MMA DFS Playbook – UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Cowboy

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Hey there fight fans! The UFC is back after a week off, and sets up shop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the first time since June of 2011. UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Cowboy pits Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone against Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira in the main event in the Steel City on Fox Sports 1.

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Can Cerrone rebound after a crushing defeat at UFC Fight Night?

This fight card is light on notable names, so we’ll have to dig really deep to make some money picks. Last card was significantly better than the week before, as my selections went 7-5, brining my 2016 total record to 12-12-1. With some heavy favorites on the card, that record will improve even more this week. As always, stay on top of injury news up until fight night, especially since this card has already been ravaged by injuries. Salary cap values are according to Draftkings.

 

 

Donald Cerrone ($10,600) vs. Alex Oliveira ($8,800)

The main event in Pittsburgh features “Cowboy” vs. “Cowboy” in a welterweight bout. Donald Cerrone makes his welterweight debut in the UFC fresh off of a 66 second TKO loss to Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight belt. He takes on Alex Oliveira after original opponent, Tim Means, was pulled from the card. Oliveira rides a 3-fight winning streak into the matchup, including impressive finishes of K.J. Noons and Piotr Hallmann. Cerrone seems to crumble under the pressure of title fights, but looks absolutely brilliant in non-title affairs, especially the very next fight after a loss. Cerrone should be able to handle the tough as nails Oliveira with superior stand-up, and will also generate more power on his punches and kicks after not having to cut as much weight. Even if this hits the mat, Cerrone is dangerously underrated in the jiu jitsu game, where he could submit the overmatched Oliveira. I see a second round TKO victory by “Cowboy” Cerrone.

 

Derek Brunson ($11,100) vs. Roan Carneiro ($8,300)

This is a interesting fight for me. Derek Brunson is an elite level fighter in the Middleweight division. He shined for Strikeforce before making the jump to the UFC where he’s 5-1, with his only loss coming to Yoel Romero. He’s a great wrestler who can also mix it up on the feet with the very best in the world. Brunson enters the bout with a 3-fight win streak, including 2 TKO victories in a row. Carneiro intrigues me. His first run in the UFC left much to be desired, going 2-3 in the welterweight division. Since his last fight for the promotion, he’s gone 8-1 and looked impressive doing so. His return to the UFC was against the ultra tough Mark Munoz at middleweight and he obliterated him on the mat, submitting him in under a round. This is going to be a tough fight to win for either man, but I’m leaning on Carneiro, especially at $8,300 where he brings flexibility to my lineup. His jiu jitsu has looked spectacular since his return, and if he ends up in a dominant position, he’s likely going to catch a submission. Brunson is not going to roll over and lose easily, so tread lightly in this contest, but if you’re looking for a live underdog, look no further, as Carneiro is more than game. The pick is Carneiro by submission in the third round.

 

Cody Garbrandt ($11,000) vs. Augusto Mendes ($8,400)

At bantamweight, Cody “No Love” Garbrandt faces late replacement Augusto Mendes. Mendes steps in for John Lineker, who fell ill. Garbrandt trains with the famed Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, and has represented his team well, going 7-0 in total, and 2-0 in the UFC. Mendes hails from Brazil and is making his UFC debut. The jiu jitsu ace has a 5-0 record with 5 finishes, 4 of which came by submission. Barring an unexpected submission by the rookie, this fight should be all Garbrandt. He trains with some of the best fighters every day, and has had a full camp to prepare for this bout, despite the late change in opponent. Though impressive on the mat, I don’t see Mendes being capable of handling a fighter of Garbrandt’s caliber in his debut, especially on such short notice. Garbrandt will surely stay away from the ground game, focusing instead on the stand-up game, and will take home a unanimous decision.

 

Dennis Bermudez ($10,800) vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri ($8,600)

Bermudez takes on Japanese legend Kawajiri in an intriguing featherweight bout. After an impressive 7-0 run, Bermudez has dropped his last 2 fights, both by finish to elite competition. Kawajiri has won 3 of his last 4 bouts in the UFC, after a stellar career in a number of other big promotions. I see Bermudez looking to impose his will on Kawajiri with takedowns, and should be able to complete a few. What he does with them is key, because Kawajiri will not be finished easily. He’s a crafty veteran and will undoubtedly have his moments in this fight. Bermudez will be the hungrier fighter though, and will control the majority of the bout with his elite wrestling, winning a close decision, possibly by a split verdict.

 

Chris Camozzi ($10,500) vs. Joe Riggs ($8,900)

At middleweight, Chris Camozzi takes on longtime veteran Joe Riggs. Both men are desperate to earn a victory here. Camozzi won his last bout against Tom Watson, and is in the midst of his third run in the UFC. Riggs was also victorious in his previous fight, when Ron Stallings was disqualified for an illegal upkick. There is not much to dissect here. Camozzi is the younger, faster, stronger, and overall better fighter, and should have no problem dispatching the journeyman Riggs. Look for the heavy favorite to stop Riggs early into this one, brutally finishing him by KO in the very first round.

