The Octagon travels to Monterrey, Mexico for UFC Fight Night 78 on Saturday night, the third straight weekend of UFC action, with a main event of welterweight action as Neil Magny takes on Kelvin Gastelum. Below are our studs of the night, our value picks of the night, and fighters you should avoid on the night to help fill out your DraftKings lineups.
Kelvin Gastelum ($10,900)
Kelvin Gastelum is coming into his headline bout against Neil Magny with a lot of expectations on his shoulders, and he is hoping to live up to them. He is a good play against Magny, who comes into the fight on short notice as an injury replacement. Magny is solid competition, but one who has faltered when faced with the high-level competition. Magny is ranked based on the fact he has gone 8-1 in his last nine fights, but that has been against unranked competition, aside from the loss to Demian Maia. In that loss to Maia, Magny was finished, like he has in three of his four losses. Gastelum is a pressure fighter who will land a lot of punches, as long as he can get inside Magny's reach, and he has solid submission skills. On a card where there might be a lot of decisions, Gastelum is a good bet to score a finish.
Andre Fili ($10,700)
Andre Fili makes his return to the Octagon after being out of action for eight months when he takes on Gabriel Benitez. Fili has been up-and-down during his UFC tenure but he has the chance to make a run as a legitmate 145-pound prospect. He has been submitted in both of his UFC losses, but he has looked good in his UFC wins, landing a lot of punches and getting one finish. He has an opponent in Gabriel Benitez who has won both of his UFC bouts, but hasn't looked too great against the lower competition. Fili is a big step up in competition. Fili has a good chance to get a lot of points and score a finish.
Taylor Lapilus ($9,400)
Taylor Lapilus is a fast-rising bantamweight prospect who will get the toughest test of his career when he takes on Erik Perez. Perez is coming off a 17-month layoff when he makes his return, and he is coming off of being submitted by Bryan Caraway. There are some holes in the skills of Perez, and Lapilus is someone who can exploit them. Lapilus has good power and a very solid submission game, and he is good value as his price. He has the tools to give Perez some fits during the fight, and the chance to rack up some points.
Hector Urbina ($8,900)
Hector Urbina is coming into his fight against Bartosz Fabinski as a big underdog despite having won his last two fights by stoppage. Fabinski has won five straight fights and has eight knockout wins in his career, but he didn't look like someone who was looking to finish when he got his decision win over Garreth McLellan in his UFC debut. He is also going into enemy territory taking on Urbina in Mexico. Urbina comes from a good camp in American Top Team, and he has scored 15 of his 17 wins by stoppage. Urbina, at his salary, is a very solid play that gives you good opportunity to spend up on higher-priced fighters.
Ricardo Lamas ($11,200)
Ricardo Lamas is the biggest favorite on this card and thus has the highest salary on the card. That makes it seem like he is a sure bet to win. However, he is fighting Diego Sanchez. Sanchez initiates brawls that make the job of the judges hard. He wins fights he probably should lose on the scorecards, and they are always too close for comfort. Sanchez is also extremely tough to finish, as only B.J. Penn has been able to do so, and that was due to a huge cut. Sanchez is coming off a long layoff and is making the move down to featherweight, and Lamas is a tough opponent for his first time out. Sanchez' style and relentless aggression make it hard for me to suggest using Lamas, so I am avoiding him and spending my money elsewhere.
Jussier Formiga ($8,300)
Jussier Formiga has the second-cheapest salary for all of the fighters on the card when he takes on Henry Cejudo. For being ranked third in his division, not many are giving him much of a chance against Cejudo on Saturday night. There is good reason for that as Formiga has faltered against top-level competition, and he doesn't score a lot of points in fantasy games as it is. He will likely be taken down a lot and probably will eat a lot of punches, and probably won't be able to land a lot of punches either. He probably won't be able to finish Cejudo either, much less defeat him. Only use Formiga if you are in a must-need situation as I will avoid him.
RYAN FREDERICK- Henry Cejudo ($11,100), Kelvin Gastelum ($10,900), Vernon Ramos ($10,300), Hector Urbina ($8,900), Erick Montano ($8,800)
I like Kelvin Gastelum and Hector Urbina for the reasons I stated above. I see them as having good chances at scoring finish wins in the early rounds, primarily by submission. I like Henry Cejudo to get a win, and he wants that title shot. He has an opponent in Jussier Formiga who can be finished, and Cejudo will be looking to score takedowns and finish it with ground-and-pound. Vernon Ramos is coming off of "TUF: Latin America 2" and has just three professional fights, but all three have been submission wins, and he gets an opponent who hasn't fought since 2012. Erick Montano is a finalist of "TUF: Latin America 2", and while he is the underdog against Enrique Marin, he has scored all six of his wins by stoppage, with five in the first round, and both of his wins on the show came by first-round stoppage. I like him at his cheap salary.
PAUL FONTAINE- Ricardo Lamas ($11,200), Henry Cejudo ($11,100), Efrain Escudero ($9,500), Alejandro Perez ($9,200), Gabriel Benitez ($8,700)
Lamas is about as close to a lock as there is on this card. Sanchez is WAY beyond his prime and would have losses in 4 of his last 5 fights if any of the judges had actually watched his fight with Ross Pearson. Lamas has only lost to the champion Jose Aldo and #2 contender Chad Mendes in the last 4 1/2 years. He should make quick work of Sanchez here. Henry Cejudo has a tough test in Jussier Formiga who will be in a title eliminator for the third time. But Cejudo is trying to earn a title shot so expect him to win and in impressive fashion. He should land a lot of strikes in a 3 round war and score the win. Alejandro Perez is one of the top Mexican prospects and looks to be in somewhat of a showcase fight against Scott Jorgensen, who has lost 5 of his last 6 fights and may not be long for this sport. I'm taking a bit of a chance on Gabriel Benitez but he is on a 2 fight win streak and is used to fighting in Mexico (which could be a big factor here). His opponent, Andre Fili, has a mediocre UFC record although he is the more expensive fighter for your roster. My last pick is veteran Efrain Escudero who has won two straight since losing in his UFC return last year. He has looked great, even in that loss, and will be cheered on by the Mexican crowd and should be able to score a win over the Brazilian Leandro Silva.
PEACH MACHINE- Ricardo Lamas ($11,200), Kelvin Gastelum ($10,900), Leandro Silva ($9,900), Alejandro Perez ($9,200), Gabriel Benitez ($8,700)
I like Gastelum. I think he's going to dominate Magny, but it could take all five rounds, so I'm predicting big points from Gastelum. I don't like Escudero. He's really inconsistent and disappointing. I'm taking Silva to beat him. Ricardo Lamas and Sanchez are going to have a war. I think Sanchez is done but will be a hard out. I'm making the same argument against Jorgensen. He's done but will be a tough out for Perez. Benitez over Fili. I'm not convinced Fili is any good.