This article is part of our FanDuel MMA series.
The tenth installment of fights at the UFC Apex promises a lot of finishes, making the captain's spot crucially important as we build our lineups. We have a few interesting dogs along the way, including the cheapest fighter on the slate, who may go overlooked due to some underwhelming performances in The Octagon.
As I will continue to point out, as long as we are at The Apex, research suggests more finishes occur in smaller cages like the one the fighters will occupy on Saturday, which should encourage players to look at fights that may not otherwise be thought of as good targets for finishes. As always, fighters will be listed in order from most to least desirable among the given choices.
One final note before we begin: here's a refresher on the scoring. If you're looking for general strategy tips, I wrote a FanDuel 101 article prior to UFC Brasilia on March 14, though there have been a few minor scoring changes since then that I've noted below.
Moves Scoring (MVP 1.5X)
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.9 PTS
Takedown (TD): +9 PTS
Takedown Defense (TDEF): +4.5 PTS
Submission Attempt (SA): +7.5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +18 PTS
Moves Scoring (Standard)
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.6 PTS
Takedown (TD): +6 PTS
Takedown Defense (TDEF): 3
Submission Attempt (SA): 5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +12 PTS
Fight Conclusion Bonuses (MVP 1.5X)
1st Round Win (1stW): +150 PTS
2nd Round Win (2ndW): +112.5 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rdW): +75 PTS
4th Round Win (4thW): +52.5 PTS
5th Round Win (5thW): +37.5 PTS
Decision Win (DecW): +30 PTS
Fight Conclusion Bonuses (Standard)
1st Round Win (1stW): +100 PTS
2nd Round Win (2ndW): +75 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rdW): +50 PTS
4th Round Win (4thW): +35 PTS
5th Round Win (5thW): +25 PTS
Decision Win (DecW): +20 PTS
Without further ado, let's get to it.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Best Play: Bobby Green ($18)
Bobby Green has been a frustrating fighter to watch in recent years due to his tendency to lay back and let the fight come to him, but we saw a much more assertive Green in his dominant victory over Lando Vannata, wherein he showed off a nice pressure game to compliment his slick striking and grappling. Alan Patrick is known for using a committed wrestling attack to grind down his opponents, but he was left on an Island against Scott Holtzman when he couldn't get the fight to the floor, and Green is a fantastic wrestler/grappler. I expect we see a similar dynamic in this fight, with Green able to keep the fight on the feet and execute another high-volume performance that results in a finish.
Billy Quarantillo looked to be in all sorts of trouble in the first round against Spike Carlyle but was able to gut through it and take over the fight late as the superior grappler and scrambler. Kyle Nelson throws hard but has a fairly wooden kickboxing game and likes to take the fight to the mat. The issue here is that anyone who has wanted to take down Nelson and control him has been able to do so, and I think that Quarantillo will be several steps ahead of Nelson in exchanges on the ground. While he may have another scary moment or two trying to fade Nelson's power early, I expect Quarantillo to have this fight where he wants it in relatively short order before finishing with a submission.
It feels weird for me to put Mike Rodriguez here, as I still don't completely trust him, but he reminded us in his recent bout with Marcin Prachnio that he's still a good, fundamental kickboxer who knows how to use his length. While he probably wouldn't fare as well in the clinch against Ed Herman as he did in that fight, he will now be facing one of the slowest fighters in the division (if not the entire organization) who doesn't do much more than throw big right hands and look for clinch opportunities. If I could trust Herman to wrestle this fight would be a bit closer, but I expect he will try to keep this standing, which should allow Rodriguez to pick him apart before finding the big shots.
The fight between Bryan Barberena and Anthony Ivy is something of a binary, as either Ivy will get his wrestling game going or Barberena will knock him out. I'm betting on the latter for a couple of reasons. The first is how poorly Ivy reacted to taking shots against a fighter who was willing to come forward and throw with power against him in Christian Aguilera. Beyond that, though, I just don't see Ivy as someone who will force wrestling exchanges as often as he should, as a lot of his grapple-heavy regional fights included an opponent who was willing to have that kind of fight with him. Ultimately, I think Barberena will hurt Ivy early and get his finish.
Jalin Turner goes last since we don't have a price for him yet, but I fully expect that he will knock out Brok Weaver, whose opponent had to pull from the card after a positive COVID-19 test. Turner had a fight fall through against Thiago Moises last week, which should make it easier to trust him on such short notice. With the particulars out of the way, it must be said that Turner is better than Weaver almost everywhere. He is a fluid, powerful striker who is competent on the ground and has shown good takedown defense during his time in the UFC cage. Weaver marches forward with a high guard that doesn't really seem to do much in terms of protection and leaves his lower half wide open to absorb punishment. Weaver's entire game is built around being able to overwhelm his opponent with physicality and it's just hard to see that working against someone like Turner. This should lead to either a knockout or submission from Turner if the fight hits the ground.
