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UFC Fight Night 80 ‘Namajunas vs. VanZant’ Kountermove Preview

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Fight Night 80

The UFC starts off it’s ultimate UFC fight week with Fight Night 80, the first of three events in as many days. The card is headlined by a bout between top women’s strawweights Paige Van Zant and TUF 20 runner-up Rose Namajunas. The rest of the card is packed with fun fights including a mostly overlooked co-main matchup between Jim Miller and Michael Chiesa. Fight Night 80 has also been scheduled as somewhat of a ‘Rising Prospects’ card with Sage Northcutt, Elias Theodoreau, and Aljamain Sterling all being scheduled to fight. To get you ready for the fights we’ve got your regular Kountermove breakdown including two picks I like and a fighter 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.

How it works

Scoring

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.   My top pick for Fight Night 80 on Thursday night is going to be ‘The Dirty Bird’ himself, Tim Means ($5,200). Despite getting clipped and submitted at the end of his fight with Matt Brown, that was the fight that really sold me on Tim Means’ abilities as a fighter. He looked great early in the first round against Brown and if he shows up to FN 80 a similar fighter I think the first round is all he’ll need. John Howard seems to be on his way down, losing 3 of his last 4 with his only win in that stretch coming as a split decision over Cathal Pendred. He’s not near an aggressive enough fighter on the feet to threaten Means and I think ‘Dirty Bird’ overwhelms him completely and gets a great opportunity for his highlight reel here with a first round stop. For just over the average $5,000 price tag, Tim Means is a great pick and should really be a staple on your team to start off your three-event fight week in the money.

2.   More so than normal there is a serious lack of great cheap picks on this card. This is one of the only reasons I’m shying away from breaking the bank on Sage Northcutt (which I’ll get to later). If you follow my lead and stay away from the really pricey fighters on the card, your choices for cheap picks really get expanded – meaning anyone in the $4,600 – $4,800 range should suit you just fine. I’m going with Antonio Carlos Jr. ($4,800) as my top cheaper pick who I think will walk away with a finish on the FN 80 prelims. I was hesitant when it was announced he was dropping to middleweight after previously fighting at heavyweight and more recently at light heavyweight, but he responded by absolutely crushing Eddie Gordon. Now Eddie Gordon isn’t exactly a world beater but neither is Kevin Casey. Casey’s suspect area has most notably been his cardio, where Carlos Jr. has been a monster. I think he wins a fairly competitive first round before taking over later in the fight and making the fight look far less competitive. If this fight goes anything like I think it will, ‘Shoe face’ works the fight the ground in the second fight and sinks in a submission on a tired Kevin Casey, getting you some nice points in the process.

3.   I know that this isn’t a popular opinion right now, but I’m actually going to suggest against including the hype train Sage Northcutt ($5,800) on your team this weekend. I’ll start off by saying that I think he wins and wins big in his favorable matchup with Cody Pfister. The only downside to paying ‘Super’ Sage’s high price tag is that he really restricts who else you can afford to fit on your team. There is a serious lack of even potentially useful cheap picks on this card to be able to afford someone else over $5,000 on your team in addition to Sage. He’s probably going to get around 110 points, but if as a result you can’t afford any other fighters who score over 100 then he’s kind of kneecapped your team. There are some great picks in the $5,200 to $5,400 range so I’d rather stack my team with a few of them rather than only having one fighter who I’m confident in. Also even though Sage has looked great so far, he’s still only 6-0. His pre-UFC pro opponents are a current 31-44 collectively, and his one UFC fight was against Francisco Trevino who isn’t exactly a good test of ability.

Good luck this weekend!

Questions? Suggestions? Give me a shout on twitter @BlackEyeBowtie

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