The UFC is back home this week at the UFC Apex for UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs Shahbazyan, a matchup between grizzled middleweight Derek Brunson and top prospect Edmen Shahbazyan. While it’s lacking star power with the original main event of Holly Holm and Irene Aldana falling through due to Aldana contracting COVID-19, there’s still plenty of fights I like for a DraftKings’ lineup.
Here is my winning team for this Saturday.
Chris Gutierrez – $9,200
With my top purchase I’m going with ‘El Guapo’ Chris Gutierrez. He’ll be facing UFC newcomer Cody Durden, who’ll be taking this fight on short notice. Durden is a nice prospect with a 11-2 pro record, but when you look deeper you see he’s recently fought guys with 0-6 and 0-1 records, so he hasn’t faced anywhere near the level of fighter that Gutierrez is. ‘El Guapo’ is also coming off a 120 point showing in his last fight.
Edmen Shahbazyan – $9,100
I’ll take headliner Edmen Shahbazyan with my other big price purchase this week at $9,100. The 22-year-old, who is managed by former teammate Ronda Rousey, looks to be the future of the sport and a future champion in the middleweight division. The kid is the complete package, as he’s a ferocious wrestler who also has knockout power (nine of this 11 pro wins are via knockout). Add in the fact he averages 105.3 fantasy points per fight, including 117, 108 and 107 in his last three, and ‘The Golden Boy’ should be well worth his hefty price tag.
Timur Valiev – $8,400
Newcomer Timur Valiev enters the UFC octagon for the first time on Saturday with a solid reputation. Fighting out of the highly respected Ricardo Almeida fight camp, he fought nine times for the WSOF/PFL promotion, going 8-1, only losing to the aforementioned Chris Gutierrez (who he beat in a rematch). Hailing from Dagestan, it goes without saying that he’s a relentless wrestler, and his hyper-aggression should serve him well against Saturday’s opponent, Jamall Emmers, and in turn serve our fantasy team well.
Bobby Green – $8,000
I’ll take ‘King’ Bobby Green for $8,000, the king of the self-proclaimed ‘hood’ fighting style. He’s a slight underdog in his rematch against Lando Vannata, who he fought to a draw in their first encounter three years ago (although Vannata was deducted a point for an illegal strike, so ‘Groovy’ would have won if not for that). This could be a fun fight and an opportunity for Green to rack up some points.
Ed Herman – $7,900
‘Short Fuse’ Ed Herman will enter the cage on Saturday against Gerald Meerschaert as the underdog, but I like his chances. Despite turning 40 later this year, and having 23 UFC fights under his belt, Herman still seems to have lots left in the tank, as he went undefeated in 2019, winning both of his fights. He’s also finished 20 of his 25 pro wins, so the chance for big points is there (he earned 106 two fights ago).
Randy Brown – $7,400
Last, but not least, I’ll pick up ‘Rude Boy’ Randy Brown for $7,400. He’s another underdog going into Saturday against Vicente Luque, but a live dog in my eyes. Luque has a negative striking differential (ie he gets hit on average more often than he hits his opponent), so Brown can pile up the points that way. Plus Brown has put up 91 and 100 points in his last two fights.