UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC 267
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 267: Blachowicz vs. Teixeira, taking place on "Fight Island" in Abu Dhabi this Saturday.
Petr Yan ($21): Rarely can an individual fight have an extreme likelihood of boasting the 15-fight slate's MVP, but Yan and Cory Sandhagen ($18) may do that in a five-round, fight-of-the-year contender. Both are top-five on the card in FanDuel points per minute, but the nod has to go to the -265 favorite Yan with the slightest of advantages everywhere. Fear not from the odds; Sandhagen can contend in this fight. He's historically busier (6.32 significant strikes per minute), stopped 17 of 19 takedowns against T.J. Dillashaw, and he will have three inches of reach in a striking match over the shorter Yan.
However, Yan's efficiency (52% striking accuracy; 62% striking defense) is likely to be the deciding factor. I'll use both heavily at the MVP spot this weekend.
Khamzat Chimaev ($23): Only one man could have popped the MVP bubble with Yan and Sandhagen set to duel. "Borz" has had an absurd start to his UFC career; he's absorbed just two significant strikes in three UFC wins by finish. Chimaev is largely untested, but it is hard to argue with his card-best marks in significant strikes per minute (9.03) and takedowns per match (4.67). With his opponent Li Jingliang posting just a 59% takedown defense historically with no submission danger, Chimaev is positioned to do what he does best as a -550 favorite -- smesh faces.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Islam Makhachev ($23): Chimaev, though, is not the largest favorite on the card. That is Islam Makhachev, who is positioned as a -650 favorite over Dan Hooker. The short answer is because Makhachev hasn't faced a single second of adversity in four UFC appearances since 2019, but the longer answer is that Makhachev has lived up to the hype of Khabib's protege in terms of his skilled wrestling. He averages 3.31 takedowns per match, but it's also been on an absurd 65% accuracy in his growing, 10-fight UFC sample. He is -135 inside-the-distance and can likely earn the next lightweight title shot with a finish.
Alexander Volkov ($19): Ciryl Gane may be the official -- not interim -- UFC heavyweight champion in early 2022 as perhaps the best striker the division has ever seen. Volkov likely cemented his top-five status in that same category with a hard-fought decision loss where he posted 115 significant strikes to Gane's 135. He steps back from calculus to pre-algebra this weekend with the slower Marcin Tybura. Tybura's navigated a weak strength-of-schedule to a five-fight winning streak, but Volkov is a similar challenge to the three ranked heavyweights that have finished Tybura since the start of 2018. Volkov's 4.78 significant strikes per minute would be impressive at any division, but at heavyweight, they are typically lethal.
Others to Consider: Magomed Ankalaev ($20), Albert Duraev ($20), Cory Sandhagen ($18), Andre Petroski ($17), Glover Teixeira ($16)
Amanda Ribas ($15): Initially, I pegged Ribas and Virna Jandiroba as my Fight of the Night for my podcast as the closest fight on the card, but after further research, Ribas separated from Jandiroba entirely. Both ladies are accomplished grapplers with multiple UFC submissions, but the difference is night and day in terms of striking. Ribas' 71% striking defense is the top mark on this card with champions, and Jandiroba has struggled in that department to just a 53% striking defense and -0.27 striking success rate. If she can match Jandiroba's grappling efforts, Ribas should have a shot to finish this fight on the feet with such a massive advantage.
Makwan Amirkhani ($10): Lerone Murphy's peripherals state he's largely overvalued despite a 2-0-1 UFC start. Murphy hasn't mounted much offense in any dimension (2.36 FanDuel points per minute; second-worst on this card), and his 41% takedown defense is a nightmarish record to bring into a bout with Amirkhani. "Mr. Finland" is top-five on this card with 3.61 takedowns per match on an average 40% accuracy historically. Murphy is also seen as a knockout threat, but he has zero career UFC knockdowns. He may not score a finish that blows everyone away, but Amirkhani can control this fight with his wrestling to score a win bonus. With 12 of the 15 favorites 2-to-1 or shorter to win, that has to be worth considering.
Others to Consider: Michal Oleksiejczuk ($14), Ricardo Ramos ($14), Benoit St. Denis ($12), Allan Nascimento ($9)