Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heads south to Monterrey, Mexico this Saturday (Nov., 21, 2015) as the Arena Monterrey plays host to the UFC Fight Night 78 event, featuring The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2 (TUF) finals as well as a pivotal Welterweight fixture pitting Neil Magny against Kelvin Gastelum.
If you have never played Fantasy MMA with Kountermove, UFC Fight Night 78 is a fantastic time to start!
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 Fight Night 78 card to help give you an edge in Kountermove this weekend. Here is my main event breakdown, my underdog pick, and a handful of quick picks for the Saturday night event.
Main Event Breakdown: Kelvin Gastelum ($5,100) vs. Neil Magny ($4,500)
While it wasn't the originally scheduled main event, Kelvin Gastelum and Neil Magny should put on a show for the Mexican fans in attendance for as long as their Welterweight clash lasts.
Magny stepped up on about two weeks notice to replace the injured Matt Brown, and will be fighting for the 10th time in the last two years. During that incredible stretch, Magny has managed to procure an 8-1 record that has him sitting pretty at the No. 13 spot in the official UFC rankings (see them here).
Don't let the rankings fool you, however, as the favorite Gastelum sits two spots below at No. 15 after a short stint in the Middleweight division.
On paper, this fight should be won handily by Gastelum, but prior issues with cutting to 170 pounds could make Fantasy MMA players wary of choosing the former TUF winner at $5,100.
On top of that, Magny is absolutely tough as nails, and has won several UFC fights on sheer heart alone. While Magny is grossly underrated technically, I would be remiss not to mention the quality of his opponents over the last nine fights has been less than stellar.
His only loss during his unprecedented stretch came against grappling wizard Demian Maia, in a fight in which he was unable to produce any offense and was easily submitted in the second round.
While Gastelum is nowhere near the threat Maia is on the mat, his aggression is nearly unrivaled, and that could prove to be a major issue for Magny to handle come fight night.
Ultimately, I see this fight being close early on, but Gastelum's pressure and powerful striking should get him the finish within three rounds.
The Underdog: Scott Jorgensen ($4,500)
With several fighters costing over $5,000 in Kountermove this weekend, it will be imperative to pick at least one fighter deemed an underdog in Kountermove.
My suggestion is none other than Scott Jorgensen.
"Young Guns" is long past his fighting prime, and is currently amidst a 1-5 slump dating back more than two years. While most fighters would have gotten the axe long ago, Jorgensen's exciting style has kept him on the UFC roster for one more go around.
To be fair, Jorgensen's losses have come against mostly top-notch competition, so to see him fighting relatively unknown Alejandro Pérez is a breath of fresh air.
"El Diablito" is talented, but has been finished in four of his six career losses. While he is fighting in his own backyard, it will be difficult for him to stave off a very hungry Jorgensen.
If the former WEC contender has absolutely anything left in the gas tank, he should win this fight handily, and potentially even secure a late submission finish.
Ricardo Lamas ($5,600): I know UFC is hoping for an all-out brawl in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 78, but Ricardo Lamas won't fight Diego Sanchez's game. After a long layoff for "The Dream," fighting a former 145-pound title challenger just seems like walking directly into a woodchipper. Expect a violent finish from "The Bully" in the first 10 minutes.
Erik Perez ($4,800): It has been a long time since we have seen Erik Perez fight inside the Octagon, and I suspect "El Goyito" to put on a show for his fans in his hometown on Saturday night. Perez battles intriguing prospect Taylor Lapilus, who I believe is taking a big step up in competition he may not be ready for. This could be a firefight for as long as it lasts, and I expect Perez to finish the fight via TKO.
Good luck picking!
For more information on UFC Fight Night 78, including the full fight card, results, news and more click here.