Best Option: Angela Hill ($20)
Angela Hill will step into a five-round main event after COVID-19 caused a reshuffling of Saturday's card, which gives her a pretty significant boost in value. Always a high-volume striker, Hill has done a better job of late of sitting down on her strikes and hurting her opponent. The threat of getting taken down is always an issue for Hill, but Michelle Waterson isn't the type to go for legs, and Hill keeps distance well enough that I don't see her falling prey to "The Karate Hottie's" judo throws from the clinch. As long as this fight stays on the feet, Hill should be able to work her striking game to an active decision victory.
Sabina Mazo showcases a fantastic Muay Thai striking game, with some grappling mixed in for good measure. She has also shown that she is willing to start faster and use her range more effectively in recent fights. Justine Kish looked back to her old self in her fight against Lucie Pudilova, but her trademark come-forward style is almost certain to find her in a plum clinch on more than one occasion, which is a position Maszo relishes. Ultimately, I think this will discourage some of the pressure Kish brings, allowing Maszo to pick her off and win a comfortable decision.
This was a difficult call, as Andrea Lee has been prone to be taken down in the past, but we've also seen many fighters stuff Roxanne Modafferi's takedowns simply by virtue of being stronger than she is. I think Lee falls into that category as one of the stronger women in this division. If she can't get the fight to the floor, I doubt Roxy will be able to hang on the feet with Lee, who has a well-developed kickboxing game. I expect Lee will simply be able to dominate her from range if she can stay standing, as Modafferi's janky boxing game shouldn't really be a factor against someone who keeps range as well as Lee.
Tyson Nam ($17) Tyson Nam 's first UFC win happened in an instant, as a big shot felled Zarrukh Adashev early in the first round. This matchup seems built for Nam as a technical counter fighter who likes to throw big shots, as Matt Schnell will march forward and has shown a suspect chin in the past. There is no question that Schnell is a slick grappler, but Nam showed off excellent takedown defense on the regional scene and has stuffed all four of the attempts he's faced in the Octagon. Schnell isn't a bad boxer in his own right, so we may see some fun exchanges here, but I ultimately think the power and precision of Nam will be too much for "Danger" to deal with.
Khama Worthy will likely be inactive for large portions of this fight. While this makes him a nerve-wracking fighter to have a stake in, it's hard not to pick him here, as Ottman Azaitar will give him the exact fight he wants. Worthy loves to surprise his opponents with sharp counters, and Azaitar's game largely consists of coming forward and throwing big single shots. Worthy will also be faster than Azaitar, which is something he didn't have to deal with in his UFC debut against the plodding Teemu Packalen. It's interesting to note here that Worthy is a solid favorite (about -130) across most sportsbooks, which should make him fairly popular among DFS players. This being the case, it's not a terrible idea to sprinkle in the powerful Azaitar in case he finds Worthy's chin.
Sijara Eubanks' fight last week was scrapped after her opponent tested positive for COVID-19, but she has found a willing opponent just a week later in Julia Avila. While Avila got an impressive knockout in her last bout against Gina Mazany, I question how well she will be able to close out fights against most UFC-caliber competition. Instead, I see her game being much closer to what she showed against Pannie Kianzad: a grinding fighter who will try to work a suffocating clinch game. Unfortunately, I don't think either one of these styles will work against Eubanks, who will be the stronger fighter as well as the better boxer inside the cage. Avila is coming into this bout as the more heralded fighter, but I see Eubanks as the one with all the advantages here, with the one caveat that she does tend to get tired late in fights.
Neither Fish nor Fowl
Roosevelt Roberts ($17) vs. Matt Frevola ($16) should be a fun scrap, as it features two fighters who aren't afraid to throw hands and take the fight to the ground. We've seen Roberts deal with pressure a bit better in recent fights, but Frevola is probably the most powerful striker he has faced, which should make things interesting once the exchanges start. If Frevolva does try to work his wrestling he'll need to be careful, but Roberts is far from a knockout artist on the feet and doesn't chase his own takedowns often enough for me to feel comfortable that he will get the fight he wants. I'm taking Frevola to land the harder shots, but this will get very interesting if Roosevelt decides he has to grapple.
I haven't been compelled to pick Alexander Romanov (TBD) in either of his two canceled UFC bouts, but I think his skill set will be enough to take Roque Martinez (TBD), whose takedown defense consists of half-hearted sprawls and hulking his opponent off of him. There will be no out-muscling of Romanov, however, as he is a mountain of a man with what looks like a pretty solid takedown game from the body lock. Martinez is a powerful kickboxer in his own right, but I expect Romanov to win the pressure war and get the exact kind of fight he wants, leading to some kind of finish.
Roosevelt Roberts ($17) will now face Kevin Croom (TBD) after Matt Frevola had to withdraw from the bout. If this were a scheduled fight (or at least something with less than a day's notice) it would easily go in the captain's section. Croom features some good in-and-out movement, but crashes the pocket sloppily and falls into the clinch, which has resulted in him getting subbed before. I think Roberts will do well enough to keep range and evade the shots of Croom until the two tie up and Roberts gets his submission.