UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 36
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. If you would rather bet the fights, our betting guide is a great place to find value on Saturday's card. In addition to this primer, I also dove deeper into the slate on this week's UFC edition of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
Without further delay, let's break down UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Till, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Jack Shore ($23): Shore is the default MVP option, and there is not really a need to get creative beyond him. The Welsh fighter is 3-for-3 in UFC wins to start his career, and as a -500 favorite Saturday, he has an 83.3% implied probability to snag his fourth win. Shore's 5.52 takedowns per match -- tops on the card -- are indicative of his wrestling-based style that drowns his competitors with fantastic cardio and top control. Liudvik Sholinian jumps from The Ultimate Fighter to a last-minute replacement here, but the average competitor on the show will find it a tough task to out-wrestle Shore, who likely bursts into the UFC's top-15 bantamweights with a win. Shore has had no problem closing the show early, either, with two submission wins in those three efforts.
Tom Aspinall ($22): Personally, Aspinall is closer to Shore than he appears on the surface despite his toughest matchup to date. Serghei Spivak steps in here to face Aspinall as a familiar face, and Spivak has admirably posted 3.51 FanDuel points per minute (excluding bonuses) as a heavyweight with good wrestling, but Aspinall is a different beast. Aspinall is tops on the entire card at 6.47 FanDuel points per minute (excluding bonuses), and that has come equal parts behind his insane striking volume for a heavyweight (7.43 significant strikes per match) and wrestling prowess (3.54 takedowns per match). Considering Spivak faded down the stretch in his last fight in June, Aspinall figures to have a huge advantage in the energy department to score points, and the Manchester native is also a respectable +140 to close the fight out early.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Marc-Andre Barriault ($19): With so many top options, Barriault may go overlooked, but I still want to get to the lumbering Canadian middleweight. Barriault has had tremendous striking volume historically given his large frame, checking in at 5.36 significant strikes at an efficient 48% accuracy. Most importantly, his takedown defense has been a solid 72%, which should help keep Dalcha Lungiambula at bay, as Lungiambula's most consistent UFC weapon has been his wrestling (2.07 takedowns per match). That means this fight should stay standing for solid periods, and that could mean the taller Barriault pummeling into Lungiambula's poor 43% striking defense with a large edge in effective reach. Barriault is curiously +130 to finish this fight early -- shorter than even Aspinall and his 100% finish rate.
Paddy Pimblett ($18): "Mini McGregor" makes his UFC debut on Saturday. Pimblett is a Liverpool native that has been taking the English Cage Warriors promotion by storm for several years, and he is all entertainment between his wild submission attempts, painfully British haircut, and immense amounts of trash talk. Just like when McGregor debuted, "Paddy the Baddy" backs his talk up inside the cage, as he has finished 12 of his 16 pro wins, including his last three. Pimblett's eye-popping volume -- even with no UFC-affiliated stats behind the footage -- could overwhelm Luigi Vendramini, who has struggled mightily to mount offense himself. Vendramini averages just 1.86 FanDuel points per minute (excluding bonuses), so with minimal offense coming back at him, Pimblett is in what appears to be a showcase spot on Saturday.
Derek Brunson ($15): Brunson enters this weekend's main event in a familiar place -- as the moderate underdog. Brunson turned that status into a six-takedown lashing of Kevin Holland in March, and he will almost certainly have a chance to get his hand raised again if he avoids a knockout on Saturday. Darren Till is the lowest FanDuel points per minute (excluding bonuses) scorer on the card at just 1.58, which is frustrating given his obvious striking talent and a 58% striking defense that makes him efficient. In a low-volume fight, Brunson will be right in it at a much lower salary than Till. The key matchup to watch in this bout is if Brunson, who leads all ranked UFC middleweights with 3.11 takedowns per match, can crack the solid, yet fairly untested, 82% takedown defense of Till. If he can, Brunson can not only win, he can pile up fantasy points across 25 minutes.
Julian Erosa ($10): I understand if you want to cross off Erosa's name after he was knocked out in just 107 seconds in June as the underdog pick on that card. "Juicy J" is top-five on this card in FanDuel points per minute (excluding bonuses) at 3.88, and that has come in equal parts striking and wrestling. The reason to be bullish in this spot against Charles Jourdain is Erosa's clash with Sean Woodson. Woodson is a more voluminous and more efficient striker than Jourdain, but he has an 83% takedown defense that Erosa was still able to crack three times and submit Woodson. Jourdain's takedown defense is much worse at just 47%, which means with the right gameplan, Erosa should be able to control the Canadian on the mat to rebound from June's disaster.
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.