UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC London 2
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 prepare you 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 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 London 2: Blaydes vs. Aspinall, taking place at the O2 Arena in London, England this weekend.
With 10 favorites of -200 or greater on this card, there is no shortage of candidates to dominate their respective tilts.
Amongst them, Mason Jones ($21) is my top guy. It speaks volumes that he's a -390 favorite over Ludovit Klein on just a week's notice, but it's because he's been an offensive juggernaut already amidst a tougher-than-anticipated strength of schedule.
He's landed 6.71 significant strikes per minute and 4.43 takedowns per 15 minutes against three multi-time UFC winners to start his career. Sheesh.
Klein's poor striking defense (45%) isn't a good starting point for a fighter also up 10 pounds in weight from the majority of his MMA career.
I'll keep my candidates from the U.K. by turning to Liverpool's Molly McCann ($22) next. The experience gap in McCann's matchup with Hannah Goldy is jarring. McCann has turned away three multi-time UFC winners to Goldy's zero, but this matchup is all about Goldy's lack of wrestling volume (0.61 takedowns per 15).
McCann's 34% takedown defense is dreadful. But, when she's been able to hold her feet, her 50% striking accuracy and 64% striking defense are both elite marks for the division. Goldy (50% striking defense) is another poor defensive striker up 10 pounds in weight from the bulk of her UFC sample.
Finally, the largest favorite on the card deserves a shout. Nathaniel Wood ($23) is a -590 favorite in his featherweight debut as the latest looking to take advantage of Charles Rosa's identity crisis inside the octagon.
Rosa prefers to grapple, but he's been controlled for over 50% of the fight duration in four of his last six bouts. He's a poor striker (-0.57 striking success rate), so he hasn't had a way to mount offense without his grappling, and he's struggled. Both Wood's strong 75% takedown defense and +1.92 striking success rate bode poorly for Charles to buck that trend.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
The "next three" list of MVP candidates on this card is better than the "first three" on most other cards.
That's led by Tom Aspinall ($20) in the main event. Aspinall's one drawback entering his fight at UFC London 1 was the level of competition, and he answered that by handing Alexander Volkov the most lopsided loss of Volkov's UFC career.
Aspinall's profile is perfect. His +4.68 striking success rate and 6.69 FanDuel points per minute (excluding bonuses) are both the best marks are the card. If this fight is on the mat, he'll have a decided edge over Curtis Blaydes in submission danger; Blaydes has zero career submission attempts in UFC. If this one stays striking, Blaydes has three losses by knockout and is behind Aspinall in all efficiency areas.
Another well-positioned English fighter is Marc Diakiese ($21). Diakiese returned to his roots in his last bout with an 11-takedown battering of Vlacheslav Borshchev. If he continues to stick to a wrestling-heavy approach, he should easily coast away from Damir Hadzovic, whose career weakness has been a 37% takedown defense.
Muhammad Mokaev ($22) is the second-largest favorite on the card at -520 over debutant Charles Johnson. Mokaev's 58-second submission of multi-time UFC winner Cody Durden only fueled the hype for flyweight's hottest prospect. Mokaev's clip of 15.50 submission attempts per 15 minutes is cartoonish after his debut, but he profiles to be a submission ace moving forward.
Finally, while Paddy Pimblett ($20) is also talking like he'll finish Jordan Leavitt, the quirky Leavitt has been a fantasy plague due to his bizarre style. A Leavitt opponent has yet to top 60 FanDuel points in four fights, so while Pimblett's striking volume (6.07 significant strikes landed per minute) could absolutely blitz Leavitt out of there in short order, there's plenty of risk this fight falls short of expectations.
With so many dominant favorites, value is much tougher to come by.
The signature place -- as it has been on four straight cards he's been on -- should be Paul Craig ($13). He's scored four straight submission wins as a modest underdog, and Craig's unique style should find openings against Volkan Oezdemir. Oezdemir's 80% takedown defense is strong, but on the two occasions it was penetrated, he was submitted by Anthony Smith and became of victim of Daniel Cormier's ground-and-pound.
Makwan Amirkhani ($12) will often be an underdog with finishing danger, too. Amirkhani found his third anaconda choke in UFC on Mike Grundy at UFC London 1, and he'll be a massive step up in competition for Jonathan Pearce. Pearce's size-induced bullying has worked wonders in three fights to start at featherweight, but he's never faced a ranked opponent. Amirkhani has faced three currently ranked in this weight class.
Of course, I'd be remiss to not include Chris Curtis ($15) as a safe bet to pile up points. Curtis' takedown defense is still a perfect 26-for-26 during three wins over fellow multi-time UFC winners. If that continues to hold Saturday, Curtis will always pile up strikes (7.23 significant strikes landed per minute) in a win or loss.
However, my favorite and most unique value option is Kyle Nelson ($11) from Canada. Nelson's UFC career has been poor, but the one thing he can do is grapple (1.90 submission attempts per 15 minutes). England's Jai Herbert has a homefield advantage, but Herbert's 42% takedown defense left him wilted and submitted by Renato Moicano.
Nelson isn't Moicano in terms of ability or technique, but he might find some success using that same style, as well. Herbert's lackluster upside (1.48 FanDuel points per minute excl. bonuses; third-worst on this card) is worth fading, anyway.
Though the DFS outlook for these fighters is murkier, other win picks I'd make in this value range -- and we desperately need them -- are Victoria Leonardo ($14) and Alexander Gustafsson ($13).