Saturday afternoon fisticuffs!
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brass has gifted mixed martial arts (MMA) fans with a stacked UFC Fight Night 63 event this Saturday afternoon (April 4, 2015) live on FOX Sports 1 from the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia.
Headlining the card is a featherweight bangfest featuring two former No. 1 contenders in Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas. Considering many believe "Money" has been the stiffest test of UFC champ Jose Aldo's career thus far, a win for the Team Alpha Male product could earn him a third crack at UFC gold; but that only happens if he can get through "The Bully" this weekend.
The co-main event features the streaking Al Iaquinta as he steps in on short notice to take on the always game Jorge Masvidal. With both men looking to crack the lightweight division's top 10, you just know this bout has fight of the night written all over it.
What better way to enjoy the event than 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.
Ready to show off your MMA knowledge?
Below I break down the UFC Fight Night 63 card to help give you an edge in Kountermove this weekend. Here is my main event breakdown, price-point comparison, and a handful of quick picks for the Saturday afternoon event!
Main Event Breakdown: Chad Mendes ($5700) vs. Ricardo Lamas ($4400)
Right off the bat, I recommend avoiding Chad Mendes this weekend.
While I suspect "Money" will take home the victory Saturday afternoon in Virginia, his price point of $5700 is incredibly steep even if he is able to accrue a finish over Ricardo Lamas. Picking Mendes forces you to average your next four fighters at $4,825, essentially eliminating seven other potential choices.
For comparison purposes, back at UFC 184 I recommended to pick UFC champ Ronda Rousey -- who also cost $5700 -- due to her penchant for finishing fights in the first round. If you live under a rock and didn't know, Rousey defeated Zingano in just 14 seconds (highlights here), racking up an impressive 105 points in Kountermove.
"Rowdy" has finished every single opponent she has faced in MMA, making the risk of picking her -- even at such a steep price -- a lot less severe than Mendes this weekend. The Team Alpha Male product has finished four fighters in the UFC, but none of them are near the level of Lamas.
Speaking of "The Bully," I'd suggest playing him in at least one contest if you opt to play in several games this weekend. Coming in at a shockingly low $4400, Lamas is a very live dog in this fight.
The real issue with picking Lamas is the fact that Chad Mendes has only been finished once in his career -- and that was three years ago in his first bout against Jose Aldo.
I highly doubt Lamas will end up finishing Mendes this weekend, but if they do battle for five rounds, Lamas could rack up a decent point total of around 75 points. At $4400, you won't find a better bargain on the UFC Fight Night 63 card.
Price point comparison: $4800
The $4800 price point in Kountermove is often utilized when a fight is so close on paper that it can't truly be decided one way or the other who the favorite is. Often times, picking the right fighter at the $4800 mark is the difference between winning a boatload of cash, or leaving empty handed.
At UFC Fight Night 63, four fighters have been hit with the $4800 price tag, and I am going to give you a succinct breakdown of who to pick and who to avoid right below.
Gray Maynard vs Alexander Yakovlev: I'm not exactly sure why Gray Maynard is still fighting following a three fight knockout losing streak, but "The Bully" has been gifted an absolutely perfect match-up against Yakovlev this weekend. The Russian is not very dangerous off his back, and has proven to be futile on his feet. If Maynard can revert to his old wrestling and grinding ways, he should pick up the unanimous decision victory in Fairfax. Take "The Bully," but don't expect a finish.
Justin Jones vs Ron Stallings: This one is a tough pick, but if you have watched either Jones or Stallings prior to their respective UFC debuts, you would suspect Jones has the advantage here. Both men are finishers, so I suspect this fight will not go to a decision. Ultimately, I have to go with Jones in this one, but I can't say I am all that confident in "Lazy Bones."
$4300 Carlos Diego Ferreira: This is my underdog pick of the night at UFC Fight Night 63. Welcoming Dustin Poirier to the lightweight division is no easy task, but the 11-1 lightweight is absolutely deadly on the mat and can hold his own on the feet. Again, this is no guarantee, but a potential submission win for Ferreira at only $4300 is too good to pass up.
$4200 Timothy Johnson: Remember when Konstantin Erokhin made his debut at UFC on FOX 14 with eight violent knockouts to his credit? Now do you recall how he laid an egg in Kountermove after losing a sloppy decision? Well, another highly touted Russian heavyweight makes his Octagon debut this weekend as Shamil Abdurahimov takes on Timothy Johnson. Kountermove prices the Russian at $5400, but with only one finish in the last three years, and no notable wins, I recommend you take Johnson -- who has finished all of his opponents -- and reap the rewards.
$5200 Michael Chiesa: The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner is coming for blood this weekend. I suspect a very impressive performance from Chiesa on Saturday.
That's a wrap!
For more information on UFC Fight Night 63, including the full fight card, results, news, and more, click here.