UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: Fight Night 11/28/20
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 DFS helper, if you would rather bet the fights outright on FanDuel Sportsbook. 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: Smith vs. Clark, which will take place on Saturday night from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas.
Miguel Baeza ($20): This card takes a significant hit in both value and fantasy upside with Curtis "Razor" Blaydes out of the main event due to a positive COVID-19 test. As a result, the MVP spot becomes largely wide open, but the most appealing candidate might be the undefeated prospect from Miami. "Caramel Thunder" Baeza has five knockdowns in three UFC fights to open his career, and his enormous power at welterweight provides interesting upside this weekend against Takashi Sato. For someone facing such daunting power, Sato is incredibly hittable, with a 5.10 strikes absorbed per minute rate and a middle-of-the-road striking defense. With Blaydes out, Baeza has the second best odds (-110) to win inside the full distance on Saturday.
Martin Day ($19): Due to terrible luck with the judges' scorecards and a miraculous comeback by Davey Grant, Martin Day is 0-3 to open his UFC career despite a +60 striking differential. However, the Hawaiian striker had an incredibly favorable matchup with Anderson Dos Santos, where he (+1.40) holds a significant edge in striking success rate over his Brazilian counterpart (-2.53). Given that Dos Santos has also averaged just 1.00 takedowns per match in UFC, he will need to show volume wrestling for the first time in his career in order to avoid getting pieced apart at distance. Day's 72% takedown defense has stood well historically, so he will have a great chance to keep this fight standing, which makes his DFS floor fairly high given Dos Santos lands just 26% of his significant strikes thrown.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Josh Parisian ($22): With Blaydes not on the card, many will turn to the heavyweight prospect Parisian at MVP. But the uncertainty around a low-ranked heavyweight fight makes it difficult for me to do that, since a zero in the MVP spot will doom your lineup. Parisian still remains a great target as a high-ceiling kickboxer against Parker Porter, as he averaged 7.07 significant strikes per minute in his one UFC bout. That pace -- combined with the power that earned him a knockout in said fight -- makes him a fighter who could bust the slate wide open with multiple knockdowns, but his floor is also at the mercy of the powerful Porter landing a single punch on his chin.
Luke Sanders ($18): "Cool Hand" Luke Sanders post the fourth-highest striking pace of all-time in bantamweight, as his 5.89 significant strikes per minute trails only champion Petr Yan and top contenders Cory Sandhagen and "Suga" Sean O'Malley. That elite company may be surprising given Sanders is just 2-3 in his last five UFC bouts, but that is plenty of octagon experience to overcome for Joseph "Nate" Maness, who is taking part in just his second UFC fight on Saturday. There is some value on the +112 odds that Maness and Sanders do not go the distance, given that Sanders has been to a only decision once in eight UFC fights. That heightens the fantasy value of this clash, which Sanders currently sits as the -130 favorite to win.
Devin Clark ($15): The new main event -- which is now five rounds (as of Friday morning) -- is a light heavyweight battle between Anthony "Lionheart" Smith and Devin Clark. Clark is facing a severe step up in competition but is perhaps in the perfect matchup to do so. Clark (2.76 takedowns per match) is a high-volume wrestler who will meet Smith, who will set the infamous UFC record for the most strikes absorbed on the ground if he takes 20 strikes from Clark on Saturday. Smith's cardio issues make wrestling difficult for him, and his 51% takedown defense indicates he will struggle to keep it from happening. There is also plenty of intrinsic value on Clark at $15 in salary with now two additional rounds of volume in a fight with decent +128 odds to see all 25 minutes.
Malcolm Gordon ($8): Gordon is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who entered UFC with three straight submission wins, which may come as a surprise if you saw him grapple Amir Albazi in his UFC debut. Albazi caught Gordon in a fairly simple triangle submission in his debut, but Albazi is also a black belt, whereas Gordon will have a significant advantage grappling this coming Saturday over Su Mudaerji. Mudaerji's four career losses have all come by submission, and while the Tibetan fighter is cutting 10 additional pounds and will try to strike at distance with Gordon, there is plenty of value on the Canadian Gordon to turn this into a grappling match. This is an appealing spot for tournaments, and both Gordon and Jonathan Pearce ($8) are live straight picks to win their fights against largely untested UFC competition.
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.