UFC 193 DFS Playbook: value picks, who to avoid

It’s the second straight weekend for a UFC event, and more chances to cash in if you play Draft Kings. UFC 193 comes our way on Saturday night from Melbourne, Australia, with two title fights and the two most dominant women in their respective weight classes defending their championships. Below are our studs, value plays, and fighters to avoid to help you fill out your UFC 193 DraftKings lineups:

STUDS

Joanna Jedrzejczyk ($11,300)

I could easily pick both Ronda Rousey and Joanna Jedrzejczyk to occupy these two stud slots, but for the sake of the article, I’m only going one. I suggest you draft both, and it is possible to draft both and keep a solid team as I will show you later. I expect Rousey to win quickly, but she may have a much harder time, so I’m putting Jedrzejczyk as my top stud for this event. She has dynamic striking and lands a lot of significant strikes, and her opponent, Valerie Letourneau, leaves herself open to eat a lot of punches. Jedrzejczyk has underrated takedown ability as well, and she looks to finish every second of the fight. I sense both women getting early finishes, which grabs a lot of points. Jedrzejczyk’s significant striking ability will likely net more points for you, and that could make up a big difference. Do yourself a favor- draft both, or if you only wanna stick with one, I’d go Jedrzejczyk over Rousey, but only slightly.

Uriah Hall ($9,800)

Uriah Hall is coming off the biggest win of his career when he knocked out Gegard Mousasi in September. He took that fight on short notice and takes another short notice bout against Robert Whittaker on Saturday at UFC 193. He looks like he is finally living up to his potential, and he gets a stout test in Whittaker. Whittaker can be finished in his career, as evidenced to his February 2014 loss to Stephen Thompson. Hall is a similar striker to Thompson and could give Whittaker the same type of fits with his kicks. Hall is flashy and likes the spin kick, much like Thompson displayed against Whittaker. I hope that is a fight Hall watched over and over in preparation. Hall can be an enigma at times, as there have been moments when he hasn’t lived up to expectations. With the recent performance against Mousasi, he seems mentally into it and another big win could be coming his way on Saturday. He has a good chance at scoring a finish.

VALUE PICKS

Dan Kelly ($9,000)

I’ll admit there aren’t a lot of value plays on this card. I expect a lot of the favorites with high salaries to win here. There are a couple of solid value picks, and one of them is Dan Kelly. Yes, he was involved in arguably the worst fight in the UFC in 2015 against Patrick Walsh. Yes, he lost in under a minute in his last bout. However, he has scored seven wins by stoppage in his career, including a first-round submission win in his UFC debut. He fights Steve Montgomery, who is coming off being finished in the first round in his UFC debut. Kelly is worth taking a chance on, especially if you wanna go after some of the higher salary fighters on the card.

Anton Zafir ($8,800)

Anton Zafir is making his UFC debut on Saturday on short notice, being an injury fill-in and taking his debut fight against James Moontasri on eight days’ notice. Zafir was being targeted for the UFC roster in the near future and was headed to the event to meet with UFC officials on what he needed to do to get on the roster. Luckily for him, a spot opened up and his UFC signing came sooner than expected. He is inexperienced, having fought just eight times, but he has won seven of those, and six of the wins have come by stoppage. His opponent, Moontasri, is coming off being finished in the first round in his last fight. Plus, Moontasri is also taking the fight as an injury replacement, though he had adequate training time, but he is also moving up in weight for this fight. Zafir is another solid option for those wanting to spend on bigger names.

AVOID

Antonio Silva ($8,900)

I’m avoiding Antonio Silva as much as possible at this event. First of all, I don’t expect him to defeat Mark Hunt. Even if he is able to, I don’t see him finishing Hunt. I actually see Hunt finishing him, so selecting Hunt for your roster might not be a bad idea. Silva’s best shot at winning is taking the fight to the judges and staying out of striking range. He might not maximize your point-scoring abilities on this card, so I’m saying to just avoid “Bigfoot” this time around due to his tough opponent and bad chin.

Valerie Letourneau ($8,100) & Holly Holm ($8,000)

I’m grouping these two together. They’re fighting the two most dominant women in the sport. I actually think Holm has a decent chance if she has an excellent gameplan. That gameplan, though, means staying as far away from Ronda Rousey as possible, and thus not maximizing point-scoring ability. Letourneau almost feels like she is being led to a slaughter. I’m finding a way to have both Rousey and Joanna Jedrzejczyk on my roster, and I think they score finishes over their opponents rather easily. That means avoid the challengers.

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OUR LINE-UPS

RYAN FREDERICK: Ronda Rousey ($11,400), Joanna Jedrzejczyk ($11,300), Uriah Hall ($9,800), Anton Zafir ($8,800), Steve Kennedy ($8,600)

I found a way to get both dominant champions in my line-up, selecting Ronda Rousey and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. I see them getting the finishes in their title fights, and I don’t see either fight going past the second round. First-round wins won’t be surprising as well. I like Uriah Hall to continue to live up to his potential and get the finish win. The gameplan and blueprint for finishing Robert Whittaker is out there, Hall just has to execute. Anton Zafir is a sneaky play in his short-notice UFC debut, and he could make a big impression against James Moontasri, who can be finished. I rounded out my team with Steve Kennedy. Kennedy makes his second UFC appearance, but he has 22 professional wins in his career, with 17 by knockout or submission. His opponent, Richard Walsh, was brutally knocked out in his last bout. I give Kennedy a decent shot, and someone had to fill out my roster going with the two women.

PAUL FONTAINE: Joanna Jedrezejczyk ($11,300), Mark Hunt ($10,500), Richie Vaculik ($9,700), Robert Whittaker ($9,600), Steve Kennedy ($8,600)

This is a tough week for this. I really tried hard to figure out a way to get both Rousey and Joanna on my team but I cant’ find a combination that makes me happy so I’m let with this. I picked JJ over Ronda due to the fact that I think both will win by quick stoppage but Joanna will probably land more strikes in doing so and thus earn me more points. I also like Mark Hunt to rebound from his beating at the hands of Stipe Miocic to score a quick knockout over Bigfoot Silva. My third choice is Richie Vaculik. He should be motivated by the rabid home country crowd and his opponent Danny Martinez is on a 3 fight losing streak. My next two picks are also Australians with Robert Whittaker being next. The popular opinion is Uriah Hall but Whittaker shouldn’t be overlooked. He’s got a lot of power and again will be a huge favorite to these fans. Uriah Hall is either really bad or really good and we haven’t seen the bad one in awhile. With the short turnaround between fights and the long trip to Australia, it could be a recipe for disaster. My final pick is Steve Kennedy, who took his UFC debut fight on short notice. He’s had a proper training camp here and will hopefully rebound and score me some points. 

PEACH MACHINE: Ronda Rousey ($11,400), Jake Matthews ($11,000), Robert Whittaker ($9,600), Ryan Benoit ($9,400), Steve Kennedy ($8,600)

Rousey is definitely worth the price tag.  Automatic.  Ryan Benoit is going to keep winning, especially against Ben Nguyen.  Jake Matthews is a hometown hero.  I saw him fight live in Australia and it was awesome.  I expect him to roll through Arreola.  I like Robert Whittaker moving up to 185.  He’s a fast middleweight, but so is Hall.  However, I’m expecting the uncertain, cautious Hall to come out here once he starts dealing with Whittaker’s complete game.  Steven Kennedy is my sleeper pick… Because he was all I could afford, so I’m hoping he does something besides go to sleep!

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