The UFC ends 2015 with an event in Orlando, Florida on FOX, headlined by a UFC Lightweight Championship bout between champion Rafael Dos Anjos and challenger Donald Cerrone. It is one last time to make some money playing daily fantasy for MMA in 2015, and below are our studs, value plays and fighters to avoid as well as our own line-ups for Saturday's event.
C.B. Dollaway ($10,800)
C.B. Dollaway is looking to end a two-fight losing skid when he takes on Nate Marquardt. Marquardt is on quite the skid himself, losing five of his last six fights. Marquardt's chin has also seemingly seen better days, and he has trouble taking a punch these days. Dollaway has never been known as a knockout artist, but he has some power. Dollaway is still a top-ten caliber talent while Marquardt's days challenging for titles are long gone. Dollaway should get a win and has a very good chance for a finish.
Kamaru Usman ($10,200)
Kamaru Usman won season 21 of "TUF" for the Blackzilians camp and looked impressive in doing so. He has been very impressive in his short MMA career as well, with all six of his career wins coming by stoppage. He has good power in his hands and some solid submission skills, and he trains with one of the top camps in the sport. He has a tough challenge in Leon Edwards ahead of him, but I like Usman to continue his impressive career start.
Valentina Shevchenko ($8,800)
Valentina Shevchenko is making her UFC debut on short notice against a tough challenge in Sarah Kaufman, but she has the skills to score a big upset. Shevchenko is better on the feet than Kaufman and has a ton of kickboxing experience, with a 60-2 record to go with her 9-1 MMA record. The biggest key for her is to keep the fight upright, but she has good takedown defense. She has the biggest shot to score an upset, and at her salary, that makes her a good play to where you can spend up on your line-up.
Nate Diaz ($8,300)
Nate Diaz has the lowest salary of all of the fighters on the card, and with someone of his popularity and skills, that almost seems like an insult. He does have a tough opponent in Michael Johnson, but Johnson's struggles in his MMA career have been against fighters like Diaz. Diaz is a volume striker with dangerous submissions, and he can suck opponents into his game. He does look in excellent condition and has something to prove. At his salary, he definitely can upset Johnson, and is worth a look for your line-up.
Nik Lentz ($9,700)
Nik Lentz is moving back up to lightweight on Saturday for a bout with Danny Castillo, but he is still small for the division. He is a good wrestler, but he isn't overly impressive with all of his aspects. He does enough to score wins, but that may not be enough against Castillo, who definitely has his back against the wall. Lentz just isn't enough of a difference maker to make me wanna use him, so I suggest avoiding him.
Nate Marquardt ($8,600)
His opponent, C.B. Dollaway, is listed above as a stud, and Marquardt is the one fighter I would avoid on the card whether I was making just one line-up or a hundred. I don't like his chances against Dollaway, and I think he gets finished. Even if the fight goes the distance, Marquardt just hasn't shown enough in recent years to make you think he has what it takes to score a lot of fantasy points. It just doesn't seem like it will be his night.
RYAN FREDERICK: Junior Dos Santos ($10,900), C.B. Dollaway ($10,800), Josh Samman ($10,300), Donald Cerrone ($8,900), Nate Diaz ($8,300)
I like Junior Dos Santos to score a knockout win over Alistair Overeem. Dos Santos has taken some beatings but perhaps the time off has freshened him up. He looks good right now and Overeem seems to have lost something coming in for various reasons. Dos Santos still has big power. I like Dollaway to finish Nate Marquardt. I like Josh Samman at his salary. He has three UFC wins, all by finish, and is very good. He has a tough fight against Tamdan McCrory, but is a finishable fight. I like Nate Diaz to score an upset over Michael Johnson, and to win by submission. Finally, I'm going with Donald Cerrone. I think he wins, and he wins by decision. With the thinking it will go five rounds, that is two extra rounds to score more points, and a decision win scores the same whether it goes three or five rounds. The two extra rounds benefits you in scoring more points, and I always try to take a fighter in a five-round fight.
PAUL FONATINE: Junior Dos Santos ($10,900), Josh Samman ($10,300), Kamaru Usman ($10,200), Cole Miller ($9,600), Donald Cerrone ($8,900)
Dos Santos is at least a level above Overeem, maybe 2. After a five round war with the very tough Stipe Miocic, this will be like a walk in the park for the former champ. One good shot and Overeem should go down, likely very early in the first. Samman has been a steamroller since losing on TUF to Kelvin Gastelum. McCrory is a nice story but he's not going to be enough to stop Samman. Usman won the final match in the TUF 21 show to win the competition for his team. That was his fifth straight stoppage win and he should make it 6 over the overmatched Edwards. It seems like destiny that Donald Cerrone will win the lightweight title and then go on to face Conor McGregor in his first title defense. I see this going a lot like the Aldo/McGregor fight actually as the PED crackdown has had a noticeable effect on the physique of the current champion. I'm going with the veteran Cole Miller for my last pick. He's usually good for a stoppage win and his opponent Alers was lucky not to have lost both of his UFC fights to date, taking a split decision in the opener before losing his second fight earlier this year.
PEACH MACHINE: Junior Dos Santos ($10,900), Myles Jury ($10,000), Danny Castillo ($9,700), Karolina Kowalkiewicz ($9,000), Donald Cerrone ($8,900)
I love Cerrone and I think RDA got lucky against Pettis. Cerrone is gonna knock him out eventually. It may take four and a half rounds but that head kick is coming. JDS is still a monster and Overeem is done. This is an easy pick for a KO. Myles Jury hasn't fought in a year and finds himself against a formidable opponent, but Jury has only lost once and that was to Cerrone. More importantly, Oliveira is coming off a freak injury loss. It wouldn't surprise me to see him come out a little gun shy. I'm taking Castillo because Nik Lentz sucks and I hate how he spells his name. Plus, Castillo has lost three in a row and will be motivated to win. Kowalkiewicz is undefeated an I don't think Markos is much of a fighter. As always, you'd probably be better just picking the opposite of me. In a side note, I hope Dolloway and Marquardt both get cut. I can't believe we're still watching these two clowns.
As you can see, we are all big fans of Junior Dos Santos and Donald Cerrone scoring wins on Saturday. Good luck to all of those playing!