UFC Fight Night 91 DFS Playbook: value picks, who to avoid
For the fourth time in less than a week, there will be action inside the Octagon as the UFC heads to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the first time for UFC Fight Night 91 on Wednesday. This event is headlined by a five-round bantamweight bout between exciting young fighters Michael McDonald and John Lineker.
Below are our studs, value plays and fighters to avoid when making your fantasy line-ups for Wednesday night’s event.
Tony Ferguson ($11,500)
Tony Ferguson has the highest salary of all the fighters on Wednesday’s card for UFC Fight Night 91, and he is the top play for this event. Ferguson has one of the highest salaries ever seen since DraftKings started doing fantasy for UFC events, and it is for good reason.
Ferguson has won seven straight fights and has put himself in a position to be the next challenger for the UFC Lightweight Championship, now held by Eddie Alvarez. Ferguson gets a favorable match-up in UFC newcomer Landon Vannata, who replaces Ferguson’s original opponent for this event, Michael Chiesa. Ferguson is so much more experienced than Vannata is, and it is a tall task for Vannata to face in his UFC debut. Ferguson’s striking is so good, and he throws a huge amount of tricks at his opponents.
He has solid wrestling and an excellent ground game and submission game to go with it. Ferguson is also a finisher as 16 of his 20 career wins have come by stoppage. This is a must-win for Ferguson, and he shouldn’t feel too much pressure, especially since he only has to go three rounds now. He is practically a lock for a win, and he should get the finish. He is the top play on this card.
Devin Clark ($10,900)
Devin Clark is making his UFC debut in the opening bout of the UFC Fight Night 91 card on Wednesday, and he will have a few positive notes coming into his debut. He is currently undefeated with a 6-0 record, and he has scored four of those wins by stoppage. He will also be making his debut in his hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Clark was last seen in action in April for the RFA promotion as he competed at the event that UFC President Dana White attended while filming his Looking For A Fight show. Clark will be taking on Alex Nicholson, who is making his second appearance inside the Octagon. Nicholson debuted in February with a submission loss to Misha Cirkunov. Nicholson fought up a weight class as a light heavyweight against Cirkunov, so now he goes back down to his more natural weight.
Clark is still favored in this one, and he should be a good bet to score a stoppage win on Wednesday. He is definitely a top play on this card.
Matthew Lopez ($9,400)
Matthew Lopez is another fighter making his UFC debut on the heels of being on that RFA card in April that was featured on Dana White’s Looking For A Fight show. Lopez is also undefeated with an 8-0 record, and seven of his wins have come by knockout or submission. An even better statistic is that all seven of those wins have come in the first round with five of them coming in under three minutes.
He is a super prospect at 135 pounds and a name I’ve been hearing about for around a year. He gets a very tough match-up in his UFC debut in the very experienced Rani Yahya. Yahya has 21 wins in 30 career fights and six wins in the Octagon. He is also a finisher as well, with 16 wins by submission, and he has only been stopped three times in his eight career losses. He is a solid betting favorite, but is also not as talented at this stage as Lopez. What Lopez lacks in experience he makes up for in ability.
Lopez is a very solid value play on this card.
Eric Spicely ($8,400)
Eric Spicely is another fighter making his UFC debut on this card, joining four others in making their Octagon debuts. All five of those fighters also have something else in common- they are all undefeated. Spicely is 8-0 in his career and has seven wins by knockout or submission. He hasn’t competed in an official bout since October, but Spicely has been competing on the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Spicely made it to the semi-finals, where he lost by knockout to eventual season winner Andrew Sanchez, but he impressed enough to get an official UFC bout out of it. He will be dropping back down to his natural division of middleweight, but he gets an experienced opponent in Sam Alvey. Where Spicely will have a big advantage is that Alvey just fought on June 18, so this is a very quick turnaround for him. Alvey had a disappointing loss so he wants to rebound nicely, but he is too big of a favorite when you factor in the quick turnaround.
Spicely is a solid fighter, but not spectacular, but he has a solid shot at scoring the upset. He has good value as a low-salary fighter on this card.
