UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC 276
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 great for finding 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 276: Adesanya vs. Cannonier, taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada this weekend.
There's a riddle at the top of the FanDuel fighter pool, and his name is Israel Adesanya ($23).
While I concur with oddsmakers (who have positioned him as a -520 favorite) that he's likely to win, Adesanya is fully capable of a daily fantasy stinker. Adesanya and opponent Jared Cannonier are both bottom-eight in terms of significant strikes landed per minute on this card, and Adesanya has gone to a decision in four of his last five against less durable foes.
I'll pass on Adesanya in favor of Sean O'Malley ($22) and Alexander Volkanovski ($22) -- even in fights I believe the pair won't finish.
O'Malley takes on the durable Pedro Munhoz ($10), who has never been knocked out in 17 pro appearances. With some length to his fight, O'Malley is in a prime spot for a showcase. He's the card's leader in significant strikes per minute (8.26), striking accuracy (62%), striking defense (66%), and striking success rate (+4.74). He's got a seven-inch reach advantage, and Munhoz (20% takedown accuracy) can't wrestle at a high level.
Volkanovski is a -215 favorite in his trilogy fight with Max Holloway ($15). He's scored at least 94 FanDuel points before any wins bonuses in his previous two bouts with Max, and Volkanovski is only ascending as his title reign has progressed. Holloway's power was never elite, but he's been to six straight decisions without a knockdown, so Volk's floor is arguably the highest of any fighter on this card.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
There are plenty of other fighters in great spots to win, but they don't push the pace nearly as much as the MVP contenders.
Andre Muniz ($21) has won eight straight bouts entering this matchup with Uriah Hall, and Hall's 65% takedown defense doesn't give a very strong prognosis he'll hold off the Brazilian grappling ace. Muniz is first on this card in takedowns per 15 minutes (3.60) and submission attempts per 15 (2.30). Hall has knockout power, but that's about it.
South Africa's Dricus du Plessis ($18) started the week in a pick 'em with Brad Taveras, but the line has swelled to a -162 mark in favor of du Plessis. It's notable for fantasy because "Stilknocks" has finished all 16 of his pro wins. He's an explosive striker with submission skills capable of a crooked fantasy number.
Lightweight cyborg Jalin Turner ($17) is the side I prefer in a winner-gets-ranked fight at lightweight. The 6'3" athletic freak somehow makes 155 pounds, and his offense in all three phases is elite. He's got a +2.17 striking success rate that he marries with nasty jiu-jitsu (1.80 submission attempts per 15 minutes). His low striking defense is a bit of a concern (44%), but opponent Brad Riddell isn't overly powerful and hasn't scored a UFC knockdown to date.
Sean Strickland ($16) should go overlooked in this tier because opponent Alex Pereira --the only man to knock out Israel Adesanya in kickboxing -- has lethal power at $2 less in salary. Strickland has a gigantic edge in high-level experience, though, with three wins over currently-ranked foes, and he could drown the kickboxer with the right approach.
He landed four takedowns and over seven minutes of control time last July against the aforementioned Uriah Hall, but Strickland also has a +1.59 striking success rate and 65% striking defense, so don't discount his ability on the feet, either.
Other lower-volume win picks I'd make in this tier are Maycee Barber ($21), Jim Miller ($20), and Robbie Lawler ($16).
First and foremost, I'm stacking -- or using individually -- Munhoz and Holloway as often as I can down here. They're the surest bets for volume and points.
When looking for win equity, I'm most inclined to turn to Julija Stoliarenko ($13). Her analytical profile ain't got no alibi because it's definitely ugly, but she's also had a bear of a schedule on her entrance to UFC. She's taken on the ranked pair of Yana Kunitskya and Julia Avila, and her last bout with UFC veteran Alexis Davis wasn't much easier.
Entering UFC, Stoliarenko won seven straight fights by the same submission (an armbar), so she can grapple. That's perilous news for Jessica-Rose Clark coming off a fight where Clark was mauled and submitted in the first round by Stephanie Eggar. Clark should have an edge striking, but she's never been one to use it. Don't discount Stoliarenko for a finish here.
The other place I could see an upset is Gabe Green ($10) taking on Ian Garry. An undefeated Irish prospect will get plenty of love after Conor McGregor's blitz through UFC years ago, but Garry hasn't really impressed. He was a massive favorite before getting a decision nod over Darian Weeks, and his first two UFC opponents have posted just a 1-6 record with the promotion overall.
Green is not only a multi-time UFC winner, but he took out another (Phil Rowe) back in 2021. Green's debut was a noted, high-paced war with Daniel Rodriguez, who is 7-1 in UFC since the start of 2020. Green will absolutely push the pace on Garry (6.28 significant strikes landed per minute) but don't be surprised if Green's strategy is to ground the young striker.
I'm even willing to roll the dice on Jared Cannonier ($12) in a few spots at what is sure to be minuscule popularity. If he hangs around for five rounds on a card that's otherwise light on wins by underdogs, he could work out well, and he's always got upside for a knockout.