UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 45
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 45: Lewis vs. Daukaus, which will take place from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday.
Ricky Simon ($21): The final UFC card of 2021 is certainly a wide-open one at MVP on FanDuel. Some fairly volatile favorites are in good spots, but Simon has a nice floor in cash and single-entry formats. He's a good bet for some points on the board with at least six takedowns in three straight fights. Raphael Assuncao presents a more challenging matchup (80% takedown defense) to pile those up, but Simon's 54% takedown efficiency has historically plowed through any and all challengers.
Chris Daukaus ($20): My model's favorite MVP is Daukaus. He profiles to plow through Derrick Lewis's 41% striking defense in the main event, and Daukaus lands amazing volume (9.03 significant strikes per minute) at a great 53% accuracy even without the context of his heavyweight size. His 64% striking defense has kept him safe, too. Daukaus is a short +150 to win by knockout, and it makes sense. He has six knockdowns in all four of his previous UFC appearances -- and are all wins by knockout.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Raoni Barcelos ($22): I know very little about Barcelos' opponent, Victor Henry. However, Barcelos' standing as a -350 favorite brings confidence that he is in a plus spot on Saturday, and that means good things for his fantasy prospects. Barcelos is seventh on this card in FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses (4.15), but his six-fight sample is much larger than many ahead of him. His card-best 66% striking defense and 92% takedown defense will make it brutally difficult for Henry to put him in significant danger.
Gerald Meerschaert ($20): Written off after two knockout losses in 2020, "GM3" has rallied in 2021. He's 2-0 thus far this year with the 24th and 25th wins by submission in his illustrious grappling career. He's a -245 favorite (and +180 to win by submission) because of a benign matchup with Dustin Stoltzfus. Stoltzfus has surrendered multiple takedowns and at least one submission attempt in both of his previous UFC appearances, and he was submitted by Rodolfo Vieira in his last fight. Meerschaert should have a window to close the show in this one.
Others to Consider: Justin Tafa ($22), Stephen Thompson ($21), Charles Jourdain ($19), Sijara Eubanks ($16), Matt Sayles ($16)
Josh Parisian ($11): Parisian has a rare trait he shares with Daukaus -- big-time volume for a heavyweight. Parisian's 6.53 significant strikes per minute are the third-most on this card, and it's come on a 50% accuracy that won't burn the gas tank. His 43% striking defense is worrisome, but it's the same mark as his opponent, Don'Tale Mayes, and Mayes isn't bringing huge power with just one knockdown in five fights. This fight has an implied probability of 41.3% to go the distance -- an outcome that would strongly favor the voluminous underdog.
Angela Hill ($8): The veteran Hill is just 6-7 in UFC, but she is 0-5 against fighters ranked ahead of her in the UFC rankings. Losing to better fighters is understandable. Even with Amanda Lemos' superior offensive marks, there's no evidence can beat ranked fighters; she's never fought one. If Lemos' 46% striking defense doesn't gravitate closer to Hill's 63% mark in this fight, the veteran "Overkill" Hill could get the better of most striking exchanges on the feet. With a 62.5% implied chance this fight goes all 15 minutes, Hill should hang around to at least pile up volume at minimum salary.
Others to Consider: Macy Chiasson ($14), Diego Ferreria ($13), Darren Elkins ($12)