UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC 274
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 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje, taking place at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday.
Andre Fialho ($22): Landmines sit all atop the fighter pool, but Fiahlo on three weeks' notice isn't one of them. At welterweight, he's taking on UFC newcomer Cameron VanCamp, whose regional success has all come 15 pounds lighter at lightweight. Fialho posted 6.96 significant strikes landed per minute in a first-round knockout of multiple-time UFC winner Miguel Baeza last month, and his striking accuracy (57%) and leg-kick activity (eight landed) were both significantly improved from his debut. VanCamp may have an edge grappling (9 submissions in 15 total pro wins), but he'll have done what black belts Baeza and Michel Pereira couldn't if he can drag Fialho to the mat.
Kleydson Rodrigues ($21): Though the star power is lacking, Rodrigues and CJ Vergara ($9) could have the best fight environment on Saturday's card. These two have averaged over 6.00 significant strikes landed in samples that now exceed a full fight's duration. They're also both incredibly skilled with striking accuracy marks above 55% on both sides. FanDuel Sportsbook has over 2.5 total rounds listed with a 56.1% implied probability in this one, so with some length between these high-paced strikers, it is incredibly appealing to roster both in tournaments. Rodrigues, as a -375 favorite, is worthy of MVP consideration if he adds a win bonus to that volume.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Charles Oliveira ($21): You might have heard that Oliveira had some issues on the scale Friday. He's no longer the UFC's lightweight champion after failing to make weight, but he'll still battle Justin Gaethje ($16) on Saturday. Because of Oliveira's weight issues, expect Gaethje to be enormously popular as a powerful, high-paced striker with a knockout on his mind. However, given the ease in which Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted Gaethje, it could be wise to pivot to Oliveira, who is UFC's all-time submission leader (15) and averages 2.8 submission attempts per 15 minutes. After all, Oliveira still needs a win to secure his spot in the next matchup for his now-vacated belt.
Loopy Godinez ($19): On this card with champions, Godinez is the highest-volume wrestler (4.57 takedowns per 15 minutes) among the 30 fighters competing Saturday. She'll draw what I perceive as a step back in competition from Loma Lookboonme to Ariane Carnelossi. Carnelossi is a powerful, explosive athlete, but her two UFC wins came across two debutants that still hold a combined 0-3 record. Worse yet, Carnelossi's 25% takedown defense is the exactly fatal flaw that Godinez should prey on. Unless "Sorriso" is just wildly stronger than Godinez, Loopy figures to put together another solid performance for her cult following.
Others to Consider: Brandon Royval ($20), Ovince St. Preux ($20), Norma Dumont ($19), Justin Gaethje ($16)
Randy Brown ($14): Somehow, Kalinn "Khaos" Williams is a favorite over Brown in this spot. Brown and Williams are on identical 4-1 streaks in UFC at the moment, but while Williams' competition has been entirely unranked, Brown's lone loss was the top-five contender Vicente Luque. Given the gap in the competition, Brown's higher striking accuracy (48%), striking defender (54%), and takedown defense (71%) should allow him to dictate the pace in this fight. Most interesting of all, Brown's 78" reach will be the first time Williams is at a length deficit in UFC. Khaos struggles with accuracy as is, so that could be fatal to his chances of winning.
Tony Ferguson ($8): This helper doesn't feature either of likely the two most popular MVP choices on Saturday. Rose Namajunas tops the player pool, but her 51% takedown defense is terrifyingly low against a wrestler she's already lost to in Carla Esparza. Michael Chandler also draws "El Cucuy" Ferguson, but the value appears to be on Ferguson in this spot.
At 38 years old, Ferguson is seen as "washed" after three straight losses to top-five lightweights. The problem? Chandler lost to two of those three as well, and Iron Mike also had a worse striking differential against Justin Gaethje (-13) than Ferguson did in five rounds (-7). Historically, Ferguson's 59% striking defense is leaps and bounds beyond Chandler's (44%). Even if Ferguson struggles with the control issues (23:54 of his last 30 octagon minutes in his opponent's control) again here, Chandler will be an outright bust in DFS at his salary just as Oliveira and Beneil Dariush were against Ferguson.
I'll take my chances that the historical tremendous output of Ferguson (3.62 FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses) breaks Chandler inside the distance.
Others to Consider: Carla Esparza ($15), Melissa Gatto ($14), Marcos Rogerio De Lima ($13), Journey Newson ($13), Joe Lauzon ($11), CJ Vergara ($9)