Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this Saturday night (August 1, 2015) with the UFC 190: "Rousey vs Correia" event live on pay-per-view (PPV) from the HSBC Arena, and that means it is time to play Fantasy MMA with Kountermove.
For the Maniacs not looking to spend any money, Kountermove is offering a handful of free games for the PPV event.
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 190 PPV card to help give you an edge in Kountermove this weekend. Here is a few alternatives to picking Ronda Rousey, who to avoid, and a handful of quick picks for the Saturday night event!
The Ronda Rousey Alternatives:
UFC Women's Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has been called the most dominant athlete in sports, and many expect "Rowdy" to continue her destructive path this Saturday night in the main event of UFC 190.
Rousey is the heavy favorite over No. 1 contender Bethe Correia, and her $6,000 price tag is one of the largest in Fantasy MMA history. For her last fight -- a 14-second armbar victory against Cat Zingano at UFC 184 -- Rousey was priced at $5700 for her 105 point outing.
Considering "Rowdy" has finished every opponent she has ever faced -- 10 of them in the first round -- you can bet a slew of Kountermove players will risk the $6,000 price tag in order to attain the 100+ points she will likely put up on fight night.
If you do choose Rousey for your team this weekend, you will be forced to average your next four picks at $4,750 each, essentially eliminating the likes of Claudia Gadelha, Iuri Alcantara, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, and more.
If you are looking to be a trailblazer in Fantasy MMA this weekend and potentially sneak into the top five or 10 without playing Rousey, I suggest taking the likes of Soa Palelei ($4,900), Claudia Gadelha ($5,000), or Iuri Alcantara ($5,300).
Of the three aforementioned fighters, I am highest on Soa Palelei. "The Hulk" takes on aging veteran Antonio Silva this weekend, and considering "Bigfoot" has been knocked out in three of his last four fights, I suspect another finish is likely in Rio.
Palelei has made a career of knocking his opponents senseless, earning 18 career knockouts in 22 professional victories.
Ultimately, Rousey is the clearly the best pick this weekend, but there are some other options to potentially make strong teams without having to pay "Rowdy's" hefty $6,000 price tag.
Who To Avoid: Heavyweights not named Soa Palelei
It can be argued three Heavyweights far past their prime are set to throw down at UFC 190, and that is a major red flag for Kountermove players.
Stefan Struve ($4,400), Antonio Minotauro Nogueira ($5,200), and Antonio Silva ($4,900) will all be featured on the main card this Saturday night, even though all three are coming off brutal knockout losses.
Struve has lost two straight via knockout, succumbing to Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem in back-to-back battles. "Big Nog" had his lights closed out by Roy Nelson last April, and Antonio Silva has been finished in the first round three times in his last four fights.
With questionable chins on each of these men, you can not count on them to stay conscious and upright come fight night when haymakers are being thrown.
Even though Struve and Nogueira are fighting each other, it is hard to be confident in picking a winner, especially when either man can be finished in a blink of an eye.
My recommendation? Stay away from all three, and pick Soa Palelei in hopes of another first round knockout.
$4,800 Neil Magny: Fight fans continue to overlook Neil Magny as the upstart Welterweight continues to rack up UFC victories left and right. After a seven fight win streak -- including four finishes -- Magny will finally get the opportunity to fight a top 10 opponent in Demian Maia. While the Brazilian is no walk in the park, I believe Magny's improved grappling and striking will help earn him the win over the aging veteran at UFC 190.
$5,000 Claudia Gadelha: After watching UFC Women's Strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk dominate both Carla Esparza and Jessica Penne, it really makes you appreciate how great a fighter Claudia Gadelha truly is. The Brazilian must be itching to get another shot at Joanna, but she has to get through UFC debutant and revered strawweight Jessica Aguilar first. I don't know if she will get the finish, but I think Gadelha leaves Rio with the victory on Saturday night.
$5,300 Iuri Alcantara: "Marajo" didn't look himself in a losing effort against Frankie Saenz in February, but I expect the Brazilian to right the ship at UFC 190 against Leandro Issa. Expect the 135-pound wrecking machine to look for the finish early and often, but I suspect Issa will last until the second round before losing via (technical) knockout.
Good luck and have fun!
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 190 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.
For more information on UFC 190, including the full fight card, results, news, and more, click here.