UFC 131 Fantasy Fighting and UFC 131 Picks Preview


UFC 131 Fantasy Fight Picks Preview



Millions of us are playing fantasy football each fall, but did you know there is a fantasy sport that goes year-round?  It is fantasy fighting, which allows us nerdy, hardcore MMA fans to test our picking prowess against fellow fans.  For thousands of MMA fans, each UFC event brings the opportunity to add to the fan’s enjoyment of the fights by picking each fight and competing against a fellow UFC fan’s picks. 


The first few columns in this series will briefly overview fantasy fighting. Fantasy fighting can involve picking UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator, MFC, Shark Fights, BAMMA, etc but for simplicity’s sake will be referred to as Fantasy UFC in this article.




Where can I play?


Fantasy UFC isn’t mainstream like fantasy football or baseball, so you won’t find fantasy leagues on Yahoo or CBS yet.  Fantasy UFC thrives on MMA message boards at sites like,, and other communities.  Just register an account to post on the boards and you are ready to play!



Where can I play?


MMA Junkie’s JFC league:

MMA Junkie’s UJC league:

MMA Weekly’s MMAF league:

MMA Weekly’s UFF league:


How do I play?


Anyone can pick winners and losers, the strategy in fantasy fighting comes from picking the method of victory, round, and then assigning a bonus point "lock" from 1 to 12 for each fight.  Picking the right winner nets 3 points, picking the method nets another 3 points, and picking the right round gives 3 more points.  If you pick the winner correctly you also get the "lock" bonus points.  If you are 100% sure that Donald Cerrone will steamroll Vocha by KO in round 1, then pick "12-Donald Cerrone-KO-1" and if it happens you get 21 points (12+3+3+3).



UFC 131 Dos Santos vs. Carwin


UFC 131 has many fights with obvious favorites and a handful of fights that are true pick ‘em’s.  When breaking down a UFC card from a fantasy perspective, it is important to consider the following:

  • Tossup fights – close fights where the community picks both fighters at a 30%-70% ratio or closer
  • Betting odds – is a good portal.
  • Quality of opponents and best career win(s)
  • Trends – is a fighter on a 2 fight losing streak?  Has Sam Stout had 7 straight fights go to decision?
  • Layoff – standard 3-6 month layoff? Or is the fighter coming off an injury and a longer 9+ month layoff?
  • Consensus of MMA fans – look at polls on popular MMA website to gauge popular opinion.  Maia and Munoz is about 50/50 in most polls.
  • Against the grain thinking – think outside the box
  • Weigh in watch – pay attention to Einemo and Carwin at Friday’s weigh in


Looking at the odds is a great way to assign locks to your fights.  In general, fighters that are 2 to 1 (-200) or better favorites, they are good options as your high locks.  If you pick an "underdog" in a fight, then it’s a good idea to make him your 1 or 2 point lock.






For UFC 131, if you were to pick the favorites across the board, here is how your fantasy picks would look:






Krzysztof Soszynski



Donald Cerrone



Chris Weidman



Michihiro Omigawa



Dustin Poirier



Kenny Florian



Dave Herman



Dos Santos



Aaron Rosa



Sam Stout



James Head



Mark Munoz



If you’ve been watching the UFC for a while, you know anything can happen with 4-ounce gloves.  In 2011, Dennis Siver beat G.Sot in Australia and Melvin Guilliard KTFO’d the heavily favored Evan Dunham.  Picking the favorites might get you 8 to 10 of the fights picked correctly, but if you want to pick all 12 fights correctly, you’re going to have to make educated guesses on a few underdogs.



Let’s break down UFC 131 fights from a fantasy perspective.







Dos Santos and Carwin

Best wins?  Carwin has impressive 1st round finishes against a dozen opponents, while Dos Santos KO’d Werdum in his UFC debut.

Trends?  Dos Santos is 6-0 in the UFC with 5 finishes

Layoff?  Dos Santos has a 10 month layoff, but Carwin has an 11 month layoff after back surgery in the winter.

Consensus?  JDS by KO in round 2 after Carwin tires, or Carwin by KO in round 1. 





