Here’s some advice for who to pick in your DraftKings lineup for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 99 event in Dublin, Northern Ireland, headlined by Gegard Mousasi taking on Uriah Hall in a five-round middleweight bout on UFC Fight Pass.
Top Target: Gegard Mousasi ($9,600)
Gegard Mousasi is looking for vengeance when he steps into the Octagon on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night 99 in Belfast. He will be looking to avenge a loss to Uriah Hall that occurred in September 2015 in Japan. Mousasi dominated the first round of their bout before being knocked out spectacularly by a spinning back kick followed by a flying knee from Hall. Both men have gone on different paths since that fight just 14 months ago.
Mousasi has scored three straight wins since then over Thales Leites, Thiago Santos and Vitor Belfort, while Hall has suffered two straight setbacks, to Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson. Mousasi is on the cusp of fighting for the title while Hall has seen his title aspirations take a major hit, and this fight will affect the future of both men at 185 pounds. This fight was put together on short notice as a replacement for a scratched main event, and it is hard to know whether both men will be fully prepared for this one. Mousasi is coming off a relatively easy win over Belfort in October while Hall was stopped, albeit likely early, by Brunson in September.
There is no question that Mousasi is the better fighter of the two, though Hall is very talented. Hall just hasn’t lived up to his expectations, and it doesn’t seem like he ever will. He just seems destined to be a fighter that is just a gatekeeper in the division, while Mousasi legitmately has a shot at getting a title shot. Mousasi is also on the last fight of his contract, so a big win gives him a lot of leverage. I don’t see Mousasi suffering the same fate that he did the first time against Hall, and this fight being a continuation of the first round between the two.
Mousasi has the highest salary on the card, but I think it is justified. I see him finishing Hall, and that makes him a good choice for your top target.
Value Target: Magomed Mustafaev ($7,900)
Magomed Mustafaev puts his 13-fight win streak on the line when he takes on Kevin Lee at UFC Fight Night 99 on Saturday. Mustafaev has scored his last two wins inside the Octagon, but he hasn’t fought since scoring a TKO win over Joe Proctor at UFC 194 in December. Meanwhile, Lee has a lot of UFC experience, compiling a 6-2 record with wins in six of his last seven fights. With Lee’s experience inside the Octagon, he comes in with a higher fantasy salary than Mustafaev, which makes Mustafaev a very solid value play.
Mustafaev has scored all 14 of his professional wins by stoppage, with ten coming by knockout and four coming by submission. Nine of those wins have come inside the first round. He is a very dangerous fighter, and has the Dagestan background that is producing a bunch of quality fighters. He also doesn’t look like a finished and polished prospect, and Lee may be in that mold. Lee is a good fighter who doesn’t take a lot of risks. He looked impressive in stopping Jake Matthews in his last fight in July, but when he has come in with a lot of confidence, it has hurt him. That was evidenced when he was stopped by Leonardo Santos on that same event where Mustafaev scored his last win.
Lee is a good wrestler with some decent striking, and he has power. Mustafaev isn’t the type of fighter he should be going to the ground with, though, as he has a nasty submission game. Mustafaev is very powerful on his feet and very good at close range and inside the clinch. Lee picks opponents apart better when he is at a distance. The longer the fight goes, the more it favors Lee. Mustafaev is a quick worker, and he is very dangerous early. Dangerous enough to where a first-round finish could be expected.
With his tools, he is a very good value bet at his salary as if he wins, it’s going to be early and violent.
Target To Avoid: Artem Lobov ($7,300)
Artem Lobov is 12-12 in his professional career, among the worst records held by a current fighter on the UFC roster. He is just 1-2 in his three bouts inside the Octagon, and he is coming off his first win in August over Chris Avila. Avila is far from a UFC-caliber fighter, and Lobov had a relatively easy time with him. He won’t have the same easy time when he takes on talented Teruto Ishihara on Saturday night. Ishihara is coming off of back-to-back knockout wins in his last two fights, but against opponents no longer on the UFC roster.
Despite his record, Lobov, while not the best, may be the toughest opponent Ishihara has dealt with so far in his young UFC career. I don’t really like Lobov’s chances in this bout. Everything he is good at, Ishihara is better. He is more athletic and more powerful on the feet. Ishihara also comes from the Team Alpha Male camp, which has had a rivalry with the SBG camp, so the intensity will be there. Neither man has had to show a ground game, but I see Ishihara being better there due to the training he goes through, and the willingness to go where the action takes him.
I see this fight being a standing affair, and while Lobov is a good counterpuncher, I think he will have a hard time getting inside the four-inch reach advantage that Ishihara has. Lobov is very difficult to finish as he has only been stopped three times in his twelve losses, and only once by strikes, and that was over five years ago. I do see Ishihara finishing him, though.
To me, Lobov is the easiest fighter to avoid on this card, despite his salary being tempting when looking for an underdog to win. Don’t give into the temptation as I think it is a wrong move.
