UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 53
With no real offseason, the Ultimate Fighting Championship holds no short of a dozen mixed martial arts bouts nearly every Saturday. As one of the most unique DFS sweats available, UFC daily fantasy is live on FanDuel.
The strategy behind this fantasy sport is intriguing. Given that two fighters face off against each other, and some fights end in seconds, choosing which side to back is crucial, and there is a wide range of outcomes. However, getting the winner fighter isn't all that matters. They've also got to land enough strikes, takedowns, or submission attempts to score points, too!
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 53: Font vs. Vera, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday.
Alexandr Romanov ($23): Guess who's back? Romanov's opponent -- Chase Sherman -- torched countless DFS players last week by pulling out of the fight due to injury. Romanov was a tremendous MVP choice but scored a zero on FanDuel as the fight was pushed back to this weekend. Sherman's pay was doubled by UFC to take this fight; he'll be cut immediately if this one is canceled again, so I wouldn't worry. Despite the week's delay, "King Kong" Romanov is a -1800 favorite on FanDuel Sportsbook to squash Sherman in this one.
Andre Fili ($21): With 34 significant strikes and a takedown in the first six minutes of his fight with Daniel Pineda, Fili was coasting towards an MVP-worthy day in his last bout. Unfortunately, an eye poke forced the fight to end in a no-contest. Fili's opponent this weekend might be an apology from the UFC. Joanderson Brito's lone UFC appearance was an uninspiring, decided loss to Bill Algeo. Fili, who's faced four foes currently ranked in UFC's top-10 featherweights, will have a massive experience advantage. He's a respectable +170 to finish Brito inside the full distance.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Gina Mazany ($20): In an alternate world where finishes never came in UFC fights, Mazany would be ranked without a doubt. She's one of flyweight's best wrestlers, posting 4.70 takedowns per 15 minutes on lethal 58% accuracy. Unfortunately, she's had issues taking damage. She was knocked out by Julia Avila in seconds and was clipped in a fight with Priscilla Cachoeira that she was dominating. Shanna Young isn't a power threat (just 1 knockout in 11 pro fights), and her poor 53% takedown defense is a perfect matchup for "Danger."
Marlon Vera ($16): This weekend's main event is a good one for fantasy. Vera is a +116 underdog to Rob Font ($20), but with a 62.1% implied probability for this fight to see over 4.5 of the scheduled 5 rounds, we can expect volume on both sides. In some ways, that skews the value in this one towards Vera with a lower salary and just a 20-point decision win bonus potentially going to the favorite. "Chito" Vera has never been finished in 26 pro bouts, so there isn't a higher floor anywhere else in the mid-range.
Others to Consider: Natan Levy ($21), Rob Font ($20), Darren Elkins ($19), Gabe Green ($16)
Jake Collier ($14): Andrei Arlovski is on a 5-1 streak in UFC with a -30 striking differential. Cue the infamous Aaron Paul scene from Breaking Bad. Collier is the latest heavyweight test for "Pitbull," and he's a multi-faceted one who's worth a roll of the dice. Collier's put up an astounding +2.74 striking success rate at heavyweight, and he even showed a new wrinkle last time out with his first UFC win via submission. Arlovski hasn't put together a performance that eclipsed 100 FanDuel points in nine fights, so side with the dog.
Gerald Meerschaert ($13): "GM3" loses this fight more often than he wins it, but rostering him in DFS is a statement on 75th-percentile outcomes. Meerschaert has won three straight via submission and averages 2.00 submission attempts per match. His opponent, Krzysztof Jotko, has been to six straight decision outcomes. If Meerschaert has his way, he'll be a more valuable asset in fantasy. Don't discount the veteran stealing a decision on the feet here, either. He averages more significant strikes land per minute (3.11) than Jotko with a higher striking accuracy (44%).
Others to Consider: Francisco Figueiredo ($14), Jared Gordon ($11), Carlos Candelario ($9)