UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 40
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, our betting guide is a great place to find value on Saturday's card. In addition to this primer, I also dove deeper into the slate on this week's UFC edition of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
Without further delay, let's break down UFC Vegas 40: Ladd vs. Dumont, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Manon Fiorot ($20): When selecting an MVP this weekend, I have a hard time not unleashing "The Beast." Fiorot has bludgeoned her first two flyweight opponents to the tune of 8.00 significant strikes per minute, and she has absorbed basically no damage behind her 80% striking defense. Mayra Bueno Silva will not test that, as she has landed only 16 significant strikes in her three UFC wins. Bueno Silva is a grappling ace, but she has also never forced a UFC takedown. Fiorot will happily keep this fight standing, so unless Bueno Silva finds that unprecedented wrestling acumen, this fight sets up as the -245 favorite piercing Bueno Silva's below-average 49% striking defense.
Norma Dumont ($17): The five-round main event may not have a ranked fighter, but Dumont has proven her UFC caliber already. After a KO loss in her debut, Dumont has sliced Ashlee Evans-Smith and Felicia Spencer for a pair of wins, posting a stellar +2.12 striking success rate. She gets Aspen Ladd stepping on late notice in this spot, and Ladd will have her hands full at this higher weight class with Dumont. Ladd was tied or outstruck in four of her five fights at bantamweight before scale issues forced her to this heavier weight class. At 5'6", Ladd likely doesn't have the size to manhandle Dumont the way she did smaller women. As a +118 underdog, Dumont will not be popular at this salary, but she will have up to 25 minutes to post volume as the superior striker.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Loopy Godinez ($19): No, you are not imagining things. Loopy Godinez is making a record seven-day turnaround after being last week's optimal MVP in a brilliant first-round submission of Silvana Juarez Gomez. She steps into this fight with Luane Carolina as a -215 favorite after the dominant afternoon. Godinez now averages a card-best 6.24 takedowns per match as she slammed Juarez Gomez five times and secured the armbar. Carolina will be a tougher test, as she is not only larger but she also has a 90% takedown defense historically across ten attempts. Still, given that she allowed a devastating, elementary kneebar to Ariane Lipski -- not a grappler by trade -- she will not be particularly safe at any point against Godinez. Even with a size disadvantage, Loopy turned around quickly for a reason -- she believes she can finish this fight, too.
Bruno Silva ($18): As skeptical as I was of yet another Brazilian middleweight with a knockout streak entering UFC, Bruno Silva knocking out Wellington Turman with small hammer fists ended any doubt. Silva entered UFC with 16 knockouts in 19 pro wins, and he scored that quick one in his debut after surviving a grappling exchange from the wrestler. While not always technical, Silva is -105 on FanDuel Sportsbook to finish Andrew Sanchez behind that power. Silva's one weakness appears to be his grappling (five submissions in six pro losses), but Sanchez has never attempted a submission in nine career UFC fights. In a striking match -- especially with Sanchez's cardio concerns -- the pick is that Silva finds the money punch sooner than later.
Andrei Arlovski ($15): Arlovski makes his 54th professional appearance at 42 years old on Saturday, and he will have a chance to stifle another upcoming prospect. Carlos "Boi" Felipe is his weakest prospect yet. Felipe's last two wins have been split decisions in which he was outstruck, and that leaves him with a -0.74 striking success rate. Still, with dubs in the column, he sees this step up to "The Pitbull." Arlovski's 57% striking defense has been tough for talented prospects -- much less the struggling Felipe -- to find the mark on. For me, the concern for Arlovski is not winning the fight but whether or not he can score well for FanDuel purposes. Quietly, Arlovski has posted 75 or more significant strikes in three of his past seven fights, which gives enough of a green light to deploy him at this value salary.
Nate Landwehr ($8): "Mr. Highlight" Ludovit Klein is -165 inside-the-distance in this fight, so this play is not for the timid. That line largely centers around the perceived weakness in Landwher's striking defense after flying knee knockouts in 2020 and earlier in 2021. Those impeccable knees don't really do justice to Landwehr's overall passable 51% striking defense, and Klein actually has a worse striking defense mark (49%) than Landwehr does. Assuming Landwehr survives a similar trick, he should have a significant pace advantage in this fight. He averages 7.02 significant strikes per minute, compared to Klein's pedestrian 3.32 mark. He also should be able to defend any wrestling attempts, as Landwehr has an 85% defense mark on 14 career opponent tries. With Landwehr at the minimum salary, a pace advantage like this is more than worth a dice roll.