Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Houston, Texas this Saturday night (October 3, 2015) with the UFC 192: "Cormier vs. Gustafsson" event live on pay-per-view (PPV) from the Toyota Center, and that means it is time to play Fantasy MMA with Kountermove.
With another massive PPV this weekend, Kountermove is offering free rolls, free games, and of course paid games to all Fantasy MMA players.
If you are not familiar with how Kountermove works, here is what you need to know:
In Kountermove you build a team of five fighters utilizing a "salary cap" of $25,000 in fantasy money to spend on drafting the team you expect to perform the best on fight night. If your team performs well enough, you will likely have a share of cash prizes in any number of Kountermove's games.
Points* are scored with finishes, significant strikes, knockdowns, takedowns, dominant positions, and submission attempts. The more dominant your fighters' performance is, the more points you're going to score. For a detailed breakdown of how the scoring works, click here.
*Fighter statistics are provided by FightMetric LLC, the UFC's official stats provider.
Below I break down the UFC 192 PPV card to help give you an edge in Kountermove this weekend. Here is my underdog pick, who to avoid, and a quick breakdown of the top three billed PPV fights.
The Underdog: Shawn Jordan ($4,600)
Even though "The Savage" has earned three straight knockouts -- including a ridiculous Shawn Michaels-esque hook kick against Derrick Lewis -- the former LSU Football star finds himself as the underdog against the returning Ruslan Magomedov this Saturday night.
Heavyweight fights in Kountermove are always high-risk, high-reward. With one punch or kick potentially earning a violent knockout, it is sometimes difficult to determine who will come out the victor come fight night.
Magomedov is certainly an impressive talent, with picturesque striking and an impressive ground game to match. The Dagestani has lost only once in 14 career bouts, falling victim to a vicious body shot knockout back in 2011 before he fought inside the Octagon.
"Leopard" costs $5,000 in Kountermove this weekend, even though he has failed to finish an opponent since 2012. During his current eight fight win streak, Magomedov has finished merely one opponent.
Shawn Jordan is on the complete opposite side of the coin, earning finishes in all six of his UFC victories.
While it won't be an easy task, I believe "The Savage" is worth the $4,600 risk in Kountermove this weekend.
Who To Avoid: Joseph Benavidez ($5,400)
There are a handful of fighters I recommend avoiding in Kountermove for UFC 192 this weekend -- including former UFC Light Heavyweight champ Rashad Evans ($5,100) and No. 3 ranked Ryan Bader ($4,500) -- but no fighter has as many red flags as former two-time Flyweight title challenger Joseph Benavidez.
As an initial disclaimer, I don't buy into the notion the Team Alpha Male veteran is quickly declining as many fans and pundits have suggested during fight week, but I do not believe Benavidez is a smart pick in Kountermove this weekend.
The most glaring red flag is his whopping price tag of $5,400, earning him the second highest price at UFC 192.
If you are spending over $5,000 in Kountermove, you better be fairly confident your fighter will be earning a finish bonus, and I don't think that is the case with "Joe B-Wan Kenobi."
Benavidez definitely warrants the "finisher" moniker as he has taken out 15 opponents in 22 career victories, but the last highly ranked opponent he finished was just over two years ago when he knocked out Jussier Formiga.
With the perennial Flyweight contender set to battle fellow former title challenger Ali Bagautinov, I highly doubt Benavidez gets the finish in Texas.
Bagautinov has never been finished in his career, including fights against Demetrious Johnson and John Lineker. It seems unlikely "Puncher" will get taken out for the first time at UFC 192.
Ultimately, there are better picks in Kountermove than Benavidez this weekend, even if I do believe he earns the victory on Saturday night.
PPV Breakdown: Below I break down the top three billed fights on Saturday's PPV, giving you the insight needed to make the best picks in Kountermove.
Daniel Cormier ($5,600) vs Alexander Gustafsson ($4,900): Point blank, you simply can not pick Daniel Cormier in Kountermove this weekend due to his hefty price tag. $5,600 is nearing Ronda Rousey's price tag, and Cormier is nowhere near the finisher "Rowdy" is. While I expect Cormier to win, it will likely be via decision, and his point total won't be enough to warrant the price. As for "The Mauler," his chances of winning this fight seem dim now, but if the Gustafsson that fought Jon Jones back in 2013 shows up, he could surprise the world and earn a shocking finish. Will you risk taking the Swedish MMA hero?
Tyron Woodley ($4,300) vs Johny Hendricks ($5,300): The price discrepancy for the UFC 192 co-main event is utterly shocking to me. It seems Kountermove is heavily factoring Tyron Woodley's horrendous performance against Rory MacDonald, but I think "The Chosen One" has learned from his mistakes. At $4,300, Woodley could be the steal of the night if he is able to pull off the upset. As for Johny Hendricks, his $5,300 price tag is definitely a red flag, and although we have seen "Bigg Rigg's" thunderous power before, he hasn't finished anyone in three years. Ultimately, I would stay away from Hendricks, as I expect him to win the fight via decision with a wrestling-based game plan.
Ryan Bader ($4,500) vs Rashad Evans ($5,100): This fight is truly up in the air, as Rashad Evans will be returning to action for the first time in two years. Ryan Bader has been on an impressive win streak, but four straight decision victories make him a tough choice in Kountermove. Unless you are very confident in your pick, I recommend staying on the sidelines for this Light Heavyweight affair.
For more information on UFC 192, including the full fight card, results, news, and more, click here.