Edge of the Autojohn - UFC 260 Recap
What a PPV! We got to witness firsthand the return of the Suga Show, see a new prospect in the women’s straweight division and witnessed the crowning of A NEW HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION!!!! From a degenerate sports betting perspective, Autojohn busted out 6 winners across the entire slate and should have been able to make you some money. Autojohn was picking 60% in the UFC and if you were looking for nothing but winners, that’s what you got more often than not. That being said, this is a fantasy blog and so I know that is not enough to be successful in DFS and I’ve got to do better. The Autojohn optimized lineup had zero edge to it and believe me, that is unacceptable so I apologize. However, I know I learned a lot from watching UFC 260 so I wanted to recap with you before I start moving on to my next post, which will cover Major League Baseball’s Opening Day on Thursday so stay tuned for that as well.
Starting from the early-prelims, we learned right away that “upside GPP potential” cannot be ignored, even for just an optimized lineup. We also learned that being out of the game for 3 years DEFINITELY has in impact on a fighter’s cardio, as Azaitar looked good for the first half of the fight and then literally folded like a lawn chair for the second half. Honestly, that fight should have been stopped in the 2nd round as bad and defenseless as Azaitar looked and his attempt to reach for his mouth piece in the 3rd round while getting taken down was nothing short of haphazard. Barriault cleaned up his UFC record with a great TKO finish and while Autojohn said you should have exposure to him in your GPP entries, he should have made the final lineup for cash games and been my pick as well.
After going 0-1 I was certainly starting to get a little nervous about broadcasting my picks for a UFC PPV for the first time but patience is a virtue as they say, and it would just be a matter of time before I got back on top in the W column. I also got Shane Young v. Omar Morales right pretty much word for word from a fantasy perspective as well, minus the fact Morales won unanimously. Morales was a strong fade at his price point and there were defintely better places to go for value. One in particular that I had right in front of my face and I completely missed! More on Mullarkey later though.
Onto Oleksiejczuk v. Bukauskas where I defintely got robbed from a sports betting and fantasy perspective. I know how I saw that fight and I believe the judges got this one wrong, as is often the case in a split decision and something I know personally from my amateur fighting days. Guys if only two of the judges got it right then more often than not, none of them did. I have seen the rare exception to that rule where a fight is too close to call and a split is indicative of the fight itself but this was not the case Saturday night. Bukauskas controlled the tempo and the striking in this bout and there was no reason to think Oleksiejczuk did enough to earn a single round of that fight. I could see how ringside might give him a pity 10-9 in the 3rd round but that is assuming Bukauskas won the first two. From a fantasy perspective, this was an easy fade but I always take it personally when the scorecards take away from my picks and just like that I’m 1-2 on the night.
If you follow me on twitter @Ashbrook423, you may have seen my comment live during the PPV about how we can start calling Abubakar, “the Boring Nurmagomedov”. Fact of the matter on this one was Abubakar was far superior than Gooden even on his feet but could not get the finish, which is what we needed to keep an edge for my fantasy lineups. At his price point, we really needed a submission or TKO to stay above water but he didn’t even start to look for the ground and pound finish until the 3rd round so the hype got the best of us but now we know. Not all Nurmagomedovs were created equal.
Meinifield v. Knight was all well and good for my picks, even got the stoppage right, but a big miss for my optimized lineup. Chalk this one up to the “not trusting the gut” fallacy and onto the next one. I called the fight too volatile for my lineup, so if you had exposure to him in your GPP’s then kudos to you but I should have had him in my cash game plays as well so even though this one was a foul tip, it shouldn’t have been an out. Sorry, I would only expect more and more baseball analogies as Spring starts to turn into Summer and America’s past time is almost BACK!
Now for the biggest swing and a miss I had for my lineup and where I officially lost the edge for the Autojohn’s lineup, not for the picks I was making, but for the picks I DIDN’T make and for those of you that have been in the game as long as I have, that can be the case more often than not. Picking Nurmagomedov and Maverick was great for my sportsbook but costly for my optimized lineup this past weekend and while I may have picked Meinifield and Mullarkey, I faded them and that would prove to be the difference the rest of the PPV. Once again, this is primarily a fantasy blog so missing out on 2 fight stoppages in my lineup is no good so we will make sure and start looking at that going forward. The Autojohn will get it’s edge back!
