UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC 272
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 272: Covington vs. Masvidal from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday.
Umar Nurmagomedov ($22): The undefeated bantamweight is the cousin of the former UFC champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and he brought that exact style and dominance to his UFC debut. He leads this card at 5.77 FanDuel points per minute after five takedowns in a battering of Sergey Morozov. Morozov is a strong wrestler with a UFC win himself, and "strong" might be a stretch for this week's opponent, Brian Kelleher. Kelleher has just a 60% takedown defense and was put to the mat six times by Ricky Simon in 2021. Umar is a -820 favorite to win on FanDuel Sportsbook for a reason.
Kevin Holland ($21): "Big Mouth" could be a big problem at welterweight. Despite going 8-3 in his last 11 fights at middleweight, he drops down in weight to -- hopefully -- avoid the takedown defense (50%) woes that came at the upper-echelon of UFC's 185-pound division. He's got a perfect debut opponent (for him) at 170 pounds. Alex "Cowboy" Oliveira is a low-volume fighter that hasn't landed multiple takedowns in eight of his last nine bouts. This fight figures to be much more of Holland's massive power and +1.33 striking success rate piercing Oliveira's poor 47% striking defense. Holland is justifiably +125 to knock out Cowboy.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Serghei Spivac ($19): Spivac submitted knockout artist Tai Tuivasa before Tuivasa surged into the heavyweight's top-five. He navigated that power responsibly behind his 55% striking defense, and he should be able to do the same with Greg Hardy. Hardy has just one knockdown in seven official UFC appearances -- nowhere close to "Bam Bam." Hardy fought a durable grappler in Marcin Tybura, and despite initial early success, his asthma issues progressed, he tired, and Tybura dragged him to the ground and submitted him. With 12 career takedowns to his name, Spivac can do much of the same.
Kennedy Nzechukwu ($16): Nzechukwu's -0.18 striking success rate and 49% striking defense won't leave him with efficiency advantages in most fights. He usually is coming from behind to bludgeon people with massive power. However, this weekend, he has both against Nick Negumereanu. Negumereanu has a card-worst -2.75 striking success rate and a laughably-low 29% striking defense. He also can't wrestle (16% takedown efficiency), so this mid-range salary has round-one upside, a five-inch reach advantage, and historical comfort in the primary domain of this fight. That'll work.
Others to Consider: Marina Rodriguez ($21), Dustin Jacoby ($20), Jalin Turner ($17), Devonte Smith ($17)
Renato Moicano ($13): Moicano is amongst 16 lightweights my model would favor over Rafael Dos Anjos, who's sixth in UFC's official 155-pound rankings. It might be unfairly punishing him for getting ragdolled at welterweight by Colby Covington, Leon Edwards, and Michael Chiesa, but his last lightweight ranked win that wasn't on short notice was in 2015. This one won't fulfill that criteria with Moicano stepping in on four days' notice, but Moicano has a 3-1 record at lightweight and advantages in both striking (+1.54 striking success rate) and grappling (2.14 takedowns per 15 minutes) on paper -- plus a massive edge in size. With five rounds to work, it's worth a dice roll at the underdog salary, personally.
Yan Xiaonan ($9): Both Yan and Michal Oleksiejczuk ($10) are viable value plays even though I believe both lose. On a card filled with terrible wrestling environments for daily fantasy -- including the main event -- Yan and Oleksiejczuk are in striking matches projected to at least have some distance to them. With Yan and Marina Rodriguez ($21) in a match that has a 70.1% implied probability to go the entire distance, Xiaonan should hang around to pile up strikes even in a losing effort. This one could have "Fight of the Night" potential with both ladies averaging over 5.00 significant strikes landed per minute.
Others to Consider: Edson Barboza ($13), Jorge Masvidal ($12), Maryna Moroz ($11), Michal Oleksiejczuk ($10), Tim Elliott ($10)