Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brass is ready to continue the April circus this weekend with yet another stacked mixed martial arts (MMA) event with UFC on FOX 15 this Saturday night (April 18, 2015) live on FOX from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Headlining the card is a monumental middleweight tilt that will likely determine the next title challenger as former light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida takes on the surging former Strikeforce kingpin Luke Rockhold. Will "The Dragon" earn another shot at UFC gold, or is it time for the AKA product to seize his moment?
The co-main event features Ronaldo Souza, but instead of fighting Yoel Romero, "Jacare" will be rematching late replacement Chris Camozzi. Although the fight has lost a ton of intrigue with "Soldier of God" out, at least fight fans can revel in the brilliance that is Souza inside the Octagon.
What better way to enjoy the FOX event than winning some money 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.
Ready to show off your MMA knowledge?
Below I break down the UFC on FOX 15 card to help give you an edge in Kountermove this weekend. Here is your star pick, the risky pick, and a handful of quick picks for the Saturday evening event!
Star Pick: Ronaldo Souza ($5400)
At only $5400, Ronaldo Souza is an absolute steal in Kountermove this weekend, and you should not play a single team without the Brazilian wrecking machine.
In recent weeks we have seen some pricey fighters in Chad Mendes, Anthony Pettis, Will Brooks, and Ronda Rousey. While both Mendes and Rousey delivered the goods with first round finishes, Brooks and Pettis did not deliver near enough points to defend their hefty price tag.
"Jacare" somehow costs less than the four aforementioned fighters, even though Souza has already defeated Camozzi via first round submission just about two years ago.
Maybe their reasoning is that Souza was preparing for Yoel Romero, so he may not have as good a performance against Camozzi as many suspect? Then again, the first time "Jacare" defeated Camozzi was on short notice as well!
Simply put, the Brazilian is about as sure a lock as there ever is in MMA, and with six finishes in his last seven fights, you can't go wrong with picking "Jacare."
Risky Pick: Aljamain Sterling ($4700)
If you take my advice and pick "Jacare" at $5400, your next four fighters must average $4900.
While there are plenty of choices near that price point (Jim Miller, Tim Means, Takeya Mizugaki), I think the best choice is Aljamain Sterling at $4700.
Not only does "The Funk Master" cost less than most fighters on the card, but Sterling truly has star potential at 10-0 in his MMA career. While his finishing rate may not be the best on the card at 60%, how can you not take a fighter who has four finishes in his last five outings?
The Serra-Longo product has looked more impressive each and every time he steps into the cage, and taking a big step up in competition against Takeya Mizugaki is the perfect time to shine.
Of course, there is some risk associated with picking the 25-year old, as Mizugaki badly wants to rebound from his 61 second drubbing courtesy of Dominick Cruz last September. Prior to that loss, the Japanese native had won five straight fights against some tough competition.
Then again, maybe Mizugaki's loss to Cruz is the beginning of a major slump, and "The Funk Master" can capitalize en route to his best career performance.
That is what I am banking on. What about you?
$5000 Tim Means: I am very confident "The Dirty Bird" is going to put a hurting on George Sullivan this weekend. Following a vicious (technical) knockout over Dhiego Lima, Means' confidence is likely through the roof. With Sullivan's penchant for wild haymakers, Means' crisp striking could earn him a finish early.
$4400 Beneil Dariush: I am certain most people will choose the savvy veteran Jim Miller over Beneil Dariush this weekend, and while I don't think this is a lock by any means, the 25-year old's value is too hard to pass up. Training with lightweight champ Rafael Dos Anjos, not many fighters get the work in training that Dariush can. On top of that, the Kings MMA product has looked exceptional during his three fight winning streak, and I think he pulls off his biggest career victory in Newark.
$4500 Cub Swanson: Do I really need to explain this? Cub Swanson costs less this weekend than Jim Miller, Ovince St. Preux, Eddie Gordon, Takeya Mizugaki, and many more. Trust me, I am very high on Max Holloway, but who has "Blessed" beat that is anywhere near the level of "Killer" Cub? Swanson needs a big win after his loss to Frankie Edgar, and he is going to put on an electric performance.
Good luck with your picks Maniacs!
For more information on UFC on FOX 15, including the full fight card, results, news, and more, click here.