UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 29
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 the best spot to get you ready for any UFC card. In addition to this primer, Brandon Gdula's betting guide breaks down where you should be placing your sharp dollars on Saturday's bouts. I also dove deeper into this slate on this week's UFC edition of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
Without further delay, let's break down UFC Vegas 29: The Korean Zombie vs. Ige, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday.
Lara Procopio ($20): With a closely contested main event featuring no true leans, it is a rare week in UFC daily fantasy in which the main event really should not come into play at the MVP spot considering the other heavily favored, high-paced fighters at the top of the salary pool. In my eyes, Procopio is the lead of a truly wide-open argument at the top, and her fight environment has a lot to do with it. Procopio is third on this weekend's card in FanDuel points per minute (5.59), and opponent Casey O'Neill ($11) leads the entire card in the category (6.71). Fantasy points should be had in the rare fight where a stack on volume may pay off, but Procopio's significant UFC experience -- with two flyweight division winners -- gives her peripherals far more merit than O'Neill's grappling display against a weak wrestler in her debut.
Virna Jandiroba ($17): Jandiroba's opponent, Kanako Murata, is a popular upset pick this weekend after her stellar debut, but the value still appears to lie with the favorite and experienced veteran, Jandiroba. Jandiroba's only two UFC losses have come to top-six ranked women's strawweights, which is a wealth of success compared to Murata's one win over Randa Markos -- who has lost five of six fights as a poor wrestler. This is a ground battle through and through, with both women at more than 3.00 takedowns and 2.00 submission attempts per match, and Jandiroba's 81.5% submission rate in wins -- compared to Murata's 33.3% rate -- shows that Jandiroba is far more likely of the two to close the show early.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Serghei Spivac ($22): Aleksei Oleinik, a grappling specialist, is one of the trickiest tests at heavyweight, and Serghei Spivac is the latest to get this test. Oleinik's obvious physical limitations have the 26-year-old Moldovan a heavy favorite for good reason, as his one win condition is simply avoiding submission. Spivac has never been professionally submitted, and it is not as if he is inexperienced, as his opponents prior to fighting Spivac have a cumulative record of 475-158-11, so he has had some of the most well-tested minds in the world inside the ring with him. Do not discount Spivac's potential to score fantasy points in this fight, as he is fifth on this card in FanDuel points per minute (3.73) and has scored a finish in three of his last four wins.
Marlon Vera ($21): Analytically, Marlon "Chito" Vera's -0.30 striking success rate lags well behind Davey Grant's +1.49 rate entering this fight. However, it should be that way. Vera has been on the periphery of the rankings himself while battling fourth-ranked Jose Aldo in a competitive decision loss last December. Grant needed a come-from-behind knockout to dispense of bantamweight journeyman Jonathan Martinez. Vera is 13 UFC battles and five years wiser than the 23-year old version of him back in 2016 that lost to Grant. The key finishing opportunity to watch in this fight is Vera by submission, as all three of Grant's UFC losses have come by submission, and the black belt Vera holds eight of his 14 career finishes by finding a tap.
Julian Erosa ($12): Julian Erosa has returned to UFC a man possessed. The 6'1" featherweight has always had a frame to dominate the division but is starting to find power in back-to-back finishes of solid veteran challengers Sean Woodson and Nate Landwehr. At $7 lower in salary than his opponent, Seungwoo Choi, Erosa carries major volume into this fight, with top-five marks on the card in significant strikes per minute (5.07) and FanDuel points per minute (3.87). Erosa throws plenty of powerful strikes that might be a challenge for Choi's 46% striking defense. Erosa presents a unique challenge for Choi, who usually has a length advantage in 145-pound fights, and "Juicy J" will hope to use that one-inch height advantage to impose his will and find a third straight finish.
Matthew Semelsberger ($10): Another value fighter seeking his third straight win is "Semi the Jedi." Semelsberger lit up Carlton Minus to the tune of 118 significant strikes and two takedowns, and he followed up his impressive debut with a 16-second knockout of Jason Witt. He sees a significant step up in competition Saturday to Khaos Williams, who can empathize with Semelsberger. Williams started his first two UFC fights with flashy first-minute knockouts, but his decision loss to Michel Pereira uncovered some defensive woes. Williams had just a 45% striking defense and ceded takedowns on both attempts, which is a precarious position to be in facing Semelsberger, who throws extreme volume (5.88 FanDuel points per minute; second on the card). Semelsberger is not seen as the same pedigree of Pereira, but Pereira also does not give himself as many opportunities as Semelsberger to land strikes and volume. The former Marist University football star has already shown it takes only one to close the show.
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.