UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Columbus
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 Columbus: Blaydes vs. Daukaus, taking place from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday.
Aliaskhab Khriziev ($22): Khriziev is making his official UFC debut in this spot as a heavy -900 favorite on FanDuel Sportsbook. A lot of that has to do with his last-minute opponent Denis Tiuliulin, who was submitted by his toughest regional opponent before this opportunity. Khriziev is an elite prospect in his own right, and he posted 16.80 FanDuel points per minute in a first-minute submission on Dana White's Contender Series. The gaudy statistics and the hefty odds tell the story here; it's likely to be a quick night at the office for Khriziev when this fight was just salvaged to allow the Russian to make his debut.
Manon Fiorot ($21): Though it's buried on the prelims, this women's flyweight battle between Fiorot and Jennifer Maia actually has higher stakes than the one following it. "The Beast" would likely leap into the top-five in the rankings and approach a title shot with a win over Maia. She'll have earned it with another win that looks like her first three. Fiorot posted a +4.55 striking success rate and a championship-level 70% striking defense against her previous weaker foes. Maia is a step up, but her -0.32 striking success rate isn't an inspiring test. Maia has a UFC win by submission, but good luck cracking Fiorot's 100% takedown defense.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Curtis Blaydes ($23): In a parallel universe where UFC uses thicker gloves, Blaydes might be the heavyweight champ. He's dominated every second of any fight when not standing across from Francis Ngannou. His only other UFC loss -- a surprise one in a fight where he dominated Derrick Lewis -- sets up this battle with Chris Daukaus between Lewis' two most-recent victims. Daukaus did defend the one UFC takedown attempt he's faced, but Blaydes has wilted world-class wrestling defenses to the tune of 6.27 takedowns per 15 minutes on 55% accuracy. Blaydes is a deserved -405 favorite over the talented, but unproven, Philadelphia native.
Karol Rosa ($19): Fiorot isn't the only rumored contender getting an established veteran. Karol Rosa draws 41-year-old Sara McMann this weekend in her next test at bantamweight. She's the third key MVP option given her matchup against the wrestler here. Unlike Daukaus, she's faced 15 takedown attempts and stuffed 14 of them. Therefore, there's a decent conviction the veteran wrestler will struggle to take Rosa to the mat. In that case, Rosa lands 7.44 significant strikes per minute on the feet, and McMann has a poor 48% striking defense. It could get ugly fast.
Others to Consider: Askar Askarov ($21), Neil Magny ($20)
Matt Brown ($15): Odd but true -- Brown is one of three fighters over 40 years old competing Saturday. He -- by far -- has the best chance to win of any of them. He sits in a -108 pick 'em at the moment with Bryan Barberena to mark the closest fight on the card. Brown, coming off a finish that moved him behind Derrick Lewis for second all-time in UFC knockouts, still has elite power and plenty of submission skills to exploit Barbarena's fleeting defense. Barberena has either been taken down at least four times, knocked down, or both in each of his last five bouts. At a lower salary, Brown should be somewhat popular but is clearly the more reliable side.
Joanne Wood ($10): Wood faces Alexa Grasso in a battle of strikers, and she's been the busier one historically. In a sizable, 14-fight sample, she's posted a +2.16 striking success rate to Grasso's +1.35 rate. Considering Grasso has gone to a decision in six of her seven bouts and has zero career knockdowns, this fight will come down to which fighter can score more points with the judges per minute. Wood is 4-1 in fights where her opponent has not landed a takedown or a submission attempt, yet she's +198 to win a fight where she's unlikely to face either. We'll take it.
Others to Consider: Luis Saldana ($15), Chris Gutierrez ($14), Matheus Nicolau ($14), Aleksei Oleinik ($13), Marc Diakiese ($13)