UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC 269
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 269: Oliveira vs. Poirier, taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday.
Dustin Poirier ($21): The best MVP option in a vacuum is Amanda Nunes ($23) as a massive favorite. However, the lack of quality value to get to her salary plus massive popularity is an issue. Poirier in the main event is worthy of MVP consideration any time he fights. Poirier is -115 inside-the-distance this weekend to capture his first lightweight championship against Charles Oliveira, and if the fight has length to it, Poirier (4.37 FanDuel points per minute; fifth on this card) is the one with per-minute volume upside and five-round experience. "The Diamond" likely won't be popular in the multiplier with Nunes on the card.
Sean O'Malley ($20): O'Malley's final can to crush is Raulian Paiva this weekend. The talented striker can't duck top-level competition much longer. O'Malley's 8.25 significant strikes per minute at a 62% accuracy is one of the best offensive marks in the sport, and he pairs it with an equally impressive 65% striking defense. The level of competition is worrisome in the future, but Paiva (-0.66 striking success rate) doesn't profile to be the one to make him nervous.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Randy Costa ($20): "The Zohan" needs to dial it back a touch. His 59 significant strikes in one round against Adrian Yanez was awesome, but he got finished from exhaustion in Round 2. Costa gets a top-notch get-right spot on Saturday with Tony Kelley. The regional veteran Kelley has just a 45% striking defense and 40% takedown defense against two opponents that are now cut from UFC after a 1-5 combined record. Costa himself brings pressure (8.64 significant strikes per minute) that wilts solid defenses like Yanez had in Round 1 -- much less scuffling ones.
Andre Muniz ($18): Muniz frustrated me in fantasy at times because of his low-volume style, but he is becoming hard to ignore as a significant submission threat. Muniz is third on the card at 2.30 submission attempts per match, and he's coming off a fight where he broke UFC legend Jacare Souza's arm in the first round when Souza, to that point, hadn't been submitted in 35 career fights. The physical challenge against the large Eryk Anders will be his toughest to date. Anders has never been submitted either, and he has a 76% takedown defense, but Muniz's grappling is quietly becoming matchup-proof.
Others to Consider: Amanda Nunes ($23), Gillian Robertson ($21), Josh Emmett ($19)
Erin Blanchfield ($14): FanDuel can give hints in their salary pool. Both Blanchfield and Miranda Maverick have elevated salaries relative to their moneyline odds, and it's because their projected banger has a 73.0% implied probability to see all minutes. Blanchfield posted tremendous volume in her debut (6.00 FanDuel points per minute; tops on this card), so even in a loss, she can pay off this salary by maintaining that same frenetic pace.
Kai Kara-France ($12): Kara-France is an interesting landing spot for former UFC champ Cody Garbrandt's flyweight debut. Analytically, "No Blink" is just a superior version of Garbrandt. With four inches of reach in tow, Kara-France averages more significant strikes per minute (5.02 versus 3.38) at a better efficiency (39% versus 38%). He also has a higher striking defense (65% versus 61%). In a battle of one-dimensional, fast strikers, it's hard not to back the underdog and lower-salaried fighter that just showcased he has round-one knockout power as well.
Others to Consider: Dominick Cruz ($15), Augusto Sakai ($15), Geoff Neal ($14), Darrick Minner ($10), Jordan Wright ($8)