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UFC Fight Night 93 DFS Playbook: Who to target & who to avoid


The Octagon returns to Germany on Saturday for UFC Fight Night 93 at the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany, with the full card airing on UFC Fight Pass. The event is headlined by a five-round heavyweight battle between former UFC Heavyweight Champions as Andrei Arlovski takes on Josh Barnett.

Below are our fighters to target when setting your daily fantasy line-ups for Saturday's event.


Alexander Gustafsson ($12,500)

Alexander Gustafsson is making his return to the Octagon for the first time in nearly a year as he takes on Jan Blachowicz in the co-main event of Saturday's UFC Fight Night 93 card. Gustafsson was last seen dropping a close split decision to Daniel Cormier at UFC 192 in October in his second chance at becoming the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.

The road back to a title shot starts for Gustafsson in Germany as he looks to bounce back from having lost three of his last four fights. Blachowicz represents a step back in competition for Gustafsson, and it set up as a bounce back fight for him.

Blachowicz is not an opponent to take lightly, though, as he sports a 19-5 career record, but he has lost two of his last three fights. Gustafsson is the superior fighter, but he has also talked about retirement after recent struggles.

Anytime a fighter has retirement on the mind, you have to wonder how much time they have left. I don't believe that Gustafsson is close to leaving the sport, and I see having the nearly year-long layoff being a benefit to him. Gustafsson is quick on his feet and works best as a pressure fighter, and Blachowicz isn't an opponent that is going to bring the fight to him.

Blachowicz is slow on his feet and has the tendency to be a boring fighter, and lesser opponents will fall to him due to his style. Gustafsson's striking and movement will be key here as well as shaking off any ring rust that may creep in. He's far too talented to fall to an opponent like Blachowicz.

Blachowicz has only been stopped twice in his career while Gustafsson has stopped 13 opponents in his career. Gustafsson commands one of the highest salaries ever for an MMA fighter on DraftKings since its inception, but despite that, he is the top target on this card as I expect him to get a second-round finish of Blachowicz. He is worth his salary.


Josh Barnett ($9,700)

Josh Barnett is headlining his second UFC event since making his return to the company in 2013 as the former UFC Heavyweight Champion takes on another former UFC Heavyweight Champion in the form of Andrei Arlovski for five rounds in Hamburg.

Barnett is a slight betting favorite heading into the fight but both men have the same salaries, which makes Barnett a more valuable target between the two. Barnett is looking to rebound from being submitted for the first time in his career when he fell to Ben Rothwell in January. He was in control of the fight before being caught by Rothwell in the second round, and it derailed Barnett's run towards getting a title shot.

Arlovski himself was very close to securing a title shot, but he has lost two straight fights by knockout to Stipe Miocic and Alistair Overeem, who fight next week for the championship. Arlovski is the better pure striker on the feet, but where Barnett will excel in this match-up is when he closes the distance and gets into a grappling battle with Arlovski.

Barnett does excellent work in the clinch between switching up elbow strikes with knee strikes. While Arlovski is an excellent wrestler, Barnett will be looking to wear him down in the clinch and open him up for being taken down. Barnett is world-class on the mat with his submissions, and he has very strong ground-and-pound to compliment his suffocating top control.

Arlovski still can land a punch, but he doesn't pack the power he used to against fighters with strong chins, and Barnett has a very strong chin.

Arlovski has gotten hit a lot in his career, and his chin has taken a beating lately, and Barnett still possesses a strong right hand. This fight being 25 minutes opens it up for more scoring opportunities, but I don't see it going past two rounds, and Barnett winning by TKO inside the first two rounds. Barnett should have a higher salary, but with just a $9700 salary, it gives him excellent value.


Leandro Silva ($9,200)

Leandro Silva is looking to get back into the win column on Saturday when he takes on Rustam Khabilov in the opening bout of the UFC Fight Night 93 card. Silva is actually taking this fight on shorter notice as an injury replacement. This is a dangerous fight for Silva to be taking on short notice, and I'm actually surprised he doesn't have a much lower fantasy salary compared to how big of an underdog he is in the betting odds.

Silva is a decent striker but he tends to only throw one strike at a time and will get outstruck by a superior opponent. Khabilov is a superior opponent who holds a lot of power in his hands. He also mixed up his striking more in his most recent win over Chris Wade.

Khabilov had regressed a little as visa problems have prevented him from coming to the US and working under Greg Jackson, though he will be in his corner on Saturday. Silva doesn't have the grappling to handle Khabilov, who had gotten a reputation for his impressive suplexes. Silva is not a bad wrestler by any means, but he doesn't match up well against Khabilov.

There is nothing in this fight that Silva is better in than Khabilov, and that makes this a tough match-up for him. Silva is one fighter on this fight card I wouldn't want in my line-up, and I don't suggest readers using him as well. He is a must-avoid on this fight card.


Ilir Latifi ($9,100)

Ilir Latifi is taking on Ryan Bader in an interesting light heavyweight bout on the main card of UFC Fight Night 93 on Saturday. Latifi comes into the fight having won three straight fights and five of his last six overall, and he is sneakily climbing the rankings of the 205-pound division.

Bader has been a long-time contender but has never fought for the title. He was in a title eliminator bout in his last fight, but was starched in just over a minute by Anthony Johnson. It was the end of Bader's five-fight win streak and he looks to start a new streak on Saturday. Latifi is a power puncher, maybe not having quite the same power as Johnson, but certainly way up there at 205 pounds.

