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Crooklyn's UFC 188 breakdown & FREE Kountermove fantasy tourney

Bloody Elbow's Steph Daniels gives her UFC 188 breakdown and brings another free Kountermove cash fantasy tourney.

UFC 188 is just around the corner, and with match-ups like Cain Velasquez vs Fabricio Werdum and Gilbert Melendez vs Eddie Alvarez, it looks like it will deliver a very solid event. As is the norm for the numbered, pay-per-view events, Crazy Aaron from Kountermove goes a little off his rocker and starts slinging out free tourneys all willy-nilly. Before I go into the free tourney, I wanted to provide a brief breakdown of the main card, as well as my picks for the rest of the card.

Main Card Madness

Tecia Torres vs Angela Hill

Kountermove pricing: Torres $5400 / Hill $4200

Tecia Torres sports a 5-0 record overall and holds significant wins over Felice Herrig, Paige Van Zant, Angela Magana and Rose Namajunas. She's been involved in martial arts (taekwando) since she was knee-high to a grasshopper. In addition, she has 20 muay thai fights under her belt, 16 of them victories. She's much more effective in the stand-up than on the ground and is known for swarming her opponents with punches in bunches. Her kicking game is solid, especially her side-kicks.

Angela Hill has a 2-0 record and has shown steady improvement since TUF, and holds a good victory over Emily Kagan. She is ranked Number 15 and also has a background in muay thai. Her striking is good, but I feel Torres will hold a significant edge over her. In order for Angela to win, she needs to get this fight to the ground.

My pick: Tecia Torres via UD

Charles Rosa vs Yair Rodriguez

Kountermove pricing: Rosa $5300 / Rodriguez $4300

Charles Rosa is a very impressive brown belt in BJJ that has the slick, polished grappling game of a seasoned black belt. He seems to never panic under pressure, has a great fight IQ and is pretty durable. His UFC debut against Dennis Siver was impressive as Hell, even if he lost the decision. His last fight was equally impressive, and ended with him choking out Soriano with just seconds left in the fight. It's like the guy doesn't have the genetics to put out a boring performance. If this fight even looks like it's going to the ground, we're likely in for a FOTN performance.

Yair Rodriguez is the winner of TUF: Latin America and carries a black belt in taekwondo. He's got a decent striking game and a pretty good ground game, but with less fight experience than Rosa. For him to win, he'll need to stay off the mat and keep this fight in a phone booth.

My pick: Rosa via sub

Kelvin Gastelum vs Nate Marquardt

Kountermove pricing: Gastelum $5100 / Marquardt $4500

This fight is pretty simple to break down. Gastelum will have an easier cut, which has been his Achilles heel throughout his UFC career, and that will make all the difference. His last fight notwithstanding, Kelvin has demonstrated progress and evolution in his fight game. Youth and resiliency are definitely on his side.

Nate Marquardt has dropped 4 of his last 5 fights, two of those by KO. He hasn't looked good in years, and while I'm not the one to advise a fighter to retire, at some point, a loved one might need to walk him over to the wall so that he may read the writing upon it. For Nate to win this fight, he'll likely need to bring a couple extra people into the cage with him to hold Gastelum down.

My pick: Kelvin Gastelum via TKO/KO

Gilbert Melendez vs Eddie Alvarez

Kountermove pricing: Melendez $4800 / Alvarez $4800

Gilbert Melendez looks sharp as a razor just about every time he's in the cage. He was lighting Anthony Pettis up until he got caught. Yes, I know, the old "he was winning until he got caught" excuse is tired and worn, but his performance to that point was looking damned good. Melendez is great standing and is excellent on the ground. His route to victory is pressure and close quarters. His grappling is better than Alvarez' and I feel he carries a better chin and a slight advantage in the striking game.

Eddie Alvarez is always a treat to watch, but injuries and legal issues with Bellator may have taken a significant chunk of his competitive years away from him. Donald Cerrone controlled him for two of the three rounds with leg kicks, moving on to a comfortable UD win. Eddie has got to keep the fight standing and box Gilbert up.

My pick: Gilbert Melendez via UD

Cain Velasquez vs Fabricio Werdum

Kountermove pricing: Velasquez $5800 / Werdum $4400

If this fight weren't happening after a 452 year layoff for Cain, I would pick him to win this without giving it a second thought. Unfortunately, that is not the case. While his wrestling game is top notch, and his cardio is ridiculously good, ring rust will likely play a role here, especially against the ever improving Werdum. Cain can really win this fight anyway he wants, provided he's healthy.

Fab's striking game has come a long way since that April evening in Manchester, England 8 years ago, where we saw Andrei Arlovski mount him and slap him around like he owed him money. He's had a pair of losses since then, but is currently riding a 5 fight hot streak with his most recent victory being a TKO win over the ultra-durable Mark Hunt. I think this is a pretty evenly matched fight, considering the long layoff, and I've been on the fence a good bit mulling it over. In the end, I flipped my trusty Roman replica coin.

My pick: Fabricio Werdum via TKO/KO

Prelim Pandemonium

Albert Tumenov vs. Andrew Todhunter

Kountermove pricing: Tumenov $5400 / Todhunter $4200

My pick: Tumenov via TKO/KO

Gabriel Benitez vs. Clay Collard

Kountermove pricing: Benitez $4800 / Collard $4800

My pick: Collard via UD

Augusto Montaño vs. Cathal Pendred

Kountermove pricing: Montaño $4700 / Pendred $4900

My pick: Pendred via SD

Francisco Trevino vs. Johnny Case

Kountermove pricing: Trevino $4400 / Case $5200

My pick: Case via SD

Alejandro Pérez vs. Patrick Williams

Kountermove pricing: Perez $5300 / Williams $4300

My pick: Perez via UD

Efrain Escudero vs. Drew Dober

Kountermove pricing: Escudero $4800 / Dober $4800

My pick: Escudero via UD

Chico Camus vs. Henry Cejudo

Kountermove pricing: Camus $4400 / Cejudo $5200

My pick: Cejudo via UD

Now, for the good stuff, the free cash tourney. Before I link you guys, I wanted to give you some standard information about Kountermove.

Players use a $25,000 artificial salary cap to draft 5 fighters from the card before each event begins. Eachfighter has a salary designated by Kountermove -- salaries range from $3,000 to $8,000. The winners are determined based on how the fight plays out rather than simply a fight's outcome (pick'em format). Kountermove calculates a fighter's fantasy score based on the number of strikes, takedowns, submissions, dominant positions, and rounds won. Scoring data from the fights flows into the site in near real-time, so players can monitor their teams as the event happens. The data used in calculating a fighter's score is provided by UFC's official stats provider, FightMetric.

The site was started with the idea that MMA in general must market "up and coming" fighters to become a truly mainstream sport. "There are many great fighters out there that no one knows about because so much of marketing in MMA is geared toward the top fighters" said Aaron Ard, a co-founder of, "we wanted to create a game that would create interest and engagement in preliminary fights as well as the headliners." Statistics are bearing this out; over 85% of Kountermove players' teams have at least one fighter competing on the preliminary card. No Kountermove player has won a major tournament without a preliminary card fighter on their team.

Here's the link to the $100 tourney:

You can follow Kountermove via their Twitter account, @Kountermove

Disclaimer: Kountermove is not an advertiser on Bloody Elbow, nor are we being paid to advertise the contest. They offered to provide Bloody Elbow readers with the free tournament and are fully responsible for the contest and any associated prize payouts.