FanDuel MMA: UFC Vegas 12 Preview

FanDuel MMA: UFC Vegas 12 Preview

This article is part of our FanDuel MMA series.

We return to the mainland from Fight Island for a spooky night of fights on Halloween, including a legend's last hurrah, and the debut of a promising young fighter who wowed in his Contender Series bout. As always, fighters in this article will be listed in order from most to least desirable among the given choices.

Since we are back at the Apex, I will once again point out that research suggests more finishes occur in smaller cages like the one the fighters will occupy on August 22, which should encourage players to look at fights that may not otherwise be thought of as good targets for finishes. 

One final note before we begin: here's a refresher on the scoring. If you're looking for general strategy tips, I wrote a FanDuel 101 article prior to UFC Brasilia on March 14, though there have been a few minor scoring changes since then that I've noted below.

Moves Scoring (MVP 1.5X)                       
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.9 PTS
Takedown (TD): +9 PTS
Takedown Defense (TDEF): +4.5 PTS
Submission Attempt (SA): +7.5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +18 PTS

Moves Scoring (Standard)
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.6 PTS
Takedown (TD): +6 PTS
Takedown Defense (TDEF): 3
Submission Attempt (SA): 5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +12 PTS

Fight Conclusion Bonuses (MVP 1.5X)
1st Round Win (1stW): +150 PTS
2nd Round Win (2ndW): +112.5 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rdW): +75 PTS
4th Round Win (4thW): +52.5 PTS
5th Round Win (5thW): +37.5 PTS
Decision Win (DecW): +30 PTS

Fight Conclusion Bonuses (Standard)
1st Round Win (1stW): +100 PTS
2nd Round Win (2ndW): +75 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rdW): +50 PTS
4th Round Win (4thW): +35 PTS
5th Round Win (5thW): +25 PTS
Decision Win (DecW): +20 PTS

Without further ado, let's get to it.

Oh Captain, my Captain

Best Play: Uriah Hall ($20)

Other Plays: Dustin Jacoby ($21), Adrian Yanez ($16), Sean Strickland ($19), Cortney Casey ($18)

As Anderson Silva rounds out his retirement tour, it must be said that he has been tough even as his skills have declined, having only been finished once in his last four losses. While this is something to consider, we must also note that Uriah Hall may have the most raw power in the division (remember the clean counter-shot knockdowns of Krzysztof Jotko and Bevon Lewis). This will be a real problem for Silva, as his slick counter-attacking style has become more of a wait-and-absorb-damage style of late. That's not to say he can't land good strikes, but Hall's fluid, pressuring style will have Anderson on the back-foot immediately, forcing him to deal with all that agility and power. Lastly, we should note that Silva is coming back after yet another leg injury he suffered in the cage, which should at least have prospective owners wondering about how it will hold up if Hall decides to chop low.

I'm singing an old, familiar tune here, but I just don't understand why Justin Ledet wants to fight at light heavyweight. He won three in a row at heavyweight, (where he could lean on his boxing heavily) but now finds himself on a three-fight losing skid at 205 lbs, as the athletic prowess of the competition has found him (at least) one step behind. Dustin Jacoby took a break from MMA to focus on a kickboxing career, and while that wasn't entirely successful, he did finish that run with six knockouts in his seven wins. Jacoby is 2-0 in MMA since his return, including an impressive win on the Contender Series in August that saw him mix a wrestling game in with his aggressive standup. I can't help but be reminded of another powerful kickboxer with a bit of wrestling in Aleksandar Rakic, who absolutely dominated Ledet over three rounds, notching 103 significant strikes, three takedowns and a knockdown in the process. In short, the old adage of "kickbox the boxer" should apply here, and I expect Ledet to once again be outgunned armed with little more than a jab and right hand.

Adrian Yanez jumps off the page as a prospect to watch going forward, as he features a powerful, volume-based striking game that sees him mix his targets well and apply pressure to his opponents. He becomes something of a free square here at just $16 and a (-300)  on the betting line, particularly against an opponent like Victor Rodriguez, who has some power and a decent wrestling game but just six professional MMA fights to his credit. While he will need to mind the power of Rodriguez, it seems likely that Yanez will just overwhelm the newcomer here, as I don't expect him to be able to deal with the pressure or pace of Yanez. It's also worth noting that Yanez has yet to be stopped in his 14-fight career.

I almost dropped Sean Strickland to the "cash play" list due to the toughness of Jack Marshman, but he will have so many advantages here that I ultimately decided there was only one correct option. Strickland is an agile boxer with sneaky power, but he can also work a takedown/submission game against the right opponent. That opponent would almost certainly be Marshman, who put up little-to-no resistance after being taken down in fights against Antonio Carlos Junior and Edmen Shahbazyan. If this does stay on the feet one would expect Marshman (as a boxer, himself) to have a bit more of a chance, but Strickland has only lost to fighters who can compete with him athletically, something Marshman likely can't do.

