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UFC Fight Night 90 DFS Playbook: value picks, who to avoid

It is UFC International Fight Week in Las Vegas, Nevada and Thursday night brings us UFC Fight Night 90, the first of three straight nights of action inside the Octagon.

This event will be headlined by a UFC Lightweight Championship bout as champion Rafael Dos Anjos defends against challenger Eddie Alvarez.

Below are our studs, value plays and fighters to avoid when setting your fantasy lineups for Thursday night's event.


Joseph Duffy ($11,100)

Joseph Duffy is coming off a loss to Dustin Poirier in which he was completely outclassed, so he takes a big step backwards in taking on Mitch Clarke on Thursday.

Clarke will be fighting for the first time since losing to Michael Chiesa in April 2015. The 2-3 Clarke appears to be a rebound fight for Duffy, who is 14-2 in his career and was ranked in the top 15 prior losing against Poirier.

Duffy is a finisher and 13 of his 14 wins have come by stoppage. Clarke has only been finished once in his career, but he doesn't have the same skillset that Duffy does. Duffy is a strong striker, has excellent submissions and good grappling. Clarke is a good grappler as well, but loses this match-up on foot.

Duffy has the highest salary of all the fighters on the card, but is still a good investment. I expect him to win big on Thursday.

Gilbert Burns ($10,800)

Gilbert Burns is looking to bounce back from his first career loss when he fights Lukasz Sajewski on the card's prelims Thursday night. Burns had won the first 11 fights of his career before dropping a decision to Rashid Magomedov in November.

That loss is nothing for Burns to hang his head about as Magomedov is 19-1 in his career, but it showed some holes that Burns needs to fill to get back on track inside the Octagon.

At his best, Burns is arguably the lightweight division's best submission artist and has the strongest grappling chops. He has scored 10 of his 11 wins by finish, with seven wins by submission. He also trains with a strong camp in the Blackzilians.

He is a strong favorite over Sajewski, who also lost for the first time in his career when he made his UFC debut in his last fight. Sajewski hasn't fought the level of competition that Burns has. And if Burns can avoid the slow start that has often plagued him, he should be able to end this quickly. I feel confident in having him as a stud play.


Eddie Alvarez ($8,600)

Eddie Alvarez is looking to make history when he challenges Rafael Dos Anjos for the UFC Lightweight Championship in the main event of UFC Fight Night 90. And he is also looking to become the first fighter to hold championship gold in both the UFC and Bellator promotions.

He gets his title shot against Dos Anjos on the heels of wins over former champions in Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez. Alvarez has just two losses in the last eight years, coming to Michael Chandler and Donald Cerrone, so he presents a real challenge in this fight.

Dos Anjos has looked like a killer the last several years and is the rightful champion at 155 pounds. He finished Cerrone quickly in his last fight, but is coming off an injury and no one knows what he will look like in this new era of the UFC.

I actually like Alvarez to score an upset as this fight goes the distance and the extra time allows for more point scoring opportunities. He is a risk, but I find a lot of value in Alvarez.

Alvaro Herrera ($8,500)

Alvaro Herrera is another interesting fighter with a low salary who has a lot of value on Thursday night's card. He is coming off a 30-second knockout win in his UFC debut in November, which was his first fight in over three years.

He gets back to action against Vicente Luque in the opening bout of Thursday's card, and Luque is looking to score his second straight win.

Luque has been inconsistent in his career, winning just eight times in 14 career bouts. He is tough to finish, having only been finished twice in his five losses. But Luque has finished opponents in seven of his eight wins, including in his last bout against Hayder Hassan in December. Herrera has scored finishes in eight of his nine wins, but has also been finished in all three of his losses.

This fight is primed for a finish, and I see Herrera's punching power being the difference. His salary is worth a good amount of value.


Anthony Birchak ($10,700)

Anthony Birchak has one of the highest salaries on the card, and I don't think he's worth that high price.

