UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 41
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 Vegas 41: Costa vs. Vettori, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Mason Jones ($23): The largest moneyline favorite (-500) on the card is never a bad spot to turn but especially when he scores as Jones does. Jones pairs 7.33 significant strikes per minute with 2.02 takedowns per match for the second-best overall FanDuel points per minute mark on the card. He was a massive favorite against original opponent Alan Patrick, and while newcomer David Onama probably has more one-shot power than Patrick, he still will find a tough first task against one of UFC's best offensive lightweights.
Grant Dawson ($22): In some ways, the unknown of Onama makes Dawson at the MVP spot even more desirable. There is less unknown with his opponent Ricky Glenn. Glenn has seven UFC fights, but just 37 seconds of action since the start of 2019 -- a knockout win in June. Glenn has historically had mediocre takedown defense (66%), and Dawson is amongst lightweight's highest-volume wrestlers (3.44 takedowns per match). Dawson's respectable +130 inside-the-distance odds may be too long considering he has finished four of his six UFC wins.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Marvin Vettori ($22): Vettori's odds (and therefore salary) were likely to be much lower before a week where his opponent Paulo Costa actively struggled with weight issues. Vettori upped this fight 20 pounds in weight for a reason -- he knows he can find success on Saturday. Vettori's 63% striking defense is tops amongst ranked UFC middleweights, and he will be the first quality wrestler (2.44 takedowns per match) to try and exploit Costa's largely untested takedown defense. Costa enters in a problematic space off a 13-month layoff struggling to make weight, and the one-dimensional striker likely would have had issues with Vettori even at full strength.
Jeff Molina ($18): I mentioned earlier Jones is second on the card in FanDuel points per minute (excluding bonuses), and it is only to Jeff Molina (5.30). Molina's debut was a wild fight he controlled, as he posted 8.83 significant strikes per minute on absurd 47% accuracy for a smaller flyweight. There's not much information on Daniel Da Silva on the other side of this fight; he doesn't even have an opponent who's faced anyone with UFC experience, hailing from Brazil's regional scene. Even with that doubt present, Molina's volume should carry him to a nice floor as long as this fight sticks to its 56.9% implied probability to see the full distance.
Khama Worthy ($11): Sometimes, fading the favorite is the right call even with a concerning underdog. Khama Worthy's back-to-back knockout losses aren't inspiring, but that was against the quickly ascending Ottman Azaitar and Jamie Mullarkey. England's Jai Herbert has entered UFC as a well-regarded striking prospect, but he has failed to capture that in any way analytically. Herbert's 1.33 significant strikes per minute pace are the worst mark on this entire card, and it's coming with a terrifyingly low 43% striking defense. Worthy has two UFC finishes of his own, and his pace (4.22 significant strikes per minute) is much better when managing probabilities behind two poor striking defenses.
Alex Caceras ($9): I simply don't understand the UFC veteran's underdog status here. Seung-Woo Choi is a one-dimensional striker with a below-average pace (3.31 significant strikes per minute) and terrible efficiency numbers (41% striking accuracy; 46% striking defense). He's got power for sure, as evidenced in his June knockout of Julian Erosa, but the knockouts may stop coming against Caceras. Caceras has only been knocked out once in his 25 UFC fights, and Caceras has advantages in significant strikes per minute (4.10), striking accuracy (50%), and striking defense (65%). Unless Choi grapples for the first time in his UFC tenure, this sets up to be a striking match in which Caceras is largely more successful.