UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: Fight Night 8/22/20

Mike Rodridguez isn't in the main event but deserves plenty of MVP consideration on FanDuel. Which other fighters should succeed on Saturday?

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, if you would rather bet the fights outright on FanDuel Sportsbook, Barry Cohen has you covered with his betting guide to find where to place sharp money on Saturday’s fights. I also dove much deeper into this card on the Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast earlier this week for a more comprehensive preview of this weekend's event.

With those tools at our disposal, let's break down UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Munhoz, which will take place Saturday at the UFC Apex Facility in Las Vegas.

MVP Considerations

Mariya Agapova ($19): In a rare week, I am searching outside the main event for an MVP because there are such great conditions outside the five-round bout. Agapova sees what feels very much like a multi-purpose showcase against Shana Dobson, as these two fighters are moving in totally opposite directions. Agapova brutalized Hannah Cifers in June with 29 strikes and a submission in less than three minutes. Shana Dobson has badly lost all three of her fights in the UFC since winning The Ultimate Fighter in 2017.

Dobson likely exits the UFC after this fight, and Agapova has title-shot aspirations against Valentina Shevchenko at her current trajectory in such a weak division. Agapova is -1300 to win outright Saturday, -360 by knockout or submission, and -120 by stoppage in the first round. To translate that, it is more than 50% likely this one is over quickly, and Agapova is not even the most expensive fighter in the player pool as the no-brainer MVP option in cash games.

Mike Rodriguez ($19): In spots where Agapova is not in the MVP spot when constructing lineups, I will likely turn to Mike Rodriguez. Rodriguez is an incredibly solid -155 to win by knockout or submission on Saturday, and his matchup presents that opportunity.

While Rodriguez is one-dimensional as a striker with a very poor 38% takedown defense, his opponent, Marcin Prachnio, will have to show a skill he has yet to demonstrate in the UFC in order to wrestle him and take advantage of that. The Polish mixed martial artist has never secured a takedown in the UFC.

Therefore, in what profiles as a boxing match, Rodriguez has a longer reach (82.5", compared to Prachnio at 74.0") and a better striking success rate historically (+0.88 strikes, compared to Prachnio at -0.53), which could make for a quick night for one of light heavyweight's most interesting prospects.

Other High-Salaried Fighters

Frankie Edgar ($18): The main event is not a great answer for an MVP, and the reason is because of "The Answer," who is longtime UFC veteran Frankie Edgar. He makes his bantamweight debut on Saturday, which is a move long-anticipated for the former featherweight champ always considered too small at 145 pounds.

Edgar sees Pedro Munhoz in a fight in which neither fighter should be tremendously comfortable, as Munhoz prefers to box, but Edgar's 68% striking defense has always been technically frustrating for his opponents. Edgar would like to generate his own offense as well by wrestling, but Munhoz has a solid 81% takedown defense to prevent that.

This fight would be a brutal pick'em, but Edgar is easily the valuable side of the betting odds as a steep +215 underdog. This fight will likely have fantasy relevance as the lone five-round fight, but there is no discernible edge on either side for me personally, outside of Edgar being $3 cheaper on a fight card with limited value options.

Alonzo Menifield ($17): The co-main event, however, does have a discernible edge. A really captivating prospect versus an aging veteran pits power-puncher Alonzo Menifield with crafty Ovince St. Preux in what is a close fight in Vegas to judge, but should stylistically be determined very quickly.

Menifield, despite losing back in June to Devin Clark, actually checked a lot of boxes in that bad mismatch against the wrestler. He stuffed 9 of 10 takedown attempts, and his cardio held well enough to last all 15 minutes. The former title challenger, OSP, sports some very concerning form entering this fight, losing four of his last six, and it would have been five if not for his patented, sneaky "Von Flue" choke against Michal Oleksiejczuk. Menifield will have no interest in even taking this fight to a submission attempt to allow said choke, and as a result, has valuable, knockout upside at +135 to do so on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Value Fighters

Joe Solecki ($16): Joe Solecki really stands out statistically on this fight card. Of the 20 fighters, Solecki has the highest takedowns per match marker (3.99) as a wrestler, as well as the highest striking success rate (+3.03 strikes), of any fighter on the card, which would normally be a profile that is worth targeting at an MVP spot.

The 26-year old, however, does see a step up in competition to UFC veteran Austin Hubbard, so he likely does not rag doll Hubbard like he did Matt Wiman in his previous bout. This fight is also currently -210 to go the entire distance, which means the fantasy value and upside will certainly be capped with only a 20-point win bonus on either side. Still, look for the North Carolinian to put forward another strong effort as one of the best wrestling prospects at lightweight in the UFC.

Amanda Lemos ($15): Lemos and her opponent, Mizuki Inuoe ($16), will do their best impression of Big 12 college football inside the octagon, and there should be plenty of offense and very little defense in the featured prelim fight before the main card. Lemos is second on the card at 6.55 significant strikes landed per minute, and Inuoe is third at 6.20. Those strong marks would normally indicate a ranked fighter, but the problem is that both have historically been pummeled.

Lemos takes a whopping 9.05 strikes absorbed per minute, and Inuoe is not much better at 8.20 absorbed per minute. The reason why Lemos is the fantasy target is her versatility, as she has also shown a willingness to wrestle (2.59 takedowns per match) and grapple (1.30 submissions per match), where as Inoue has never fired a takedown or submission attempt. Therefore, if losing early, the Brazilian can hunt for more paths to victory against her Japanese foe. There is an argument to stack this fight with such few quality underdog options in the player pool.

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.