UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: Fight Night 2/6/21
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 most unique DFS sweats available, UFC daily fantasy is now live on FanDuel.
numberFire is always your best place to prepare for the upcoming UFC card. For even more in-depth coverage into this weekend's card, make sure to also 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: Overeem vs. Volkov, which is taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Cory Sandhagen ($23): Sandhagen is nearly bulletproof as the largest favorite on the card (-450) this weekend, and it has a lot to do with his remarkable striking numbers. Sandhagen is fourth on the card in both significant strikes per minute (6.88) and FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses (4.72), and his package is one that includes four finishes in his first six UFC wins. His one blemish thus far has been his 30% takedown defense, but that has not stopped Sandhagen from posting a 6-0 record in fights in which his opponent scores a takedown. Given that Frankie Edgar is likely going to try to exploit that weakness, Sandhagen's floor on FanDuel is pretty high, as he will be awarded points per Edgar attempt blocked.
Cody Stamann ($22): Usually, Cody Stamann shares a division with Sandhagen and others at 135 pounds, but the loss of his opponent, Andre Ewell, midweek has Stamann now in a featherweight bout against Askar Askar. Stamann is a veteran with quality, dominant wins over Brian Kelleher and Alejandro Perez -- and that will make for a tough first test for Askar. That set of facts has Stamann a -400 moneyline favorite this weekend, but curiously enough, he owns just +220 inside-the-distance odds. For MVP purposes, that is not a terrible proposition given that Stamann is a volume wrestler (3.13 takedowns per 15 minutes), and that makes his floor in the 1.5x multiplier that much higher. Stamann does not necessarily need an early win to pay off at MVP, but with him facing his lowest-ranked opponent in nearly three years, it may be as good an opportunity as he will have to record his first UFC finish.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Alistair Overeem ($18): The main event this weekend is not the optimal point-scoring environment we are used to in five-round main events. Both Overeem (3.07) and Alexander Volkov (3.21) are in the bottom 10 on the card in FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses, and that is why even with finishes against lower-level fighters, neither has broken 105 FanDuel points in their last four combined fights. Overeem is the pick to win a five-round fight with the volume boost, and therefore he merits consideration. Ultimately, Overeem will likely look to implement the game-plan used by his Denver teammate Curtis Blaydes, who took down Volkov 14 times with ridiculous 56% efficiency. At 40 years old, that many attempts might be out of Overeem's range of outcomes, but he can secure a handful of takedowns on Volkov's mediocre 65% takedown defense to control large parts of this fight.
Timur Valiev ($16): Valiev is far from a world-altering idea at $16 in salary as a whopping -400 favorite over his new opponent, Martin Day. But handling him properly in tournaments still revolves around examining his scoring ceiling, and said ceiling appears to be infinite. Valiev is averaging 9.45 significant strikes per minute at 70% accuracy thanks to a blistering first round against Trevin Jones in his UFC debut, but Jones rebounded in a huge way with one punch that turned away Valiev. Day does not profile to have that same power, as the Hawaiian is 0-3 in the UFC and has just three professional knockouts in his eight total wins. Valiev should be punished less severely for mistakes, and as the more efficient striker, he is in a good spot to rebound on Saturday.
Beneil Dariush ($15): This lightweight scrap between Dariush and Diego Ferreira took Fight of the Night honors on my podcast, and it is because the most talent on the card is inside this fight in the continuously loaded 155-pound division. Ferreira has won six in a row, and Dariush has five straight victories -- and yet neither man can crack the top 10 in their division. The winner here certainly will with another quality name on their list. Although it means very little, Dariush actually defeated Ferreira back in 2014, but with largely similar scoring peripherals for both Dariush (3.45 FanDuel points per minute) and Ferreira (3.79), the tiebreaker is level of competition. Dariush has recently turned away 15th-ranked Drew Dober, while Ferreira's highest-profile win was over Anthony Pettis -- who is currently ranked outside the top 50 at welterweight. This should be a great fight, but Dariush is much easier to trust.
Manel Kape ($14): FanDuel has never had a fighter who successfully made weight be not available in the fighter pool, so I expect Joselyne Edwards to make her way into the FanDuel pool on Saturday as my preferred underdog of choice, but as of early Saturday morning, her salary is still unknown. Of the existing fighters with salaries, Kape is an interesting one in his UFC debut. Kape has 14 finishes in 15 pro wins, and Alexander Pantoja, his opposition, has never been finished early in his entire career, which means the rubber should meet the road quickly in this bout. Kape's aggressiveness and Pantoja's pace of 4.20 significant strikes per minute make this flyweight battle one of the best fight environments -- on both sides -- to target in tournaments.
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.