Here's some advice for your gambling and fantasy needs for Friday's UFC Fight Night 102 event in Albany, New York, headlined by Derrick Lewis against Shamil Abdurakhimov in a five-round heavyweight bout on UFC Fight Pass.
Derrick Lewis (16-4 1 NC) vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov (17-3)
Betting Odds: Lewis (-200), Abdurakhimov (+185)
DraftKings Salaries: Lewis- $9,100, Abdurakhimov- $7,100
Key Statistic: Lewis has 14 wins by knockout
Analysis: Lewis is one of the heaviest hitters in the heavyweight division, scoring 14 of his 16 wins by knockout. The fight is also going five rounds, but I don't expect it will go the full 25 minutes. Abdurakhimov is a durable heavyweight and he's only been finished by punches once in his career, but he hasn't fought anyone with the power of Lewis. Abdurakhimov will likely be looking to take Lewis down, but if he ends up on bottom, big fists will be coming from Lewis. Lewis went the distance in his last fight, but I don't see this one going the distance at all. I like Lewis in this fight, both in straight betting and in fantasy contests. He is solid at his $9,100 fantasy salary.
Francis Ngannou (8-1) vs. Anthony Hamilton (15-5)
Betting Odds: Ngannou (-525), Hamilton (+415)
DraftKings Salaries: Ngannou- $9,700, Hamilton- $6,500
Key Statistic: Ngannou will have a 7-inch reach advantage
Analysis: Ngannou is a physically imposing heavyweight, big at six-foot-four and around 260 pounds. He has won eight of his nine career fights, and all eight have come by stoppage. Hamilton is a serviceable heavyweight with some power, but he has been stopped in four of his five losses. This fight looks like he is just being put in the Octagon to give Ngannou another impressive win. Ngannou is going to have a big seven-inch reach advantage over him. Ngannou is a heavy favorite in this fight, and if he loses it's a huge upset. I wouldn't put money down on either as the return on Ngannou would be small. I like Ngannou as my top play in fantasy, and he commands the highest salary on this card at $9,700, but I think he will get a first-round finish, and Hamilton is a fighter to avoid.
Corey Anderson (8-2) vs. Sean O'Connell (17-8)
Betting Odds: Anderson (-420), O'Connell (+335)
DraftKings Salaries: Anderson- $9,000, O'Connell- $7,200
Key Statistic: Anderson has 24 takedowns in 7 UFC fights
Analysis: Anderson will be looking to get back in the win column after losing to Mauricio Rua in May. He is good prospect at 205 pounds with some excellent wrestling, having scored multiple takedowns in six of his seven UFC fights. O'Connell is a lower-level light heavyweight who has a ton of heart and is very durable, and he likes to have exciting fights. This one might not be one, though. Anderson isn't much of a finisher, having won his last four fights by decision, and he will likely keep taking O'Connell down and dominating on the top. It doesn't make for an exciting fight, but Anderson is a great bet to win. His takedowns will score some fantasy points, but I don't see a finish happening here. His salary is just a tad too high at $9,000 to take a big chance when there are proven finishers at similar salaries.
Gian Villante (14-7) vs. Saparbek Safarov (8-0)
Betting Odds: Villante (-175), Safarov (+155)
DraftKings Salaries: Villante- $8,800, Safarov- $7,400
Key Statistic: Villante absorbs more than 5 strikes per minute
Analysis: Villante looks to rebound from a loss in his last fight when he takes on late replacement Safarov, who is making his UFC debut on just one week's notice. Safarov is undefeated in his career and has scored all eight of his wins by stoppage. He is a legitimate prospect at 205 pounds. Villante has made a name of being a durable fighter, but he can be stopped, as evidenced by his three losses by knockout. Villante won't be afraid to trade on the feet, and he has good wrestling to rely on. He does get hit a lot, and Safarov is dangerous on his feet. Despite the late notice, Safarov is a good underdog bet both in straight bets and in fantasy games, especially at a $7,400 salary. This is a toss-up fight, but I really wouldn't be surprised to see a convincing win by Villante.
Justine Kish (5-0) vs. Ashley Yoder (5-1)
Betting Odds: Kish (-235), Yoder (+195)
DraftKings Salaries: Kish- $8,300, Yoder- $7,900
Key Statistic: Kish has fought just once since January 2014
Analysis: Kish puts her undefeated MMA record on the line against TUF 23 competitor, Yoder, in the featured prelim bout. Kish has a wealth of kickboxing experience, but she has been dealing with big injury issues over the last few years. Yoder has shown to have good submission skills, winning four of her five career fights with armbars. Kish is the better fighter on the feet, but she does have a decent ground game as well. Both are close in experience in MMA, but Kish has more overall in fighting. Yoder is a good underdog bet, but she did fight less than a month ago. I like Kish in this fight, but I am staying away from both in fantasy line-ups.
Randy Brown (8-1) vs. Brian Camozzi (7-2)
Betting Odds: Brown (-170), Camozzi (+150)
DraftKings Salaries: Brown- $8,200, Camozzi- $8,000
Key Statistic: Brown has seven wins by stoppage
Analysis: Brown looks to get a win streak going when he takes on the debuting Brian Camozzi, younger brother of UFC middleweight Chris Camozzi. Both of these men are finishers. Brown has finished opponents in seven of his eight wins, and Camozzi has finished opponents in all seven of his wins, six coming in the first round. Both men are interesting prospects at 170 pounds, and both are solid strikers. Camozzi is the better submission artist, and Brown has had trouble getting up from his back. There is no clear favorite in this bout, but Brown has more potential. Camozzi is a good underdog bet though I like Brown at his $8,200 fantasy salary.