 

James Krause ($10,100) vs. Shane Campbell ($9,300)

The first fight on the main card pits Krause vs. Campbell at lightweight. Krause finally put it all together after a 1-3 stretch, submitting Daron Cruickshank back in July. Campbell returns after a win in his last fight as well. Krause has struggled thus far into his UFC tenure, where only a Jamie Varner ankle injury prevented a 4-fight losing streak. Campbell only has 2 UFC bouts to his name, but was extremely successful in his kickboxing career, going 62-9. Krause has shown too many deficiencies in his overall game for me to have any confidence that he’ll be able to handle Campbell, who should be able to impose his will on the feet, following similar game plans that were successful for Bobby Green and Jorge Masvidal. The pick is Shane Campbell by unanimous decision.

 

Sean Strickland ($9,900) vs. Alex Garcia ($9,500)

This is one of the tougher fights to call. The featured preliminary bout of the night is a good one. Both Strickland and Garcia have been successful in their short UFC careers, and should both be a tough test for each other. Garcia sent Mike Swick into retirement in his last appearance, while Strickland defeated Igor Araujo in his previous bout. This fight will surely be back and forth, with both men having success in the three round affair. The only advantage I can spot is for Garcia. He trains at Tristar in Montreal with head trainer Firas Zahabi, and a whole gym full of the very best fighters in the world, including GSP and Rory MacDonald. He’ll have a game plan in place to succeed, and I see him winning a close unanimous over Strickland.

 

Daniel Sarafian ($10,400) vs. Oluwale Bamgbose ($9,000)

Brazilian Daniel Sarafian squares off against American Oluwale Bamgbose in a middleweight bout where someone is more than likely losing consciousness. Bamgbose will look to trade with Sarafian who will probably oblige. Sarafian is also dangerous on the mat so Bamgbose will have to be aware of takedowns. A Bamgbose bomb could land on Sarafian and end his night, but Sarafian has more tools to end this one. Sarafian will counter a big shot from Bamgbose with a takedown, where he’ll work positioning, eventually catching a submission in the first round. The first few minutes should be fun.

 

Anthony Smith ($10,200) vs. Leonardo Augusto Guimaraes ($9,200)

Smith, who is yet another injury replacement, faces another newcomer in Leonardo Augusto. Smith is well traveled, as this is his second UFC run, having also fought for Bellator and Strikeforce. In that time he’s accrued a 24-11 record and is coming off of a dominant victory over longtime veteran Josh Neer. The Brazilian Augusto makes his debut in the UFC with an 11-1 record with 1 no-contest. Though dominant lately, Smith hasn’t shown much in the big show to warrant such a heavy salary value to me. Look for Smith to try to stand up with Augusto early, who will gladly oblige. He’ll use his brawler mentality to land something hard and put Smith away in the second round via KO.

 

Jonavin Webb ($10,700) vs. Nathan Coy ($8,700)

Classic prospect vs. veteran fight here with Webb taking on Coy. Coy is a TUF vet, who has also fought for Bellator. He lost in his last appearance by submission to Danny Roberts. Jonavin “Spyder” Webb is an interesting prospect, who took Kyle Noke to the brink of defeat in his very first UFC fight. That’s as impressive as it gets. Coy is 37 years old and looks to be on his way out of MMA very shortly. Webb will contribute to that, as he has too many weapons for Coy to deal with. He has a strong submission game that could win him the fight on the mat, but I think he’ll use his punching power to end this one. Webb will catch Coy with a big punch early in round 1, ending his night, and possibly his career.

 

Marion Reneau ($10,300) vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith ($9,100)

This will be an interesting fight between the two women’s bantamweights. With such a shallow division, a big performance by Reneau or Evans-Smith will go a long way. Reneau lost her last fight to champion Holly Holm, while Evans-Smith was choked unconscious by Raquel Pennington. Needless to say, both need a victory. Reneau fights with a killer instinct that I haven’t seen from Evans-Smith thus far in her short career. Simply put, Reneau has the big fight experience, as well as the finishing capability to dominate Evans-Smith. Reneau wins by submission in the second round.

 

Lauren Murphy ($10,900) vs. Kelly Faszholz ($8,500)

With only 3 pro fights to her name, Kelly Faszholz has her work cut out for her when she fights Lauren Murphy who was the bantamweight champ in the Invicta promotion before making the jump to the UFC. Making matters worse, she’s taking the bout on extremely short notice, 6 days to be exact. Faszholz is talented prospect, but Murphy is too experienced, and too skilled to be beaten at this point. Faszholz will make it competitive, but Murphy will take home a unanimous decision win.

 

Shamil Abdurakhimov ($9,800) vs. Anthony Hamilton ($9,600)

Heavyweights open the card on UFC Fight Pass. Abdurakhimov lost his debut, while Hamilton has alternated wins and losses in his 4 UFC fights. Hamilton has shown his ability to stand and trade with good strikers, which will fare him well in this fight. This is another fight that is difficult to pick a winner, but I’m rolling with Hamilton. He has the UFC experience, as well as the world-renowned Greg Jackson in his corner. Jackson will undoubtedly provide a path to victory for him, and the pick is Hamilton by KO in the first round.

 

My Lineup:

 

Donald Cerrone ($10,600)

Roan Carneiro ($8,300)

Cody Garbrandt ($11,000)

Chris Camozzi ($10,500)

Anthony Hamilton ($9,600)

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