he was able to land 153 significant strikes in a decision, which was good for 106.5 DK points. Pettis isn’t going to have that pace. I think Pettis is going to need a finish to be a valuable contributor to lineups. Diaz isn’t exactly a guy that gets finished easily.
I like Diaz in cash games due to his fighting style. I’m not sure Pettis is someone I’ll be looking to all that often. I would rather spend the extra $300 for Yoel Romero.
Speaking of Romero, the Soldier of God is back in the cage more than a year after his split decision loss to Robert Whitaker for the Middleweight title. The losses to Whitaker are the only setbacks Romero has seen in the UFC (although I think he lost the Jacare fight, but whatever). Costa enters the fight undefeated in his career. He’s 4-0 (with four finishes) in the UFC with the most recent fight being a finish of Uriah Hall at UFC 226.
It’s tough to read into Costa’s UFC stats because the level of competition is so different compared to Romero. While Romero is going to war with Whitaker for 50 minutes, Costa is beating the stuffing out of guys like Oluwale Bamgbose. Romero is a firm favorite. His odds correspond to a 45% chance of finishing the fight inside of distance. Costa isn’t too far behind at 32%. That’s the seventh highest mark on the card. Not bad for an underdog.
It’s hard to not want both sides of this fight, although the Romero side looks much more appealing. He’s even more of a genetic freak than Costa, and I think this is going to be too much, too soon for the Brazilian. Romero is one of, if not my favorite, play of this card. My only concern is similar to that of Cormier. Romero is no spring chicken, no matter what his body composition looks like. When it goes, it goes. I’m putting my money where my mouth is with the hope that Saturday is not the day he loses it all.
Drakkar Klose has the second highest odds of a finish on the card, but is only the fourth most expensive fighter. That’s a no-brainer for me. Giagos’ odds of a finish are low, so I’m willing to use Klose in cash games, too. Devonte Smith is the most expensive fighter on the card, and the fighter with the best odds of a victory. He’s taking on a short notice opponent in Khama Worthy after Clay Collard was removed due to “health issues”. I don’t expect Smith to have many issues with Worthy, but I think there are much better value options given his price tag.