UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 63

Dustin Jacoby should have a massive advantage striking against Khalil Rountree if he can avoid Rountree's powerful punch. Which other fighters are worth a roster spot on FanDuel?

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.

Let's break down UFC Vegas 63: Kattar vs. Allen, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas on Saturday.

MVP Considerations

This 11-fight card has some queasiness at MVP. That's evident by the fact my top choice is actually Dustin Jacoby ($17) at a salary far lower than the usual salary for normal MVPs.

Jacoby's in a top-tier spot against Khalil Rountree. Rountree's power is impressive, but that's about it. He's never landed a takedown or submission attempt, and grappling has historically been the only way Jacoby has been bothered.

As a striker, the former Glory kickboxer has put forward an elite pace (5.27 significant strikes landed per minute) with a sporty +1.50 striking success rate. He even has three knockouts, including one last fight against the tough Da-Un Jung. Rountree's 33% striking accuracy is poor; I just can't see him keeping pace per minute here.

The other top guy is Chase Hooper ($23). The lanky 23-year-old really showed out in his last bout against Felipe Colares. Colares has two wins himself in UFC as a grappler, and Hooper controlled him for 7:04 of the 12 minutes in that fight before finding the knockout from mount.

He's now getting Steve Garcia, who was embarrassingly blasted out by newcomer Maheshate in Maheshate's debut. Garcia's 41% striking defense is terrible, and don't put too much stock into his 100% takedown defense on one attempt. He's been submitted regionally, and his lone path in this one appears to be a knockout.

The other fighter worth considering is Arnold Allen ($18) in a close main event, but Allen's 2.68 FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses (fourth-worst on this card) leaves a lot to be desired -- even in a favorable matchup. This card really is about those two at the top.

Other High-Salaried Fighters

On the other side of Allen, I don't mind Calvin Kattar ($17) in a fight that's -130 to go a full five-round distance, but Kattar hasn't secured a finish since May 2020. This fight -- with an early stoppage -- would likely be fantasy-relevant at his demise.

There are a couple of newcomers who, though bold picks, have the highest ceilings on the card.

Waldo Cortes-Acosta ($19) is in a main card spot fresh off of Dana White's Contender Series, which might be why he's such a heavy favorite over Jared Vanderaa. The former professional boxer is undefeated (7-0) with five pro finishes. His long, athletic frame is a prototype to beat up Vanderaa's 44% striking defense. This would be Vanderaa's fifth straight loss; his spot on the main card spot isn't about him.

In the first fight on the card, Christian Rodriguez ($18) is a name many have had circled since he went the distance with the monstrous Jonathan Pearce on short notice at featherweight. Now back at his organic 135-pound class, he'll draw a brand new fighter in Josh Weems, who missed weight on Friday. Rodriguez is a card-best -430 favorite at a salary that doesn't imply that.

I'm also always down for the quick Marcos Rogerio de Lima ($20) at heavyweight, and he's a -265 favorite over Andrei Arlovski this weekend. With three knockouts at heavyweight and a +99 striking differential overall in the weight class, I don't doubt him. I'm just concerned he may get bogged down by Arlovski's notorious slow pace, which is why Andrei doesn't have a UFC win via finish since 2015.

Value Fighters

Value is brutal this week, so why not take a swipe at Joseph Holmes ($9)?

The long, athletic middleweight is coming off a first-round stoppage of Alen Amedovski (maybe the worst 185'er on the roster), so Jun Yong Park is a huge step up in competition. However, Park has never won a fight inside the distance, so how much danger is actually present?

It's really Holmes who intrigues me for a potential finish. Park has struggled in some grappling exchanges, and he averages 1.3 submission attempts per 15 minutes. "Ugly Joe" isn't reckless. His 61% striking defense is sound.

We're left to the mid-range from there. I prefer Cody Durden ($13) -- a multi-time UFC winner who also drew the talented Chris Gutierrez -- over talented newcomer Carlos Mota. Mota's one opponent with a UFC appearance (Charles Johnson) knocked him out. He might not be able to hang.

Tim Means ($14) is a cagey veteran almost always worth a roll of the dice as an underdog. He's been a 'dog in five of his last seven fights but posted a 4-3 record in that time.

I'm also interested in Roman Dolidze ($15) and Tresean Gore ($14). Dolidze's world-class jiu-jitsu could be an issue for Phil Hawes, who hasn't secured a UFC submission on one empty attempt.

Gore is much more speculative. He was a white-hot prospect off The Ultimate Fighter with huge power before a knee injury. In two UFC appearances, he's disappointed with a card-worst -3.29 striking success rate. I'm wondering if his admitted new lease on sobriety can help him channel that knockout power against Josh Fremd (and Fremd's poor 32% striking defense).