UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 43
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 43: Vieira vs. Tate, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday.
Luana Pinheiro ($23): Pinheiro has the makings of a star at women's strawweight. Her judo-heavy wrestling style has thrown women across the canvas in several promotions, and Sam Hughes' 44% takedown defense doesn't inspire confidence that she won't be next in line. Pinheiro averages a card-best 7.58 FanDuel points per minute (excluding bonuses) off two first-round finishes. She's the largest favorite on the card (-420) in an arguably easier matchup than her last against seven-time UFC winner Randa Markos.
Taila Santos ($22): Joanne Wood's talk of retirement is unnerving in a vacuum -- much less attached to a dangerous matchup with Santos. Wood has struggled to defend wrestling with just a 68% takedown defense, and she's ceded at least 30% of the fight's distance in control time in each of her last four bouts. Averaging 2.60 takedowns per match at a stellar 86% accuracy, Santos is more than capable of exploiting that weakness. Santos likely isn't popular if the public targets Wood's generally high striking volume, but she needs to be on her feet to use it.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Adrian Yanez ($22): The Houston striking wizard was in danger of taking his first career loss after Randy Costa blistered him for 57 significant strikes in the first round last time out. However, Costa exerted too much energy trying to blast Yanez out of there, and Yanez found the finish in Round 2. Despite the heavy volume absorbed there, Yanez's +1.33 striking success rate is still healthy entering this fight with UFC veteran Davey Grant. Grant is decently well-rounded, but he's been knocked down in three of his last five fights. Those durability issues could be costly against the tremendous power of Yanez (five knockdowns in four fights).
Sean Brady ($19): Brady shares a commonality with Yanez -- a tough veteran as a step-up in competition. Michael Chiesa is an outstanding welterweight grappler, but Brady is the -165 favorite as a freight train at welterweight with an undefined ceiling. Brady's grappling-heavy style has produced damage. He's fourth on the card at 4.31 FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses despite scoring eight-plus minutes of ground control time in two of his four fights. Significant strikes just typically aren't scored in that position, but the Gracie-trained black belt is a rare exception.
Others to Consider: Miesha Tate ($17), Rafa Garcia ($17), Kang Kyung-Ho ($16)
Terrance McKinney ($15): McKinney's seven-second finish of Matt Frevola is actually very little of why he's an appealing target this weekend. McKinney typically gets the job done on the mat (4.33 takedowns per 15 minutes), and he profiles to be able to overpower his opponent, Fares Ziam, to that spot. Ziam has been controlled for an average of 6:31 across three fights -- all three of which could have easily been losses despite the two decision nods. Ziam's card-worst 1.41 FanDuel points per minute excluding bonuses provides almost no upside, so backing the underdog is a sensible choice in all facets.
Tucker Lutz ($12): Lutz's status as an underdog is curious after Pat Sabatini noticeably was hurt and nearly finished in his last fight against a well-round featherweight in Jamall Emmers. Sabatini is a gifted wrestler, but Lutz's own offensive wrestling skills (2.33 takedowns per 15 minutes) and historical defensive prowess (84% takedown defense) inspire confidence he won't be overwhelmed there. On the feet, it's not close. Lutz averages 5.09 significant strikes per minute at 52% accuracy compared to Sabatini's 1.60 per minute at 50% accuracy. That's more than worth an underdog flier in a fight between rising 145-pounders.
Others to Consider: Loma Lookboonme ($11), Qileng Aori ($10), Shayilan Nuerdanbieke ($9)