Some might consider my inclusion of Cortney Casey on this list to be a bit aggressive, but I would remind those folks that Casey has three performances of 90 significant strikes or better in her last seven fights and will square off against an opponent in Priscila Cachoeira who has absorbed 95 strikes or more in three of her four UFC fights. The other thing to keep in mind here is that Casey has an accomplished BJJ game to fall back on, which could see her use a bit of wrestling if the constant power shots coming back her way become a bit much to handle. Cachoeira will have a puncher's chance every time she laces up the gloves, but it's hard to imagine such a seasoned veteran can lose to that type of skill set, particularly when she doesn't have to engage on the feet.

Cash Plays

Best Option: Alexander Hernandez ($23)

Other Options: Bobby Green ($19), Jason Witt ($16)

It's been a while since we've seen Chris Gruetzemacher in the Octagon, but what we can say for sure is that his style is marked by putting intense pressure on his opponents and throwing shots at them until they drop. The problem for him here is Alexander Hernandez will be infinitely faster and more powerful. This could lead to a knockout at some point, but it's worth noting that Gruetzemacher has been incredibly tough in his career, and Hernandez has looked a bit timid of late. Still, it needs to be said that Hernandez is the more talented fighter everywhere in this matchup, earning him the top spot on this list.

Bobby Green seems to have thrown down the gauntlet after a rash of questionable decision losses, having won his last three fights by comfortable (if not dominant) decision. Thiago Moises is a decent boxer but shouldn't have much for Green on the feet, as he creates angles, is a sharp counter puncher and mixes his targets. It's likely that Moises will try to take this to the ground at some point, but Green is a tremendously underrated wrestler and grappler, as evidenced by the fact that his last submission loss came more than a decade ago. He will need to look after his legs to avoid the same fate as Michael Johnson, but as long as he does, I expect Green to cruise to a decision win behind takedown defense and precise striking.

Jason Witt was dispatched quickly by the sharp 1-2 combination of Takashi Sato in his UFC debut, but Cole Williams is neither as sharp nor powerful of a puncher, which should allow for Witt to work his pressure striking game. Cole has a wrestling pedigree as well but hasn't looked like the best takedown artist on the regional scene, which leads me to believe Witt will be the one who finds the most Joy with his takedowns in this matchup. Ultimately, I don't think Williams is a strong counter-puncher, and he stands a bit too upright to avoid being taken to the mat.

Dog Plays

Best Option: Andre Fili ($15)

Other Options: Maurice Greene ($10), Kevin Natividad ($12)

I was a bit surprised to see Andre Fili as the dog here, though it's hard to deny what a force Bryce Mitchell has been in this division. He has also clearly worked on his wrestling, as we can see by the way he turned corners to get takedowns in his most recent fight against Charles Rosa. The thing to note here is that it's been at least five years since we've seen Fili dominated on the ground (he owns a solid 69 percent takedown defense rate), and he comes into this bout with a four-inch reach advantage. This should allow him to use his jab to create space and keep some distance. Depending on how persistent he becomes, there is still the possibility that Mitchell gets this fight to the floor, but if he can't, he will have to spend the better part of three rounds on the feet against a much better kickboxer. I'm betting that's the kind of fight we will have based on the reasons above.

I'm going to ask a sincere question that I hope doesn't elicit too much derisive laughter: do we know that Greg Hardy is a knockout puncher at the highest level? Sure, he steamrolled everyone on the amateur circuit and has two finishes on the Contender Series, but his two KOs at this level have come against Juan Adams (1-3 before being cut by the organization) and Dmitrii Smoliakov (0-4 before being cut by the organization). I ask the question because it strikes me that we just aren't seeing the aggressive Hardy that we thought we might when he first came into the organization. Instead, he mainly seems to sit behind a jab and look to evade strikes from his opponents. To be clear, that doesn't mean I have a ton of confidence in Maurice Greene, who tends to get hit hard, even in the fights he wins. He will also be on the wrong side of the athlete equation here, but what he does have is a frame identical to that of Alexander Volkov's, which could once again result in Hardy having trouble negotiating range. Ultimately, I think the kicks and clinch game of Greene get this done, but I certainly wouldn't be shocked if Hardy lands an overhand right that sends him to the canvas.

Miles Johns is your typical power wrestler who can wing big shots on the feet, but we saw what happened when he was unable to get the fight to the floor in his fight against Mario Bautista. Like Bautista, Kevin Natividad should have a speed advantage and be just as scrambly from bottom position, making this a tough ask for Johns. "Chapo" can certainly thrive in specific kinds of style matchups, but I worry that his game simply isn't deep enough to get the better of a fighter like Natividad.

Neither Fish nor Fowl

Kevin Holland ($17) will face newcomer Charlie Ontiveros (TBD) after Makhmud Muradov was forced to withdraw from the card. Ontiveros has some power but tends to look for counter shots with his hands down, which will be a recipe for disaster against an opponent as quick and powerful as Holland. All of Ontiveros' losses to this point in his career (6) have come by KO/TKO, and it seems incredibly likely that Holland will use his movement and slick striking to put another tally in that column. 

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Christopher Olson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: Sommerset, FanDuel: Christop, Yahoo: Martins.
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Christopher Olson
Christopher Olson writes DFS articles and blogs for a variety of sports including MLB, NFL and MMA. Follow him on Twitter @RealChrisOlson
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