FIGHTERS TO AVOID
Tim Boetsch ($8,800)
Tim Boetsch is very experienced inside the Octagon, having amassed 18 bouts with the UFC. He has the most UFC experience of all the fighters on the card, yet he has just a .500 record, going 9-9 in those 18 bouts. He also enters Wednesday having dropped his last three fights, and he is just 2-6 in his last eight fights after being on the cusp of title contention following back-to-back wins over Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard.
Boetsch is likely fighting for his UFC future, and he should know it. He will be taking on Josh Samman, who is looking to bounce back from his first loss inside the Octagon. At this stage, Samman is just more talented than Boetsch, and he has all the tools to get the best of Boetsch on Wednesday. Boetsch has been finished in seven of his ten losses, and while I’m not sure Samman will finish him, I don’t expect a Boetsch win on Wednesday.
He is a low-salary option, but I don’t view him as a viable option to have on your roster.
Daniel Omielanczuk ($8,600)
Daniel Omielanczuk has won two straight fights to even his UFC record at 2-2, so he will have a decent amount of momentum when he fights on Wednesday. He is also fighting an opponent who hasn’t fought since November 2014 in Alexey Oliynyk. To top it off, these men are heavyweights, which means a knockout can come at any moment.
However, I am recommending avoiding Omielanczuk for your roster on Wednesday. Oliynyk is 50-9-1 in his professional career and has won eleven straight fights heading into Wednesday. He has an astounding 41 wins by submission, along with five wins by knockout. Both of his UFC wins have come by stoppage as has all eleven wins in his current win streak. He is a dangerous finisher, despite coming off of being out of action for almost 20 months due to various injuries.
Omielanczuk has never been finished in his career, but I expect his luck to run out. Omielanczuk is a fighter to avoid.
RYAN FREDERICK- Tony Ferguson ($11,500), Alexey Oliynyk ($10,800), Michael McDonald ($9,700), Ben Nguyen ($9,600), Eric Spicely ($8,400)
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Tony Ferguson is my top play above, and he will be my top pick for my roster. He is extremely talented, and with the lightweight title jumping around, I think he now has a good shot at holding that championship. I see him making quick work of the late replacement. Alexey Oliynyk may have been out of action for a long time, but I see him being the first man to finish Daniel Omielanczuk. 46 of 50 wins by stoppage is hard to go against
I’m going with two young and talented fighters on my team in Michael McDonald and Ben Nguyen. McDonald is in the main event, meaning extra time to score points, but I see him finishing John Lineker in what could be an exciting main event. Ben Nguyen has been very impressive in his two UFC bouts, and he has scored a lot of points. He has a tough foe in Louis Smolka, but I have him scoring an upset. I only have enough left for a low-salary option, so I’m going with Eric Spicely. I like his chances against Sam Alvey.
PAUL FONTAINE- Devin Clark ($10,900), Lauren Murphy ($10,100), John Lineker ($9,900), Louis Smolka ($9,800), Tim Boetsch ($8,800)
This was a tough team to pick as in looking at the card, it seems like we will be in for a night of decisions. I always like to go with fighters who have the best chance of securing a finish though and I think I’ve done that with my team. Devin Clark is unbeaten and a local product who is kicking off the show in South Dakota. I like him to score an impressive KO. Lauren Murphy usually scores a KO when she wins.
Lineker will be motivated in the most high profile bout of his career. McDonald is younger but has more experience but I like Lineker to blitz him with his explosive offence and score a mid-round stoppage. The Louis Smolka/Ben Nguyen fight is an important flyweight bout and I think Smolka takes a step toward title contention with a win over the highly touted prospect. Rounding out my team is veteran Tim Boetsch who I’m hoping will turn back the hands of time to score a stoppage over Josh Samman. If he doesn’t, he could be out of UFC.
PEACH MACHINE- Tony Ferguson ($11,500), Scott Holtzman ($10,700), Michael McDonald ($9,700), Katlyn Chookagian ($9,300), Eric Spicely ($8,400)
I don’t know. I’m just randomly picking. My brain is mush.