Underdog Target: Jack Marshman ($7,400)
Jack Marshman is making his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 99 on Saturday in front of a crowd that could have a lot of Welsh attendees in it. The Cage Warriors Middleweight Champion doesn’t get an easy first assignment with the UFC as he takes on Magnus Cedenblad, winner of four straight fights in the UFC. Cedenblad is 14-4 overall in his career, but after starting out with a 3-3 record, he has since gone 11-1. He has scored finishes in twelve of his 14 wins, and he uses his six-foot-three frame very well at 185 pounds.
Cedenblad has very good and crafty striking on his feet and an excellent grappling game with dangerous submissions on the mat. Marshman is primarily a striker, but he is a powerful one at that. He has twelve wins by knockout. He does have a good submission game and can catch opponents with a choke or an armbar, but Cedenblad is worlds better on the mat. Marshman mainly likes to throw inside the pocket, and he is tough to match up with in the power department. Cedenblad is not an opponent who shies away from a fist fight, and he uses his length well to his advantage.
Marshman is younger of the two and has more mileage in his career, but he is arguably the more talented of the two. That isn’t to discredit Cedenblad, who is the big betting favorite in this match-up. Marshman’s power make this fight interesting. If it goes to grappling, Cedenblad should win this fight many times over. The fight being on the feet allows for Marshman to find that powerful punch he possesses.
With his salary being low, I like Marshman as a potential upset target. If there is an underdog with a good chance to win, he has a good of a chance as anyone. I feel confident in his chances, and I like him as a darkhorse to win.
Ryan Frederick: Gegard Mousasi ($9,600), Abdul Razak Alhassan ($9,400), Mark Godbeer ($8,000), Magomed Mustafaev ($7,900), Stevie Ray ($7,700), Jack Marshman ($7,400)
I’m going with two big favorites and four underdogs in my line-up for this card. I like Gegard Mousasi to avenge his loss to Uriah Hall. Adbul Razak Alhassan is making his UFC debut on short notice against another UFC debut in Charlie Ward, who comes from the SBG camp. Alhassan is undefeated and a powerful striker, and he has the experience edge over Ward. I like him to get a knockout, especially if this fight stays standing. For my underdogs, I have Magomed Mustafaev and Jack Marshman on my team, and I like them to get upsets in their fights as I pointed out above.
I also have Mark Godbeer and Stevie Ray on my roster. Godbeer is making his UFC debut and he is a powerful puncher, plus it is a heavyweight fight. That could end ugly in many different ways. I like it being a good ugly for Godbeer with him handing Justin Ledet his first career loss. Ray is taking a tough fight on short notice against Ross Pearson, but it is a winnable fight as Pearson seems to have peaked as a fighter. He is still very good and dangerous, but he has a knack for being in close fights that make judging hard. Ray is better at this stage and I see him getting a win by racking up a lot of strikes.
Paul Fontaine: Gegard Mousasi ($9,600), Teruto Ishihara ($8,900), Alexander Volkov ($8,100), Mark Godbeer ($8,000), Anna Almose ($7,600), Alexander Yakovlev ($7,200)
Mousasi has a high salary but I really like him to avenge his loss last year to Uriah Hall. He was dominating the fight before Hall landed what I think was a lucky shot and I don’t think lightning will strike twice. Teruto Ishihara is a good fighter and his opponent Artem Lobov is really not so that’s a no-brainer in my eyes. I was surprised to Alexander Volkov as even money here. The former Bellator champion should be able to finish the much slower Timothy Johnson , who hasn’t show much in UFC.
Mark Godbeer is making his UFC debut and I think the big heavyweight will make a good first impression by finishing Justin Ledet, who showed almost no punch defence in his UFC debut despite winning the fight. I was shocked to see Anna Elmose as a big underdog here and I think she’s a steal at $7,600. Her opponent Amanda Cooper has only 3 official UFC fights and Elmose herself only has once career loss, at bantamweight against the much bigger and heavily favored Germaine de Randamie. My last pick is Alexander Yakovlev, who I’m hoping can score an upset win over Zak Cummings, hopefully by stoppage.
Peach Machine: Gegard Mousasi ($9,600), Magnus Cedenblad ($8,800), Kyoji Horiguchi ($8,400), Kevin Lee ($8,300), Alexander Yakovlev ($7,200), Charlie Ward ($6,800)
Gegard Mousasi will NOT let Hall beat him again. He’s a lock. Horiguchi is always a lock. I’m taking Magnus Cedenblad because his name is awesome and he’s going against a terribly named opponent, Jack Marshman. That match has squisher written all over it. In Soviet Russia, fighters draft you, so I’m letting Yakolev pick me. I like Kevin Lee. He’s cute. And of course, I’m taking former Florida State QB and Heisman trophy winner AND former New York Nickerbocker, Charlie Ward.