UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: Fight Night 11/7/20
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 has 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.
As always, we have you covered in many different formats for UFC content on numberFire. To dive deeper into this week's card, also make sure to check out my thoughts on this week's UFC edition of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast. If you would rather bet the fights outright on FanDuel Sportsbook, Barry Cohen's betting guide is the place to find where to place sharp money on this card.
With those tools at our disposal, let's break down UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Teixiera, which will take place from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Alexandr Romanov ($22): "King Kong" entered the UFC with 11 finishes as part of his 11-0 professional record, and he did not disappoint in his UFC debut by brutalizing Roque Martinez. That strong performance his him tops on this card in striking success rate (+5.12 strikes), takedowns per match (6.41), and FanDuel points per minute excluding win bonuses (7.15), and his wrestling base gives him a great chance to take advantage of Marcos Rogerio De Lima, whose 36% takedown defense in 12 UFC fights is poor over a large sample. Romanov's -290 odds to win his fight inside the distance are best on this card, and he likely puts up a few takedowns in the process.
Thiago Santos ($21): The forgotten contender at light heavyweight is Thiago "Marreta" Santos, who has been inactive since July 2019 due to tearing both ACLs in a split decision loss to the longtime division champion, Jon Jones. With Jones no longer in the picture, current champion Jan Blachowicz took the belt in September, but the last man to beat Blachowicz was Santos, who is looking for a chance to knock out Blachowicz a second time. Santos is one of the best strikers in all of UFC, and his +2.25 striking success rate -- against elite competition -- demonstrates that. He sees 41-year-old Glover Teixeira in the main event, and while Teixeira does have four straight wins and grapples well, he allowed 98% of strikes at distance to land in his last win against Anthony Smith, and that is not a winning formula against someone with the power of Santos.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Darren Elkins ($19): Elkins boasts the worst tattoo in all of UFC, but that poor decision-making has his fights perpetually in "can't-miss" territory. Elkins is fifth on the card in FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses (3.50), and he should do plenty of wrestling and grappling against Eduardo Garagorri. Garagorri is a work-in-progress grappler, as he averages just 0.79 takedowns per match and has never attempted a submission in the UFC, which explains Elkins having fairly short +300 odds to win this fight by a submission. Elkins likely cannot afford a fifth straight loss and stay in the UFC, which means he should look to wrestle and quickly use his advantage over Garagorri.
Yan Xiaonan ($17): On the surface, the bout between Yan Xiaonan and Claudia Gadelha would seem to have little fantasy value, as 13 of their combined 14 UFC fights have gone to a decision, but Xiaonan is quietly a fantasy monster out of the UFC's smallest weight class. Her rate of 6.72 significant strikes per minute is tops on this card, and her +2.48 striking success rate is behind only the dominant Romanov. Gadelha's game-plan should be to grapple Xiaonan, which could limit her fantasy volume, but Gadelha's -1.13 striking success rate would indicate she will be badly outmatched on the feet. Gadelha's will likely be popular as one of the few lower-salaried fighters with close odds to win, but Xiaonan is likely the only fighter with upside in this bout.
Brendan Allen ($15): Allen and Ian Heinisch have been in near pick'em odds all week, and this fight in middleweight is for a spot in the official UFC rankings. Allen's fantasy potential has been surprising in four UFC fights, as he is averaging 0.5 knockdowns and 2.4 submission attempts per match. As a lower-salaried option who is averaging better than one fight-ending sequence per match, he presents great upside. He should have athletic advantages over Heinisch, as well, given he appears to have a speed edge accompanying his three-inch height and reach advantages. At $2 lower in salary than Heinisch, Allen is a process play at an affordable salary.
Ramiz Brahimaj ($12): The UFC debut of Ramiz Brahimaj appears to be a two-outcome fight. Brahimaj has never won an MMA fight in which he did not secure a submission win, and his opponent, Max "Pain" Griffin, has gone to a decision in six straight fights. Given that Griffin's decision would come potentially at the expenditure of $19 in salary on FanDuel, the $12 finishing upside with Brahimaj is incredibly appealing given the recent state of DFS value in the UFC. Last week's optimal FanDuel lineup included a fighter who lost in the first round because of the salary savings said fighter offered. Something similar could be in store if Brahimaj does not deliver, and he is the only fighter with a salary under $14 on FanDuel with better than +200 odds to win their fight.
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.