UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: Fight Night 7/25/20

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 have 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 DFS helper, Barry Cohen has you covered with his betting guide to find where to place sharp money on Saturday’s fights. If you want to dive even further than this helper, check out my Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast to listen to a deep breakdown of this entire UFC FanDuel slate.

With those tools at our disposal, let's break down UFC Fight Night for July 25th, 2020 in Abu Dhabi.

MVP Considerations

Robert Whittaker ($21): “The Reaper” returns to a UFC main event on Saturday, and it is not an easy one to step back into. He faces Darren Till in what profiles to be a boxing match, as neither fighter attempts over a takedown per match. Till is still somewhat of an unknown at middleweight, with a sloppy decision win over Kelvin Gastelum (in which he was outstruck) as his only outcome at 185 pounds.

With the five-round volume floor, Whittaker is a good fantasy play, because he should win many boxing exchanges. In what I call “striking success rate,” which is significant strikes per minute minus strikes absorbed per minute, Whittaker dishes out 1.07 more strikes per minute than his opponents, while Till eats 0.62 more strikes than his -- and against much better competition. This fight should be excellent, and Whittaker has an upper hand in boxing, which is where most of it will be played out.

Khamzat Chimaev ($20): With a performance like Chimaev’s on July 15th, nicknames will come quickly. Chimaev has earned the moniker “Khabig,” as he resembles a 170-pound edition of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. It fits, as his style is similar, mauling opponents to the tune of 6.94 significant strikes per minute and 4.84 takedowns per 15 minutes in his lone UFC appearance. He did that to UFC veteran John Phillips, and that is why he is such a whopping -1350 moneyline favorite to win outright over newcomer Rhys McKee. I would pay $25 for Chimaev, but at $20, he is a no-brainer pick as not even the most expensive fighter in the pool.

Mid-Priced Fighters

Tanner Boser ($18): Boser had success last month at the UFC Apex facility, where he knocked out former PFL champion Phillippe Lins in the very first round. The Canadian decided to ride that momentum to Fight Island, where he will face Raphael Pessoa Nunes on Saturday. Boser is a -250 favorite on the moneyline as he sees a weaker opponent here than Lins, and what makes him so appealing at heavyweight is his pace. At 4.28 significant strikes per minute, Boser boxes at a lightweight pace even as such a large man. That could prove to be too much again for another Brazilian and could have Boser ranked in the top 15 of the UFC’s heavyweight division by Monday.

Marina Rodriguez ($16): The women’s strawweight division is absolutely stacked at the top end behind champion Weilei Zhang, but Marina Rodriguez wants to throw her name in that hat. The undefeated Brazilian across 12 pro fights has a gigantic -- for this division -- 5’6” frame and 65” reach, and it has allowed her to pour on strikes to the tune of 5.60 per minute. Carla Esparza is a low-volume fighter that will try to wrestle her, but Rodriguez and her 70% takedown defense stuffed all seven of Tecia Torres’ attempts two fights ago. If Esparza cannot wrestle, she has no offense to stop Rodriguez from entering the top five at 115 pounds with a win.

Value Fighters

Peter Sobotta ($13): Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira is a fan favorite, and he promised to “give a show” again on Fight Island Saturday, but Peter Sobotta wants to keep this fight as boring as possible. Sobotta used three takedowns and passed guard seven times to control Nicolas Dalby ($19), who is a favorite to win on this card, and he will look to do so again against Oliveira. Sobotta’s two-year layoff may have fans forgetting how talented the German is, with a 9-2-1 record in his last 12 pro fights. Dalby and Oliveira both have the same subpar takedown defense rating (58%), and Sobotta will look for a replica of that fight as a slight underdog in this one.

Mike Grundy ($12): England’s Mike Grundy is a former bronze medalist as a freestyle wrestler but did not get to use those skills before pounding Nad Narimani into a technical knockout in his first UFC fight. He earned a clash against Movsar Evloev here in a battle of UFC featherweights coming off a debut win. Grundy, like Sobotta, has spent much of the last two years outside of the octagon, but his combination of the power he showcased in his debut and the wrestling he is sure to dominate with inside the octagon makes him a viable fantasy play here -- especially as the only fighter under $12 with shorter than +200 moneyline odds to win.

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.