UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 33
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. If you would rather bet the fights, Brandon Gdula's betting guide is a great place to find value bets on Saturday's card. In addition to this primer, 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 Fight Night: Hall vs. Strickland, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday night.
Sean Strickland ($22): When the storyline of a particular card is its lack of notoriety and experience, the main event with a ranked fighter is not a bad building block. Nine months to the day of his return to UFC after a motorcycle accident, Strickland makes his main event debut after three dominant appearances since last October. Strickland is a boxer who has a +1.50 striking success rate (significant strikes per minute landed minus absorbed), and that has increased to +3.79 in the three fights since his return against arguably tougher competition than when he left, dispensing of two ranked welterweights.
Strickland's 5.14 significant strikes per minute is leagues beyond Uriah Hall, who is at just 3.34, and Hall's 0.68 takedowns per match is not indicative of a volume change of pace as a wrestler, either. As one of the best welterweight boxers on the planet, Strickland should move forward and be active, and if he can avoid just his second knockout loss in 13 UFC fights, he should accumulate damage on fantasy points on Hall's so-so 53% striking defense.
Bryan Barberena ($22): Barberena is not in Strickland's tier as an MVP candidate but is otherwise a solid pivot. The UFC veteran did not score well in his last fight against Anthony Ivy, but under a wrestling assault, Barberena stood well and stuffed 19 of 24 takedowns to still eek out a decision win. Barberena's matchup tonight is once again versus a wrestler, but this one might have even larger concerns about boxing Barberena at any point. Jason Witt's 29% striking defense is the worst clip on this entire card, and it's also how Witt earned his two UFC losses in a combined 64 seconds via knockout. Barberena's last three wins have come via knockout, and he has the shortest odds (+155) -- per UFC odds -- to win by KO/TKO of anyone on the card.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Rafa Garcia ($23): Garcia's -3.13 striking success rate for such a heavy favorite seems alarming, but context is key. Garcia was dropped on very short notice into a bout with lightweight striker Nasrat Haqparast, and Garcia -- a grappler by trade -- did yeoman's work to post a 54% striking defense and avoid getting knocked out. He gets a far more favorable matchup in this fight against Chris Gruetzmacher, who is a part-time fighter with just two appearances since the start of 2018. Gruetzmacher has been finished in each of his last three losses with a -23 striking differential in that time, which is how the former Combate Americas champion is the largest moneyline favorite (-330) on Saturday's card.
Ashley Yoder ($17): The mid-range is stronger than the low-end stud tier on Saturday's slate, which presents opportunity with Yoder in a spot where she is unlikely to be popular. Yoder is only a -152 moneyline favorite, but "The Spider Monkey" has a vast experience in high-level UFC as a grappler. Jinh Yu Frey's background with Invicta FC was as a striker, but with a -1.56 striking success rate dropping by the second in her last fight, she pivoted to wrestling Gloria De Paula to score a win and stay with the promotion. Yoder, however, has plenty of wrestling skill in turn, landing multiple takedowns in three of her past four fights. Yoder has finished only four of her eight professional wins, but all have come via submission. In a fight projected to occur plenty on the mat, Yoder may be able to finally parlay her 0.70 submission attempts per match into her first career UFC submission win.
Collin Anglin ($13): One of Factory X's top prospects makes his official UFC debut on Saturday, and Collin Anglin showed he has plenty of tools to become their next championship contender. Anglin is top-five on this card in FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses (4.72) following his appearance on Dana White's Contender Series, where he landed three takedowns and also excelled in the striking department to the tune of a +2.40 success rate. Melsik Baghdasaryan also follows his successful Contender Series appearance, but Baghdasaryan allowed two takedowns and was nearly submitted in his fight. That type of defense mishap could become Anglin's sixth pro finish.
Phil Rowe ($12): A glass-half-empty look on Rowe's UFC debut against Gabe Green would point to getting knocked down twice and losing. However, Rowe actually answered a lot of questions in his debut and proved he may stick in the UFC long-term. His 4.99 significant strikes per minute with a 60% accuracy clip will come naturally to Rowe and his massive 80" reach. But his grappling pedigree was surprising, posting 5:43 in control time over Green in what become his lone offensive weapon. That multi-faceted approach will face newcomer Orion Cosce in this bout, but Rowe's peripherals have come at the UFC level, which we can't say for the rookie. As an underdog, Rowe has finishing upside, and although he will be fined for missing weight on Friday, that extra weight not cut will ultimately work to Rowe's advantage in his fight.
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.