UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: Fight Night 10/10/20

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, 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. To dive deeper into this week's card, also make sure to check out my thoughts on this week's UFC edition of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.

With those tools at our disposal, let's break down UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen, which will take place on Saturday night live from "Fight Island" in Abu Dhabi.

MVP Considerations

Cory Sandhagen ($21): A fun main event at bantamweight pits Cory Sandhagen against "Magic" Marlon Moraes in what appears to be an elimination fight for the next title shot once Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan dance late in 2020. Sandhagen is currently coming back as a -148 favorite, which has been a great position to be in on FanDuel since UFC contests have been offered. Lighter fighters have better cardio and can throw more punches, meaning more FanDuel volume in their bouts. In a six-fight sample, favorites weighing less than 135 pounds in five-round fights have averaged 139.3 FanDuel points, which, in combination with Sandhagen's personal strong mark of 6.95 significant strikes per minute, sets up the Elevation Fight Team product for a successful showing on Saturday, which would be a huge rebound following his Round 1 submission loss to Sterling in June.

Tom Aspinall ($21): England's Tom Aspinall is a fun fighter with an even more fun personality, which makes him not the first of that character to appear to be given a "softer" schedule of competition to open his UFC career at heavyweight. He faces Alan Baudot on Saturday, which is the second straight UFC competitor he is facing whose previous pro match was at light heavyweight, and that leaves Aspinall with a large size advantage entering the octagon. That helps explain why Aspinall is a large -355 moneyline favorite to win his fight outright and a strong -240 to do so inside the distance. Aspinall's gaudy statistics, like his 13.33 significant strikes per minute, come as a product of a 45-second knockout of Jake Collier in July, and he will hope to add a second this weekend.

Other High-Salaried Fighters

Edson Barboza ($19): Edson Barboza finally gets a "breather" of sorts, if one exists inside a UFC octagon. For the first time since 2016, Barboza sees an opponent ranked outside the top 15 inside the UFC, as he meets 24th-ranked Makwan Amirkhani on Saturday. Amirkhani steps in on late notice for "Super" Sodiq Yusuff, but this matchup is a brutal one for the Finnish wrestler. Amirkhani actually leads this card at 3.45 takedowns per match, but he will have to do as against Barboza at 145 pounds. Barboza has an 80% takedown defense inside the UFC, however, and that is against larger wrestlers at 155 pounds like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Kevin Lee. Barboza's kicks and knees are incredibly lethal, and he throws with solid pace at 4.08 significant strikes per minute, which explains why he sits as a near even-money option -- at +100 on FanDuel Sportsbook -- to knock out Amirkhani.

Dricus du Plessis ($17): It is always a treat to see a last-minute UFC debut, especially so as du Plessis becomes the first South African UFC fighter on "Fight Island" this weekend. du Plessis has an exciting background entering this fight, with 14 finishes in all 14 pro wins before joining UFC, and he is confident that his opponent Markus Perez will be the 15th. While there is no statistical background on du Plessis, Perez has struggled to a 2-3 record in the UFC with a -1.21 striking success rate, and that rate declines even more as the fight advances. Perez has never been finished but has three convincing decision losses due to cardio issues. If du Plessis pressures forward, that will be even more tiring for the Brazilian. du Plessis is an affordable path to a finish, given his posting of the fifth-best odds (+155) on this slate to finish his opponent.

Value Fighters

Chris Daukaus ($11): Rodrigo Nascimento should be a popular option on Saturday with impressive -165 odds to finish his opponent, Chris Daukaus, coming off of five straight submission wins. However, given his background, Daukaus appears to be a more live underdog in this fight than sportsbooks are giving him credit for. Daukaus is second on this entire card -- even ahead of Cory Sandhagen -- in FanDuel points per minute (excluding win bonuses) at 4.97, and that came from a dazzling performance boxing Parker Porter in July and knocking him out. Daukaus should have the edge on the feet against Nascimento, who owns a poor 44% striking defense. Nascimento is absolutely the more credentialed grappler, so things could get ugly for Daukaus on the mat, but in a stylistic coin flip, the value resides with Daukaus, who believes in his strategy to tire out most heavyweights and pick them apart to knockouts at just 227 pounds.

Stephanie Eggar ($10): One of the most popular female fighters in UFC is Tracy Cortez due to her social media influence, but Cortez will have her hands full with Stephanie Eggar on Saturday. Eggar has fought at 145 pounds internationally, whereas Cortez has fought inside the UFC at 125 pounds, with the duo meeting in the middle this weekend. That should provide Eggar with a sizable size advantage inside the octagon. From a FanDuel perspective, Eggar likely presents the more upside per dollar of salary in a fight with very little upside on the surface. Cortez has gone to a decision in her last three fights and has never scored more than 80 significant strikes in a UFC fight, which explains her greater than 3-to-1 odds to finish Eggar. That makes her tougher to roster at a salary of $17, but Eggar, however, is just $10, and with her size advantage, she could choose to wrestle with takedowns and grapple with submission attempts to make up for her skill deficit while standing.

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.