UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 58
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 Vegas 58: Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada this weekend.
A blessing was dropped out of the sky this week.
David Onama ($22) was the expected late addition to this card, and it became official on Thursday. Onama brings what this card desperately needed: a dominant MVP candidate.
Onama is a -900 favorite to defeat newcomer Garrett Armfield, who is up 10 pounds in weight from his usual class on short notice. That'd be enough of a challenge against a lesser fighter, but Onama's featherweight debut was a first-round blasting of Gabriel Benitez. He's an accurate, powerful striker whose 47% striking defense -- which is somewhat poor -- will have to be properly tested on another day.
With over 1.5 rounds carrying fair odds (-130), the expectation is an early finish. As a result, Onama is the best process play by a mile, but I don't mind Said Nurmagomedov ($22).
Nurmagomedov -- no relation to the former champion -- is a striker, holding a great +2.40 striking success rate. He showed a bit of grappling with a first-round submission of Cody Stamann last time out, too.
Nurmagomedov's matchup, Douglas Silva de Andrade, isn't quite the same cakewalk, but Andrade (2.65 FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses) has never consistently mounted high-level offense in UFC. Said is positioned as a solid -400 favorite.
Third on this list would be Rafael Dos Anjos ($10) as a +186 underdog, which, more than anything, shows the drop beyond Onama and Nurmagomedov.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
There are landmines across this week's top tier, but Rafael Fiziev ($23) isn't really one despite me picking him to lose.
I just don't think he'll win -- or score a finish -- against the historically durable Dos Anjos, but Fiziev should score fantasy points. Fiziev's 5.23 significant strikes per minute on 52% accuracy is enthralling, but it's his 50% striking defense (and -0.33 striking success rate) that might put him on the wrong side of the outcome.
Fiziev is a solid -- though salary-intensive -- flex play, but Ricky Turcios ($19) might be the next-best win pick beyond the MVP guys.
Turcios, the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 29, will get every opportunity to succeed and validate UFC's reality television show. He showed to be solid in his first bout, amassing a +2.77 striking success rate, but it was against just another non-UFC foe from the show.
He'll draw Aiemann Zahabi in his second bout. Zahabi got a much-needed knockout of Drako Rodriguez in his last bout, but he's struggled to put together high-level offense at the UFC level (1.82 FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses; worst on this card). Turcios' drawback can be defense -- especially in wrestling. It'll help to have the low-volume Zahabi not pushing the pace on the other side.
I'd lean towards Jared Vanderaa ($20) in his fight with Chase Sherman. It's one that's sure to be a sloppy set of fisticuffs that unranked heavyweight is known for, and both Vanderaa and Sherman have combined for just two total UFC knockdowns, so this one could see the full distance. On a week with less value, I might have considered stacking it.
I'm not expecting much volume out of Antonina Shevchenko ($18), Cynthia Calvillo ($17), or Tresean Gore ($16), but they're my other win picks in this area, and all could find a finish.
I am inclined to shove Rafael Dos Anjos into every lineup and work from there.
Salaried at $10, his fight has 58.7% implied odds to go a full five rounds. On top of that, Dos Anjos has averaged 120.7 significant strikes per 25 minutes in his last three fights at lightweight, and he's got a higher striking success rate (+0.38) than Fiziev. Easily, RDA could be the optimal MVP on the card, and his durability makes his floor even better than his ceiling.
This value tier is loaded, and that's why I'm inclined to still use Fiziev plenty.
Saidyokub Kakhromonov ($14) averages a card-best 4.10 submission attempts per 15 minutes, and he's projected to grapple a ton with wrestler Ronnie Lawrence. He's got the upside for a first-round finish and comes at a reasonable salary.
If the co-main event is fantasy relevant, it'll be at the hands of Armen Petrosyan ($14). His striking offense (7.56 significant strikes landed per minute) is elite, and he just survived 15 minutes with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and three-time UFC winner Gregory Rodrigues. I'm less worried about any potential submission danger from his opponent, Caio Borralho, than I am Borrahlo just sucking the fantasy appeal out of this fight entirely by scoring control time.
I also love Michael Johnson ($9) at a punt salary. Johnson, even as he's aged, has remained an elite boxer with great takedown defense (78%). He used that formula to knock out Alan Patrick. Jamie Mullarkey -- the -265 favorite in the other corner -- doesn't bring the submission danger Patrick had. While Mullarkey is tough, Johnson could piece up Mullarkey's poor 47% striking defense.
With the least conviction of any fight on the card, I'd also take a swipe at Karl Roberson ($15) potentially being the latest to take advantage of fleeting prospect Kennedy Nzechukwu.