UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Paris
The Ultimate Fighting Championship holds no short of a dozen mixed martial arts bouts nearly every weekend 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 winning 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 Paris: Gane vs. Tuivasa, taking place at the Accor Arena in Paris, France this Saturday.
A "bon soir" (French for "good night") will require the right choice with the fighter known as "Bon Gamin".
Ciryl Gane ($23) is a whopping -670 favorite in the main event, blowing any other fighter on the card out in terms of win equity. Scoring 4.83 significant strikes per minute on remarkable 58% accuracy, Gane might already be the best technical striker in UFC heavyweight history.
His game plan in this fight, though, could be suboptimal in daily fantasy. With the powerful Tai Tuivasa on the other side, he says his plan is "to touch and never get touched". Translation? He's not going to be super aggressive. With five rounds to work, he'll post a decent score in all likelihood, but this isn't your run-of-the-mill heavyweight fight.
Therefore, alternatives should be sought, but there aren't amazing ones when I'd peg newcomer Abus Magomedov ($20) as next up.
Magomedov is an experienced wrestler from Dagestan, Russia like many we've seen dominate before. He's likely to overpower Dustin Stoltzfus, who posts just a 46% takedown defense. Wrestlers aren't ideal for daily fantasy in all circumstances, but with 19 finishes in 24 pro bouts, at least Abus is historically aggressive.
The other guy I'd turn to is Nassourdine Imavov ($20). While the powerful Joaquin Buckley awaits, this fight is well below the ranked Imavov's talent level. Imavov (+2.06 striking success rate) has been dominant in limited UFC action thus far. The tale of his fight with Buckley could be his striking accuracy (56%) just cleaning out exchanges with the American who struggles in that department (34%).
Despite loving Gane's win equity and his talent, I'll try to be underweight on -- surely -- the most popular MVP candidate of the night.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
While the low fantasy scoring (2.66 FanDuel points per minute, excl. bonuses) of Stephanie Egger ($22) is poor for MVP, I still want to get to her in flex spots.
Egger has two UFC wins via finish, and she's matched up against the totally untested Ailin Perez. Perez's regional wins have just a combined 8-13 record themselves. That's equal parts inexperience and a lack of talent. Plus, this late-notice affair is at featherweight. Egger has competed at this weight professionally, and Perez never has.
While Brazilian grappler Gabriel Miranda is an interesting last-minute swap himself, all signs also point to a successful outing for Benoit Saint-Denis ($21) in his home country.
Miranda's 15 submission wins are great, but he's also a natural featherweight (145 pounds). Saint-Denis has finished seven of his eight wins via submission in this 155-pound weight class -- even submitting former 170-pounder Niklas Stolze in his last UFC appearance.
On this smaller card, the favorites dry up considerably from there. Charles Jourdain ($17) will be a popular choice, but the high-paced striker might wilt due to his 51% takedown defense once again this weekend.
For others, debutant Michal Figlak ($19) will get the next shot at the low-volume Fares Ziam, and I'd take a swing at the unknown with Roman Kopylov ($16) in his fight with the historically low-volume veteran Alessio di Chirico.
However, it's no guarantee either of them posts a solid fantasy score.
There are four solid value plays I'll use in droves.
On the other side of Jourdain is Nathaniel Wood ($14). Not only does Wood have the wrestling acumen (1.24 takedowns per 15 minutes on 50% accuracy) to thwart Jourdain in that realm, but don't discount him on the feet in this one. Wood's +2.13 striking success rate is higher than Jourdain's, and he's used to the speed of bantamweight.
In a totally unknown fight between two debutants that have never faced a UFC opponent, I'd rather take swings at Jarno Errens ($13) in daily fantasy. Errens (five wins via submission) will likely try to grapple French striker William Gomis. Errens has never been knocked out, and if that holds, the Dutch fighter should have some success in that department.
My favorite value play is John Makdessi ($12), though. Makdessi's striking peripherals -- in what will be a striking affair with Nasrat Haqparast -- are sensational. He posts 5.61 significant strikes per minute on sharp 51% accuracy, and his 69% striking defense almost doesn't seem real. My model would favor him over Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler; it's time to stop sleeping on the Canadian.
Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya doesn't think Marvin Vettori ($11) can compete this weekend, but Vettori's stats say otherwise. He and Robert Whittaker should put on a phenomenal, close fight in the co-main event. Vettori's 45% striking accuracy is a bit higher than Whittaker's (42%), but give Bobby Knuckles the edge in striking defense (60%) by a nose over Marvin (59%).
With solid takedown defenses on both sides and that fight -280 to go the entire distance, Vettori's floor is extremely high for his punt-level salary.
Newcomer Cristian Quinonez ($15) may also be worth a dart given Khalid Taha's terrible striking defense (45%).