With Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) taking a sabbatical from the mixed martial arts (MMA) world this weekend, World Series of Fighting (WSOF) takes center stage this Saturday night (October 17, 2015) with the WSOF 24: "Fitch vs. Okami" event live on NBC Sports Network from the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, and that means it is time to play Fantasy MMA with Kountermove.
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.
Below I break down the WSOF 24 card to help give you an edge in Kountermove this weekend. Here is why you should stay away from the main event, your star pick, and a handful of quick picks.
Why you should avoid Yushin Okami ($4,800) and Jon Fitch ($4,800)
Former UFC stalwarts take center stage at WSOF 24, and neither man is a suitable pick for Kountermove teams this weekend.
In Kountermove it is critical to pick fighters with high finish rates, or fighters that have a matchup suitable to end via finish, so that your team accrues essential bonus points.
Considering Jon Fitch has not finished an opponent since 2007, the former UFC Welterweight No. 1 contender is a dangerous pick this weekend.
Even though Yushin Okami's last four losses have come via finish, they came against hulking Middleweights with major power. As the Japanese native drops down to the Welterweight division, his chin should hold up a bit more steady against Fitch on Saturday.
Even when armed with a more sturdy chin, I recommend avoiding Okami in Kountermove this weekend as well.
Sure the Japanese native has a slightly better finish rate than Fitch, but he has still only finished two opponents in his last 10 fights.
The two fighters he finished were not exactly world-class talent either, as "Thunder" easily dispatched of Svetlozar Savov and Buddy Roberts.
Considering Fitch is notoriously difficult to take out, Okami simply isn't worth the $4,800 price tag.
If you must choose one, I say go with Fitch in hopes he pulls off a rare submission win against Okami.
Star Pick: Blagoy Ivanov ($5,300)
If you were reading closely, I just mentioned how crucial it is to pick notorious finishers in Kountermove, and Heavyweight wrecking machine Blagoy Ivanov fits that bill perfectly.
The WSOF Heavyweight champion has finished 10 of his 12 career victories, four coming via knockout, and six via submission.
The versatile Ivanov truly has the ability to finish a fight at any moment, and he often does so in quick and violent fashion; Seven of his 10 career finishes have come in the first round.
Taking on Derrick Mehmen on Saturday night, Ivanov has a massive opportunity to finish the "Caveman." Mehmen has been finished three times in six career losses, including two via chokes.
I expect Ivanov to have the massive grappling advantage in Connecticut, and a first round submission win could make him the highest scorer in Fantasy MMA at WSOF 24.
Vinny Magalhaes ($4,900): It has been over a year since Vinny Magalhaes has competed in an MMA fight, but The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran should be back to his winning ways at WSOF 24. Magalhaes has never really been a consistent fighter, but he is currently looking to win his third straight fight via submission. Considering the Brazilian is taking on Matt Hamill -- who is far past his prime and likely should not be competing anymore -- Magalhaes could be the steal of WSOF 24.
Magomedov Bibulatov ($5,300): Yet another highly touted prospect from Russia will make his MMA debut on American soil this weekend, and Magomed Bibulatov is a name you will want to remember. "Gladiator" is an undefeated Flyweight from Chechnya who boasts a 9-0 record with five finishes. Taking on fellow undefeated prospect Donavon Frelow for the inaugural 125-pound WSOF belt, Saturday will be a big test for the Russian. I expect him to pass with flying colors.
Good luck picking!
Remember: MMAmania.com will deliver live coverage of WSOF 24: "Fitch vs. Okami" on Saturday night (Oct. 17, 2015), with the first televised fight taking place at 9 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.