UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC San Diego
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 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!
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 excellent 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 San Diego: Vera vs. Cruz, taking place at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California this weekend.
Last week's favorite pool was one of the best of the year for MVP. This week might be one of the worst.
It easily starts with Gabriel Benitez ($22). A few miles from his hometown, the UFC veteran should have a gigantic technical advantage this weekend over Charlie Ontiveros. "Moggly" has been finished in back-to-back fights, but his 65% defense is strong overall. At 34 years old, he's not totally past a prime that's been a good one (four UFC finishes).
Ontiveros is the reason he's a -390 favorite, though. He's been horrid in just about every department, and the one-dimensional striker holds a -3.90 striking success rate. "The American Bad Boy" can hit hard, and he's big for this weight class, but that's the extent of the positive.
Of course, I'd be remiss to not discuss the lethal Marlon Vera ($22) in the main event. With five rounds to operate, Vera is an MVP candidate waiting to happen, but he's got a really brutal draw with Dominick Cruz ($16). The former 135-pound champion has a 71% striking defense, which will make it tough for "Chito" to land high-level offense.
Chito Vera could still be the default MVP based on volume on a benign night, but it's probably not a battering considering Cruz isn't deficient in wrestling defense (83%), either. His fight is also -186 to go the entire distance.
I would still also consider Loopy Godinez ($23) up here, but it'll be dependent on her opponent to help her score in daily fantasy.
It's not a question that Godinez should win. Her opponent, Angela Hill, was smothered by Virna Jandiroba in her last fight (7:04 in control time), but Hill's inability to get back to her feet led to just 46.4 FanDuel points for Jandiroba.
Godinez isn't as accomplished of a submission artist, but she also has more brute strength (5.37 takedowns per 15 minutes) to potentially wilt Hill via technical knockout.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
There isn't much separation between those three and the rest, so don't be afraid to get weird in tournaments.
That could be in the form of Josh Quinlan ($19), who pops right off the chart with card-high marks in striking success rate (+14.05) and FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses (9.96). It's a microscopic sample doing that, but it was a quick and impressive finish on Dana White's Contender Series.
Quinlan is a -310 favorite because he's an accurate, aggressive puncher, and Jason Witt has been flattened in three of his five UFC bouts. Witt's a decent wrestler (6.89 takedowns per 15 minutes), so there is a risk the newcomer is just glued to the mat, but Quinlan will be in the perfect lineup if all goes according to his plan.
In a tricky matchup, Odé Osbourne ($19) always has the ability to score fantasy points. Historically sporting just south of five strikes landed per minute, he'll have five inches of reach on 38-year-old veteran Tyson Nam. Nam is a striker who just doesn't do a lot (2.18 FanDuel points per minute excl. bonuses), but he is powerful, and Osbourne's 42% striking defense has failed him before.
I'm fascinated by newcomer Yazmin Jauregui ($18) in a spot I expect most won't target her in. She's an undefeated prospect from Baja California -- just like Benitez. Her placement on the main card is intentional; the UFC believes the undefeated strawweight can contend for the belt with more experience. She's finished six of her eight pro fights.
She's just 23, but 20-year-old Iasmin Lucindo ($12) is the late-notice opponent here. With no stats for either, I know so little about these ladies that I can't argue against either.
Other lower-volume win picks I'd make in this area are Cynthia Calvillo ($17) and Youssef Zalal ($16), but don't forget Cruz in the main event, too.
As always, the harder decisions at the top make the decisions down here simpler.
I'm infatuated with Gerald Meerschaert ($10) this weekend above all. Bruno Silva has struggled badly in the UFC trying to grapple. He was controlled for over seven minutes by Andrew Sanchez, and his takedown efficiency (18%) outright stinks.
Meerschaert is a tremendous wrestler (2.40 takedowns per 15 minutes) and grappler (1.80 submission attempts per 15). His one lone mission will be to survive the powerful punches of "Blindado," and he should easily submit him. Silva was submitted five times regionally and hasn't faced a fighter with a career attempt yet. It's coming.
At first, I was going to fall in line with David Onama like oddsmakers; he's a -350 favorite. However, I can't ignore the red flags in his profile. He's got a mediocre striking success rate (+0.03) that's actually lower than the +0.73 mark of his opponent Nate Landwehr ($9).
Fighting inarguably tougher competition, Landwehr's also posted 6.51 significant strikes per minute on sharp 52% accuracy. The defensive lapses Onama showed against last-minute replacement Garrett Armfield can't happen against Landwher, or he'll go to sleep.
The final intriguing play to me is Lukasz Brzeski ($10). The heavyweight isn't build like a normal one at a rock-solid 233 pounds, and he's taking on another unproven slugger in Martin Buday. Buday cuts to 265 pounds, so he'll have a size advantage, but that should leave the speed and athleticism slanted towards Brzeski.
In a battle of unknowns, Brzeski averages more strikes per minute (5.73) on a higher accuracy (53%) and has shown the ability to submit foes (2.20 submission attempts per 15) that Buday hasn't. Buday spent his debut laying against the cage.
Devin Clark ($14) is down here as well with a solid matchup against the inexperienced Azamat Murzakanov, so there is no shortage of quality punt-level options in SoCal.