For years, mixed martial arts fans have been left out in the cold. Virtually ignored by the mainstream, we didn't even have a fantasy sports league of our own to inevitably infuriate us and make us cry.
Fantasy sports are a fun way to learn more about, and get closer than ever to, your favorite athletes and sports. And, in the MMA world, it was something we were dearly missing. Yes, there were a handful of "picks" contests, but those are fantasy sports games in name only. Lacking the complexity of a good virtual showdown, they never seemed to gain much traction in the hardcore fan community.
Enter Kountermove. Founder Aaron Ard explains the game:
"Our game is fairly simple on its face; our games are played over a single night during one event. Prior to the event, players get a total of $25,000 fantasy dollars and you get to pick five fighters for your team," Ard said. "Each fighter is given a specific price by Kountermove. We assign a value for each fighter based on how we believe the fight will go."
"Points are scored if your fighters scores a finish, wins a round, lands significant strikes, knocks an opponent down, scores takedowns, secures dominant positions or attempts submissions. The more dominant your fighters' performance, the more points you're going to score. If you score more points than your opponents, then you win the money."
It may sound simple, but trust me, it's horrifyingly hard to play successfully. There is a bit of a learning curve, but that's where I come in. Kountermove has kindly provided a trial game for my readers to enjoy. You can play the game, get your feet wet with the system and even win some cash if you choose wisely.
UFC 154 Fantasy Preview:
As the graphic above shows, Kountermove (based on a number of factors including: historical points scored, fighter's style, weight class, opponent's style and skill) believes that Georges St-Pierre, Mark Hominick and Antonio Carvalho are all significant favorites.
Some additional thoughts:
The MMA Encyclopedia Lock for UFC 154:
Normally I'd go with Georges St-Pierre here, but I'm a little skittish about his return from a significant knee injury and the subsequent layoff. I think Mark Hominick is your best bet, although this is a card that seems pretty evenly matched throughout.
Joe Silva has done his work well here. Every fight seems super competitive and that makes picking a fantasy winner challenging. But enough about my problems. Here's my best attempt.
The Undercard Lock for UFC 154:
St-Pierre's teammate Francis Carmont is on quite a roll and looks to plow over Tom Lawlor, a fighter better known for his ring entrances than his actual combat skills.
When you select a prohibitive favorite in Kountermove, the price cap dictates that you need to counter that pick with an underdog selection. Luckily, this card gives you plenty of options.
Upset Special for UFC 154:
I like Martin Kampmann at $4500. He's one of the very best welterweights in the world and his fight with Johny Hendricks is a toss up in my eyes. At that price, I think it's worth rolling the dice on Kampmann.
Undercard Upset Special for UFC 154:
It looks to me like Steven Siler is getting a TUF bounce for his appearance on the UFC's long-running reality show. Opponent Darren Elkins has won three in a row, including one over Diego Brandao, who actually beat Siler in the TUF 14 semi-finals. At $4400, that makes Elkins a pretty savvy pick.
I encourage you to take a look at Kountermove and give the game a shot. It's free, and you can win some cash in my tournament. There is no financial relationship between Kountermove and Bleacher Report or Kountermove and me. I just believe in their product and think it is a game worth playing.
We all fancy ourselves experts. Now's our chance to go out and prove it. See you there.