He was five wins by knockout, but also has seen four wins come by submission. Inside the Octagon, three of Latifi's five wins have come by knockout, all three in the first round, and two in less than a minute. Bader has five career losses, three of which have come by knockout, and all five of his losses have seen him finished.

Bader is the strong betting favorite in this bout, and it makes Latifi one of the biggest underdog targets on the fight card. Bader has turned into more of a striker these days, and he isn't going to match the power of Latifi. If Bader goes back to his wrestling roots, well, Latifi is a powerhouse wrestler who has never been taken down in his UFC career.

Bader would be best served keeping the fight at a distance as Latifi is powerful in close range. Bader's suspect chin is a dangerous target that Latifi is going to look to exploit, and Bader's best chance to win is to drag this fight into the later rounds where Latifi's cardio comes into question. It's a tough fight to pick, but if you are looking for the perfect underdog target to add to your line-up, Latifi's salary is perfect for your team. He can finish this fight quickly.


Jack Hermansson ($9,800)

Jack Hermansson finds himself as our surprise target for the card due to the fact he is making his UFC debut and fans may not know what to expect. He signed with the UFC on the heels of eight straight wins, and he is a former Cage Warriors Fight Championship Middleweight Champion. He is 13-2 overall in his career with twelve finishes in his career, and he is an excellent addition to the UFC roster. He makes his Octagon debut against Scott Askham, who fights for the UFC for the fifth time.

Askham has rotated wins-and-losses in his four previous appearances, with both wins coming by first-round knockout and both losses seeing him drop decisions. History says Askham is due for a loss in this bout, but he is a tough match-up here for Hermansson

 It's a close fight on paper and Askham has that previous experience inside the Octagon. Askham is solid on his feet and very rangy at six-foot-three, and he will have some reach on Hermansson. Hermansson is more unorthodox on his feet and he is mainly a puncher while Askham mixes his strikes well. Askham has sharp elbows at well, but he isn't as flashy as Hermansson. Hermansson also has a solid takedown game when he chooses to mix it in, and he has solid submission skills.

Askham has never been finished in his career but tends to fade late and give up decisions. This fight will probably be a back-and-forth affair and the longer it goes, the more it gives Hermansson the edge. I don't see him finishing Askham, but if there is a time and place and opponent to hand Askham his first stoppage loss, it will be Hermansson. He is a sneaky surprise target and has very solid value as well.


RYAN FREDERICK- Alexander Gustafsson ($12,500), Josh Barnett ($9,700), Scott Askham ($9,600), Ilir Latifi ($9,100), Christian Colombo ($9,000)

Alexander Gustafsson is my top target this week, and I'm doing everything I can to have him on my roster. I do expect him to get a finish of Jan Blachowicz inside of two rounds, and I see him racking up over 100 points, which is what you hope for when selecting your fantasy line-ups.

With his $12,500 salary, it leaves me little room for the remaining four line-up slots, so I am looking to take a couple of chances. Josh Barnett is on my team as I see him being excellent value and his salary is reasonable. I sense he's finishing Andrei Arlovski and has a good chance at getting to the 100 point mark.

Scott Askham is a slight underdog to Jack Hermansson, but his UFC experience is key and I am going with him as he is a finisher though Hermansson is a very tough match-up for him. Ilir Latifi has power and Ryan Bader can be finished, and he has a very great salary for the match-up.

Latifi at $9,100 is very hard to pass up given Bader's chin. Christian Colombo fills out my line-up. He is making his UFC debut against Jarjis Danho, who didn't have an impressive UFC debut in February. I can't find much footage of Colombo and I have no idea what to expect, but he is a heavyweight finisher and heavyweights can be finished. I'm taking a chance on him.

PAUL FONTAINE- Jarjis Danho ($10,400), Taylor Lapilus ($10,000), Josh Barnett ($9,700), Jim Wallhead ($9,300) and Ilir Latifi ($9,100)

My team has the absolute best nicknames of any team in the history of Draft Kings and that's gotta be worth something! "Man Mountain" (Danho) is going to rebound from a lackluster performance in his UFC debut and get back to his wildman ways with a destruction of fellow meathead Christian Columbo. "Double Impact" (Lapilus) will make France proud when he finishes off Leandro Issa in short order. "The Warmaster" (Barnett) will wear down Andrei Arlovski and submit him in the 3rd or 4th round.

"Judo" Jim Wallhead is one of the main reasons I used to go out of way to watch Cage Warriors and BAMMA and I remember him from his Bellator days. He's improved since then and I like him to get the W in his long-awaited UFC debut. Finally "The Sledgehammer" (Latifi) is going to pound out Ryan "The Master" Bader (my nickname for him) to finally end his time on the periphery of the title picture.

PEACH MACHINE- Alexander Gustafsson ($12,500), Rustam Khabilov ($10,200), Josh Barnett ($9,700), Ilir Latifi ($9,100), Peter Sobotta ($8,400)

I like Barnett here. He was clowning around before his last fight with Rothwell and it cost him. This time, he's going to be focused. Latifi always surprises me and Bader is coming off a devastating KO loss to Rumble. I like Latifi to do the same thing and send Bader into retirement.

Sobotta is a big time underdog but I don't care. Dalby isn't anything special. Besides, taking Sobotta allows me to take Gustafsson which I'm sure everyone will avoid because of his price tag. A 2-3 outing last week means I'm due for a 5-0 night. Or maybe 0-5.