UFC Busan Preview: Which Fighters Should You Bet on?

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What’s up crew!? Here we go! Last card of the year and it’s for the hardcore, and what I mean by hardcore is the card kicks off at 2 a.m. ET on Saturday. You pulling an all-nighter for Frankie Edgar vs The Korean Zombie? I’m with you!

We are coming off a great week last week going 5-0 on the PPV, as we predicted Max Holloway would drop his title to underdog Alex Volkanovski and Kamaru Usman would quiet Colby Covington and defend his belt. Let’s keep it going and head to South Korea this weekend.

Time to dive in to this card!

SATURDAY 12/21/19 at 2AM ET

BROADCAST: ESPN+ PRELIMS: ESPN

VENUE: Sajik Arena

LOCATION: Busan, South Korea

MATCHES: 13

THE CARD:

FEATHERWEIGHT 145LBS

#7 CHAN SUNG JUNG 15-5 (-180) VS #5 FRANKIE EDGAR 23-7-1 (+158)

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT 205LBS

#8 VOLKAN OEZDEMIR 16-4 (+130) VS #10 ALEXANDAR RAKIC 12-1 (-150)

FEATHERWEIGHT 145LBS

DOO HO CHOI 14-3 (-290) VS CHARLES JOURDAIN 9-2 (+245)

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT 205LBS

DA UN JUNG 12-2 (+105) VS MIKE RODRIGUEZ 10-4 (-125)

MIDDLEWEIGHT 185LBS

JUN YONG PARK 10-4 (+110) VS MARC-ANDRE BARRIAULT 11-3 (-130)

BANTAMWEIGHT 135LBS

KYUNG HO KANG 16-8 (-250) VS PINGUYAN LIU 15-5 (+210)

HEAVYWEIGHT 265LBS

CIRYL GANE 5-0 (-750) VS TANNER BOSER 17-5-1 (+525)

FEATHERWEIGHT 145LBS

SUMAN MOKHTARIAN 8-1 (+235) VS SEUNG WOO CHOI 7-3 (-275)

LIGHTWEIGHT 155LBS

OMAR MORALES 8-0 (-185) VS DONG HYUN MA 16-10-3 (+160)

FLYWEIGHT 125LBS

#4 ALEXANDRE PANTOJA 21-4 (-220) VS #9 MATT SCHNELL 14-4 (+180)

BANTAMWEIGHT 135LBS

SAID NURMAGOMEDOV 13-1 (+100) VS RAONI BARCELOS 14-1 (-120)

WOMEN’S STRAWWEIGHT 125LBS

AMANDA LEMOS 6-1-1 (+165) VS MIRANDA GRANGER 7-0 (-190)

BANTAMWEIGHT 135LBS

HEILI ALATENG 13-7-1 (+100) VS #13 RYAN BENOIT 10-5 (-120)

#7 CHAN SUNG JUNG 15-5 (-180) VS #5 FRANKIE EDGAR 23-7-1 (+158)

As you know, I always like to call a position on the main event of each card, so here we go. In a fight that was originally supposed to be the Korean Zombie taking on Brian Ortega, Ortega tore his ACL and had to pull out. In comes Frankie Edgar, who was prepping for a 135lb battle with Corey Sandhagen, to step in at 145 to face Jung. 

Edgar really has nothing to lose here. He’ll be set up with a hefty paycheck taking this one, and even if he loses, he’s already slated in a rebooking against Sandhagen in January to pick up where he was headed, that being, a run at the 135lb title. Edgar was already in camp for his 135lb match, and has been vocal about getting back to the focus on that division immediately following this match. 

Jung, fighting at home here, will have the crowd behind him, and he’ll be looking to continue what he’s known for, and that is being a constant in the UFC for bringing exciting fights and highlights for days, validated by his fight/performance of the night bonuses in six of his seven UFC fights. Frankie stays busy and will come out fast on the feet, where he could look good early, but Jung will hang in the pocket and trade, hence his nickname, and the ability to take shots to give. He’s proven to be more dangerous while trading against his opponents, typically landing the bigger shots. Frankie has continued to take more and more shots over his last handful of fights, though more than most is always game to hang in the match with his durability. Jung is a tough one though, and if it wasn’t for Yair Rodriguez’s last second up-elbow KO finish out of nowhere, he’d be riding a three-fight win streak since his two-year layoff due to military duties. 

I think some out there think Frankie will just play it safe and look to leave South Korea without injury, but I think otherwise. Frankie has always been one to bring the fight and he will make this one interesting. Yet with the time zone, hometown crowd swaying some cards, and the Korean Zombie’s high volume output on the feet, coupled with a 75% takedown defense, I see this fight going his way.

