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UFC 223 Fantasy Rewind


A wild UFC 223 fight week came to a close on Saturday night with Khabib Nurmagomedov being crowned undisputed lightweight champion after a unanimous decision win over late replacement opponent Al Iaquinta.

Nurmagomedov underwent two different opponent changes in the days leading up to the fight but that didn't change his approach, as the Russian wrestler used his superior grappling skills in the early part of the main event to punish Iaquinta on the ground.

Surprisingly, Nurmagomedov then abandoned his takedowns in rounds three and four as he opted for a striking attack instead, and while he did get clipped a few times, he still got the better of Iaquinta in almost every exchange.

By the end of the fight, Nurmagomedov was in complete control as he ended up winning a lopsided decision to become the new undisputed champion at 155 pounds.

Going into the night, Nurmagomedov was a heavy favorite both with odds makers and with fantasy players, as 84 percent picked him to win. Nurmagomedov got the job done and also earned an extra 150 points thanks to the title being on the line in the main event.

In the co-main event, Rose Namajunas engaged in a five-round war with former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk to retain her strawweight title.

While she definitely had to battle through all 25 minutes, the result was still the same as Namajunas defeated Jedrzejczyk for a second consecutive time to retain her title.

Namajunas was slightly favored amongst fantasy players, with 55 percent picking her to win and once again earning 150 extra bonus points because this was a title fight.

 In arguably the closest matchup on paper going into UFC 223, Renato Moicano earned a unanimous decision victory over Calvin Kattar with 51 percent of fantasy players picking him to get the win in this featherweight clash.

As for Zabit Magomedsharipov, he was actually the second biggest betting favorite on the entire card but he definitely had a battle on his hands with Kyle Bochniak in what ended up as the Fight of the Night. Magomedsharipov was selected by 79 percent of players and he ultimately walked away with a unanimous decision win.

The biggest upset of the night took place in the UFC 223 main card opener as Chris Gruetzemacher earned a second-round TKO win over veteran lightweight competitor Joe Lauzon. Gruetzemacher was chosen by just 15 percent of fantasy players, but he ended up earning the biggest win of his career against Lauzon.

On the preliminary card, former title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz had a battle on her hands over three rounds with Felice Herrig, but she ultimately gutted out a split decision victory in this strawweight showdown. Kowalkiewicz was picked by 72 percent of fantasy players but she definitely had to earn that victory against a very game Herrig.

Canadian Olivier Aubin-Mercier picked up a stunning first-round knockout against Evan Dunham in a lightweight matchup on the undercard. Aubin-Mercier was picked by 69 percent of fantasy players while also earning an extra 50 points after he accepted this matchup on short notice.

Ashlee Evans-Smith made a successful flyweight debut with a unanimous decision win over Bec Rawlings with 65 percent of fantasy players selecting her. Meanwhile, in the opening bout of the evening, Devin Clark got past Mike Rodriguez as an underdog with just 37 percent of fantasy players picking him to win.

When the night was over, six favorites came away victorious while there were just three upsets on the card according to the picks made by fantasy players ahead of UFC 223.