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‘UFC Fight Night Monterrey’ Kountermove Preview

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The UFC makes a return trip to Mexico this weekend, this time with Fight Night 78 and the TUF Latin America 2 finale in Monterrey. The card is headlined by Kelvin Gastelum’s return to welterweight against Neil Magny, who is replacing Matt Brown who had to withdraw with an ankle injury just over two weeks ago. The card also features Diego Sanchez moving down to featherweight to fight Ricardo Lamas and a top flyweight matchup between Jussier Formiga and Olympic gold medal wrestler Henry Cejudo, the winner of which may very well get the next shot at Demitrious Johnson’s belt. The main card also houses the two TUF finales at lightweight and welterweight and which could produce some new prospects as the seasons normally do. To get you ready for the fights on Saturday, 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.   One thing I’m noticing while looking through these fights is that there is a lot of close fights and as a result a real lack of solid picks from a KM perspective. Because of that, it’s more important than ever to pick the more likely locks for impressive performances on the card, which is why I’m going with Kelvin Gastelum ($5,100) as my top pick. Neil Magny is a game opponent who is dangerous wherever the fight takes place throughout the entire fight but I don’t actually think that this ends up being close. I wanted to wait to see how Kelvin made out at the weigh-ins before going too far in on the TUF 17 winner but he didn’t seem to have any issues with this weight cut which makes me even more confident in his ability to run away with the fight. I think Kelvin beats Magny up on the feet early and often in this fight before working his way past Magny’s disgusting reach and get the fight to the mat. Once the fight hits the ground I think it will be all Gastelum with him mixing in some ground and pound while hunting for a submission. Even if Magny manages to work his way back up to the feet I think Gastelum will continue to beat him up before ragdolling him back to the floor. Magny has the cardio to make this fight interesting if it makes it to the championship rounds but I see Gastelum finding a submission either late in the second or third round after dominating the fight early. On a card where good KM picks are hard to find you’re going to want Gastelum on your team going in to the main event.

2.   There are actually a really high number of cheap picks on this card, with 10 fighters coming in at $4,600 or less, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. With so many cheap fighters available, it’s going to be harder to sift through and find value picks but I’m going with Valmir Lazaro ($4,400) as my cheap pick of the night. Michel Prazeres has the ability to make this fight a slow grind if he can consistently control Lazaro with the kind of gameplan typical of someone like Gleison Tibau or Francisco Trinaldo. That being said, I think Lazaro will be successful in keeping ‘Trator’ off of him and pick him apart on the feet. Lazaro is also significantly bigger than Prazares with a six inch height advantage and will likely be able to bully the smaller fighter around the cage. I don’t know if he necessarily gets the finish, but I have enough faith in him to think he’ll control the striking exchanges and land enough to win a convincing decision. For $4,400 a fighter who wins a clear cut decision is a great addition to your team, especially when he still has the potential to finish if he can build up enough damage early on in the fight.

3.   As a general rule, the cast members of international TUF seasons end up being the least reliable KM picks of the night. That being said, I’m actually going to be picking Leandro Silva ($5,000) as the fighter to stay away from on this card, despite him being both the KM and betting favourite. I think this fight goes the distance the vast majority of the time with both fighters being extremely durable and having almost no TKO wins to their names. Silva’s wheelhouse is his Brazilian jiu-jitsu but he doesn’t have the ability to consistently get someone like Escudero down and even if he does Escudero tends to excel in scrambles so a submission on either side isn’t likely either. Assuming this fight does go to decision, Silva typically fights at a much slower pace than Escudero and it isn’t unlike him to see entire 30 second blocks of his fights where he doesn’t connect with anything. At $5,000 there are much better picks elsewhere on the card, including Efrain Escudero ($4,600) if you are looking for a cheaper pick.

Good luck this weekend!

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

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