Joe Gigliotti (7-1) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (24-8)
Betting Odds: Gigliotti (+185), Meerschaert (-225)
DraftKings Salaries: Gigliotti- $7,600, Meerschaert- $8,600
Key Statistic: Meerschaert has won 22 of his 24 fights by stoppage
Analysis: Meerschaert looks for his 25th career win in his UFC debut as he comes in as an injury replacement to take on Gigliotti, who is looking for his first UFC win. Meerschaert has been impressive in the regional promotions, having racked up 22 wins by stoppage. He is a finisher, but so is Gigliotti, as all of his wins have been by a finish. Both men like to look for chokes, but Gigliotti has more power on his feet and has better chances to finish it on the feet. He also has had a full camp, something that will give him that extra edge. I like Gigliotti in this fight, and he has good underdog value.
Andrew Sanchez (8-2) vs. Trevor Smith (14-6)
Betting Odds: Sanchez (-200), Smith (+170)
DraftKings Salaries: Sanchez- $8,700, Smith- $7,500
Key Statistic: Smith has been finished in five of his six losses
Analysis: Sanchez won TUF 23 in July, and it was the first time he went the distance in a win in his career. It wasn't an exciting performance either. Smith has gotten better the older he has gotten, but he hasn't scored that true signature win. He has nine wins by submission, but none inside the Octagon. He gets finished a lot in his losses, and he isn't all that consistent. This is a closer fight on paper than the records indicate. Sanchez has improved on his feet though he still likes to drag fights to the mat. A grappling battle may favor Smith, though, as he has become a grinder at this stage of his career. I'm not expecting a memorable fight, and Smith has some value as an underdog. I will be testing him in my fantasy line-ups, and he gives you a decent option at winning money.
Tiago Trator (20-5-1 1 NC) vs. Shane Burgos (7-0)
Betting Odds: Trator (+150), Burgos (-170)
DraftKings Salaries: Trator- $7,800, Burgos- $8,400
Key Statistic: Burgos has scored all seven of his wins by stoppage
Analysis: Trator returns to action after being out for 15 months, and he gets a late replacement in the undefeated Burgos, who makes his UFC debut. Trator has gotten a lot of finishes in his career, but none in his short UFC career. Burgos has scored four of his wins by submission and three by knockout, and he has five first-round wins. While he is coming in on short notice, he is a legitimate prospect with good submission skills. He is also the favorite in this fight, and I like his chances. The short notice is tough, though, and Trator could be a sneaky underdog bet. I like Burgos better in fantasy games as I don't see Trator scoring a finish.
Frankie Perez (10-2) vs. Marc Diakiese (10-0)
Betting Odds: Perez (+245), Diakiese (-290)
DraftKings Salaries: Perez- $7,000, Diakiese- $9,200
Key Statistic: Perez coming out of retirement and fights for first time since August 2015
Analysis: Diakiese has real star potential and I think he should be higher on this card. He is a big favorite in this fight, and for good reason as Perez is coming out of retirement and fighting for the first time in nearly 16 months. Diakiese has a lot of power in his hands and is a skilled takedown artist with an active ground game. Perez has power in his hands, but he hasn't shown a huge array of skillset in his short UFC career. Worse off, it's hard to judge how he will be coming out of retirement. Diakiese is a big favorite in this fight and a strong fantasy play, and he is one of the top targets on this card. I do expect him to have a high draft percentage in fantasy games, so heed caution.
Keith Berish (5-0 1 NC) vs. Ryan Janes (8-1)
Betting Odds: Berish (+225), Janes (-265)
DraftKings Salaries: Berish- $7,300, Janes- $8,900
Key Statistic: Berish hasn't fought since July 2014
Analysis: This fight is hard to get a read on. Berish hasn't fought since July 2014, and it was a quick loss, and he blew out his knee in the process, to Robert Drysdale that was later overturned. Janes is making his UFC debut at 35-years-old, and he hasn't fought in 16 months. Janes is a grappler by trade, but his striking leaves a lot to be desired. Berish is better on the feet, and it's hard to know his grappling game as his only test was with Drysdale, one of the best grapplers in the world. This is a real tough fight to call as both are clear low-level UFC middleweights. Berish being such a low salary fighter makes him a solid underdog play in fantasy games, and I would stay away from straight betting on this fight.
Juliana Lima (8-3) vs. JJ Aldrich (4-1)
Betting Odds: Lima (-240), Aldrich (+200)
DraftKings Salaries: Lima- $8,500, Aldrich- $7,700
Key Statistic: Aldrich takes fight on one week's notice
Analysis: Aldrich is making her UFC debut on short notice, and it's a tough one in taking on Lima. Lima has two UFC losses, but they came to the only two strawweight champions in company history- Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Carla Esparza. She is pretty durable on her feet and has good wrestling. Aldrich may not have a lot of pro experience, but she has a ton of amateur experience. She comes from a southpaw stance and has some pop in her punches, but she doesn't have the grappling to match Lima. Aldrich did just fight on November 18, so she won't be fresh, while Lima has had a full training camp. This fight favors Lima, but I don't see her getting a finish, making her a questionable fantasy play. I would avoid if you can find better options for your line-ups.