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Latest Fantasy MMA News – UFC

The most recent UFC fantasy MMA news from RotoWire.

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Injuries

Matt Brown    UFC    Welterweight
Brown (knee), who's currently rehabbing a torn ACL, is expected to undergo ankle surgery in the near future, Damon Martin of MMAweekly.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Brown was unable to fight Carlos Condit back in April due to a torn ACL and recently discovered yet another injury, this time an ankle issue that has given him problems over the last three years. While Brown's surgery hasn't been scheduled yet, he's expected to be on crutches for eight weeks once it's completed, though the ankle should heal much quicker than the torn ACL. While Brown is still without any sort of timetable for his return, he likely has at least another six months on the sidelines considering ACL's usually take somewhere from 8-to-12 months to heal.
Zak Ottow    UFC    Welterweight
Ottow will fight Sage Northcutt at UFC Boise on July 14, Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Ottow has secured victories in two of his last three fights, most recently notching a TKO win over Mike Pyle in March. Despite the knockout the last time out, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt owns 10 submissions across 16 career wins, so he's extremely comfortable on the ground and could look to take advantage of that against Northcutt. Ottow has the experience advantage over the 22-year-old Northcutt as well, especially at the welterweight level. Northcutt's only two fights at this weight have resulted in losses, which is notable considering his career record of 10-2.
Sage Northcutt    UFC    Lightweight
Northcutt will fight Zak Ottow at UFC Boise on July 14, Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Northcutt owns a career record of 10-2 and has secured back-to-back unanimous decision wins over Michel Quinones and Thibault Gouti. However, Northcutt will be moving up to the welterweight division for this fight, which is significant considering his only two career losses have come under those circumstances. Northcutt's opponent, Zak Ottow, is nearly 10 years his elder at 31 years old and owns a career record of 16-5, with 10 of those victories coming by submission.
Craig White    UFC    Welterweight
White confirmed to Peter Carroll of MMAFighting.com that he needed to cut 46 pounds for his short-notice fight against Neil Magny at UFC Liverpool on May 27.

Fantasy Analysis

White took this fight on just 12 days' notice, as he didn't want to turn down what could be his only opportunity with the UFC. According to White, this isn't the first time he's suffered through a cut like this, as he needed to lose nearly 40 pounds for a Cage Warriors bout with John Redmond back in April 2014. Reflecting on how he pushed his body to the limits, "The Thundercat" now says that the only way he'd do something like this again would be if a belt were on the line. Since that's unlikely to happen any time soon, White will instead focus on decreasing his walking around weight so that any future cuts are not quite as brutal.
Stephen Thompson    UFC    Welterweight
Thompson revealed that he suffered a torn MCL in his knee during his fight with Darren Till at UFC Liverpool on May 27, Jed Meshew of MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Thompson said that Till's targeted side kicks to the knee were instrumental to the latter winning the fight, with "Wonderboy" noting that the blows slowed him down during the second round. Fortunately for Thompson, who previously tore the ACL in the same knee, he suffered no other damage after undergoing a post-fight MRI and won't need surgery to address the MCL tear. He'll take the next two months to recover before resuming training and preparing for his next fight.
Mark De la Rosa    UFC    Bantamweight
De la Rosa will take on Elias Garcia at UFC Boise on July 14, MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

De la Rosa fell short in his UFC debut against Tim Elliot, where he was submitted via an Anaconda Choke in the second round. This was a unique outcome considering that grappling had been considered a strength, with five of his nine victories coming by way of submission. He'll now look to bounce back against Garcia, a 25-year-old prospect that also enters the UFC with an undefeated record.
Elias Garcia    UFC    Bantamweight
Garcia will make his UFC debut against Mark De la Rosa at UFC Boise on July 14, MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Training out of the esteemed Roufuspport MMA Academy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Garcia is undefeated as an amateur and 3-0 in professional bouts. The 25-year-old has displayed a diverse set of skills to date, picking up victories via TKO and with a variety of submissions. He'll draw another young prospect in the 23-year-old de la Rosa, who was 9-0 as a professional prior to losing his UFC debut to Tim Elliot last December.
Kurt Holobaugh    UFC    Featherweight
Holobaugh will take on Raoni Barcelos in a featherweight matchup at UFC BOise on July 14, MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Holobaugh has had a rocky road to get back to fighting under the UFC banner. He lost to Pat Healy under the Strikeforce banner in 2013, then lost another decision to Steven Siler back at UFC 159. The 31-year-old was given another opportunity on the inaugural season of Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series, and impressed with a victory over Matt Bessette. That win came with a slight asterisk, however, as he used an IV to rehydrate for this fight -- a practice that is banned by the U.S. Anti-Doping agency -- and it resulted in a six-month suspension. This could be the final opportunity for Holobaugh if he doesn't emerge victorious against a fighter making their UFC debut.
Raoni Barcelos    UFC    Featherweight
Barcelos will take on Kurt Holobaugh in a featherweight matchup at UFC Boise on July 14, MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Barcelos was originally supposed to make his UFC debut at UFC Sao Paulo last October, but that fight was called off after his scheduled opponent suffered a knee injury. He'll be pinned against Holobaugh this time around -- a fighter that is 0-2 in the UFC/Strikeforce but sports a 17-4 professional record. Barcelos was once the featherweight champion under the Resurrection Fighting Alliance banner, though he's never cracked the top-50 in the FightMatrix featherweight rankings.
John Dodson    UFC    Bantamweight
Dodson will take on Jimmie Rivera in a bantamweight matchup at UFC 228 on Sept. 8, MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Fresh off a new contract, Dodson is looking to put together his first winning streak since 2015 after alternating wins and losses in his last six bouts. He most recently edged out Pedro Munhoz via split decision in a fight where he barely won the striking battle by seven significant strikes, and also conceded a rare takedown to Munhoz. A former flyweight title contender, Dodson's measurements line up fine in the bantamweight division, though he will be conceding slight height and reach disadvantages to Rivera. Rivera was most recently billed as a top contender in the 135-pound division, but now needs to start a new winning streak after getting knocked out in 33 seconds by Marlon Moraes back on June 1. Dodson holds slight advantages over Rivera in both striking accuracy and striking defense, though he seems like a candidate to enter as slight betting underdog, with many of those numbers accumulated while fighting at 125 pounds.
Jimmie Rivera    UFC    Bantamweight
Rivera will take on John Dodson in a bantamweight matchup at UFC 228 on Sept. 8, MMAFighting.com reports.

