UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: Fight Night 10/17/20
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: Ortega vs. The Korean Zombie, which will take place on Saturday night live from "Fight Island" in Abu Dhabi.
Jimmy Crute ($19): Crute appears to, on the surface, have the most secure win condition on the entire card in a great package. The 24-year old Australian is an interesting light heavyweight prospect with peripheral stats as if he weighed 70 pounds fewer. Crute can beat opponents on the feet (+1.85 striking success rate), on the mat (4.63 takedowns per match), and grappling (2.60 submission attempts per match), with incredible pace that sits him third in the card in FanDuel points per minute (excluding bonuses). That explains why he is such a heavy -385 favorite to defeat Modestas Bukauskas, including great -185 odds to do so inside the distance. Bukauskas appears to have very little experience on the mat, as well, which makes a quick submission an interesting possibility for Crute to win his fifth career UFC bout.
Brian Ortega ($19): There is plenty of public sentiment behind Chan Sung Jung ($20) in a banger of a main event, with Tapology's user community -- which can correlate heavily to popularity -- soundly endorsing "The Korean Zombie." However, "T-City" Ortega is absolutely a live underdog with tremendous submission skills and a promised improvement technically on the feet. Ortega has still done well despite the need for improvement, as he has three knockouts and four submissions across his seven UFC wins. These two contestants have never had a fight go to a decision, which makes this fight a must-play on one side or another. At reduced popularity, Ortega (4.08 significant strikes per minute) profiles very closely in volume to Jung (4.58 significant strikes per minute), and he has proven to be the more durable fighter with zero career knockdowns allowed, which makes a "T-City" rebound performance the slightly more enticing side.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Gillian Robertson ($18): The women's flyweight division is not always the source for must-have finishers in the octagon, but "The Savage" is doing her best to buck that trend. All seven of Robertson's UFC fights have ended early, and she has won five of them to climb inside the division's rankings entering this bout with Poliana Botelho. She sits as a sizable -260 favorite to win a sixth, and surprisingly, she does indeed have minus money odds to finish her fight early. Robertson's career high in significant strikes for a fight is only 29, but she may be forced to better that if Botelho's 88% takedown defense can keep this fight standing. If she cannot, Robertson's 3.30 takedowns per match and 1.20 submission attempts per match may be on display, as she has some of the best wrestling the women's division offers at 125 pounds.
Junyong Park ($17): John Phillips has seen an early finish in all five of his UFC bouts thus far, but if he wants to hang onto his contract, he needs to start winning more often than just once. He will have to do so as a +220 underdog against the promising Junyong Park, but all roads lead to the -260 favorite being the latest to dispense of "The Welsh Wrecking Machine." Park has graded out well in two UFC fights thus far, including a solid win over the improving Marc-Andre Barriault. Park's 6.41 significant strikes per minute are tops on this entire card, and he also wrestles well with 3.04 takedowns per match. That could prove troublesome again for Phillips, who has a sizable sample that has produced just an 11% takedown defense within the promotion. Phillips has a -3.06 striking success rate, as well, which makes it hard to see Park losing this fight outside of a one-punch knockout.
Jamie Mullarkey ($15): Mullarkey is certainly an interesting UFC prospect, as his lone loss to Brad Riddell, who has won three in a row, seems like less of an indictment as time passes. Mullarkey's biggest issue in that fight was defense, with just a 40% striking defense against Riddell, and that has him second on the card in strikes absorbed per minute at 6.07. That would normally be incredibly concerning, but his opponent, Fares Ziam, has not shown the ability yet to exploit that. While he does hold a sizable, 6'1" frame, Ziam has the worst clips of FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses (0.40) and significant strikes per minute (0.67) on the entire card, and Ziam landed just 10 punches in 15 minutes against Don Madge in his UFC debut. He was also taken down three times, something Mullarkey (3.00 takedowns per match) is capable of, as well, which bodes poorly for the Frenchmen to upset Mullarkey on Saturday.
Gadzhimurad Antigulov ($10): The long-argued debate of size versus skill will see another chapter in MMA when Maxim Grishin and Gadzhimurad Antigulov face off on Fight Island. Grishin is a -400 favorite largely due to his move down to light heavyweight for this fight, and given that he has fought at heavyweight, he will have four inches of height and eight inches of reach on Antigulov, who is more of a natural light heavyweight in size. However, in terms of production in the UFC so far, Antigulov is the bigger man. The Russian submission artist is tops on the entire card at 6.03 FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses, largely on the basis of taking down opponents (8.40 takedowns per match) and trying to submit them (2.80 submissions attempts per match). Grishin is second-worst on the card with 0.72 FanDuel points per minute and failed to mount any offense in his fight against Marcin Tybura. At such a low salary and with an aggressive mindset and history of production, Antigulov is worth the flier to make the tree in front of him timber and cash as a +300 underdog.
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.