Mark Munoz and Demian Maia

Best wins?  Both have beat Kendall Grove.  Maia has a sub over Sonnen in his highlight reel.

Trends?  Munoz has vicious GNP but if he cannot secure takedowns he futilely shoots from across the cage.  Maia locks up the sub or wins a decision with positional control against opponents who fight with an anti-submission gameplan.

Layoff?  Munoz fought 3 months ago, Maia 6 months ago.

Consensus?  Maia by submission or Munoz by KO—very evenly picked fight

Against the grain?  Munoz uses wrestling to keep fight standing and his aggressive boxing outpoints Maia.  Maia could grind out a decision like his last 2 fights over Grove and Miranda.



Kenny Florian and Diego Nunes

Best wins?  Florian has RNC subs of Guida, Gomi, and Stevenson.  Nunes has split decision wins over Brown and Assuncao.

Trends?  Nunes has 6 straight fights to decision.

Layoff?  Florian hasn’t fought in 10 months- an injury forced him off a January card.  Nunes fought on January 1’s UFC 125.

Consensus?  Florian cruises to a tactical, convincing decision.

Against the grain?  Florian locks in a sub against the hyper aggressive Nunes.  Nunes may catch the aging Florian with a combo leading to a KO.


Dave Herman and Jon Olav Einemo

Best wins?  Herman had an impressive axe kick KO while trading leg locks with Jim York, while Einemo lost a decision to Werdum in Pride 31…in 2006.

Trends?  Einemo wins by submission in round 1 usually; while Herman has looked impressive against mediocre competition.

Layoff?  Einemo hasn’t fought in 4.5 years, Herman is 6 months removed from competition.

Consensus?  Toss up fight.  Herman by KO or Einemo by sub are good guesses.

Against the grain?  Einemo is training at Golden Glory (with Overeem) and gets a surprise KO with much improved kickboxing.



Donald Cerrone and Vagner Rocha (late replacement for Mac Danzig on May 17)


Best wins?  Cerrone has wins over Danny Castillo, Varner, and Paul Kelly.  Rocha has two wins in Bellator.

Trends?  Cerrone is on a 3 fight win streak with two straight subs in round 2.  Layoff?  Rocha fought on May 7 in a regional promotion in Florida.  Cerrone fought on UFC 126.

Consensus?  Cerrone any way he wants

Against the grain?  Cerrone has lost the two biggest fights of his career and his main card struggles could continue as Rocha locks up an arm bar.





Aaron Rosa and Joey Beltran

Best wins?  Rosa subbed TUF alum Abe Wagner, and outpointed Devin Cole in Shark Fights.  Beltran spoiled Rolles Gracie’s debut with a KO-2.

Trends?  Rosa fights regularly but does have 2 fights to light heavyweights Feijao and Hamman.  Effectively, Rosa is a fat LHW fighter.  Beltran has lost two straight decisions but goes to war.

Consensus?  Rosa is a modest favorite but like many heavyweight collisions, this is a toss up.



Nuggets on the other fights?

Omigawa is a big favorite (-325) but with a 12-9 record he is beatable, especially to wrestlers, and Elkins is a wrestler.

Mike Massenzio, the late replacement fighting Soszynski, is fighting above his weight class of 185.  Krzystof, a regular at 205, is the biggest favorite on the card at –525.

Canadian prospect Nick Ring is ready to showcase his talents on a North American UFC card.

Sam Stout’s last 7 fights have gone to decision so pick Stout or Edwards by decision.



Here is a sample set of picks for UFC 131.  Two underdogs are picked with Carwin and Elkins.



Sample Picks


12-Krzysztof Soszynski-sub-3

11-Donald Cerrone-dec-3

10-Chris Weidman-KO-3

9-Dustin Poirier-dec-3

8-Kenny Florian-sub-3

7-Dave Herman-KO-3

6-Aaron Rosa-dec-3

5-Sam Stout-dec-3

4-James Head-dec-3

3-Mark Munoz-dec-3

2-Shane Carwin-ko-1

1-Darren Elkins-Dec-3

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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