Once again we managed to be pretty spot on last week with this article, at least in terms of going three for three on my personal leans. Two of the three fights did not end up scoring as well as most would have assumed, but it should have been enough to get by in single-entry contests. This week, for UFC 288, we try our hand again at identifying the best fights to target.
UFC 288 has been through it as far as canceled fights go, but we still push forward with a pretty exciting card for the fans. The main event is now Aljamain Sterling defending his belt against returning Henry Cejudo, and the co-main is a five-round battle between Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad.
Below you will see my recommended fights to target on the FanDuel slate for UFC Vegas 288. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to tweet @WeWantPicks on Twitter and they will definitely get back to you ASAP.
FIGHT #1 TO TARGET (-750 FDNGTD)
PARKER PORTER ($18) vs. BRAXTON SMITH ($12)
The people’s main event this weekend is a heavyweight battle between fan favorite Parker Porter and heavy-handed prospect Braxton Smith. This fight is all but guaranteed to end within the first two rounds and put up a solid score in the direction of the winner.
Parker Porter is the more well-rounded and accomplished fighter in this matchup, but Porter does not come without a couple of glaring issues. Porter is capable of a pace that is pretty impressive at heavyweight, has good technical striking for the division, and then tops that off with solid wrestling and great grappling. The issues for Porter are his lack of power, and his inability to deal with power come back at him. His chin has failed him before, and without being able to put someone out himself he is more likely to have that chin tested in fights like these.
Braxton Smith is coming in to make his UFC debut, after knocking out five consecutive opponents. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the opportunity to see how well-rounded Smith’s skill set is because none of his fights make it out of the first round. If I was to base my opinion strictly on his striking, however, I would make the assumption that is not a very technical fighter. Smith likes to brawl, and that could catch Porter here. The other alternative is that it opens him up to being brought to the ground and then we just don’t know what we will see take place.
Personally, I love the Parker Porter side here for the multiple-entry contests because I expect his ownership to be very low. Couple that with what would be a monster score with a win, and you have just created a wild amount of leverage for yourself. That being said, I wouldn’t hesitate to take a shot on Braxton Smith either, and his salary is much more accommodating.
FIGHT #2 TO TARGET (-450 FDNGTD)
CLAUDIO RIBEIRO ($16) vs. JOSPEH HOLMES ($15)
The pricing on this fight is very intriguing to me. Ribeiro is sitting as a -175 favorite and everyone at that same betting line is priced at $18 and $17, so there is a bit of value here on Ribeiro from a pure odds perspective. Conversely, Holmes is overpriced if you are using just the odds to find your value on this DFS slate like a true degenerate.
Claudio Ribeiro comes into this fight after being knocked out by Al-Hassan in his last time out. Ribeiro is a powerful striker that isn’t afraid to just march forward and force you to adjust to his offense. Beyond the striking, however, Ribeiro doesn’t have much to offer. He isn’t a good wrestler but does manage to have pretty decent takedown defense. He isn’t really an impressive grappler either and that may be his biggest hole in this matchup.
Joseph Holmes has been underwhelming since arriving in the UFC, bouncing back and forth between wins and losses. Holmes seems to be a really solid offensive grappler when he is the one pushing the action, but not so much on the defensive side as evidenced by his submission loss to Jun-Yong Park. While I don’t really believe that Holmes is super high level anywhere, he hasn’t been chinny to this point, and that should play to his favor against an opponent that is strictly coming in to headhunt.
My inclination here is that Joseph Holmes finds a way to get it done, but it is really hard to ignore the favorable pricing on Ribeiro. I would ideally suggest exposure to both sides of this one. The only somewhat concerning issue with that is that if Ribeiro isn’t able to end this early, a Holmes decision feels like a potential outcome and that just doesn’t get the job done when it comes to fantasy score.
FIGHT #3 TO TARGET (-280 FDNGTD)
DREW DOBER ($21) vs. MATT FREVOLA ($9)
This fight has fight of the night potential written all over it. Dober is an iron chinned knockout artist, and Frevola has been absolutely flat-lining his opponents over his last couple of fights as well. The potential for a finish here is much higher than the line in my opinion, and I would even prioritize this one over the Ribeiro and Holmes fight – despite the betting line difference.
Drew Dober has a chin that has come back from the depths of hell in some of his fights. That same chin has been unphased in others. The one thing it hasn’t done yet is fail him. Eventually, it has to though right? At least one would think so, but until it does it will always be difficult being the guy picking against him. He is a great striker with loads of power himself, and if his chin continues to keep him in fights, it is usually just a matter of time before something of his lands.
Matt Frevola on the other hand, does have some chin issues, and those could potentially create a problem for him in this one. What Frevola also has though is intense power and solid wrestling. If he can manage to connect first he has the type of power I would expect to cause problems for the Dober chin. Alternatively, he could wrestle in this fight and that would also be problematic for Dober as long as Frevola can avoid anything coming back at him on takedown attempts.
For this one, I am leaning on the Frevola side, just because he has more ways to win, but I would be lying if I said I was confident in that selection. Dober is likely the favorite for a reason and would also put up a monster score if this fight goes the way most people think it will. If you need to save some salary, then Frevola is your guy. If you have wiggle room already, then you may be better suited with Dober in your FanDuel lineup.
GOOD LUCK THIS WEEKEND
Good look to all heading into this event. If you are watching it at home make sure to follow along with @WeWantPicks on YouTube for live bets. Also, make sure to tweet your winning lineups at us and we will do our best to recognize your greatness.
Enjoy the event, and make sure to keep it locked on We Want Picks for tons of great MMA content.