PREDICTION: CHAN SUNG JUNG -155

SUMAN MOKHTARIAN 8-1 (+235) VS SEUNG WOO CHOI 7-3 (-275)

Both these are fighters are looking to secure their first UFC victory here, after going a combined 0-3 since joining the org. Choi, another hometown fighter on Saturday, has some great standup, and can mix in some kicks with his striking combos with some power. He’s a rangy fighter and will have some considerable reach advantage against Mokhtarian. Choi’s only danger in my opinion will be if this one goes to the mat, and he gets into a spot where Mokhtarian locks something in. Mokhtarian is 8-1, and has six wins via submission, though has fought some very low-level opponents up until his UFC debut against Sodiq Yusuff, who TKO’d him in about two minutes. Choi could do the same, and it’s really a matchup that I see favoring him significantly in getting the win decisively.

PREDICTION: SEUNG WOO CHOI (lean ITD +145)

CHAN SUNG JUNG defeats FRANKIE EDGAR

ALEXANDAR RAKIC defeats VOLKAN OEZDEMIR

CHARLES JOURDAIN defeats DOO HO CHOI

MIKE RODRIGUEZ defeats DA UN JUNG

MARC-ANDRE BARRIAULT defeats JUN YONG PARK

KYUNG HO KANG defeats PINGUYAN LIU

CIRYL GANE defeats TANNER BOSER

SEUNG WOO CHOI defeats SUMAN MOKHTARIAN

OMAR MORALES defeats DONG HYUN MA

ALEXANDRE PANTOJA defeats MATT SCHNELL

RAONI BARCELOS defeats SAID NURMAGOMEDOV

AMANDA LEMOS defeats MIRANDA GRANGER

RYAN BENOIT defeats HEILI ALATENG

Official plays posted on SI:

Main Events: 6-2

Overall: 19-11-1

Some quick MMA DFS reminders:

HOW MMA DFS SCORING WORKS:

Lineup Requirements

Lineups will consist of six fighters.

In salary cap contests, participants will create a lineup by selecting players listed in the Player Pool. Each player listed has an assigned salary and a valid lineup must not exceed the salary cap of $50,000.

Contest results will be determined by the total points accumulated by each individual lineup entry.

Scoring

ufc-dfs-scoring

Scoring Notes

  • Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
  • Advances include: To Half Guard, To Side Control, To Mount, To Back Control.
  • A knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider an appreciable amount of time.

Casey’s tips and strategy to consider when playing MMA DFS:

  • Choose active fighters. Coupling an active fighter on his/her way to a unanimous decision will give you key points for your team. Just like any other DFS traditional sport, you want the active, offensive player that scores. Key metrics here are SLpM and TD AVG/15min.
  • Play the heavyweights. The approximate overall finish rate in the UFC is 54%. Most of the weight divisions range from 40%-60%, while the heavyweights push a 75% finish rate. You will receive bonus points for finishes inside the distance.
  • Try to always include the main event or title fights. Five round fights mean more time to rack up points if you pick the right fighter. In some cases, even if you have the loser, the points can be more than a three-round winner.
  • Always look for value at the top of my MMA DFS Heat Chart. Using fight-odds data and stacking the fighter lineup via Odds to Finish in comparison to DFS salary price can find you some spots. RED = HOT, BLUE = COLD. The chart also provides finish percentages, which validate odds even more if the matchup and past opponents’ strengths support the provided stats.
  • Don’t get excited and rush a pick based on stats, consider sample size. Some fighters have limited fights compared to their opponents when looking at metrics. Stats could be exaggerated. Do your research. Watch for spots with debuting fighters as well. Always check the records of the opponents they faced on their way to the UFC. Always pull fight tape as well. You’d be surprised at what you will find.
  • Review methods of victory. I supply the finish rates via the Heat Chart, and as you dive in even more, you can compare method of victory to method of loss for the matchups. For example, you can find matchups where Fighter A has a high % of submission victories matched up with Fighter B, with a high % of submission losses.

As mentioned in the tip sheet above, here’s my MMA DFS Heat Chart for UFC Busan. As you can see, the chart is ranked based on fight finish odds. Fight finishes are where the points are at in MMA DFS. Take a quick glance at the stack, and we will break down the individual matchups below. 

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Two key offensive metrics are strikes and takedowns. They get off on their opponents, watch your points rack up quick. Here's my Offensive Output Meter for the card. With this chart, you can compare historical fighter averages in these two, key metrics as I rank all fighters participating Saturday.

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Worth a look on DFS:

STARS: Gane, S. Choi, Jung

SCRUBS: Jourdain, Lemos

Kick some tail this weekend!