If you are a mixed martial arts (MMA) fan, you are in for a treat this weekend as all three major MMA promotions will be putting on events over the next several days.
With so many fight cards to choose from, I continually find myself peeking back at this Friday night's (April 10, 2015) Bellator 136 card featuring the lightweight title fight between Will Brooks and Dave Jansen live on Spike TV from the Bren Events Center in Irvine, California.
Other than the outstanding main event, Bellator has stacked the deck with former heavyweight champ Alexander Volkov returning to face off against Tony Johnson, and knockout machine Joe Schilling makes his second Bellator appearance when he fights the dangerous Rafael Carvalho.
What better way to enjoy Friday night fisticuffs 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.
Ready to take home the grand prize?
Below I break down the Bellator 136 card to help give you an edge in Kountermove this weekend. Here is my star pick, who to avoid, and a handful of quick picks for the Friday night event!
Star Pick: Alexander Volkov ($5500)
In a card chock full of razor-close bouts on paper, former Bellator heavyweight champ Alexander Volkov stands out as the evening's best pick in Kountermove.
Sure Volkov comes in a bit pricey at $5500, but picking the Russian behemoth still leaves you with plenty of options elsewhere on the card.
So why is Volkov my star pick of Bellator 136? Well, "Drago" has been on an absolute tear since losing his heavyweight strap back in late 2013, and I get the feeling that he won't be losing until he gets another crack at Bellator gold.
In 24 career victories, the Russian has finished a startling 19 opponents, including four of his last five victories. Dangerous both on the feet with his incredible reach and on the mat with his slick grappling skills, Volkov is a tough out for anyone in the world.
This Friday night, "Drago" welcomes Tony Johnson back to the Bellator cage for the first time since 2011, and I fully suspect the former champ to make a major statement live on Spike TV.
At the $5500 price point you better be expecting a finish, and I certainly believe the Russian will be closing the show on Johnson one way or another within their 15 minute battle.
Who To Avoid: Will Brooks ($6000)
If you thought Ronda Rousey, Anthony Pettis, or Chad Mendes were expensive recently in Kountermove, check out Bellator lightweight champ Will Brooks' outlandish $6000 price point.
Picking "Ill" Will in Kountermove this weekend leaves you with only $4,750 on average for your next four fighters, essentially ruling out Alexander Volkov, Saad Awad, Joe Schilling, and more!
Do I think Brooks takes home the victory this weekend? Absolutely. Will he earn enough points to make his price point worthwhile? I find that to be highly unlikely.
In his last five fights, the American Top Team product has finished one opponent. With Brooks taking on the notoriously durable Dave Jansen -- who has never been finished in 22 career MMA fights -- I find it improbable for the champ to get the job done within the first round this weekend.
Ultimately, I suspect a decision win for Brooks, but even if he accrues a late finish, I doubt his point total will exceed 100 points.
$4800 Chris Herrera: This one is a bit confusing to me, but apparently Chris Herrera and Luc Bondole are rematching this weekend just three months after Herrera pulled off a vicious knockout in the second round. There seemed to be no controversy the first time around, so I wouldn't suspect much to change this weekend. Pick Herrera, and hope for some deja vu.
$5100 Saad Awad: While I am definitely not infatuated by this pick, Saad Awad seemingly fits perfectly into multiple different teams at his $5100 price point. The "Assassin" has 14 finishes in 17 career victories and he is taking on the 35-year old Rob Sinclair. I'm hoping for a statement performance from Awad tomorrow night.
$4900 Joe Schilling: Joe Schilling is an absolute wrecking machine on the feet, but his ground game makes him a huge question mark for Kountermove this weekend. Lucky for the kickboxer, Bellator continues to match him up with strikers as Rafael Carvalho boasts an impressive nine career knockouts in 10 career victories. Point blank: I will pick Schilling against any middleweight fighter in Bellator in a stand-up fight, and that is what I suspect tomorrow evening.
For more on Bellator 136, check out the full weigh-in results from earlier today right here, and be sure to check back tomorrow for live results and play-by-play of the event.