UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC 250
Combat sports are one of America's longest-standing active sports to wager on. This was evident throughout the late-1900s as boxing took the sports world by storm. From Muhammed Ali to Mike Tyson, several stars were born, and Americans around the country placed bets on who would win boxing matches. Nowadays, with boxing much smaller than it was throughout the 1900s, mixed martial arts has taken the lead as America's favorite combat sport.
By far, the largest and most successful MMA organization in North America is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, commonly known as UFC. The UFC lays claim to the best mixed martial artists in the world and is showcased on both cable and pay-per-view events every month. As one of the first sports to return with compliance of social distancing, UFC daily fantasy is now live on FanDuel.
numberFire is always your best place to prepare for the upcoming UFC card. In addition to this helper, Barry Cohen has you covered with a betting guide for his favorite wagers on Saturday night's card. Jim Sannes also has an analytical preview of the upcoming UFC Fight Night, including fight win percentages, striking numbers per minute, and FanDuel points per minute. Jim and I also sat down on The Heat Check Fantasy Podcast to keep learning UFC DFS and preview this slate on FanDuel.
With those tools at our disposal, let's break down the card for UFC 250 scheduled for Saturday night in Las Vegas, NV:
Amanda Nunes ($23): Nunes, inside the main event, checks too many boxes to ignore. There really is no female top-level fighters who Nunes has not beaten, as she has topped Valentina Shevchenko, Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, and plenty of others en route to now holding the titles at the women's 135-pound and 145-pound division. She faces Felicia Spencer in the first defense of her 145-pound belt, and while Spencer is one the best 145-pound female fighters on the planet, Nunes is too well-rounded.
"The Lioness" has height and reach advantages, as well as plenty of tools on the feet (4.34 significant strikes per minutes) and on the ground (2.33 takedowns per match). She is -650 on FanDuel Sportsbook to win outright for a reason, and for fantasy, she has the only five-round fight on the card for a volume floor, as well. She is worth her lofty tag here as a heavy favorite.
Sean O'Malley ($22): As one of the UFC's hottest prospects, the undefeated "Suga" Sean O'Malley returns against veteran Eddie Wineland. O'Malley's star potential is evident, as at 5'11" and still being able to cut to 135 pounds, O'Malley will have strength and reach advantages on many of his opponents. O'Malley's weight cut does not interrupt his volume, which is an incredibly active 6.87 significant strikes per minute. O'Malley has minus money odds at -180 to win by KO or submission, and he is right with Nunes even with his fight being only three rounds long. You can stack these two together, and vary MVP slot exposure between them at the head of lineups in any format.
Other High-Priced Fighters
Herbert Burns ($18): If you decide against stacking those two together, the older Burns brother is a great option. Gilbert, of course, was incredibly impressive in his main event win last Saturday, but Herbert has his own excellent MMA skillset as well. At 5.77 submission attempts per match, Herbert still leans on his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a little more than his brother does, but that creates a clear path to victory against Evan Dunham, and that is why Burns has relatively short +175 odds to submit the UFC veteran. For fantasy, a submission is just fine, but do not underestimate the Brazilian's knockout chances, as he did just that to Nate Landwehr in his UFC debut.
Cody Garbrandt ($17): With knockouts on mind, not many names are more synonymous with knockouts than Garbrandt's. He's got huge power for bantamweight, which is reflected in his nine wins by knockout over his 11 MMA wins. Garbrandt is sliding, getting knocked out in his last three fights, but upon further review of the fights, two were against TJ Dillashaw, who is arguably the most accomplished fighter ever at 135 pounds, and Pedro Munhoz is ranked inside the UFC's Top 10, too. He sees a significant step back in competition with Rafael Assuncao, who at 38 years old has lost his last two bouts.
With neither fighter very accurate (Garbrandt lands 37% of his strikes; Assuncao 41%), the power is nice to have on the Garbrandt side. Normally you would fear the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of Assuncao, but Garbrandt has never been taken to the mat in his entire MMA career, and that is a testament to his excellent takedown defense. In what should be a boxing match, Garbrandt will be in his comfort zone in the co-main event, and he in a good spot to rebound from three straight losses.
Brian Kelleher ($12): With two high-priced fighters in such great spots, you will need value to pair with them, and not many are available. There are three distinct options for me, including the wild Hawaiian lightweight Maki Pitolo ($14), but I will turn to Kelleher again for the second time in less than a month as a heavy underdog. Kelleher has battled injuries throughout his career, but since returning in 2020, he has two finishes -- one by knockout and the other by submission. The well-rounded vet sees Cody Stamann in what should be a high-paced battle.
Kelleher (4.65 significant strikes per minute) and Stamann (4.25) both will throw volume, and both normally fight at 135 pounds, so the size of the two fighters is comparable. Vegas gave us a window as to how live a 'dog Kelleher is in this fight as the odds to finish this fight via submission or knockout actually favor the underdog Kelleher (+380) instead of the favorite Stamann (+390). Do not doubt the veteran, who came from behind to knockout Hunter Azure and will look to slide into the winner's circle again.
Devin Clark ($11): Don't be mistaken -- Alonzo Menifield ($21) is absolutely a strong DFS play on paper, with Menifield currently at -125 to knockout Clark. However, the interesting odds data that leaves Clark as a target for me in this price range is that the second-most likely outcome of the fight is actually for the heavy underdog to win a decision (+300). And, looking at Devin Clark's last bout against Johnny Townsend, you can see why. Clark was outstanding, limiting Townsend to six significant strikes in that fight, and he had top control for over 10 of the 15 minutes.
That type of defensive wrestling will be critical against a knockout artist like Menifield, and while there is still a short-odds chance Clark loses at this low of a price, there is a much greater path to victory than there is for other value options like Felicia Spencer (+475 to secure her win bonus) and Eddie Wineland (+400 to secure his), and those two underdogs do not present a stylistic mismatch on paper like the wrestler Clark (3.03 takedowns per match) does.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.