After a short break the UFC is back this weekend with the first of four events in an eight day stretch, the long awaited UFC 189. It’s unfortunate that we’re not going to be watching the original Featherweight title headliner of Aldo/McGregor, but McGregor/Mendes is an amazing fight and a great replacement on short notice. Although it has been getting lost in all of the McGregor hype, the co-main event welterweight title bout between Robbie Lawler and Rory Macdonald should be a great fight and the rest of the card is packed with fun matchups to produce what should be one of the better PPV cards this year. To get you ready for the fights on Saturday, we’ve got your regular Kountermove breakdown including two picks I like and a fight I’m staying away from. Before we get down to business, here’s a reminder from the founders of the site on how KM works and how fights are scored for anyone who’s new to the game:
“About Kountermove. Kountermove, Inc. is currently the world’s leading Fantasy MMA community. Kountermove is like fantasy football or baseball, but for MMA. Our founders, Aaron Ard and Brian Knapp, are Jiu-jitsu black belts and IBJJF competitors.
Pick your team of 5 fighters. You are given a “salary cap” of $25,000 in fantasy money to spend on drafting your team of fighters you expect to perform well/win.
Each fighter is assigned a price that is reflective of his or her respective odds. For example, in UFC 167: GSP cost $6,000, while Johny Hendricks cost $5,000. Since Hendricks is the underdog, he cost less than GSP.
Score Points and Win. Once the fight card begins, you accumulate points based on how well your picks performed.
Winners are determined by the most points earned – points are awarded: strikes landed, submission attempts, knockdowns, dominant positions, rounds won, and knockout or submission bonuses.
Fight statistics are provided by FightMetric LLC, the UFC’s official stats provider.”
Here are a few extra links to get you accustomed to how the site works and how performances are scored.
Remember this is fantasy sports, so you’re not only trying to pick a winner but someone you think will finish the fight or rack up a ton of points on their way to a decision. Don’t have a Kountermove account? All it takes is about 30 seconds and an email address so don’t panic, you’ve still got time before the fights start.
Here are three quick tips for the event that will hopefully help you make some cash on Saturday:
1. There are quite a few great picks on this card and the problem isn’t going to be picking finishes as much as it’s going to be picking which ones come first. With that said, my top pick for UFC 189 is going to be Brandon Thatch ($5,300). ‘Rukus’ is an absolute terror on the feet with an aggressive output that is enough to give any welterweight a rough night. Gunnar Nelson, on the other hand, has some of the slowest striking in the UFC. Benson Henderson was able to get Thatch to the mat and find the submission and while Gunnar is extremely dangerous on the ground I don’t think he’ll find any success in keeping the fight off of the feet for long enough to get any work in. I think Thatch is going to be able to use his size and reach to force Gunni to stand with him which is an absolute nightmare for the Icelandic submission fighter. I think Thatch blasts Nelson before finishing him early in the fight. The finish along with Thatch’s striking output should leave ‘Rukus’ as one of the top scorers of the night, and give your KM team a good bump early on the main card.
2. While there are a bunch of great expensive picks on the card, the cheap picks are really not too enticing. That’s going to lead me to recommend picking one really cheap pick to balance out the more expensive picks your card rather than taking two or three mid-range priced fighters. I’m going with Tim Means ($4,200) as my top cheap pick for the card. Of the cheaper picks on the card (Means, Pickett, Pfister, Howard) I don’t think that anyone has even close to the amount of scoring potential that Means possesses. ‘Dirty Bird’ has never been finished on the feet (save for an injury in 2004) and while he’s been submitted twice in his career I’m going to hazard a guess and say that Matt Brown won’t be the next guy to finish Means on the mat. If there’s a submission, it will likely be Means submitting Brown who has lost 9 fights by sub (although not since 2011). The striking will likely be competitive, with both fighters having good moments. I think Brown is the likely winner of the fight but I see him winning a decision more often than not. Means will have racked up a nice few points through the striking exchanges and has the potential to either finish Brown on the feet or drop him and snatch up a submission. He makes a great cheap pick if you need one, which you likely do, and could pay off in a big way if he finds a finish this weekend.
3. I really shouldn’t even need to write this down for anyone but you really shouldn’t even look at the welterweight bout between John Howard ($4,300) and Cathal Pendred ($4,800) when you’re picking your KM team. Unless Howard’s chin is completely wrecked now from that beating that Larkin gave him earlier this year, this fight has slow, grinding, split decision written all over it. There are so many good picks elsewhere on this card that you should just completely skip over this fight when you’re looking through the prices. Seriously. Unless you’re trying to be ironic, or showing off by trying to win even with Pendred on your team. Hats off to you if it works, but there’s really no reason to have either of these guys on your roster.
Good luck this weekend!
Questions? Suggestions? Give me a shout on twitter @BlackEyeBowtie
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