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The UFC is back in Sacramento for the return of Urijah Faber and a fight that could determine the next challenge for Amanda Nunes’ Bantamweight title. On the surface, this looks like a difficult card to handicap. There aren’t a ton of crazy high favorites, and the current props are leaning towards more decisions. While these are just my opening thoughts, be sure to stop back Saturday morning for my cheatsheet.
Ladd has been spectacular in her first three UFC fights, with finishes over Lina Lansberg and Tonya Evinger and a dominant decision over rumored title challenger Sijara Eubanks. de Randamie has been on a wild journey. She was finished quickly by the current champ, but that was back in 2013. Since then, she’s won four straight, including a fight for the UFC Featherweight title against Holly Holm. She vacated that title after declining a fight against Cris Cyborg, which put de Randamie on ice for 18 months before coming back to pick up a boring decision win against Raquel Pennington. Based on the betting props for this fight, the expectation is that we see a finish, with Ladd having significantly better odds at pulling off that feat. In her three UFC fights, Ladd has averaged 103 DK points, which would be an excellent rate of return on $8900. I’ve a fan of Ladd in both cash games and GPPs and expect her to be one of my most owned fighters on Saturday. I have a hard time seeing de Randamie getting there without a KO. Obviously, I think she’s a threat to win this fight, but I’m not sure that translates to a DFS performance I’m interested in.
I’ll do my best to be objective about this one, but I want to put it out there that I’m a Faber hater. Faber turned Mike Brown into one of my favorite fighters after the back to back losses way back in the WEC days. Now, Faber is back in the cage at age 40 and is making his return after a three year retirement. This fight is currently -245 to go to a decision which translates to ~70%. Takedowns have been the Simon’s method of destruction through his career, but I think he’ll find that to be a difficult task. Clearly Faber isn’t the fighter he once was, but wrestling/grappling has always been a strength of his. This makes me feel like we’ll be watching a boring, three round kickboxing match between two non-kickboxers. I’m not sure what Faber can bring to the table in that type of fight. Simon has the second highest salary on the card, and I find that to be wholly unappealing in GPPs. He makes much more sense in a cash game, as he has one of the highest floors on the card. As for Faber, I can’t see him putting up a big number like he did against Brad Pickett in his retirement fight. He hasn’t finished someone since a submission win against Francisco Rivera back at UFC 181 in 2014. I assume I’ll have zero Faber.
If you were excited about the Beneil Dariush vs. Drakkar Klose fight, your bubble burst a few dats ago when Dariush pulled out of the fight with a foot injury. Mirsad Bektic and Josh Emmett could be a war. I like both guys in GPPs, but I’m leaning a bit more towards Emmett due to his price. I think Touchy Fili is a tad underpriced given his odds and his pedigree. He landed just under 100 significant strikes in his last fight, a decision win against Myles Jury. I would argue that Jury is a more difficult matchup than Sheymon Moraes. I’ll have Fili in cash and GPPs. The Darren Elkins/Ryan Hall fight is fascinating, as Elkins lives for the takedown. Unfortunately for him, Ryan Hall is one of the most dangerous grapplers in the UFC. If Elkins wants to grappled, don’t be surprised to see him take home one of Elkins’ arms or legs. I think the more likely scenario is Elkins using his wrestling in reverse to box up Hall. I’m just worried that Hall’s attempts to pull guard will grind the fight pace to a halt.