Fantasy Analysis

Rivera was quickly stifled by Marlon Moraes in a matchup of top contenders at UFC Utica, as he fell victim to a knockout via head kick just 33 seconds into the fight. That sudden defeat snapped a 20-fight winning streak and resulted in a 90-day medical suspension, but Rivera has no intentions in an extended layoff. Instead, he'll square off against Dodson, a former flyweight title contender that is 3-3 in his last six bouts. Rivera has slight height and reach advantages, in addition to a bit more experience in the 135-pound division. Both competitors sport respectable takedown defense marks (100 percent for Rivera), while each own a positive striking differential in a fight that should be very close in the sportsbooks.
Holly Holm    UFC    Featherweight
Holm told Ariel Helwani on the final episode of The MMA Hour that she's hoping for an opportunity to regain her bantamweight title in the near future.

Fantasy Analysis

Holm has noticeably changed her body to move up to featherweight (145 pounds), where she's competed in each of her last two bouts. The added muscle to her frame has certainly been a positive, as she took current champion Cris Cyborg to the final bell in a five-round fight, and defeated Megan Anderson in dominant fashion. The Anderson bout was a perfect example of her added strength, as Holm was at a noticeable disadvantage in both height and reach, but looked to be at zero disadvantage in the clinch, and was able to record four takedowns in the fight. Many believe the next logical step for Holm would be another shot at Cyborg, but Holm, a natural bantamweight, sees things a little differently. She'll have a much tougher weight cut moving down to 135 pounds, and may even have to shed some of the muscle mass that's helped her of late, but that is the division where she previously held the title before losing it to Miesha Tate in 2016. Holm has yet to face gifted striker Amanda Nunes in her MMA career, and a matchup there would seemingly give her a better chance at gaining UFC gold once again, as opposed to a rematch with Cyborg. Nunes seemingly has more power in her hands than Holm, but Holm is a world champion kickboxer that has a reasonable chance to outpoint her over the course of a five-round fight, especially considering that there have been question marks surrounding the cardio of Nunes in the past.
Claudia Gadelha    UFC    strawweight
Gadelha disclosed via her personal Twitter account that she will undergo knee surgery in the upcoming week.

Fantasy Analysis

Gadelha did just enough to earn a split-decision win over Carla Esparza at UFC 225, but it appears she collected that victory while fighting at less than 100 percent. According to a report from MMAFighting.com, Gadelha sustained knee and thigh injuries prior to that matchup, but decided against pulling out of the fight. This potentially explains why she let this fight get much closer than what the betting odds indicated, as she was the largest favorite on the card heading into the bout. Without knowing the exact nature of the procedure, it's difficult to determine the amount of time Gadelha expects to be on the shelf. When ready, the former title contender is open to a rematch with Esparza, though another title opportunity against current champion Rose Namajunas can't be counted out either.
Richie Smullen    UFC    Lightweight
Smullen will take on Luis Pena in a lightweight matchup at the TUF 27 Finale on July 6 in Las Vegas.

Fantasy Analysis

Like every fighter on the recent season of the show, Smullen has yet to take a loss as a professional, though he did fight Rhys McKee to a majority draw nearly one year ago under the BAMMA banner. He was originally scheduled to face Allan Zuniga in the reality show's tournament, but MMAFighting.com reports that he was forced to withdraw late due to severe leg cramps. Smullen will now get a chance at redemption against an opponent that will be nearly six inches taller than him, but that advantage could be negated if Smullen can drag Pena to the mat, as he owns two submission wins as a professional and six more as an amateur. The 26-year-old trains at the same camp as Conor McGregor, SBG Ireland, so the UFC will surely give him every opportunity to become a marketable Irish asset. Should he fall flat under the bright lights, however, his days with the promotion could be limited.
Luis Pena    UFC    Light Heavyweight
Pena will take on Richie Smullen in a lightweight matchup at the TUF 27 Finale on July 6 in Las Vegas.

Fantasy Analysis

The main gimmick of the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter is that each competitor is undefeated in their fighting career. Though Pena is no exception to this, he was ultimately forced to leave the show due to a foot injury following his win over Jose Martinez Jr. in the quarterfinals. With plenty of time between the show's taping and the scheduled event in Las Vegas, the UFC decided to give "Violent Bob Ross" another chance. Standing at 6-3, Pena will have a height advantage over just about every fighter in the 155-pound division, provided he continues to make the weight. With a limited sample size to date, however, it remains to be seen if the 24-year-old Tennessee native can carry his physical advantages to sustained success in the world's best fighting promotion.