UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 42
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 42: Holloway vs. Rodriguez, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday.
Max Holloway ($23): As was the forewarning on my podcast, I can't reasonably and professionally give a reason to not use Max Holloway at the MVP spot this weekend. Holloway is coming off a record 445 significant strikes landed against Calvin Kattar in January, and he's landed at least 102 significant strikes in each of his last eight fights. He's absorbed 1,652 career significant strikes without getting knocked down, and his takedown defense (84%) makes all his fights look the same -- a high-volume striking match.
He's also gone a UFC-record 1,455 significant strikes landed without a knockdown himself, so with his lack of power, this fight should have plenty of length to score points. Even halving Holloway's record volume from his last effort should destroy any first-round finish in FanDuel points, and the two closest fighters in salary could arguably lose. Not using Holloway in a given lineup is assuming a freak injury or occurrence. No thanks.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Felicia Spencer ($21): Of the non-Holloway options, Spencer is the second-best pick in my eyes. Spencer's statistical profile has been ravaged by 13 rounds against championship contenders Amanda Nunes, Cris Cyborg, and Norma Dumont, but her upside comes from her opponent in this spot. Leah Letson's fight media sessions have been disturbing, and it seems she has had major difficulty finding the shape to fight again at all. However, Letson will end her UFC contract in full with this fight against Spencer. "FeeNom" Spencer is a -320 favorite on the basis that a former title contender is thrust into the octagon Saturday with an incapable opponent.
Miguel Baeza ($18): Baeza looked to be cruising toward the rankings after a dominant first round against Santiago Ponzinibbio in June, but poor energy management cost him his undefeated UFC record. He still bounces back to a fun and winnable matchup with Khaos Williams. Both Williams and Baeza land north of 5.20 significant strikes per minute, but Baeza (49% striking accuracy) has historically been much more efficient than Williams (38%) on the feet. Williams also failed to defend both his UFC takedowns thus far, and the black belt Baeza (0.57 takedowns per 15 minutes) has shown just enough of that to believe he has a solid Plan "B" even if Williams finds success early.
Others to Consider: Thiago Moises ($20), Marc Diakiese ($19), Ben Rothwell ($18)
Yair Rodriguez ($12): This is a first for the UFC helper. The main event is a tremendous -- if not necessary -- stack this weekend. Rodriguez and Holloway are -124 to go the entire 25-minute distance on Saturday, and this salary doesn't give Rodriguez enough credit to score if that's the case. Even while absorbing a UFC-record amount of strikes, Calvin Kattar still landed 133 of his own on Holloway over 25 minutes. Rodriguez should fair better at stopping Holloway's output (57% striking defense), and at 4.33 significant strikes per minute historically, Yair has no volume concerns. Both he and Holloway seem like a slam dunk to deliver in a back-and-forth main event.
Liana Jojua ($11): I felt much better about Jojua before her inexplicable weight miss on Friday. The fight will still proceed forward after Jojua's fine, but assuming her health is still alright, she's in a great spot against Cortney Casey. Jojua's card-worst -2.33 striking success rate is awful, but Casey has zero career knockdowns to make Jojua dearly pay for her errors on the feet. With that the case, the Georgian can wrestle against Casey's 38% takedown defense. Historically, Jojua has posted 1.49 takedowns and 2.2 submission attempts per match. With a submission win in her column already, she has finishing upside if she can score three takedowns and spend five-plus minutes on the mat with Casey -- a feat accomplished by both of Casey's previous two opponents.
Others to Consider: Da-Un Jung ($16), Andrea Lee ($15), Julio Arce ($14), Collin Anglin ($9)