UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Fight Night 6/13/20
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, if you'd rather bet the fights outright on FanDuel Sportsbook, Barry Cohen has you covered with his betting guide for his favorite wagers on Saturday night's card. Jim Sannes also has an analytical preview of the card to get all the betting odds, stats, and info you need to round out your lineup.
With those tools at our disposal, let's break down the UFC Fight Night card scheduled for Saturday night in Las Vegas, NV:
Andre Fili ($21): This is by far the smallest-scale card since UFC's arrival on FanDuel, with only one ranked fighter on the entire slate. Therefore, octagon experience when researching this card for DFS is at a premium. At the head of this slate are three large favorites, and all have accredited track records in the UFC. Those three fighters are also the most expensive in the player pool, and that starts with Fili. The lightweight prospect truly is a 10-pound larger version of Cody Garbrandt, his Team Alpha Male teammate who wowed with a big knockout win last Saturday.
Fili has incredibly fast hands with great volume both on the feet (4.00 significant strikes per minute) and on the mat (2.49 takedowns per match). He bit off more than he could chew in an albeit impressive decision loss to "Super" Sodiq Yusuff, but facing the Canadian Charles Jourdain should prove there are levels at the UFC's lightweight division, and Fili is on a different one than the challenger is.
Merab Dvalishvili ($20): The Georgian fighter Dvalishvili was already penciled in facing longtime bantamweight contender Ray Borg, but Dvalishvili has ballooned to a whopping -750 favorite over replacement and UFC newcomer Gustavo Lopez. Lopez has three straight knockout finishes in his Combate Americas MMA promotion where he holds the title, but he sees a long night ahead against Dvalishvili -- whose 7.80 takedowns per match would make him a grueling fight for any bantamweight in the UFC, especially in the smaller, 25' octagon being used this weekend. Both of these fighters normally fight at 135 pounds, so the catchweight agreed to (140 pounds) is simply to help Lopez make weight on late notice, not a size disadvantage for Dvalishvili. Dvalishvili will be a rightfully popular option on FanDuel with a secure path to victory in this late notice bout.
Marvin Vettori ($19): No fighter has had more difficulty finding a way to a paycheck than Italy's Vettori, who has a stunning four fights cancelled since the start of 2017. Karl Roberson, his opponent, pulled out of their May bout and showed up to this weekend's fight a concerning 5.5 pounds overweight. Even without the built up aggression from that, Vettori was a clear favorite in this fight, as Roberson really should have lost four of his last five fights -- the gifts coming from a contested split decision to last-minute substitute Wellington Turman and a miracle submission while losing to Roman Kopylov. Vettori, in one judge's eye, beat champion Israel Adesanya in their fight. Vettori will always press the pace (4.05 significant strikes per minute) but has some definite finishing potential seeing such a weak opponent in Roberson, with no shortage of bad blood between the two.
Other High-Priced Fighters
Cynthia Calvillo ($16): Normally, the main event, five-round fighters would be targets, but a low-volume fight in the women's flyweight division is not exactly what the doctor ordered. While Jessica Eye is certainly an option in this near pick'em fight, Calvillo is definitely the side to target for fantasy, as she has better striking (4.12 significant strikes per minute), wrestling (1.83 takedowns per match), and submission skills (1.65 attempts per match) than Eye, who has gone to a decision in eight of her last nine fights. The lone exception was getting knocked out with a head kick by champion Valentina Shevchenko. Calvillo at least has six finishes in eight MMA wins, so she brings just about every statistical advantage into this fight, including a cheaper salary on FanDuel. And as such, she has gone from a +105 underdog to a -125 favorite as we inch toward the bout.
Anthony Ivy ($16): Ivy was expected to step in last week for Ian Heinisch, but Heinisch was able to attend his fight, pushing back Ivy's UFC debut a week. It may be a good thing, as he is a -185 favorite to defeat Christian Aguilera instead of a tough bout against the veteran Meerschaert one week ago. Ivy is electric, as the Brazilian top team product has six wins in his last seven fights, all by knockout or submission. He will have the height and reach advantages over Aguilera, who is more of a defensive striker who has won only two of his last four fights. Ivy is exactly what the UFC is looking for in their middleweight division, which has lacked action in the past, and they put him in a comfortable position here to succeed -- at least much more so than the $16 price tag would indicate.
Charles Rosa ($14): Well, the outcome on Saturday night will likely not be worse for Rosa than it was his last bout in May. He was taken down in each round and simply could not get back to his feet against Bryce Mitchell, so he landed just five strikes against in an ugly decision loss. Since he took just 60 strikes of damage, the American Top Team product wanted to get back on the horse quickly, and with Kevin Aguilar as his opponent here, he will not have the fear of a repeat of the Mitchell fight. Aguilar sits at only 0.24 takedowns per match in his MMA career, so Rosa will actually be the much more comfortable fighter on the ground in this one (2.35 takedowns per match). That should add to his confidence in a fight that is inching Rosa's way in Las Vegas. A once +190 underdog, Rosa is now down to +154 to secure his win bonus on FanDuel.
Gina Mazany ($10): Styles make fights, and a huge upset might be brewing in women's bantamweight on this card. Julia Avila is a whopping -600 favorite to defeat Mazany, and this is a Vegas line that puzzles me. Gina Mazany is a UFC veteran with four fights under her belt and an established wrestler (3.18 takedowns per minute) in this weight class. Avila's lone UFC experience was a lackluster decision win, throwing only 49 strikes against Pannie Kianzad nearly a year ago. Avila's takedown defense is only 50% in the UFC in that small sample, and that means Mazany has an offensive weapon that Avila does not have in a smaller octagon that will force action. While she is far from a lock to win the fight on that alone, she is a much more live underdog in this fight than her odds and salary on FanDuel currently speak to, and using her in lineups allows access to all three MVP candidates.
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.