So now I’m up on my picks but as we head down the stretch I would only go 2-2 to close out the main PPV card and my lineup goes to the dumpster fire with these last four fights. Starting with Maverick v. Robertson, really needed that 3rd round TKO I called for to justify Maverick’s price point and while Robertson put on a grappling clinic in the 2nd round, Maverick should have been able to close that one out with strikes but another lesson learned as we move forward. Kudos to Maverick though for working top competition in her division and I am looking forward to watching both of these fighters going forward.
Suga Sean O’Malley was very impressive. I still don’t want to say that he is a great striker as of this blogpost but he showed me something in this one. I would say he is right where our boy Luque was before this event so I guess my point is I need one more quality finish from the Suga Show before I am willing to crown him the next big prospect in MMA. That being said, Almeida never really had a chance except for one knockdown which was really just Almeida’s desperate attempt to reinjure his leg so shame on him for not being more creative with his fight plan. I would also say it looks like Suga really has had some minor lingering issues recovering from that injury against Vera, but his mindset has not had any problems bouncing back and that is much more important for the time being. For now the Suga Show is back on top and I am looking forward to his next matchup.
Luque v. Woodley was as expected for me and justifiably sad to watch. It’s always exciting to see a new up and comer in Luque and I think he has a great future in the Octagon after demolishing the former champ. Seeing Woodley get exposed like that though reminded me of Chuck Liddell towards the end of his career. After the great ones lose their chin there really is no getting it back. You could see Woodley lose his equilibrium as a soon as he took a solid punch and while his corner had the right strategy to push the pace and try to keep Luque locked up, it was only a matter of time. This was an example of where mindset doesn’t matter because, unlike a leg injury, as the chin goes so does the fighter. Woodley was on the last fight of his current UFC contract and while I wish him the best in the future, I don’t think he will be back in the UFC unless he wants to do something drastic a la Frankie Edgar, and move down a weight class. Once again though, let’s not overshadow what a great showing it was for Luque and now it is safe to say the hype is real for this contender going forward in the middleweight division.
Onto the main event where HISTORY WAS MADE! Just not in the way I thought (hoped) it would be. As a guy who lives in Northern Kentucky, grew up mostly on Ohio sports and wrestling out of the southwest region of the state, Stipe Miocic has emerged as a huge hero to me because there is no one more Rocky Balboa in my mind than the firefighter out of Northeast Ohio. No matter what happens to Miocic the rest of the way, he will forever be the greatest underdog the Heavyweight division has ever seen, no offense to Randy “The Natural” Couture who had already won a title at LHW before emerging as a heavyweight at age 42. Stipe was counted out of almost every fight he had on his way to the top and even once he got there, no one though he would be able to retain which is what he did three times in a row and while that record won’t stand the test of time, it shows you how volatile the division has been throughout time and how incredible it has been to watch this “average joe” do what he’s done.
That is not to marginalize our new champion in any way, shape, or form. Only to acknowledge where the torch came from but it was passed down in tremendous fashion. Francis Ngannou has been in the game a long time himself and starting out as a one dimensional fighter who only had a big punch, he has now emerged as the undisputed Heavyweight champion and I love how right off the bat (there I go again) he has acknowledged he is willing to take on all challengers, including a well known for LHW goat by the name of Jon Jones. I could totally respect Ngannou making Jon Jones earn his shot while knocking off a few contenders on his own but instead he wants to dive right in and take on the best of the best. This should be a huge draw for the UFC so I can only hope Uncle Dana does not mess this up. A win against Jon Jones for the his first title defense would INSTANTLY give him a case for the best HWT of All-Time and who knows, afterwards he might want to take down Stipe again for a trilogy fight if that’s what Miocic thinks is best for his corner. Derek Lewis is really the only other contender at this time but in my mind is not on the same platform as these other 3 fighters. I hope you guys had some exposure to Ngannou because at $8,400 he earned every point he got this past weekend taking out one of the best to ever do it in any division. Long reign the NEW HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION! (maybe)
Follow me on twitter @Ashbrook423 for sports and I’ll be back at it Wednesday for a special post of Edge of the Autojohn: MLB Opening Day edition!