Fantasy sports are a fun way to learn more about, and get closer than ever to, your favorite athletes and sports. Basketball, baseball, football, even hockey all have robust and thriving fantasy games, and gives fans an opportunity to match wits against their friends or the world (and pocket a little money while they're at it).
Mixed martial arts, for years, was left out in the cold. There were a handful of "picks" contests sure, games that simply called for players to choose the winner of a given fight. But those games sorely lacked the thoughtful game planning and strategy that defined other fantasy sports.
Enter Kountermove and its founder Aaron Ard:
"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."
Sounds simple enough right? It isn't. It's horrifyingly hard to play well. There is a bit of a learning curve, but I've got you covered there. Kountermove has graciously provided a trial game for my readers to take advantage of. You can play the game, get your feet wet with the system and even win some cash if you are smart (and lucky) enough. Sign up here.
UFC 153 Preview
As you can see, Kountermove (based on a number of factors including: historical points scored, fighter's style, weight class, opponent's style and skill) believes that Anderson Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Diego Brandao are all significant favorites.
The MMA Encyclopedia Lock for UFC 153 :
Who else but Anderson Silva. If Bonnar manages a win, it will be the biggest upset in MMA history. I think it's unlikely enough to justify Silva's high price point here.
This card has several fights with extremely lopsided odds. In many ways it's like an old Pride card or a Strikeforce show when that promotion was running on all cylinders. The bouts seem set up to give certain fighters an exciting win.
The Undercard Lock for UFC 153:
There's no way Phil Davis should lose his fight against Wagner Prado. Short of another weird eye poke incident, he should take this one to an easy decision.
With fantasy, however, there are added considerations—Davis is a wrestler and a grinding decision leads to lower points in Kountermove. Take that under advisement.
Points Leader for UFC 153:
A better pick, at a similar cost, to rack up big points is rising star Glover Teixeira. I expect Glover to finish his opponent, boxer Fabio Maldonado, early and rack up some major Kountermove points.
When you select a prohibitive favorite in Kountermove, you need to counter that pick with an underdog. That's the only way to keep your team under the price cap established by the game.
Upset Special for UFC 153:
Dave Herman is a good value at $4300. He is the underdog for a reason, but Nogueira is old enough (and his chin just spotty enough) to make Herman a decent play.
I encourage you to take a look at their site and give the game a shot. It's free, and you can win some cash in my tournament. I'll even up the ante. If a Bleacher Report user wins the top prize, I will change my avatar to something of their choosing.
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.
I've read the comments—many Bleacher Report readers believe themselves experts. Just between us, I think I know a thing or two as well. Now's our chance to go out and prove it. See you there.