UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC 262
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 most unique DFS sweats available, UFC daily fantasy is now live on FanDuel.
numberFire is always the best spot to get you ready for any UFC card. In addition to this helper, Brandon Gdula's betting guide breaks down where you should be placing your sharp dollars on Saturday's bouts. I also dove deeper into this slate on this week's UFC edition of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
Without further delay, let's break down UFC 262: Oliveira vs. Chandler, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Charles Oliveira ($21): Much like the rest of the card, the main event is tight on FanDuel Sportsbook. Oliveira is the -128 favorite in a lightweight championship fight Saturday that has plenty of conviction behind both fighters, but the UFC veteran has had a storied run to his shot at gold. Oliveira is a finisher, with 12 fight-ending sequences (knockdowns plus submission attempts) during his 8-fight winning streak, and he has converted 7 of those opportunities into actual finishes in that span. Once known as a one-dimensional grappler -- and still holding strong at 2.8 submission attempts per match -- Oliveira's largest improvement recently has been his striking, with a very respectable +1.25 striking success and 56% striking accuracy in his past five fights. Oliveira has much more UFC experience and a much larger statistical sample to draw on for Saturday, which gives the nod his way in what should be a tremendous bout.
Shane Burgos ($20): Pivoting outside the main event at MVP appears to be difficult, with both five-round participants also having the best early finish odds, but Burgos simply cannot be ignored with his unprecedented striking volume. No other UFC fighter currently has at least 100 significant strikes in each of their three past three-round fights, but Burgos does, equating to 7.31 significant strikes per minute -- far and away tops on this card. Burgos also posts a 60% striking defense and 89% takedown defense to pair efficiency and defensive prowess with his volume, and that combination will be a lot for UFC veteran Edson Barboza -- and his -0.05 striking success rate -- to handle. Given Burgos's high volume, a knockdown and a finish is all he needs to be right in the mix for the optimal MVP on Saturday's slate.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Beneil Dariush ($21): Huge winning streaks at lightweight are in vogue, as in additional to Oliveira's eight, Dariush has posted six straight wins himself at 155 pounds and is looking for a seventh against Tony Ferguson in the co-main event. Dariush is a savvy fighter who starts with his defense, which is 59% striking and 81% against takedowns, but in terms of mounting his own offense, he weaponizes his cardio to wrestle at a solid 2.03 takedowns per match, as well. This matchup likely comes down to "El Cucuy" Ferguson's potential to rebound. While Ferguson's career-long striking defense (59%) and takedown defense (70%) have been solid, those numbers dropped dramatically in 2020 to just a 29% striking defense and 0% takedown defense in two bouts. If Ferguson is unfit again against a jiu-jitsu ace and finisher like Dariush, lightweight may have a new title contender come Sunday morning.
Mike Grundy ($17): In an incredibly close fight at the sportsbooks, England's Mike Grundy is getting pounded by bettors, with 76% of bets and 81% of the money on the wrestler on FanDuel Sportsbook, per oddsFire. That is interesting considering the matchup Grundy has against "Groovy" Lando Vannata. For his entire career, Vannata has struggled defending takedowns to just a 58% defense rate, and Grundy is second on the entire card at 4.25 takedowns per match as a volume wrestler. Grundy (-1.94 striking success rate) and Vannata (-0.52) have both been below average in terms of striking, so in a fight with great unknown, the heavy advantage in the wrestling department gives Grundy a leg up to win this fight -- as well as a higher floor in daily fantasy.
Andrea Lee ($13): "KGB" Lee is one of the premier underdog options of 2021, which may come as a surprise for a fighter on a three-fight losing skid. Lee actually has been a tremendous fantasy striker at 5.58 significant strikes per minute with a +1.73 striking success rate, but she has lost ugly decisions due to her mediocre 57% takedown defense, which has been leaving Lee on her back for far too much of past fights. At just 0.65 takedowns per match, however, Antonina Shevchenko is far from proven in terms of exploiting that weakness. There also is a significant competition gap to discuss, as well, with all three of Lee's recent losses coming to ranked women's flyweights. Meanwhile, Shevchenko has faced only one ranked UFC woman in her past five bouts.
Viviane Araujo ($12): As a value play, Araujo is appropriately salaried to perhaps be in position to unseat Katlyn Chookagian in a matchup very similar to the one Chookagian won with ease against Cynthia Calvillo in December. Calvillo could never overcome the four-inch reach disparity that she had, but Araujo and Chookagian enter this weekend equal in length, which may allow Araujo to have enough success on the feet -- especially considering her 4.97 significant strikes per minute with a 60% defense rate -- to exploit Chookagian's Achilles' heel, which is her takedown defense at just 51%. Chookagian opponents who land multiple takedowns are 3-1 in fights against her, and Araujo has secured multiple takedowns in four of her past five fights. If she finds that particular recipe again, Araujo will be in great position to score an upset on Saturday's main card.
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.