After a week off, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the pay-per-view (PPV) spotlight this weekend (Sat., March 14, 2015) for a mixed martial arts (MMA) extravaganza in Dallas, Texas featuring two title fights in the lightweight and women's strawweight divisions respectively.
The main event of the evening will feature UFC lightweight kingpin Anthony Pettis as he looks to defend his belt for the second time against Brazilian stalwart Rafael Dos Anjos. Can "Showtime" pick up his fifth straight finish victory, or will "RDA" pull off the monstrous upset?
Not to be outdone, 115-pound inaugural champ Carla Esparza will get her first opportunity to defend her title against the Polish sensation Joanna Jędrzejczyk in the evening's co-main event feature.
With an absolutely stacked UFC 185 PPV just days away, why not kick the event into high gear by playing 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.
*Fighter statistics are provided by FightMetric LLC, the UFC's official stats provider.
Once again, Kountermove is offering MMAmania readers a special deposit bonus using the code "Maniacs." Use the promo code at checkout and Kountermove will instantly give you an extra 25 percent deposit bonus with a $100 max bonus amount!
Ready to play?
Below I break down UFC 185 to give you the fantasy edge in Kountermove. Here is my steal of the weekend, the fighter to avoid, and my quick picks for Saturday night.
The Steal: Roy Nelson
First round finishes in Kountermove earn you 100 points right off the bat, and Roy Nelson sure does have a penchant for leaving his foes unconscious on the mat inside the Octagon.
In his career, "Big Country" has vanquished 13 opponents via knockout -- 10 of which have been in the first round!
If the knockout is not there for the affable heavyweight, don't sleep on his jiu-jitsu black belt that has earned him five submission victories -- although he has not tapped anyone out in nearly 10 years.
Sure, Nelson has lost three of his last four, but don't forget the quality of his opposition as he was knocked out by Mark Hunt, and decisioned by Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic. For a fighter who has dynamite in his hands, it just seems that a knockout victory is just around the corner -- and what better opponent than Alistair Overeem!
Want to talk about weak chins? "The Reem" has been knocked out in three of his last five fights, and has nine career knockout losses overall.
Nelson is either going to lose a sloppy decision, or he is going to knock Overeem's head into the second row. With a price-point of only $4700, the potential reward of picking "Big Country" far outweighs the risk.
Who To Avoid: Carla Esparza
Before I even get to my reasoning for not picking Carla Esparza this weekend, let me note that I absolutely believe she will leave Dallas with the belt firmly strapped around her waist this weekend.
My main issue with the "Cookie Monster" is not exactly what she can or can not do on fight night, but rather what her opponent brings to the table. A lot of fans and pundits are very high on Joanna Jędrzejczyk, and while I may not be fully buying into her hype just yet, there is absolutely no way to deny how impressive she was in beating Claudia Gadelha to earn her title shot.
The Polish native is undefeated, so it won't be easy for Esparza to finish her, and with so many high-profile finishing artists at UFC 185, I don't see the UFC champ being worth her $4900 price tag.
Jędrzejczyk's striking is absolutely world-class, and Esparza has yet to fight anyone so skilled on their feet. Can the champ take down the No. 1 contender at will? Probably. But will that result in a high point total in Kountermove? Unlikely.
Ultimately, the former Invicta champ could pull out a submission win late, but I just don't see her Polish opposition giving in at any moment. Jędrzejczyk definitely has something special about her, and I wonder if she can put out Carla on the feet.
In the end, I simply would not risk picking the UFC champ this weekend.
$5800 Anthony Pettis: Forget the hefty price tag. "Showtime" has finished four straight opponents in increasingly impressive fashion. He is a must for any Kountermove team this weekend.
$5100 Ross Pearson: The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season nine winner has been set up perfectly by UFC brass to get a big name victory over the aging Sam Stout this weekend. Considering "Hands of Stone" has been finished twice in his last three fights, I would not be shocked to see Pearson pick up an impressive victory on Saturday night.
$5000 Henry Cejudo: Remember that making weight is not a requirement for Kountermove, so reap the rewards as the former Olympian puts a beating on former No. 1 contender Chris Cariaso in Dallas.
$5000 Larissa Pacheco: I may be reaching here -- especially after her dismal UFC debut last September -- but with all 10 of her career victories coming via finish, the Brazilian could earn some serious points at UFC 185 against Germaine de Randamie.
Enjoy the games and don't forget to use the special "Maniacs" promo code!
For more information on UFC 185, including the full fight card, results, news, and more, click here.