UFC Daily Fantasy Helper: UFC Vegas 44
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 44: Font vs. Aldo, taking place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday.
Alex Morono ($22): There is no sure thing amidst the 15 fights on Saturday, but Morono is likely the next best option. He draws Mickey Gall to keep his momentum (six wins in eight fights) going. Gall is coming off a win over Jordan Williams (now cut from the UFC with an 0-3 record), and Williams' 35% striking defense was miles worse than Morono's 56% mark. Importantly, Morono's never been submitted in 28 pro fights, and 4 of Gall's 6 UFC wins have come via submission. If he can survive on the mat, Morono's +1.25 striking success rate should control Gall (-1.08 success rate) on the feet.
Rob Font ($20): Although less assured a victory, Font will be the default MVP option for me. He gets the added benefit of five rounds to work in the main event against Jose Aldo ($16). In his last fight in five rounds, he posted 176 significant strikes in a win over Cody Garbrandt. Aldo's striking defense (61%) is much better, but Font's general pace (5.71 significant strikes per minute) is still a plus in a fight with this much time to work. I'm not opposed to using both in a lineup with this bout having a 62.7% implied probability to see all 25 minutes.
Other High-Salaried Fighters
Azamat Murzakanov ($21): "The Professional" was just that in exactly three minutes on his debut on Dana White's Contender Series. He absorbed only four strikes and knocked out his opponent. There are high hopes for Murzkanov's long-term UFC prospects -- as evidenced by his standing as a -215 favorite in this one. If he wants to make good on those odds, he needs to get by heavyweight bottom-feeder Jared Vanderaa. Vanderaa has been finished in two of his three UFC appearances so far with just a 39% striking defense.
Jimmy Crute ($21): Even at Crute's salary of $21, I'm surprised he is not a more highly sought commodity. Jamahal Hill has significant wrestling and grappling concerns that weren't answered in June against Paul Craig. Craig exploited it to three submission attempts and a first-round dislocated elbow. Crute averages 2.10 submission attempts per 15 minutes himself, but he also submitted "Bearjew" Craig in a prior matchup. With equal grappling skills, I would expect a similar fate unless Hill has shown a giant leap in the grappling department.
Others to Consider: Jake Matthews ($20), Alonzo Menifield ($17), Louis Smolka ($17), Rafael Fiziev ($16), Jose Aldo ($16)
Brad Riddell ($15): City Kickboxing's Riddell has an even cleaner analytical profile than his teammate and middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya. With plus volume (4.75 significant strikes per minute), Riddell attacks with a +1.57 striking success rate and 2.00 takedowns per match thus far in a 4-0 UFC start. Rafael Fiziev ($16) is a worthy challenger in a fight that is fine to stack with a 68.3% implied probability to go the distance and both fighters possessing solid volume. The nod goes to Riddell against Fiziev's -0.32 striking success rate in what profiles to be mostly a striking match.
Chris Curtis ($8): A month ago at UFC 268, Chris Curtis was $8 on FanDuel and scored a patient upset knockout of Phil Hawes. It really wasn't a surprise. Curtis' 6.54 significant strikes per minute that land at a 67% accuracy are both top-three marks on this entire card. Until Curtis' 100% takedown defense fades, it's hard not to like his chances as a +270 underdog to Brendan Allen. Allen can grapple (1.20 submission attempts per 15 minutes), but his 45% striking defense is more than concerning against the lethally-efficient "Action Man."
Others to Consider: Chris Gruetzmacher ($15), Maki Pitolo ($12), Darian Weeks ($12), Mallory Martin ($10), Zhalgas Zhumagulov ($8)