Birchak is just 1-2 inside the UFC Octagon, and all three of his fights have ended in the first round. He has suffered a submission loss to Ian Entwistle and a knockout loss to Thomas Almeida, and scored a knockout win over Joe Soto in betweeen those losses. Birchak does have 10 wins by finish, but he has been finished in all three of his losses.

I do like him to get the win over Dileno Lopes on Thursday, but I'm not all that confident in him winning by stoppage. I see him going the distance and getting a decision over Lopes. With his high salary, you have to expect a finish if you have him on your team. Birchak is an easy avoid for me.

Russell Doane ($9,000)

Russell Doane is another fighter that should be avoided on Thursday night's card.

He hasn't fought in almost a year and is coming in riding a two-fight losing skid. His last three fights have gone the distance and he hasn't looked overly impressive in those bouts.

He gets a tough match-up against Pedro Munhoz, who has been one of the top prospects in the bantamweight division, but has struggled against tougher competition.

Doane doesn't land a lot of strikes in his fights, but he is good at takedowns. Munhoz has good takedown defense and is the more well-rounded fighter. And I see that being the difference with him taking a decision. Avoid Doane as I feel he will be fighting a losing battle on Thursday.


RYAN FREDERICK- Joseph Duffy ($11,100), Gilbert Burns ($10,800), Derrick Lewis ($9,600), Alberto Mina ($9,500), Eddie Alvarez ($8,600)

I like Joseph Duffy as my top play on the card and I see him having no troubles against Mitch Clarke. I'm expecting him to end it by at least the end of the second round, and probably even in the first.

I also like Gilbert Burns to bounce back and get a stoppage win, likely by submission as his ground game is so good.

I have Derrick Lewis on my team as well. He has the size and power edge over Roy Nelson, and I think he can knock Nelson out. Alberto Mina is undefeated with 11 stoppage wins, and is facing Mike Pyle who is nearing the end of his career. I can see Mina knocking Pyle out early in their fight.

The last fighter on my team is Eddie Alvarez. I believe he will end Thursday night as the new UFC Lightweight Champion, and that it will go the distance, which gives him more chances to score points.

PAUL FONTAINE- Vicente Luque ($10,900), Reginaldo Vieira ($10,200), Roy Nelson ($9,800), Alberto Mina ($9,500), Dileno Lopes ($8,700)

All but one of Luque's career wins have come by finish and his opponent Alvaro Herrera has been finished in all three of his losses. To me, that's a recipe for some bonus points for Luque.

Vieira was the TUF Brazil season 4 champion and he beat a guy I also have on my team in his official UFC debut. That win was the first time he'd gone to the judges in one of his wins. I see the fight with Marco Beltran being an all-out balls to the wall brawl with Vieira being the last one standing.

Roy Nelson should score a late KO or submission over Derrick Lewis. Nelson is tough to finish and Lewis will probably gas out before getting caught by a shot that drops him.

I'm surprised Alberto Mina is an underdog against the aging Mike Pyle. Mina scored a finish in his UFC debut and then beat a tough vet in Yoshihiro Akiyama in his follow-up. He's unbeaten and an impressive finish over a another vet like Pyle should move him up the ranks.

My last pick is more a pick against Anthony Birchak than for Dileno Lopes. Birchak has been finished in the first round of two of his last three fights. And Lopes has a KO or sub in eight of his last nine wins. 

PEACH MACHINE- Rafael Dos Anjos ($11,000), Alan Jouban ($10,000), Derrick Lewis ($9,600), Alberto Mina ($9,500), Marco Beltran ($9,200)

I hate this card, but I love Rafael Dos Anjos. He's really good and will most likely be one of the most dominant champions in UFC history after it's all said and done.

Nelson is done and Lewis will KO him. I hate Pyle so I'm picking Mina. Jouban is handsome. I just love Carlos Beltran of the NY Yankees and I assume Marco is related. Play this lineup!