UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 52

Jessica Andrade drops back to strawweight on Saturday with a sizable experience gap over Amanda Lemos. Which other fighters are worthy of a FanDuel roster spot?

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 on 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 52: Lemos vs. Andrade, taking place from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday.

MVP Considerations

Alexandr Romanov ($23): Romanov's -1500 odds to win on FanDuel Sportsbook are the best on the card, and it's for good reason. His new last-minute opponent, Chase Sherman, was cut from UFC before agreeing to take this fight on the basis of a new four-fight contract. Sherman's got the definition of a puncher's chance against "King Kong," whose 43% striking defense is concerning. But Romanov has also taken every punch with zero issues before mauling opponents to the mat (5.58 takedowns per 15 minutes) and usually finishing them.

Jessica Andrade ($22): Andrade is dropping back to strawweight on Saturday after realizing her clear ceiling at 125 pounds -- better than any fighter not named Valentina Shevchenko. "Bate Estaca" is an offensive juggernaut (5.04 FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses), and she's a -200 favorite over Amanda Lemos. While Lemos has enjoyed a five-fight winning streak, those fighters are 5-9 since the start of 2020 with UFC, and Lemos' 48% striking defense is terrifyingly low considering Andrade's power.

Other High-Salaried Fighters

Tyson Pedro ($21): Injuries have shelved the former light heavyweight contender since 2019, but he'll return to the gold standard of matchups at 205 pounds. "Hurricane" Ike Villanueva is 1-4 with UFC, and the four losses were knockouts due to Villanueva's frighteningly-poor 37% striking defense. Pedro is a submission specialist, but it's not likely to get better there for Ike at the UFC level. He's lost five times via submission regionally and avoided matchups with them until this last chance with the promotion. Pedro is a -620 favorite to win.

Marcin Prachnio ($18): Philipe Lins is 0-2 in UFC, and he is now dropping to light heavyweight to save his contract. He did make the 205-pound mark on Friday, but a weight-class shift isn't likely to change his key issue. His -1.02 striking success rate was a step behind slower heavyweights, and he'll have even less speed against Martin Prachnio and 205-pounders. Prachnio is a multi-time winner in this division with stellar striking efficiency (+2.18 striking success rate), so Lins' last gasp appears to be an unlikely massive improvement in power at the lower weight class.

Others to Consider: Dean Barry ($21), Maycee Barber ($20), Marc-Andre Barriault ($19), Preston Parsons ($16)

Value Fighters

Lando Vannata ($14): On this weaker card, most have Vannata and Charles Jourdain circled as the most entertaining fight. If "Groovy" wants, he should be able to win comfortably if he sucks the entertainment out of it. Charles Jourdain's 48% takedown defense is poor, and he's lost every fight in which his opponent landed multiple takedowns. Averaging 1.33 takedowns per 15 minutes on solid 40% efficiency, Vannata has shown enough in that department to exploit Jourdain's obvious weakness.

Cameron Else ($10): We always pay the salary for no-doubt favorites in the value department in UFC DFS. As a relative newcomer, England's Else is someone I'm willing to take a shot on when searching for a punt. He was mauled by Kyler Phillips in his debut, but Phillips is a fringe-ranked UFC bantamweight. Now with a more appropriate test, Else might have a significant advantage grappling here. Aori Qileng was controlled for more than five minutes by Cody Durden at a lower weight class, so Else (four career wins via submission) may have a path to dominating this one on the mat.

Others to Consider: Claudio Puellas ($15), Dwight Grant ($14)