UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Orlando
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. I also dove deeper into this weekend's slate on The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
Let's break down UFC Orlando: Thompson vs. Holland, taking place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on Saturday.
Unfortunately, it's pretty hard to stray away from the chalk at MVP on this slate.
Rafael Dos Anjos ($23) should absolutely shine in this absurd matchup with Bryan Barberena at welterweight. Other than Dos Anjos making a secondary foray to 170 pounds for this, there is no drama in this matchup.
Fresh off dominating Renato Moicano and going tit-for-tat with Rafael Fiziev at 155, Barberena's defense should be a walk in the park. At worse, Barberena has been taken down at least five times in three of his past four fights. RDA can do that (1.96 takedowns per 15 minutes) to coast to a decision, or he might pierce through Barberena's wretched 44% striking defense for a finish the hard way.
The second-largest favorite is Jonathan Pearce ($22), and it's hard to argue against him in what appears to be a step back in competition. He pummeled Makwan Amirkhani -- a real grappler with four UFC wins -- for a +79 striking differential and 4 takedowns. He hasn't faced a second of adversity when wrestling, and Darren Elkins' 56% defense doesn't appear -- on paper -- to be the answer, either.
Outside of those two, I've got no qualms about going to what should be a striking-heavy main event for the bronze medal. Kevin Holland ($21) is 4-0 in UFC when his opponent doesn't record a takedown, and Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson just doesn't try them (0.71 attempted per 15 minutes). Holland has faced adversity only when being forced to wrestle. He's ceded multiple takedowns in all five losses.
All three of these guys are the standout MVP choices because they haven't shown an ounce of vulnerability in the style of fight their opponent is likely to bring them.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Marc Diakiese ($20) would be my fourth choice at the multiplier, but his newfound style isn't superb for daily fantasy. With eight-plus takedowns landed in each of his past two fights since shifting to a wrestling-heavy approach, Diakiese's floor is solid, but going the distance both times muted his FanDuel output.
Diakiese's opponent, Michael Johnson, ceded three takedowns and 6:52 in control time to 40-year-old Clay Guida last year. His 79% takedown defense looks nice on paper, but that was a younger, better version of M.J.
Speaking of Guida, Scott Holtzman ($18) draws the veteran in Orlando. Holtzman has suffered back-to-back losses to top-five lightweight contenders Beneil Dariush and Mateusz Gamrot, so the aged Guida will be a canyon-sized step back in competition. If his decent 66% takedown defense holds, "Hot Sauce" and his +0.74 striking success rate should toast Guida (-0.22).
Genaro Valdez has absorbed 12.91 significant strikes per minute in two UFC-affiliated appearances, and he was knocked down four times in his official debut. Natan Levy ($19) should be in everyone's tournament builds on the decent proposition Valdez's defense just isn't UFC-caliber.
The last fighter who stands out to me in this range is Niko Price ($16). It's once again a situation where recent competition is key. Price has lost to only three ranked fighters since the start of 2019, so through hit-and-miss results, he's fighting really solid competition. His foe, Phil Rowe, hasn't been doing the same. He's started this winning streak against foes who are a combined 3-5 in UFC. Rowe also missed weight on Friday.
I'd also throw in Jack Hermansson ($18) as a win pick in this range, but he hasn't been the best fantasy fighter historically. Tread carefully.
The fight environment I love on this card contains Emily Ducote ($16) and Angela Hill ($15).
I detailed in my betting guide why I believe Hill, the underdog, has a great shot to win, but strikes should be flying on both sides. Ducote posted 116 significant strikes in her debut, Hill has eclipsed 100 significant strikes six separate times in UFC, and this fight is -430 to go the full distance. It's a bad idea to stack on a card this large with so much potential, but if you want to, this is your fight to do so.
Underdogs were a bit tricky this week, but Tai Tuivasa ($11) stood out to me right away. Tuivasa's never come out on the wrong end of a first-round finish, and oddsmakers are expecting one here. The Aussie has a mammoth right as well as an iron chin, and he's scored a knockout in seven of his eight UFC wins. His salary should be higher than it is in a coin-flip type of swang-and-bang heavyweight bout.
We just saw Kyle Daukaus' 41% striking defense finally bite him with a quick knockout loss to Roman Dolidze, who oddly is facing Hermansson on this card. With that said, Eryk Anders ($11) has a 1.07% knockdown rate, so he's shown the power to replicate the result. Anders' recent foray into pro grappling provides hope he can thwart Daukaus' grappling advances and make a knockdown happen.
Matt Schnell ($9) is also a process play to save some coin. Matheus Nicolau hasn't scored a finish since 2015, and Schnell's finished three of his six UFC wins. If Schnell ends up victorious, it's significantly likely to be daily fantasy relevant.
In addition to these guys, Marcelo Rojo ($13) and Istela Nunes ($10) are interesting darts. Both have shown striking prowess against some difficult competition, and I wouldn't be surprised if they came out on top against Francis Marshall and Yazmin Jauregui, respectively. Marshall and Jauregui have just one combined UFC appearance, and the one appearance (Jauregui's) was against a debutant, as well.