UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 57

The well-rounded Mario Bautista makes his return to the UFC octagon this weekend. Should we turn to him at MVP, or are others in a better spot?

The Ultimate Fighting Championship holds no short of a dozen mixed martial arts bouts nearly every Saturday with no real offseason. 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 57: Tsarukyan vs. Gamrot, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada this weekend.

MVP Considerations

There is an overwhelming consensus MVP on this card, and it's Umar Nurmagomedov ($22).

Nurmagomedov, the former lightweight champion's cousin, is undefeated with a dominant record in UFC. He actually leads this card in FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses (6.02), and he's a -1100 favorite over the uninspiring Nate Maness. Even if Maness' 86% takedown defense holds, he'll likely get outboxed (-1.85 striking success rate).

There are no viable alternatives in cash games, but in tournaments, you can consider the two other dominant favorites -- Shavkat Rakhmonov ($22) and Arman Tsarukyan ($23). They're just facing huge elevations in their level of competition.

Rakhmonov has finished all 15 of his pro fights to remain undefeated, and the Kazakh master of sport in Sambo has mauled three octagon foes to set up this date with Neil Magny. Rakhmonov's +1.38 striking success rate has shown surprising acumen for a guy who butters his bread grappling (1.90 submission attempts per 15 minutes). Magny's inability to compete with Michael Chiesa grappling for 25 minutes doesn't bode well for this matchup with Shavkat.

Tsarukyan has the highest salary with two more projected rounds to work inside the main event, but he's also facing a very tough and respectable Mateusz Gamrot. Gamrot has a 100% takedown defense and a +1.10 striking success rate, so Tsarukyan is less likely than Rakhmonov is to dominate his fight, but it's still possible.

No one has been able to stop Tsarukyan's wrestling (3.47 takedowns per 15 minutes) as he's rattled off five wins in a row following an impressive, short-notice debut against championship contender Islam Makhachev.

Other High-Salaried Fighters

The best of the rest is TJ Brown ($20).

Brown's opponent, Shayilan Nuerdanbieke, just hasn't mounted much offense efficiently. He's landed only 30% of strikes and 27% of his takedown attempts. Brown has been a powerhouse wrestler; he averages 4.50 takedowns per 15 minutes on 62% accuracy, and his skill was verified with a six-takedown battering of multi-time UFC winner Charles Rosa.

Mario Bautista ($19) is also in a solid spot. With a three-inch reach advantage, he'll probably look to strike against UFC veteran Brian "Boom" Kelleher after landing four takedowns in his last fight versus Jay Perrin.

Bautista lands offense both either on his feet (48% striking accuracy) or with his wrestling (57% takedown accuracy), so he should be able to get his hand raised using one of those primary strategies. A fluke knockout loss to the powerful, inefficient Trevin Jones is his lone UFC setback.

The moneyline on Tafon Nchwuki ($17) has swelled this week. He was a -102 underdog on Monday, and now he's positioned as the -128 favorite over Carlos Ulberg. Nchukwi's +2.25 striking success is lower than Ulberg's (+4.76), but Ulberg has faced entry-level strikers -- both of whom struggled with defense. "Da Don" holds a solid 56% striking defense, and he's beaten three multi-time UFC winners and veterans to secure his peripherals.

While I like Sergey Morozov ($18) as a win pick over the defensively challenged Raulian Paiva, Morozov's pace (2.98 FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses) is fairly measured, and he's never secured a UFC victory. That makes him tough to count on for a huge fantasy day.

Value Fighters

My Fight of the Night this week is actually the heavyweight slugfest between Alan Baudot ($16) and Josh Parisian ($15).

While many heavyweight battles don't make it out of the first few minutes, these two have never secured a UFC win via finish. Both average north of 4.90 significant strikes per minute on plus accuracy, and both have a sub-50% striking defense. This should be a high-volume war as long as it lasts, but there still is enough power and poor defense here to worry about stacking this one. Just be open to using either guy in tournaments, and remember a quick loss is still in the range of outcomes.

Even though Chris Curtis has defended all four takedown attempts he's faced in UFC, I still think Rodolfo Vieira ($14) can get him to the mat. Vieira has secured multiple takedowns in all four appearances with UFC. If that's the case, he's galaxies above Curtis in terms of jiu-jitsu skill for a possible submission. On the other hand, if Curtis' defense holds, his 67% striking accuracy has picked apart even strong middleweight strikers. Vieira isn't one of those. This stylistic clash should make for a monster fantasy day in one direction or another.

I love Vanessa Demopolous ($10) in this tier, and she'll be my highest-drafted fighter. Demopolous' best work actually came outside of UFC. In Legacy Fighting Alliance, she hung on to go to a decision with bruising wrestler Loopy Godinez, and she submitted Sam Hughes, as well. Both of those multi-time UFC winners are on a higher trajectory than Jinh Yu Frey, who has rallied from two opening losses with a pair of entry-level wins.

Frey was submitted in her UFC debut by Kay Hansen; Hansen has since lost four straight and been cut. Demopolous already showed off her submission skills (1.90 attempts per 15 minutes) in her strawweight debut, and I think she can again here.

Just because of the wretched offensive pace of Thiago Moises (2.28 FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses), I'm also good with a swipe at Christos Giagos ($9). Giagos' four career losses have come to divisional juggernauts Charles Oliveira, Gilbert Burns, the aforementioned Tsarukyan, and Chris Wade.

Moises certainly doesn't push any of those four in terms of pace, and he's had a negative striking differential in six of his nine UFC bouts. Moises has had to rally from behind to win fights often enough -- many of them via controversial decisions -- to expect something out of "The Spartan."