UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: Fight Night 8/1/20

Combat sports are one of America's longest-standing active sports to wager on. This was evident throughout the late-1900s as boxing took the sports world by storm. From Muhammed Ali to Mike Tyson, several stars were born, and Americans around the country placed bets on who would win boxing matches. Nowadays, with boxing much smaller than it was throughout the 1900s, mixed martial arts have taken the lead as America's favorite combat sport.

By far, the largest and most successful MMA organization in North America is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, commonly known as UFC. The UFC lays claim to the best mixed martial artists in the world and is showcased on both cable and pay-per-view events every month. As one of the first sports to return with compliance of social distancing, UFC daily fantasy is now live on FanDuel.

numberFire is always your best place to prepare for the upcoming UFC card. In addition to this DFS helper, Barry Cohen has you covered with his betting guide to find where to place sharp money on Saturday’s fights. If you want to dive even further than this helper, check out my Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast to listen to a deep breakdown of this entire UFC FanDuel slate.

With those tools at our disposal, let's break down UFC Fight Night for Saturday, August 1 at the UFC Apex Facility in Las Vegas.

MVP Considerations

Edmen Shahbazyan ($20): The 22-year old who former world champion Ronda Rousey said will have "an inevitable championship reign" has arrived. Shahbazyan sees his first UFC main event on Saturday night against veteran Derek Brunson, and the task appears to be steep for the latter. "The Golden Boy" has tremendous odds to win the fight outright (-335) and to win inside the distance (-225) to finish Brunson early. If that were to happen in the first round, Brunson would be the ninth of the last 10 opponents Shahbazyan has faced to fall in the first. Shahbazyan's pace on the feet (4.11 significant strikes per minute) and wrestling (6.67 takedowns per 15 minutes) has overwhelmed many of his foes, and Brunson appears to be the next victim. Shahbazyan may earn a shot at a UFC title with a win, so the motivation is high for him to perform well on Saturday.

Kevin Holland ($19): Holland did not take a single punch from Anthony Hernandez back in May in a dominant knockout win, and he was ready to turn it around in two weeks before a foot injury derailed him in early June. The lanky American has finally healed from that nagging issue, and he now steps back into the octagon to face Trevin Giles this weekend. Holland is incredibly well-rounded with a 1.73 striking success rate (significant strikes less strikes absorbed per minute), and he just earned his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu this week. Great timing for that, as he faces the struggling Giles, who has been submitted in two of his last three fights and surrendered four attempts to James Krause in his last bout in February. Whether Holland showcases his grappling or great striking, he is at relatively short +130 odds to do so in a huge way before the fight elapses, which makes him an excellent consideration on FanDuel at this price.

Mid-Priced Fighters

Vicente Luque ($17): Luque earns the first return trip to our UFC helper, as on the very first card after the pandemic break back in May, Luque delivered as a huge favorite and actually had the doctor stop the fight after closing Niko Price's right eye. Luque brings that same power and volume (5.66 significant strikes per minute) back to the cage this weekend against Randy "Rudeboy" Brown. The Jamaican Brown is much more technically sound than Niko Price at only 2.42 strikes absorbed per minute, but Luque will still be the aggressor in this fight with huge motivation on his side. At 17th in the world at this moment, Luque likely moves back into the UFC rankings with a win, putting him another step closer toward the title picture.

Joanne Calderwood ($16): Calderwood is a great value at only $16 in a fight that appears less close on paper than it does in local conversation with Jennifer Maia. Calderwood has great volume (6.19 strikes per minute), and her striking success rate of 1.88 in my model is second on this card to only Shahbazyan. In and around the title picture, Calderwood has fought much tougher competition at her level than Shahbazyan has, as well, it should be noted. If anything will give Calderwood trouble, it is her poor 48% takedown defense, which makes sense as a lanky boxer, but Jennifer Maia has shown no ability to do that in the UFC thus far at only 0.25 takedowns per 15 minutes. If this war stays standing, Calderwood is as good as they come, and Maia may find herself on the wrong end of a high-pace bout.

Value Fighters

Bobby Green ($12): Bobby Green already showed he can score points on Lando Vannata, so why not roll him out again? In their 2017 fight, which was scored a draw because of an illegal knee by Vanatta, Green piled up 93 significant strikes and a takedown. Green's stock is on the rise, as well, because while he has been on the wrong end of the official judge's scorecards, on MMADecisions.com, many professional media members scored Green winning each of his last four fights since the Vanatta bout. Both of these fighters are unlikely to finish inside the distance, with Vanatta at +320 odds to do so as the favorite, and Green at +490 as the underdog, so his floor is incredibly high to score points. "King" is a talented boxer with quick hands, and he will likely look to avenge the illegal knee in his last bout with "Groovy" Lando Vannata on Saturday.

Jamall Emmers ($12): Speaking of tough-luck decisions, it does not come tougher than Emmers' UFC debut. He landed 16 more strikes and two more takedowns than Giga Chikadze and took a hard-luck decision loss. With bad luck sometimes comes good fortune in the future. Tough Russian Timur Valiev pulled out of this bout on Friday, which means Legacy FA contender Vince Cachero takes this fight on late notice. Ironically enough, Cachero's last bout was in January at 135 pounds, where he won by knockout on the same card that Emmers won by submission in the main event. That win propelled Emmers into the UFC, and he should feel comfortable welcoming Cachero in, as well. Emmers will have four inches of height and six inches of reach over the smaller Cachero, who usually fights at bantamweight. Emmers is big for 145 pounds as is, much less against a smaller-sized featherweight, and he should cause great issues for Cachero. Emmers is now as a massive -335 favorite while being priced as an underdog on FanDuel.

Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.