UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Smith Quick Picks
Welcome back to another edition of the UFC Quick Picks!
After a long week off, we’re back in action this weekend as the UFC heads to Stockholm, Sweden. With several fighters making their UFC debuts, it’s a difficult slate to analyze, but I’ve done my best to help you get started with some of my favorite plays below.
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Onto the fights!
Cash Game Plays
1. Alexander Gustafsson, 9.3k
The heaviest favorite on the slate this week just so happens to be Alexander Gustafsson, who is headlining the Main Event against Anthony Smith, and that’s an opportunity I can’t pass up in cash games.
Gustafsson is -335 to win, with a +127 ITD line and he’s capable of producing offense at a moderate rate for five rounds. Gustafsson lands 4.01 significant strikes per minute, along with 1.63 takedowns per 15 minutes, and he should have a distinct advantage over Smith in round-to-round production. With that combination of safety and upside, Gustafsson is an easy cash game target.
2. Tonya Evinger, 9k
The second heaviest favorite on the slate is Tonya Evinger at 9k, with a -275 line to win against Lina Lansberg.
Evinger is a strong cash game target to me because of that built in safety, and we get a bit of a discount on her DraftKings price. Plus, Evinger is considered a grinder, someone who wants to take the fight down to the mat and advance position.
Her opponent Lansberg has only defended takedowns at a 33 percent clip, which is awful, and I expect Evinger to have success in that area. Wrestlers tend to score well on DraftKings, and it gives Evinger a very strong floor, and puts her squarely in play for cash games.
1. Aleksandar Rakic, 8.9k
I expect this to be a popular tournament target, but I’m willing to eat some of the chalk on Aleksandar Rakic this weekend at 8.9k.
Rakic will be taking on veteran Jimi Manuwa, who is a low-volume power striker, and I expect Rakic to have advantages in terms of round-to-round production. But more importantly, Manuwa is nearing 40 years old and has taken quite a lot of damage over the years.
In the Light Heavyweight division, it’s not too difficult to land power shots and I expect Rakic to test Manuwa’s chin at some point. Rakic carries a strong ITD line of +109 and I believe he has potential to finish Manuwa inside the distance.
Regardless of the outcome, I am more than willing to take some chances on this high-upside target, and I think Rakic is a strong tournament play this weekend.
2. Christos Giagos, 7.1k
There are a half-dozen value plays on this slate, and one option I like if you need to save salary is Christos Giagos at 7.1k.
The reasoning is simple, his opponent Damir Hadzovic has shown a defensive wrestling weakness in his UFC career, only defending at a rate of 31 percent. Giagos is a capable offensive wrester and is coming off a victory in which he landed five takedowns on 10 attempts.
If Giagos attempts takedowns at a high rate in this spot, I expect him to have some success and take rounds. There’s enough potential there from a DraftKings perspective for me to take some tournament chances on Giagos at his cheap price of 7.1k.
Fade of the Week
1. Duda Santana, 8.6k
With so many high-upside options in the upper-mid range, Duda Santana is not going to make my cut this week at 8.6k.
Not only is she a questionable talent, making her UFC debut with a 3-0 record, having to travel from Brazil to Sweden, but she’s currently a +105 underdog. At 8.6k, with a +365 line to win inside the distance, Santana is simply too risky to make any real investment in at that price.