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I have an irrational fear of food. No, seriously it is one of my many major flaws in life and my wife will attest to that. I am an extremely picky eater which I understand is annoying, but I like to stick to foods that I know and already enjoy. You just don’t need much more in life than chicken, eggs and pizza. But where the fear kicks in is with foods that I have never tried before.

 I guess I assume that I will be deathly allergic without having ever tried it to the point that I will drop dead the second it hits my lips. Now I understand how ridiculous this is and people in my close circle in real life just chalk it up to “Jon’s weird with food.” Part of it likely stems from a near death experience as a child involving a fish stick but that’s a story for another day.

When we go out to eat with friends, there has been many nights where I pull the ‘eat prior to showing up’ and just casually have beer instead of eating with the group. This is usually due to me not liking the choice of restaurant or the establishment serving things on the menu that I do not like.

If you guys think I am joking, you’re sadly mistaken. During basic military training, we have what was called “Beast week” at the time. Basically, you are at a simulated deployed environment and you drill all day and run simulated attacks and exercises. You would get an MRE for breakfast and lunch and one hot meal for dinner. Now, if you have never had the privilege of eating an MRE, let me describe it for you in one word: disgusting.

It was bad enough to try to pick at those for breakfast and lunch but what was even more discouraging was seeing the menu for the hot meals that week. I will die a happy man if I never see ‘Chili-Mac’ ever again. Naturally, I was not touching that no matter how hungry I was but I had to do something. I started trading portions of food for the Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookie with people in my flight as I deemed that the only edible part of this hot meal tragedy.

Why am I telling you all this? Because sometimes it’s better to embrace the unknown in certain situations. With this DraftKings slate we have 10 of the 24 fighters making their UFC debut. Eight of those fighters from the Road to UFC tournament, we have even less data and footage to go off. There are many unknowns for this Saturday evening.

I have done my fair share of research on these new fighters as have many others in the industry. But I am more focused on how the field will treat these fighters as opposed to my analysis of them. There are multiple leverage points that we can try to take advantage of this weekend.

Rinya Nakamura vs Toshiomi Kazama

Much of the narrative surrounding this fight is that Nakamura is the most promising prospect of all the Road to UFC fighters. While I largely agree, it does not mean he is incapable of failing in this spot. I would expect Nakamura to be one of the highest owned fighters on the slate and conversely Kazama to be one of the lowest.

A lot of times when the field does not know much about a fighter, they rely on the betting odds and inside the distance lines. Additionally, if all the content out there is supporting that argument then it likely inflates the ownership even higher. Nakamura seems good for sure but there is added variance with such little data to go off and if everyone is treating it like a shoe in, then I would want to be overexposed to the other side if I’m building multiple lineups.

Lee Jeong-Yeong vs Yi Zha

This is another Road to UFC fight and I expect Yi Zha to be one of the more popular cheap underdogs on the entire slate. I certainly understand the potential as he seems to have grappling upside and is the more experienced fighter of the two.

But he is facing someone who is extremely dangerous and very aggressive with trying to secure an early finish. Additionally, Lee is priced in a range on DraftKings where he is near Serghei Spivac and Doo Ho Choi who both project to be some of the more popular fighters on the slate. This naturally gives us a ‘pay up to be contrarian’ spot while also giving us leverage against one of the more popular cheap fighters as well.

 Yusaku Kinoshita vs Adam Fugitt

Kinoshita is coming off Dana White’s Contender Series and there is a ton of hype behind him as a popular knockout artist. Five of his six career wins have come by first-round knockout and he has never seen the judges’ scorecards. Obviously, he is capable of landing something heavy in this matchup and winning by knockout. But I expect the field to play it that way as well.

He is facing someone in Fugitt who is very well-rounded and has a background in wrestling and jiu jitsu. Kinoshita’s grappling has never been tested and his cardio is relatively unproven as well. This is another spot where the advantage of embracing the unknown of those factors can pay huge dividends if Fugitt can capitalize in those areas.

I’m not saying to ultra-leverage your entire team but be smart about your roster construction. It is more important to understand how the field will treat these situations then it is to try to predict the outcome. Identify your leverage spots. Embrace the unknown. And, just sack up and eat the Chili-Mac.