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UFC Louisville DFS Overview: Model, Preview, Imavov vs. Picks Cannonier, more Saturday fights

The UFC continues to hit the road this weekend with KFC Yum’s UFC Louisville! Center – the granddaddy of them all – in Kentucky. Two top-10 middleweights meet in the main event, with former title contender Jared Cannonier taking on rising prospect Nassourdine Imavov.

It’s a big slate, with 14 fights starting at 5:00 PM ET.

We developed a full player projection model using the FantasyLabs Tools and Player Models to build some winning DFS lineups in UFC. You can use our optimizer to create optimal lineups using these projections.

The model, made by ourselves Sean Koerner, is based on 10,000 simulations of all battles. He then pulled the DraftKings score of each fight to create floor, center and ceiling projections for each fighter. Here’s how he defined each projection:

  • Floor: The fighter has an 80% chance of exceeding this score, and a 20% chance of going below it
  • Median: The fighter has a 50% chance of going over this score, and a 50% chance of going under
  • Ceiling: The fighter has a 20% chance of exceeding this score, and an 80% chance of going below it

These should give us a better idea of ​​which fighters to target based on the game type – maximizing the ceiling in GPPs, for example. We’ve also included ownership forecasts from yours truly to help find leverage points for GPPs.

You can check out the projections for every fighter on Saturday’s card in our UFC mocks.

Main event

Nassourdine Imavov ($8,600) vs. Jared Cannonier ($7,600)

I don’t have particularly strong feelings about this main event – ​​at least relative to the DFS prices – which seem about right on both sides. The 28-year-old Imavov is 5-2 in the UFC, with a majority decision loss in his debut and a subsequent close-quarters loss to Sean Strickland.

Outside of these matches, he was extremely solid, with two knockouts in his five wins and a powerful striking style. He should have a technical edge over Canonier as the better defensive fighter.

Cannonier is the most powerful striker. As a former heavyweight and light heavyweight, his power has translated to the lighter division with four knockouts in seven wins at 185. His two losses in the division are to former champions Robert Whitaker and Israel Adesanya, and he has a (controversial) split decision victory achieved. against another former champion in Strickland.

However, he is also 40 years old. Imavov should still be improving at his young age, while Cannonier is almost certainly past his athletic prime. That should give Imavov a significant advantage in terms of speed and reflexes.

The French-trained Imavov is known for his striking game, but he is originally from Dagestan and has the ability to combine takedowns when necessary. In combination with its higher stroke volume, it provides a much higher floor and middle game. Cannonier offers some knockout-related advantage, but less safety per minute.

Considering the 14 fights on the card, I don’t think stacking these is a must, although it’s not a bad strategy. I prefer Imavov for cash games, but I’ll mix in some Cannonier GPP lineups.

The easy chalk

Miguel Baeza ($8,700)

Baeza has the highest average projection in our models, despite an $8,700 price tag, which is well below the high-water mark for the slate. That makes him an extremely solid option, although it would have to come with a correspondingly high level of ownership.

His moneyline price has risen north of -200 at some retailers after opening around -155 for his fight against Punahele Soriano ($7,600). It’s the welterweight debut for Soriano, who lost four of his last five bouts at 185 before falling.

I’m rarely a fan of fighters who drop their weight classes at this point in their careers. Soriano is 31 and has seven UFC fights under his belt, and it will likely be a tough cut to 170 pounds. It is also often a sign of desperation from fighters who cannot (or do not want to) close the skill gaps in their game.

That said, Baeza has lost his last three fights, so it’s hard to have too much faith in him. It’s more of a ‘trust the markets’ situation than anything, although he has shown better all-round skills than Soriano in his wins.

I wouldn’t play much of Baeza if he was on the other side of $9,000 in salary. With its current price tag, it is a solid option for all types of competitions.

The Upside Play

Brunno Ferreira ($9,400)

In twelve professional fights, Brunno Ferreira has only been to the second round twice. Both fights ended within the first 68 seconds of the second frame.

We’ve seen the good and the bad of his reckless style in his three-fight UFC career. He made his debut with an upset knockout over Gregory Rodrigues before being rocked in the first frame by Nurlston Ruziboev in his second fight. Overall, he is 2-1 in the promotion, with each fight ending with a first-round KO.

Despite his solid record, he now lands his first opponent with a losing record in the UFC Dustin Stoltzfus ($6,800). It’s a strange step back for Ferreira given his previous competition, but here we are.

On paper, Stoltzfus has significant wrestling upside. To charge it he’ll have to run through the power and overcome Ferreira’s huge athletic advantage, so it probably won’t matter.

This could also be scary for the Brazilian if the fight goes past his typical six-minute limit, but it is preferable to end in less than 1.5 rounds. It’s a pretty safe bet to get it done, and hopefully soon enough to justify his high salary.

The values ​​game

Daniel Marcos ($8,000)

Perhaps because of the high number of battles, this is an excellent card for value options. There are viable games at different price points, with many battles with big underdogs likely lasting all 15 minutes.

On the more expensive side (relatively speaking) we have Marcos. Originally seen as the underdog, he flipped to a -120 favorite on Friday. The undefeated Peruvian is coming off a No Contest due to an illegal groin attack in his last fight. However, up to that point he had been winning and is 2-0 in his other UFC fights.

He looks John Castenada ($8,200), who is a solid 4-2 in the UFC. This fight is -245 and lasts 2.5 rounds, creating a solid bottom for both men even without receiving a win bonus.

Because Marcos comes in cheaper, has a higher chance of winning (at least based on the betting lines) and is the more active striker, he is an excellent cash game player. Cheaper options that offer less win equity – but similar odds of getting 15 minutes to work with – are Cody Stamann ($7,300) and Jesse Butler ($6,600), but of course you get what you pay for with the cheaper fighters.

The contrarian choice

Ricky Turcios ($6,900)

This is the second attempt against Ricky Turcios vs. Raul Rosas Jr. ($9,300). In February, Rosas withdrew from the event due to an unexplained illness.

Now we get a second chance in this fight, with Rosas being a pretty big favorite. However, we have seen flaws in the 19-year-old’s game. His wrestling style (more than 10 takedown attempts per 15 minutes) puts a huge strain on his cardio. He fell apart after a dominant first round in his only UFC loss to Christian Rodriguez.

Turcios isn’t as good as Rodriguez, but has shown he can stay up when knocked down. He is also a BJJ brown belt who has never been submitted. While Turcios is likely in for a tough few minutes against Rosas’ brutal takedowns, he could take over late.

Given his tiny salary, Turcios wouldn’t need much to land in the optimal lineup. There’s a fair amount of risk that he’ll be overwhelmed and submitted in the first round, but if he can get past that point, he’ll be in a great position.

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The swing battle

Julian Marquez ($8,300) vs. Zach Reese ($7,900)

This is an extremely difficult fight to pull off, as Reese suffered a fairly velvety slam loss less than two minutes into his UFC debut. The tall, lanky grappler had locked up what looked like a tight triangle choke at that point and was likely on his way to a submission win.

Marquez is also a solid wrestler with a stockier, more powerful build. All three of his UFC wins have come via submission, although the last of those was over three years ago. Since then he has suffered two knockout defeats.

This fight is a ridiculous -700 to finish in the distance as both men have shown tremendous finishing ability and potential in terms of durability. Reese’s slam loss is a little more forgivable, but still not a good sign.

The line has shifted somewhat to Marquez, although I have some questions given his inactivity and recent results. My preference here is Reese, although I wouldn’t be surprised if either fighter gets a quick finish.

I’ll see this in almost all of my GPP lineups, with a fairly even split between both fighters.

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